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In the Light of ExperienceNew Essays on Perception and Reasons$
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Johan Gersel, Rasmus Thybo Jensen, Morten S. Thaning, and Søren Overgaard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809630

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809630.001.0001

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Perception and the Vagaries of Experience

Perception and the Vagaries of Experience

(p.189) 7 Perception and the Vagaries of Experience
In the Light of Experience

Alan Millar

Oxford University Press

An adequate theory of perception would be Direct Realist in that it represents our perception of things in our surroundings to be routinely direct. This paper considers what Direct Realism is and how it constrains a theory of sensory experience. Some Direct Realists—relationalists—hold additionally that, for instance, the visual experiences implicated in visual perceptions of our surroundings are essentially relational in that they are episodes of awareness of mind-independent objects. There are Direct Realists who are not relationalists. This discussion explores what is at issue between these different camps. Relationalists think that non-relationalists cannot make sense of the connection between perception and demonstrative thought. It is argued that the reasons commonly given for pessimism on this score are not good. A constructive proposal on behalf of non-relationalists is sketched. The discussion concludes by briefly considering whether the non-relationalist conception of experience enables us to make sense of empiricism.

Keywords:   demonstrative thought, direct realism, empiricism, experience, perception, relationalism

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