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Department of Philosophy
"Did Kant Anticipate Wittgenstein's Private Language Argument." Kant-Studien (Fall 1991), 82(3):270-284.
"Wittgenstein, Phenomenology and What It Makes Sense to Say." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (March 1994), 54(1):1-42.
"Experience and the Mind: An Essay on the Metaphysics of
Perception." Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 1995.
Advisor: Hilary Putnam.
Abstract in Disseration Abstracts International (January 1996), 56(7A):2719-A.
The aim of this dissertation is to defend the view that vision is a noninferential way of acquiring knowledge about what takes place in one's immediate vicinity. This direct approach to vision (sometimes called 'direct realism') is opposed to the widely-held Cartesian idea that in perception items of consciousness function as epistemic intermediaries.
In Chapter One I argue that the content of experience (how experience represents things as being) is the same as the content of the judgments we would make on the basis of experience, were we to take experience at face value. The representational content of experience, like that of judgment, is fully conceptual. In Chapter Two I examine and criticize the view that experience has, in addition to representational content, irreducibly subjective, nonconceptual, phenomenal content.
The upshot of these discussions is that experience is an epistemic notion. To have an experience is not just passively to have sensations; it requires the exercise of understanding. The relation between experience and reality is not causal, but normative: to have an experience is to take things to be some way or other, and how things are gives us reasons for taking them to be that way. In Chapter Three I argue that the Causal Theory of Perception misdescribes the place of causation in an account of perception and that it relies on an unsatisfactory conception of experience. In this connection I evaluate the so-called Argument from Illusion.
In the remainder of the dissertation I take up a different set of issues. First, I defend the reality of appearances by arguing that how something looks--in particular, what color it is--is a fully mind-independent, higher-order property of the thing. Second, I consider the view that contemporary cognitive theories of vision, which explain vision in terms of inference, computation and construction, pose a threat to direct realism. Against this I argue that computational theories provide abstract characterizations of subpersonal processes which causally enable vision. In particular, they describe these blind causal processes as if they involved inference and construction. But the subpersonal processes subserving vision, while causally important, are themselves epistemically irrelevant.
"Mind and Vision." November 13, 1997.
the Presentations Unit of Media Services, the University
Library, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1998.
Professor Alva Noë of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Philosophy Department discusses the effect of vision, or lack thereof, on the human mind, and on human perception.
VHS, 1 videocassette (1 hr., 12 min., 17 sec.) : sd., col.;
1997-98 UCSC Humanities Lecture Series.
University of California, Santa Cruz. Humanities Division.
Public lecture. "UCSC Humanities Division and the Museum of Art and History present the 1997-98 humanities lecture series"--Opening frames.
Date on label on top of container, and on container case: 11/13/98 [i.e. 11/13/97.]
Performers: Jorge Hankamer, David Chalmers, presenters.
"Perception and Content." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (March 1997), 20(1):154-155.
Review of Robert A. Wilson's Cartesian Psychology and Physical Minds: Individualism and the Sciences of the Mind. Philosophical Review (July 1997), 106(3):434-436.
(with Luiz Pessoa and Evan Thompson.) "Filling-in is for Finding
out." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (December 1998),
Response to 37 articles by Irene Appelbaum, et al. in this issue on their paper on "Finding out about Filling-in: A Guide to Perceptual Completion for Visual Science and the Philosophy of Perception"(1998).
(with Luiz Pessoa and Evan Thompson.) "Finding out about Filling-in: A Guide to Perceptual Completion for Visual Science and the Philosophy of Perception." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (December 1998), 21(6):723-748, 796-802.
(with Evan Thompson and Luiz Pessoa.) "Perceptual Completion: A Case Study in Phenomenology and Cognitive Science." In Jean Petitot, et al., eds., Naturalizing Phenomenology, pp. 161-195. Writing Science. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Review of Jonathan Cole's About Face. Journal of Consciousness Studies (1999), 6:86-87.
(with Evan Thompson.) "Seeing Beyond the Modules toward the Subject
of Perception." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (June 1999),
Response to article by Zenon Pylyshyn in this issue, p. 341.
"Thought and Experience." American Philosophical Quarterly (July 1999), 36(3):257-265.
(with Luiz Pessoa and Evan Thompson.) "Beyond the Grand Illusion: What Change Blindness Really Teaches Us About Vision." Visual Cognition (January-March 2000), 7(1-3):93-106.
"Experience and Experiment in Art." Journal of Consciousness Studies (August-September 2000), 7(8-9):123-136.
(with J. Kevin O'Regan.) "Experience is Not Something We Feel but Something We Do: A Principled Way of Explaining Sensory Phenomenology with Change Blindness and Other Empirical Consequences." Consciousness and Cognition (June 2000), 9(2)Supplement:S45.
"Perception, Action, and Nonconceptual Content." In Marco Nani and Massimo Marraffa, eds., A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind (2000). Book Symposium on Susan Hurley's Consciousness in Action.
(with J. Kevin O'Regan.) "Perception, Attention and the Grand Illusion." Psyche (2000), 6(15).
"Action in Perception." Canadian Journal of Philosophy (2001). Supplementary Volume.
"Direct Perception." In The Macmillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science.
"Experience and the Active Mind." Synthese
(with Luiz Pessoa and Evan Thompson.) "Filling-in: One or Many? Authors' Response to van Lier." Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
(with J. Kevin O'Regan.) "On the Brain-basis of Visual Consciousness." In Alva Noë and Evan Thompson, eds., Vision and Mind: Selected Readings in the Philosophy of Perception. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
"On What We See." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
(with J. Kevin O'Regan.) "A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness." Behavioral and Brain Sciences (October 2001), 24(5).
(with J. Kevin O'Regan.) "What it is Like to See: A Sensorimotor Theory of Perceptual Experience." Synthese.
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