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Author: Sean McAleer

Abstract: This essay reconstructs and evaluates Aristotle’s argument in Nicomachean Ethics IX.9 that the happy person needs friends, in which Aristotle combines his well-known claim that friends are other selves with the claim that human perception is meta-perceptual: the perceiving subject perceives its own existence. After exploring some issues in the logic of perception, the essay argues that Aristotle’s argument for the necessity of friends is invalid since perception-verbs create referentially opaque contexts in which the substitution of co-referential terms fails.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Patricia Curd

Aristotle claims that Empedocles took perception and knowledge to be the same; Theophrastus follows Aristotle. The paper begins by examining why Aristotle and Theophrastus identify thought/knowing with perception in Empedocles. I maintain that the extant fragments do not support the assertion that Empedocles identifies or conflates sensation with thought or cognition. Indeed, the evidence of the texts shows that Empedocles is careful to distinguish them, and argues that to have genuine understanding one must not be misled into supposing that sense perception is sufficient for knowledge. Nevertheless, sense perception is necessary for human knowing.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Analyzing Object Recognition
Author: Ulrike Pompe
The intrinsic relation between rationality or thought on the one hand and sensory information processing or perception on the other hand is a classical topic in the philosophy of mind. This work contributes to this traditional debate by introducing an interdisciplinary framework, in which the relation between perception and cognition can be explored from a philosophical point of view and, at the same time, on the basis of the latest findings from empirical perception research. Discussing the case of visual object recognition, the proposed model allows us to differentiate between a variety of perceptual phenomena and to clarify our understanding of the role of concepts within perception. As such, it takes a stand in the debate about the conceptuality of perceptual content, exemplifying at which stage of perception and by virtue of which mechanisms perceptual experience becomes enriched or even influenced by prior knowledge or cognition in general. The final chapter is dedicated to the discussion of face perception, its disorders and underlying mechanisms.
From Descartes to the Present
This book is about the nature of sensory perception. Contributions focus on five questions, i.e.: (1) What distinguishes sensory perception from other cognitive states? Is it true, for instance, that perceptual content, in contrast to the phenomenal content of sensations like pain, always depends on the perceiver´s conceptual resources? (2) How do we have to explain the intentionality of perceptual states? (3) What is the nature of perceptual content? (4) In which sense do the objects of sensory perception depend on the constitution of the perceiver? How, for instance, do secondary qualities like colours, sounds and smells depend on the perception of human subjects? (5) How can we account for the intentionality of misperceptions? These questions are addressed through the interpretation of classical historical texts as well as in the context of systematical reflections. The authors: Margaret Atherton, Michael Ayers, Peter Baumann, Martha Brandt Bolton, Thomas Grundmann, Gary Hatfield, Rolf-Peter Horstmann, Andreas Kemmerling, Bertram Kienzle, Martine Nida-Rümelin, Dominik Perler, Jay F. Rosenberg, Katia Saporiti, Ralph Schumacher, Gerald Vision, Russel Wahl.
Author: Ruth Weintraub

In the (rather puzzling) section of the Treatise titled ‘Of the immateriality of the soul’, Hume adduces an argument to show that nothing can be ‘locally conjoined’ with all of a person’s perceptions. The argument is seldom discussed, and deserves attention, mainly because it can be transformed into an argument against the very existence of a soul. In this paper, I present and closely examine both arguments, Hume’s argument and the one against the existence of the soul. Both, I conclude, are fallacious.

In dem (einigermaßen rätselhaften) Abschnitt des Treatise mit dem Titel ‚Of the immateriality of the soul‘ bringt Hume ein Argument vor, das zeigen soll, dass nichts mit allen Perzeptionen einer Person ‚lokal verknüpft‘ sein kann. Das Argument wird selten diskutiert, verdient aber Aufmerksamkeit, hauptsächlich deshalb, weil es in ein Argument gegen die Existenz der Seele umgewandelt werden kann. In diesem Aufsatz stelle ich beide Argumente – Humes Argument und das gegen die Existenz der Seele – dar und untersuche sie im Detail. Ich gelange zu der Feststellung, dass beide Argumente fehlerhaft sind.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Philip J. Walsh

Husserl introduces a phenomenological concept called “motivation” early in the First Investigation of his magnum opus, the Logical Investigations. The importance of this concept has been overlooked since Husserl passes over it rather quickly on his way to an analysis of the meaningful nature of expression. I argue, however, that motivation is essential to Husserl’s overall project, even if it is not essential for defining expression in the First Investigation. For Husserl, motivation is a relation between mental acts whereby the content of one act make some further meaningful content probable. I explicate the nature of this relation in terms of “evidentiary weight” and differentiate it from Husserl’s notion of Evidenz, often translated as “self-evidence”. I elucidate the importance of motivation in Husserl’s overall phenomenological project by focusing on his analyses of thing-perception and empathy. Through these examples, we can better understand the continuity between the Logical Investigations and Husserl’s later work.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Anik Waldow

This essay argues that Humean impressions are triggers of associative processes, which enable us to form stable patterns of thought that co-vary with our experiences of the world. It will thus challenge the importance of the Copy Principle by claiming that it is the regularity with which certain kinds of sensory inputs motivate certain sets of complex ideas that matters for the discrimination of ideas. This reading is conducive to Hume’s account of perception, because it avoids the impoverishment of conceptual resources so typical for empiricist theories of meaning and explains why ideas should be based on impressions, although impressions cannot be known to mirror matters of fact.

Dieser Aufsatz argumentiert dafür, dass humesche Eindrücke („impressions“) Auslöser von assoziativen Prozessen sind, welche es uns ermöglichen, stabile Denkmuster zu bilden, die mit unseren Erfahrungen der Welt kovariant sind. Der Aufsatz stellt somit die Wichtigkeit des Kopien-Prinzips in Frage, nämlich dadurch, dass behauptet wird, für die Unterscheidung der Ideen sei die Regelmäßigkeit maßgeblich, mit der gewisse Arten von sensorischen Eingaben gewisse Mengen von komplexen Ideen motivieren. Diese Lesart trägt zu einem Verständnis von Humes Auffassung der Wahrnehmung bei, da sie die Verarmung der begrifflichen Mittel, die für empiristische Theorien der Bedeutung so typisch ist, vermeidet und erklärt, warum Ideen auf Eindrücken basieren sollten, obwohl Eindrücke nicht als Abbildungen von Tatsachen erkannt werden können.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Stefan Büttner

The focus of the paper is that for Plato all kinds of knowing, including sense perception, are acts of distinguishing something (krinein). Emotions and strivings are depending on acts of distinguishing and each part of the soul has a specific way of knowing, feeling and desiring. The thymoeides desires pleasures which arise from the judgement (doxa) of individual abilities and achievements (erga). It is related to the individual cases in which these abilities or achievements are preserved or destroyed. The close relationship between logistikon and thymoeides results from the fact that the thymoeides deals with the sphere of doxa. That’s why it is more open to rational argumentation than the epithymētikon, whose primary sphere is sense perception.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis

Edmund Husserl’s account of the horizonal character of simple, sensuous perception provides a sophisticated account of perceptual intentional content which enables plausible responses to key issues in the philosophy of perception and in Heidegger interpretation. Section 2 outlines Husserl’s account of intentionality in its application to such perceptual experience. Section 3 then elaborates the notion of perceptual horizon in order to draw out, in Section 4, its implications for four issues: firstly, the relation between the object perceived and perceptual appearance (qua item “in consciousness”); secondly, the relation between the subject perceiving and perceptual appearance; thirdly, what sense of the body is inherent to perceptual experience of the horizonal kind; and fourthly, what John McDowell is getting at when he claims that traditional conceptions fail to capture how perception puts us in cognitive contact with the world. The paper concludes by using the interpretation developed to show how Husserl’s account of perceptual experience as horizonal enables one to draw out the sense and worth of what Heidegger means by worldliness and the “Da” of Dasein.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
Author: Richard Schantz

The article investigates and defends central elements of Quine’s naturalized epistemology. Davidson’s coherentist attacks on Quine’s empiricismare dismissed. The view is advocated that sensory experience plays an essential epistemic role, and that, therefore, the study of perception must be taken seriously in the theory of knowledge. The author rejects, however, Quine’s behavioristic conception of experience as stimulation of sensory receptors and instead argues for a richer conception, according to which an experience is a sensory state of things appearing in certain ways to us. Finally, it is shown that this standpoint allows us to acknowledge a given element in experience without falling victim to a myth.

In: History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis