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Title: Common sense and metaphysics in the philosophy of perception
Author: Wilkie, S.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1991
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The fundamental and unargued assumption of the philosophy of perception is that there is such a thing as perception: where it appears explicitly, it is in the guise of common sense. Thus, it appears to corroborate the even more fundamental assumption that philosophy is an inquiry into ordinary questions, and, therefore, begins with concepts or ways of thinking which are non-philosophical. This thesis contrasts that theory with the arguments practised by philosophers of perception. Arguments which move from what you do believe to what you should believe are most effectively undermined by denying their premisses: the most pressing reasons for unmasking the technical language of philosophy is the need to ascertain whether you really do believe the things that philosophers say you do. I deal with those ideas, such as 'the senses' and 'seeing', which are used to slip to both 'perception' and the pretence that this is an ordinary idea. These belong to a tradition of thinking which makes the assumptions familiar, often even outwith philosophy. It is therefore imperative to distinguish the ordinary use to which such expressions are put from the ways in which philosophers employ them. The same applies to the very particular examples chosen to persuade us that, in some cases at least, we already carefully distinguish 'perception' from 'judgement'. The modern causal theory of perception is challenged because there is no ordinary notion of perception for it to elaborate. I argue that there is no real difference between the ideas of 'visual experience' and 'sense-data', and show that the distinction between 'objects' and 'experience' is not practical but theoretical, resting upon philosophical assumptions. Finally, I examine the imaginary examples of hallucination used to introduce the causal theory: were they real examples, there would still be no compulsion to understand them in the way these philosophers do.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available