Event Detail

Thu Dec 15, 2022
Howison Library
4–6 PM
Graduate Research Colloquium
Michael Arsenault
Aristotle on Misperception

Suppose Socrates is looking at a bright red apple in good viewing conditions, so that it looks to him the colour it is. Schematically, Aristotle’s explanation of this ‘Good Case’ is that the apple looks bright red to Socrates because he has ‘taken on the perceptual form of bright red’. Now suppose instead that Socrates misperceives the apple and it looks purple. How are we to apply Aristotle’s schematic account to this ‘Bad Case’? Does Socrates take on the perceptual form of red? Of purple? Neither? In answering this puzzle, I show that Aristotle recognizes different ways of being in perceptual contact with a colour, depending on how that perceptual contact is mediated by our sense organs and physical environment. The result is a simple and intuitive account of perception that can take cases of misperception and illusion in stride.