Thomas Reid's theory of perception includes an account of what he calls original perception, by which typical perceivers see colors, feel shapes, hear sounds, smell odors, and taste flavors. This original perception allows us to represent very basic features in the environment. But Reid also presents a rich account of what he calls acquired perception. According to Reid, we are capable of acquiring perceptual sensitivity to features not given in original perception. For example, we acquire the ability to see distance, size, and shape, though those features are not original to vision. We also acquire the ability to perceive higher-order properties -- properties like `being a tomato,' or `being a Pinot Noir.' When we examine Reid's account of aesthetic and moral perception, we find a similar developmental account of our perceptual capacities. Copenhaver will examine Reid's theory and draw some general conclusions about what we can learn from it about cases of pathological seeing, for example, cases of implicit bias.

Biographical Note: Rebecca Copenhaver is a Professor of Philosophy at Lewis & Clark College, where she has taught since 2001. She is a co-author (with Brian P. Copenhaver) of From Kant to Croce: Modern Philosophy in Italy 1800–1950 (Toronto University Press, 2012), and of a number of articles on Thomas Reid’s theory of mind, exploring perception, memory,consciousness, and methodology. Her main area of research is the philosophy of mind,particularly perception, with special, attention to modern British theories of mind,including those of Thomas Reid, George Berkeley, and John Locke.

 

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