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Perception, Thought, and Knowledge

Applicant Rödl Sebastian
Number 116266
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Philosophisches Seminar Künste, Medien, Philosophie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.09.2007 - 31.10.2009
Approved amount 379'805.00
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Keywords (10)

perception; epistemology; intentionality; thought; philosophy of mind; knowledge; skepticism; Descartes; Hume; Kant

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
How does perception make thought and knowledge about the world possible? In answering this question, philosophers of perception look to cognitive science, epistemologists develop theories of justification based on confirmation theory, and historians of philosophy draw on intellectual history. In its attempt to reach beyond the boundaries of the discipline, contemporary theoretical philosophy has become fragmented. Especially the current philosophical work on perception, one of this decade’s liveliest fields of research, risks losing focus of its central philosophical import precisely because it is constituting itself as a discipline of its own, alongside epistemology and philosophy of mind.

Instead of further contributing to the fragmentation, we conceive of perception as a lens through which efforts in a fragmented field of philosophical research may be integrated. Our project traces the systematic interconnections between these areas of theoretical philosophy, interconnections that in fact are mediated by conceptions of sense perception. Although many contemporary researchers are quick to agree that early modern philosophers such as Descartes and Hume share a mistaken conception of perception and its relation to thought and knowledge, there is little effort to comprehend how the groundbreaking ideas expounded and developed in this period actually shape the presuppositions of contemporary projects. Our effort to synthesize the perspectives of epistemology and the philosophy of perception, we therefore believe, has a chance to succeed only because we, at the same time, attempt to regain and re-evaluate the perspectives of early modern philosophy, and of Kant’s critical philosophy in particular, as well, perspectives which, despite of their differences, share what they hope to gain from a theory of perception: an account that will explain both the possibility of thought and of knowledge.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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