Philosophy 290-2

Spring 2013

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-2 Graduate Seminar: Perceptual Attention, Perceptual Disorders and the First Person Campbell Th 2-4 234 Moses Hall

We will be looking at recent work on perception, from both philosophy and psychology. In particular, we’ll be looking at work on visual attention, and trying to gauge what impact this work should have on what we say about visual experience. This has implications for a number of philosophical problems. Conscious attention seems to be demanded by the role of vision in providing grasp of concepts of the objects and properties around us, and in generating propositional knowledge of our surroundings. Conscious attention also seems to be required for intentional action on our surroundings. If there’s time, we’ll also look at recent philosophical and empirical work on Molyneux’s Question.

We’ll go on to look at some perceptual disorders, in particular, perceptual disorders in schizophrenia. We’ll review the phenomenon of intentional binding (a certain compression in your experience of time between your action and its outcome), and how this seems to be different in schizophrenic patients. We’ll also look at some of the perceptual hallucinations and delusions characteristic of schizophrenia.

Finally, we’ll consider the role of perception in an understanding of the first person: an understanding of how to use ‘I’ and related terms. Classically, Descartes held that your understanding of ‘I’ does not at all depend on your ability to perceive your surroundings. We’ll discuss whether the Cogito does establish this, and at different pictures of the role perception might play in establishing one’s own existence.