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PHIL 441 Philosophy of Perception

The contribution of the senses to knowledge of the external world; the nature of perception and its contribution to empirical knowledge.

This course is eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading. To determine whether you can take this course for Credit/D/Fail grading, visit the Credit/D/Fail website. You must register in the course before you can select the Credit/D/Fail grading option.

Credits: 3

Pre-reqs: Either (a) PHIL 240 or (b) COGS 200. (If COGS 200, accompanied by 3 credits in PHIL at the 200-level or above.)


Status Section Activity Term Interval Days Start Time End Time Comments
FullPHIL 441 001Lecture1 Mon Wed Fri9:0010:00

Course Description: We will consider some of the main philosophical problems that arise in connection with perception, concentrating mainly on visual perception. What is perception? What is the object of perception? Do we see the world directly, or is our perceptual access to the world mediated somehow? What role do sensation and consciousness play in perception? How is perception related to action and movement? Is the concept of representation essential to any adequate account of perception?

In the philosophical tradition, the study of perception has been largely in service of problems in epistemology (the theory of knowledge). We will touch on some of these issues, but the emphasis in this course will, instead, be on perception itself as a topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. This approach to the philosophy of perception makes it a less purely philosophical and slightly more interdisciplinary subject. In addition, at least two of our topics (the causal theory of perception and Molyneux's question) will give us the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between philosophical and scientific investigations of perception.

PHIL 441 002Lecture2 Mon Wed Fri9:0010:00

Course Description: We will consider some of the main philosophical problems that arise in connection with perception, concentrating mainly on visual perception. What is perception? What is the object of perception? Do we see the world directly, or is our perceptual access to the world mediated somehow? What role do sensation and consciousness play in perception? How is perception related to action and movement? Is the concept of representation essential to any adequate account of perception?

In the philosophical tradition, the study of perception has been largely in service of problems in epistemology (the theory of knowledge). We will touch on some of these issues, but the emphasis in this course will, instead, be on perception itself as a topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of mind. This approach to the philosophy of perception makes it a less purely philosophical and slightly more interdisciplinary subject. In addition, at least two of our topics (the causal theory of perception and Molyneux's question) will give us the opportunity to reflect on the relationship between philosophical and scientific investigations of perception.