The Dennes Room

Philosophy 290-6

Spring 2009

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-6 Graduate Seminar: Perceptual Knowledge Stroud Tu 4-6 234 Moses Hall

An investigation not of perception or of knowledge in general but of the nature and “proper objects” of perception understood as a source of knowledge. The main idea to be explored is that our knowing things about the world around us by perception can be satisfactorily explained only if we can be understood to sometimes perceive that such-and-such is so, where what we perceive to be so is the very state of the world that we thereby know to be so. Central to the possibility of perceptual knowledge understood in this way is the distinction between perceiving an object x and perceiving that p. The goal of the seminar is a better understanding of the conditions of this ‘propositional’ perception and its implications for a satisfactory explanation of perceptual knowledge of the world.

Readings will be drawn from recent works of Brewer, Burge, Campbell, Cassam, Dretske, McDowell, and others. I do not now have a fixed syllabus in mind. I envisage broad-ranging, open-ended discussions of these issues and of whatever related lines of thought are of most interest to the participants. Those in attendance will be expected to participate. If you have in mind specific readings you would like the seminar to discuss, or if you would like to present something of your own within this range of questions, please let me know.