Vision and Mind

Selected Readings in the Philosophy of Perception

The philosophy of perception is a microcosm of the metaphysics of mind. Its central problems—What is perception? What is the nature of perceptual consciousness? How can one fit an account of perceptual experience into a broader account of the nature of the mind and the world?—are at the heart of metaphysics. Rather than try to cover all of the many strands in the philosophy of perception, this book focuses on a particular orthodoxy about the nature of visual perception.

The central problem for visual science has been to explain how the brain bridges the gap between what is given to the visual system and what is actually experienced by the perceiver. The orthodox view of perception is that it is a process whereby the brain, or a dedicated subsystem of the brain, builds up representations of relevant figures of the environment on the basis of information encoded by the sensory receptors. Most adherents of the orthodox view also believe that for every conscious perceptual state of the subject, there is a particular set of neurons whose activities are sufficient for the occurrence of that state. Some of the essays in this book defend the orthodoxy; most criticize it; and some propose alternatives to it. Many of the essays are classics. The contributors include, among others, G.E.M. Anscombe, Dana Ballard, Daniel Dennett, Fred Dretske, Jerry Fodor, H.P. Grice, David Marr, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Zenon Pylyshyn, Paul Snowdon, and P.F. Strawson.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Sources
  3. 1. Introduction

    Alva Noe and Evan Thompson

  4. 2. Selections from Phenomenology of Perception

    Maurice Merleau-Ponty

  5. 3. Some Remarks about the Senses

    H.P. Grice

  6. 4. The Intentionality of Sensation: A Grammatical Feature

    G. E. M. Anscombe

  7. 5. A Theory of Direct Visual Perception

    James J. Gibson

  8. 6. Perception and Its Objects

    P.F. Strawson

  9. 7. Perceptions as Hypotheses

    Richard L. Gregory

  10. 8. Verdical Hallucination and Prosthetic Vision

    David Lewis

  11. 9. Perception, Vision and Causation

    Paul Snowdon

  12. 10. How Direct is Visual Perception?: Some Reflections on Gibson's "Ecological Approach"

    Jerry A. Fodor and Zenon W. Phylshyn

  13. 11. Selections from Vision

    David Marr

  14. 12. Sensation and the Content of Experience: A Distinction

    Christopher Peacocke

  15. 13. Linking Propositions

    Davida Y. Teller

  16. 14. Moyneaux's Question

    Gareth Evans

  17. 15. Ways of Coloring: Comparative Color Vision as a Case Study for Cognitive Science

    Evan Thompson, Adrian Palacios, and Francisco J. Varela

  18. 16. Conscious Experience

    Fred Dreske

  19. 17. The Content of Perceptual Experience

    John McDowell

  20. 18. On the Function of Visual Representation

    Dana H. Ballard

  21. 19. Seeing is Believing -- Or Is It?

    Daniel C. Dennett

  22. 20. Sensory Substitution and Qualia

    Paul Bach-y-Rita

  23. 21. The Visual Brain in Action

    A. David Milner and Melvyn A. Goodale

  24. 22. What Is a Neural Correlate of Consciousness

    David J. Chalmers

  25. 23. On the Brain-Basis of Visual Consciousness: A Sensiromotor Account

    Alva Noe and J. Kevin O'Regan

  26. Index