Philosophy of Perception
In this course we will consider a variety of philosophical issues concerning perception, focusing especially on visual perception. How do we construct, from the data received by our senses, a three-dimensional world of objects rich in color, shape, sound, and meaning? Does perception acquaint us directly with the world itself, or only with our own mental representations? Is the visual world, as some have argued, merely a “grand illusion”? We will consider the implications of optical illusions and other perceptual phenomena, as well as the nature of aesthetic perception. Readings will include selections from classic theories of perception (Russell, Koffka, Gibson), as well as contemporary articles. Students will also engage in hands-on demonstrations and activities concerning perception.