Kind Properties and the Metaphysics of Perception: Towards Impure Relationalism

Cavedon-Taylor, Dan (2015). Kind Properties and the Metaphysics of Perception: Towards Impure Relationalism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 96(4) pp. 487–509.



A central debate in contemporary philosophy of perception is between those who hold that perception is a detection relation of sensory awareness (naïve realists) and those who hold that it is representational state akin to belief (representationalists). Another key debate is between those who claim that we can perceive natural or artifactual kind properties, e.g. ‘being a tomato’, ‘being a doorknob’, etc. and those who hold we cannot. The current consensus is that these debates are entirely unrelated. I argue that this consensus is wrong: the perception of natural or artifactal kinds favours representationalism. Naïve realists who wish to accommodate such perception should embrace a disunified metaphysics of perception, one that combines relational and representational events; call such a view ‘impure relationalism.’

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