Perception, Causation, and Objectivity

ISBN : 9780199692057

Johannes Roessler; Hemdat Lerman; Naomi Eilan
382 Pages
163 x 233 mm
Pub date
Jul 2011
Consciousness & Self-Consciousness Series
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To be a 'commonsense realist' is to hold that perceptual experience is (in general) an immediate awareness of mind-independent objects, and a source of direct knowledge of what such objects are like. Over the past few centuries this view has faced formidable challenges from epistemology, metaphysics, and, more recently, cognitive science. However, in recent years there has been renewed interest in it, due to new work on perceptual consciousness, objectivity, and causal understanding. This volume collects nineteen original essays by leading philosophers and psychologists on these topics. Questions addressed include: What are the commitments of commonsense realism? Does it entail any particular view of the nature of perceptual experience, or any particular view of the epistemology of perceptual knowledge? Should we think of commonsense realism as a view held by some philosophers, or is there a sense in which we are pre-theoretically committed to commonsense realism in virtue of the experience we enjoy or the concepts we use or the explanations we give? Is commonsense realism defensible, and if so how, in the face of the formidable criticism it faces? Specific issues addressed in the philosophical essays include the status of causal requirements on perception, the causal role of perceptual experience, and the relation between objective perception and causal thinking. The scientific essays present a range of perspectives on the development, phylogenetic and ontogenetic, of the human adult conception of perception.


1. Introduction
2. Tackling Berkeley's Puzzle
3. Relational vs Kantian Responses to Berkeley's Puzzle
4. Experiential Objectivity
5. Realism and Explanation in Perception
6. Epistemic Humility and Causal Structuralism
7. Seeing What is So
8. Causation in Commonsense Realism
9. Perceptual Concepts as Non-causal Concepts
10. Perception and the Ontology of Causation
11. Vision and Causal Understanding
12. The Perception of Absence, Space, and Time
13. Perception, Causal Understanding, and Locality
14. Causal Perception and Causal Cognition
15. Children's understanding of perceptual appearances
16. Perspective-Taking and its Foundation in Joint Attention
17. A Two-Systems Theory of Social Cognition: Engagement and Theory of Mind
18. Development of understanding of the causal connection between perceptual access and knowledge state
19. Social and Physical Reasoning in Human-reared Chimpanzees: Preliminary Studies

About the author: 

Johannes Roessler is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is co-editor of Agency and Self-Awareness (OUP), and Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds (OUP), and the author of papers in the philosophy of mind and action. ; Hemdat Lerman was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick and is currently an Associate Fellow of the Consciousness & Self-Consciousness Research Centre at the Philosophy Department at the University of Warwick. She is currently working on a monograph, entitled Experience, Concepts and World. ; Naomi Eilan is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick, and Director of the Consciousness and Self-Consciousness Research Centre. She is co-editor of Spatial Representation (OUP), The Body and the Self (MIT), Agency and Self Awareness (OUP), Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds (OUP), and the author of papers in the philosophy of mind.

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