Perception
Crane (Tim)
Source: Crane - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, 2001, Chapter 5
Paper - Abstract

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Sections

  1. The Problem Of Perception – 130
  2. The Argument From Illusion – 132
  3. Perception As A Form Of Intentionality – 137
  4. The Phenomenal Character Of Perceptual Experience – 140
  5. Inverted Spectrum, Inverted Earth – 145
  6. Perception As Non-Conceptual – 150

Section Summaries
  1. Note1 – The problem of perception: The phenomenological problem of perception distinguished from the epistemological and psychological problems; the phenomenological problem is a result of the conflict between the immediacy of perception and the 'Phenomenal Principle', once one allows the possibility of perfect hallucination.
  2. Note2 – The argument from Illusion: The argument outlined, and its most plausible version defended; the argument is shown to rest on the 'Phenomenal Principle'.
  3. Note3 – Perception as a form of intentionality: The way to solve the problem of perception is to give a correct account of the intentionality of perception; the 'Phenomenal Principle' rejected; the nature of perceptual contents and modes examined.
  4. Note4 – The phenomenal character of perceptual experience: It is sometimes said that an intentionalist view of perception cannot account for the phenomenal character of perception; two kinds of evidence for this claim considered: introspective evidence and inverted spectrum/earth thought-experiments5; introspective evidence shown to be inconclusive, once we understand intentionality in the proper way.
  5. Note6 – Inverted spectrum, Inverted Earth: The inverted spectrum possibility (if it is one) presents no knock-down argument against intentionalism; Inverted Earth only presents a problem for a purely externalist version of intentionalism; if narrow perceptual content is coherent, then the inverted earth argument is unsuccessful.
  6. Note7 – Perception as non-conceptual: A further aspect of the phenomenal character of perception introduced: its distinctness from belief and judgement; this is expressed by saying that perceptions have non-conceptual contents; this idea is clarified, motivated, and defended against its critics.

Comment:

For a précis and analysis of the whole Book, see this Note8.


Write-up9 (as at 12/02/2015 16:48:00): Crane - The Problem of Perception

This is a review of Section 40 of "Crane (Tim) - Perception", from "Crane (Tim) - Elements of Mind - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind". For the previous Section (the last Section of Chapter 4 – "Crane (Tim) - Thought"), see this Note10.

Crane’s Abstract
    The phenomenological problem of perception distinguished from the epistemological and psychological problems; the phenomenological problem is a result of the conflict between the immediacy of perception and the 'Phenomenal Principle', once one allows the possibility of perfect hallucination.

My Notes
  • Crane says that this chapter is about the intentionality of perception, and not about either:
    1. The psychology of perception: the mechanism whereby the different senses convey information about the perceived environment to the brain.
    2. The epistemology of perception: how perception gives knowledge of the world, eg. giving us reasons for beliefs.
  • An intentionalist theory of mind needs to say something about how the various states of mind are differentiated or are similar, for instance perception versus belief and sensation. We also need to investigate and seek to understand the phenomenal character of perception. This philosophical study isn’t in conflict with the psychological investigation of mechanisms, but focuses on the characteristics required of anything labelled perception, a harder task than might be expected. Crane claims that the problems are phenomenological – relating to our perceptual experience – and independent of psychological and epistemological questions.
  • Crane focuses on visual perception and finds a conflict between two plausible intuitions:
    1. Immediacy: when aware of a material object in the world, we are immediately aware – our awareness isn’t mediated by awareness of something else11 that is not a material object. Here, visual experience differs from the other sensory modalities. A smell may well be physical, but it is not obviously an object (says Crane), even though what it is a smell of, and which the smell makes us aware of, is a physical object. Smells (and sounds) are intentional objects, but a physical thing that is an intentional object need not be a physical object. While we can coherently say that we smell by smelling a smell, or hear by hearing a sound, we don’t see by seeing a look. Catching a glimpse isn’t seeing a glimpse12. Seeing is unmediated (Crane deals with the “television” counterexample by saying that in that case one is immediately aware of the television13).
    2. The Phenomenal Principle: when one experiences something as F, there is something F that one is experiencing, whether this be “something red” or “a goldfinch” or such-like.
  • The conflict between these two principles arises when we consider hallucinations, giving rise to the argument from illusion against the intentionality of perception, covered in the next section. A theory of the intentionality of perception also needs to address the difference between perception and belief, which Crane looks at in the last section of the book.
The Note for the next Section is here14.


In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 9:
  • This is the write-up as it was when this Abstract was last output, with text as at the timestamp indicated (12/02/2015 16:48:00).
  • Link to Latest Write-Up Note.
Footnote 11: Presumably Crane has no place for sense-data. This theory is discussed later.

Footnote 12: This sounds like a quote from Wittgenstein.

Footnote 13: I have residual questions about illusions and holograms.


Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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