photo of Umrao Sethi

(B.A., summa cum laude, Psychology, Philosophy, Columbia University, 2006). Umrao’s main interests lie in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. In particular, she is interested in the metaphysical structure of perceptual experience and the nature of sensible appearances.

Umrao believes that we can make significant progress in our understanding of sense-perception through careful investigation of the metaphysics of sensible qualities. In her dissertation, titled “Perception and the Dual Nature of Appearances,” she argues that the mind and the material world secure the instantiation of sensible qualities in distinct ways—sensible qualities inhere in material bodies, but they are the objects of a perceiver’s awareness. The non-exclusive nature of these two types of instantiation opens up the possibility of sensible over-determination: an over-determined sensible instance is fully determined, both by the material body in which it inheres, and by the mind that perceives it. Treating the ordinary items of perceptual awareness as over-determined dissolves the central problem in the philosophy of perception—namely, how veridical perception can make us aware of the mind-independent world, if phenomenologically identical delusive experiences are possible.