Fuzziness in the mind: can perception be unconscious?

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Recently, a new movement has arisen in the philosophy of perception: one that views perception as a natural kind. Strangely, this movement has neglected the extensive work in philosophy of science on natural kinds. The present paper remedies this. I start by isolating a widespread and influential assumption, which is that we can give necessary and sufficient conditions for perception. I show that this assumption is radically at odds with current philosophy of science work on natural kinds. I then develop an alternative, new view of perception. This new view takes as its starting point the dominant position on kinds in the life sciences: the homeostatic property cluster account. I show that, if you accept this view, then all of the putative cases of unconscious perception are more plausibly seen as cases where it is indeterminate whether the mental episode in question is an instance of perception.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Early online date24 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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