Philosophy of Perception

Academic Year: 
Course Description: 

The course addresses three groups of issues. First, the general nature of perception, and the main philosophical and cognitive approaches to it, the sense-datum, the intentionalist and the disjunctivist ones. Second, it focuses upon one particular domain, color perception (and perception of secondary qualities in general), which has been central for theoretical philosophy, since it brings together the issue of the nature of color perception and the ontological issues of what color is. The two opposite answers are contrasted, the firm realist one and the eliminativist one, and then a position in between the two, the response-dependentist answer is introduced. Thirdly, it widens the domain, and introduces a topic widely discussed in recent publications, namely perception of values; is it sufficiently similar to perception, in particular the perception of secondary qualities like color, or is the talk of perceiving values here merely metaphorical

Learning Outcomes: 

The student will get information about the state of art discussions in theory of perception, as it is being developed within philosophy of mind and metaphysics. She will also learn about secondary qualities. Further, she will learn about value perception, a topic closely related to moral philosophy. We shall discuss the idea that response-dependence explains secondry qualities, like color, moral and aesthetic qualities, and qualities like meaningfulness as opposed to absurd. The discussion of the general features of such human-centered properties from various areas might help the student to unify her final view of philosophy.



There will be assessment of the work in seminar, of the written materials, and the final exam. Good presentations and/or written papers can be developed into publishable material (we did this in previous years, and it worked very well).


work in seminar, including presentation 25 %

written paper 25 %

final exam 50 %