Naïve Realism and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception

Cavedon-Taylor, Dan (2018). Naïve Realism and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception. Analytic Philosophy, 59(3) pp. 391–412.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/phib.12131

Abstract

Perceptual experience has representational content. My argument for this claim is an inference to the best explanation. The explanandum is cognitive penetration. In cognitive penetration, perceptual experiences are either causally influenced, or else are partially constituted, by mental states that are representational, including: mental imagery, beliefs, concepts and memories. If perceptual experiences have representational content, then there is a background condition for cognitive penetration that renders the phenomenon prima facie intelligible. Naïve realist or purely relational accounts of perception leave cognitive penetration less well-explained, even when formulated with so-called 'standpoints' or 'third relata.'

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