Mark Eli Kalderon, "Sympathy in Perception" [Book Review]

Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2018 (0809) (2018)
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Mark Eli Kalderon's book boldly positions itself as a work in speculative metaphysics. Its point of departure is the familiar distinction between presentational and representational philosophies of perception. Kalderon notes that the latter has been more popular of late, as it is more amenable to "an account" explicating causal or counterfactual conditions on perception; but he wishes to rehabilitate the former, at least in part. One widely perceived disadvantage of presentationalism has been the way that understanding perception merely as registering the presence of things might seem to leave us vulnerable to error about the nature of what is presented. Kalderon seeks to remedy this not by dealing at length with various disjunctivist positions concerning perception which may be friendly to his position, nor by spending much time criticising opposing views, but by explicating presentationalist perception through a series of tactile metaphors, thereby providing a radically new philosophical view. He claims that we do not just 'stand before' reality, we grasp it-the metaphor survives tellingly in ordinary language-and he thereby seeks to defend a form of realism which is robust, though he admits, "pre-modern". He draws on a remarkably rich variety of thinkers to defend this position, including pre-modern, modern, and various figures from both analytic and continental philosophy-however, although there is plenty of solid scholarship here, the book is aimed at metaphysics more than the history of ideas.

Author Profiles

Jack Alan Reynolds
Deakin University
Cathy Legg
Deakin University


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