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Action_in_Perception-PPR

Course Number: PHIL 133, Fall 2009

College/University: Berkeley

Word Count: 3506

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1 SENSORIMOTOR KNOWLEDGE AND NAVE REALISM BY JOHN CAMPBELL It is a pleasure to be commenting on Alva Nos Action in Perception. The book is easy to read, stylish, and sweeps through a fresh set of ideas on a fundamental topic. It seems to me that the emphasis on the sensorimotor and the embeddness of perception are entirely correct, and that they find their natural home in a broadly nave realist view of...

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SENSORIMOTOR 1 KNOWLEDGE AND NAVE REALISM BY JOHN CAMPBELL It is a pleasure to be commenting on Alva Nos Action in Perception. The book is easy to read, stylish, and sweeps through a fresh set of ideas on a fundamental topic. It seems to me that the emphasis on the sensorimotor and the embeddness of perception are entirely correct, and that they find their natural home in a broadly nave realist view of perception. I shall focus, though, on my reservations, which have to do with a reductionist thread running through Nos discussion. 1. Sensorimotor Knowledge Suppose we begin with an old friend, the circular coin that looks elliptical when viewed from an angle. There is, of course, a sense in which the penny looks circular, even when viewed from an angle: the perceiver has no tendency whatever to judge that its anything other than circular, when reaching for it she will prehend her hand appropriately for a circular object, and so on. Its in this sense that there is experience of shape. But there is also the experience of aspects: the sense in which the coin is experienced as elliptical. Indeed, the elliptical appearance of the coin varies systematically when its viewed from different positions. 2 What is it to experience shape to experience the penny as circular? According to No, it is having a grasp of the way in which the appearance of the penny as elliptical in one way or another - will shift systematically as the perceiver moves around it, or as the penny itself moves. On his approach, we have to take perception of an aspect of the object such as the elliptical aspect of the penny - as the primitive notion, and we explain perception of the constant, objective property such as circularity - whether its shape or color or any other perceptible property, in terms of the perceivers grasp of the way the aspect presented will vary with shifts in the perceivers position, in the conditions of perception, or in the position of the object. Thus he writes: The experience of shape depends ...
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