Perception is one of the most pervasive and puzzling problems in philosophy, generating a great deal of attention and controversy in philosophy of mind, psychology and metaphysics. If perceptual illusion and hallucination are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? How can perception be both internally dependent and externally directed?
Perception is an outstanding introduction to this fundamental topic, covering both the perennial and recent work on the problem. Adam Pautz examines four of the most important theories of perception: the sense datum view; the internal physical state view; the representational view; and naïve realism, assessing each in turn. He also discusses the relationship between perception and the physical world and the issue of whether reality is as it appears.
Useful examples are included throughout the book to illustrate the puzzles of perception, including hallucinations, illusions, the laws of appearance, blindsight, and neuroscientific explanations of our experience of pain, smell and color. The book covers both traditional philosophical arguments and more recent empirical arguments deriving from research in psychophysics and neuroscience.
The addition of chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and a glossary of terms make Perception essential reading for anyone studying the topic in detail, as well as for students of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and metaphysics.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What is the Puzzle of Perception?
1. The Sense Datum View: Experiencing Virtual Reality
2. The Internal Physical State View: Experiences as Inner Physical Modifications
3. The Representational View: Experiencing as Representing
4. How Does Experience Represent the World?
5. The Return of Naïve Realism: Experience as Openness to the World
Adam Pautz is a Professor of Philosophy at Brown University, USA. With Daniel Stoljar he is the editor of Blockheads!: Essays on Ned Block's Philosophy of Mind and Consciousness (2019).
"A superb book, which would be great for an upper-level undergrad or grad class on philosophy of perception. The no-nonsense clarity, philosophical subtlety and thoroughness are reminiscent of authors like David Armstrong and David Lewis. I’m sure it will become a classic text in the literature on perception." - Geoffrey Lee, University of California – Berkeley, USA
"An exemplary introduction to the subject. The clarity with which it is written makes it absolutely perfect for use by advanced undergraduates and postgraduates, but the book also contains all sorts of ideas, suggestions and arguments that will be of interest to professional philosophers of mind and cognitive scientists working on perception." - Thomas Raleigh, University of Luxembourg