Project

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Knowledge and Perception: Phenomenological Solutions

English title Knowledge and Perception: Phenomenological Solutions
Applicant Soldati Gianfranco
Number 129598
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Philosophie Faculté des Lettres Université de Fribourg
Institution of higher education University of Fribourg - FR
Main discipline Philosophy
Start/End 01.09.2010 - 30.09.2013
Approved amount 151'960.00
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Keywords (6)

perception; knowledge; phenomenologgy; phenomenology; justification; categorial intuition

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The aim of this project is to deal with the question of how perception contributes to knowledge. In doing this, we shall consider both the contemporary debate about knowledge, perception and concepts, and the phenomenological (Husserlian) account of these very same questions. The basic idea is that a certain influential attempt to account for perceptual justification, one which is proposed for example by McDowell (1994) and Brewer (1999), is in stalemate because of an inadequate conception of perceptual experiences, substantially influenced by the Kantian tradition. In trying to criticize that kind of account, we will make at least two claims: first, that some Husserlian insights about the nature of perceptual experience and receptivity might provide us with a suitable framework to make progress in this field; secondly, that even if perceptual content were to be classified as "nonconceptual", it could still play a justificatory role. More precisely, it seems that some phenomenological notions could turn out to be particularly useful for us: the notion of "fulfilment", which is (more or less) the phenomenological counterpart of the traditional notion of justification, and the idea of "categorial intuition", which concerns the possibility of being acquainted with states of affairs (not just objects) in perception. In what follows we will first present the traditional conception of knowledge as true and justified belief, along with the supposed role of perception in this account. Secondly, we will discuss the idea, paradigmatically presented in McDowell (1994), that perception can play a role in our knowledge only as long as it involves conceptual content, and we will show why this is highly problematic. Therefore, we will not just survey the current state of the research, but we will also take a position on which is the best way to approach the problems we want to deal with. Finally, we will try to incorporate in the debate the Husserlian conception of perception, and we will claim that an accurate phenomenological description of experience suggests a framework within which perception can be a source of knowledge.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Meeting of the European Society of Psychology and Philosophy Talk given at a conference Perception, Phenomenal Character and Particularity 09.07.2013 University of Granada, Spain Giananti Andrea;
Monday Seminar Talk given at a conference Perception, Phenomenal character and Particularity 13.05.2013 Fribourg, Switzerland Giananti Andrea;
Session of the "Sinergia" Project Talk given at a conference The Way Things Look: a Defence of Representationalism. 01.10.2012 Fribourg, Switzerland Giananti Andrea;
THE ANSWERS OF PHILOSOPHY: SIFA 20th ANNIVERSARY CONFERENCE Talk given at a conference Perception and Representation: a Response to Travis. 12.09.2012 Alghero, Italy Giananti Andrea;
PERCEPTION AND METHOD Talk given at a conference Perception, representation, Constancy 26.06.2012 University of Zurich, Switzerland Giananti Andrea;
Current Issues in Philosophy Talk given at a conference Psychologism 03.04.2012 University of Fribourg, Switzerland Giananti Andrea;
Taller d' Investigació en Filosofia' Talk given at a conference Perception, Representation, Constancy 12.01.2012 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain Giananti Andrea;
The Significance of Phenomenological Research in Philosophical Theorizing Talk given at a conference Perceptual Phenomenology 11.11.2011 University of Fribourg, Switzerland Soldati Gianfranco; Giananti Andrea;
ECAP (European Conference of Analytic Philosophy) Talk given at a conference Perception and Content: a Problem for Travis 01.09.2011 University of Milan, Italy Giananti Andrea;
Second Joint Conference of the SPP and the ESPP Talk given at a conference Representations and Relations: Two Views on Perception 06.07.2011 University of Montreal, Canada Giananti Andrea;
European Epistemology Network Conference Talk given at a conference Epistemological Disjunctivism and Perceptual Discrimination: a Puzzle for McDowell 17.03.2011 University of Lund, Sweden Giananti Andrea;
Friday Seminar Talk given at a conference Relevant Alternatives, Perceptual Knowledge and Discrimination 11.03.2011 Fribourg, Switzerland Giananti Andrea; Soldati Gianfranco;
Monday Seminar Talk given at a conference Perception and Content: Object View vs. Content View 11.10.2010 Fribourg, Switzerland Giananti Andrea; Soldati Gianfranco;
Friday Seminar Talk given at a conference Perception and Content 08.10.2010 Fribourg, Switzerland Soldati Gianfranco; Giananti Andrea;


Abstract

Summary of the Research PlanThe aim of this Ph.D project is to deal with the question of how perception contributes to our knowledge. In doing this, we shall consider both the contemporary debate about knowledge, perception and concepts, and the phenomenological (Husserlian) account of these very same questions. The basic idea is that a certain influential attempt to account for perceptual justification, one which is proposed for example by McDowell (1994) and Brewer (1999), is in stalemate because of an inadequate conception of perceptual experiences, substantially influenced by the Kantian tradition. In trying to criticize that kind of account, we will make at least two claims: first, that some Husserlian insights about the nature of perceptual experience and receptivity might provide us with a suitable framework to make progress in this field; secondly, that even if perceptual content were to be classified as “nonconceptual”, it could still play a justificatory role. More precisely, it seems that some phenomenological notions could turn out to be particularly useful for us: the notion of “fulfilment”, which is (more or less) the phenomenological counterpart of the traditional notion of justification, and the idea of “categorial intuition”, which concerns the possibility of being acquainted with states of affairs (not just objects) in perception.In what follows we will first present the traditional conception of knowledge as true and justified belief, along with the supposed role of perception in this account. Secondly, we will discuss the idea, paradigmatically presented in McDowell (1994), that perception can play a role in our knowledge only as long as it involves conceptual content, and we will show why this is highly problematic. Therefore, we will not just survey the current state of the research, but we will also take a position on which is the best way to approach the problems we want to deal with. Finally, we will try to incorporate in the debate the Husserlian conception of perception, and we will claim that an accurate phenomenological description of experience suggests a framework within which perception can be a source of knowledge.
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