Stuff in the Way can Help with Perception

QuasarPerception is a hot topic in philosophy.  Do we directly perceive objects in the world, or only the images of objects on our retinas?  Does the answer change when we see something reflected by a mirror or refracted through a lens?  As anyone who needs glasses knows, sometimes putting something between your eye and an object can help you to see it better.  Surprisingly, sometimes the most useful ‘lens’ is made of solid matter.

Solid matter can help us see distant objects by bending spacetime.Gravity Lens It may sound far-fetched, but physicists routinely rely on this effect to see distant stars and galaxies that would otherwise be Continue reading “Stuff in the Way can Help with Perception”

Neglecting the philosophical baby

Have philosophers neglected the mind of the child? Yes they have, if we are to believe psychologist, Alison Gopnik. In her latest book The Philosophical Baby, she presents a raft of examples aimed to show that babies’ minds are more sophisticated than has (she says) been supposed.

One contemporary philosopher who has been attacked on just this basis is John McDowell. He has put forward the thesis that animals and young infants do not perceive or indeed think…. Continue reading “Neglecting the philosophical baby”

(Failing) To See or To Remember

HippocampusA few seconds after being shown an image, an amnesiac is asked to find a match for it within a group of new images. She fails to do it. What is wrong with her? Is it just her memory? Does she also have a perceptual problem? How should we distinguish a purely mnemonic from a deficit that is also perceptual?

“Simple,” you might say. “Do a new experiment. Present the amnesiac simultaneously with the sample and the group of images, and ask her to find the match. If she finds it, the deficit is mnemonic. If she doesn’t, it might also be perceptual.”

Unfortunately, things are not as simple as this. Continue reading “(Failing) To See or To Remember”

Philosophy Compass July Issue

The latest issue form Philosophy Compass is out now, featuring the following great articles, surveying the most recent scholarly literature in philosophy:

PHCO pebbles banner Online ISSN: 1747-9991    Print ISSN: 1747-9991
Philosophy Compass
Volume4, Issue4,2009.
Early View (Articles Available Online in Advance of Print)
© 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd Continue reading “Philosophy Compass July Issue”

FREE Syllabus: The Ins and Outs of Introspection

FREE PDFTeaching & Learning Guide for: The Ins and Outs of Introspection
By Philip Robbins, University of Missouri-Columbia (July 2008)

Keywords:

Section: Naturalistic Philosophy
Subjects:
Philosophy, Naturalistic Philosophy
Key Topics:
perception, representation, belief

(See all Philosophy Compass Teaching & Learning Guides‘)