In this talk Hatfield develops an appearance view of perception (focusing on vision). When we see an object, we see it by having it appear some way to us. It is the object that we see, not the appearance. But we see the object via the appearance. The appearance is subjectively conditioned: aspects of it depend on attributes of the subject. We mentally have the appearance and can reflect on it as an appearance. But in the primary instance, of veridical perception, it is the object that we focus on and experience. Hatfield contrasts this view with naïve realism (sometimes called disjunctivism) (Brewer, Campbell, Noë) and with intentionalist or representationalist views, which Hatfield calls the physical content view (Dretske, Tye, Crane, Hill, Burge). Hatfield agrees with these views in rejecting sense-data intermediaries and in affirming direct perception, but argues that direct perception occurs via appearances, making his view a critical direct realism. The other views attempt to explain the spatial content of perception (shape, size, distance) entirely through the physical properties of objects and the physical relation (viewing position) of the perceiver. Hatfield argues instead that there are ineliminably subjective aspects of normal spatial perception revealed as a systematic lack of full phenomenal constancy, which either can’t be accounted for by the alternative position (naïve realism), or only on pain of considering most of our ordinary perception to be illusory (physical content view, violating its spirit). Accordingly, Hatfield ascribes our ability to perceive the mind-independent properties of objects to developed conceptual abilities. Time permitting, Hatfield would compare his view with the adverbialism of Chisholm and the critical direct realism of Roy Wood Sellars. 

 

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