1st Edition

The Metaphysics of Perception Wilfrid Sellars, Perceptual Consciousness and Critical Realism

By Paul Coates Copyright 2007
    292 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book is an important study in the philosophy of the mind; drawing on the work of philosopher Wilfrid Sellars and the theory of critical realism to develop a novel argument for understanding perception and metaphysics.

    Chapter 1 The structure of perceptual consciousness (1): Phenomenal qualities and the two-component view
    Chapter 2 The structure of perceptual consciousness (2): Concepts and the awareness of fineness of grain
    Chapter 3 Hallucinations, illusions and the challenge of metaphysical scepticism
    Chapter 4 The incoherence of Direct Realism
    Chapter 5 Problems for the enactive approach to perception
    Chapter 6 Perception, understanding and causation
    Chapter 7 A navigational account of distance perception
    Chapter 8 Critical Realism and the alleged transparency of experience
    Chapter 9 Imagination and the unity of experience
    Chapter 10 Inner experience and the possibility of knowledge


    Paul Coates in Principal Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordhire, UK.

    "What we are, what we can know, and how we fit into the world turn centrally on the analysis of perception. In The Metaphysics of Perception Paul Coates teases apart the tensions that have systematically confused philosophers of perception and defends a sophisticated form of the causal theory of perception. In his detailed responses to recent Realist arguments and his careful consideration of modern psychology of perception and the growing body of empirical results, Coates has essentially re-invented Critical Realism, revising, expanding, filling in, and deepening the proto-theory found in Sellars’ père et fils. Coates's theory is the only one I know that is at home accounting for the fact that perception is first-personal and qualitative and yet subject to empirical, scientific investigation. It will become a landmark in the philosophy of perception."

    —Willem deVries, Professor of Philosophy, University of New Hampshire

     "Steering a lucid course between sense data theory and direct realism, Coates delivers a nuanced, up-to-date version of the Critical Realism associated with Wilfred Sellars. This is a timely and important contribution that successfully integrates scientific, philosophical, and first person perspectives on the nature of perception and the relation between experience and its objects.

    —Andy Clark, Professor of Logic and Metaphysics, University of Edinburgh

    "The publication of this book is a major event in the philosophy of perception. Paul Coates develops a deeply thought out theory and makes powerful criticisms of alternative accounts. It merits attention from everyone interested in its topic."

    —Paul Snowdon, Grote Professor of Mind and Logic University College, London

    "This book is challenging, engaging, provocative, and important."

    ---Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews