A study in deflated acquaintance knowledge: sense-datum theory and perceptual constancy

Brown, D. H. (2016) A study in deflated acquaintance knowledge: sense-datum theory and perceptual constancy. In: Costreie, S. (ed.) Early Analytic Philosophy - New Perspectives on the Tradition. Series: The Western Ontario series in philosophy of science, 80 (80). Springer: Cham, pp. 99-125. ISBN 9783319242125 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-24214-9_5)

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We perceive the objective world through a subjective perceptual veil. Various perceived properties, particularly “secondary qualities” like colours and tastes, are mind-dependent. Although mind-dependent, our knowledge of many facts about the perceptual veil is immediate and secure. These are well-known facets of sense-datum theory. My aim is to carve out a conception of sense-datum theory that does not require the immediate and secure knowledge of a wealth of facts about experienced sense-data (§1). Such a theory is of value on its own, given well-known challenges to epistemic foundationalism. Beyond this such a theory helps demonstrate how sense-datum theory can accommodate challenging perceptual phenomena like shape and size constancies (§3). These ideas are bridged by the roots of perceptual ambiguity (§2). In brief, my thought is that tapering acquaintance knowledge creates space for perceptual representation to resolve the ambiguities in presented objects seemingly inherent in scenarios involving perceptual constancies. Key relations between this approach and those of other acquaintance views (e.g., direct realism) are discussed. Thus, I offer a two-factor (acquaintance-representation) sense-datum theory to meet the challenge posed by constancies. Following Smith (2002), from whom this challenge is drawn, my focus is on shape and size constancies. Other constancies, notably colour constancy, are treated elsewhere (Brown 2014).

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brown, Dr Derek
Authors: Brown, D. H.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy

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