Habits in Perception: A Diachronic Defense of Hyperinferentialism

In Jeremy Dunham & Komarine Romdenh-Romluc (eds.), Habit and the History of Philosophy. New York, NY: Rewriting the History of Philosophy. pp. 243-260 (2022)
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This paper explores how Charles Peirce’s habit-based epistemology leads him to theorise perception. I show how Peirce’s triadic semiotic analysis of perceptual judgment renders his theory of perception neither a representationalism nor a relationism /direct realism, but an interesting hybrid of the two. His view is also extremely interesting, I argue, in the way that by analysing symbols as habits it refuses the common assumption that perception is an affair best understood synchronically, as a ‘language-entry event’. Relatedly, I extend previous work (Legg 2008) which argues that Peirce’s epistemology counts as a ‘hyperinferentialism’ in Robert Brandom’s terms, but this does not mean that Peirce’s theory of perception cannot accommodate unmediated contact with reality - what Peirce called ‘the outward clash’.

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Cathy Legg
Deakin University


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