Sensible individuation

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1):168-191 (2022)
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There is a straightforward view of perception that has not received adequate consideration because it requires us to rethink basic assumptions about the objects of perception. In this paper, I develop a novel account of these objects—the sensible qualities—which makes room for the straightforward view. I defend two primary claims. First, I argue that qualities like color and shape are “ontologically flexible” kinds. That is, their real definitions allow for both physical objects and mental entities to be colored or shaped. Second, a single instance of these qualities can be attributed to more than one entity. Just as we attribute the same instance of a material property to a statue and to the clay that constitutes it, single instances of sensible qualities should be attributed both to the physical objects perceived and to the perceptual states that have those instances as their objects.

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Umrao Sethi
Brandeis University


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