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Authors: Alsmith, Adrian J. T.
Title: The structuring body : a critical study in the description & explanation of perceptual experience
Online publication date: 9-Jul-2012
Language: english
Abstract: The aims of the dissertation are to find the right description of the structure of perceptual experience and to explore the ways in which the structure of the body might serve to explain it. In the first two parts, I articulate and defend the claim that perceptual experience seems direct and the claim that its objects seem real. I defend these claims as integral parts of a coherent metaphysically neutral conception of perceptual experience. Sense-datum theorists, certain influential perceptual psychologists, and early modern philosophers (most notably Berkeley) all disputed the claim that perceptual experience seems direct. In Part I, I argue that the grounds on which they did so were poor. The aim is then, in Part II, to give a proper appreciation of the distinctive intentionality of perceptual experience whilst remaining metaphysically neutral. I do so by drawing on the early work of Edmund Husserl, providing a characterisation of the perceptual experience of objects as real, qua mind-independent particulars. In Part III, I explore two possible explanations of the structure characterising the intentionality of perceptual experience, both of which accord a distinctive explanatory role to the body. On one account, perceptual experience is structured by an implicit pre-reflective consciousness of oneself as a body engaged in perceptual activity. An alternative account makes no appeal to the metaphysically laden concept of a bodily self. It seeks to explain the structure of perceptual experience by appeal to anticipation of the structural constraints of the body. I develop this alternative by highlighting the conceptual and empirical basis for the idea that a first-order structural affordance relation holds between a bodily agent and certain properties of its body. I then close with a discussion of the shared background assumptions that ought to inform disputes over whether the body itself (in addition to its representation) ought to serve as an explanans in such an account.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-31464
Version: Original work
Publication type: Dissertation
License: in Copyright
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Extent: 354 S.
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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