The Perspectival Character of Perception

Journal of Philosophy 115 (4):187-214 (2018)
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Abstract

You can perceive things, in many respects, as they really are. For example, you can correctly see a coin as circular from most angles. Nonetheless, your perception of the world is perspectival. The coin looks different when slanted than when head-on, and there is some respect in which the slanted coin looks similar to a head-on ellipse. Many hold that perception is perspectival because you perceive certain properties that correspond to the “looks” of things. I argue that this view is misguided. I consider the two standard versions of this view. What I call the PLURALIST APPROACH fails to give a unified account of the perspectival character of perception, while what I call the PERSPECTIVAL PROPERTIES APPROACH violates central commitments of contemporary psychology. I propose instead that perception is perspectival because of the way perceptual states are structured from their parts.

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Kevin J. Lande
York University

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