Perception and its objects

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Early modern empiricists thought that the nature of perceptual experience is given by citing the object presented to the mind in that experience. Hallucination and illusion suggest that this requires untenable mind-dependent objects. Current orthodoxy replaces the appeal to direct objects with the claim that perceptual experience is characterized instead by its representational content. This paper argues that the move to content is problematic, and reclaims the early modern empiricist insight as perfectly consistent, even in cases of illusion, with the realist contention that these direct objects of perception are the persisting mind-independent physical objects we all know and love.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


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