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AcquaintanceNew Essays$
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Jonathan Knowles and Thomas Raleigh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803461

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803461.001.0001

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Acquaintance, Conceptual Capacities, and Attention

Acquaintance, Conceptual Capacities, and Attention

(p.191) 8 Acquaintance, Conceptual Capacities, and Attention

Anders Nes

Oxford University Press

I distinguish two reactions to Russell’s theory of acquaintance, specifically to its claim that perceptual awareness is simpler than and independent of conceptual thought and yet a source of propositional knowledge. The conceptualist response, championed inter alia by John McDowell, argues perception can be a source of knowledge only if conceptual capacities are in play in perception. The relationist response, championed inter alia by John Campbell, endorses Russell’s view that perceptual awareness is non-propositional and even non-representational, yet holds it is a relation to physical objects not sense-data. I here point up an underappreciated convergence between McDowell’s recast, non-propositionalist conceptualism and Campbell’s attention-centric relationism; I show how the former can be defended drawing inter alia on some central claims in the latter.

Keywords:   attention and consciousness, conceptual and non-conceptual content, the contents of perception, the perceptual relation, perceptual justification

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