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Perceiving Multiplicity

Jacob, Anjana (2012) Perceiving Multiplicity. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Experience presents us with multiple entities and with connections and differences between them. This multiplicity in experience is the basis of the justification experience is supposed to provide for belief. I argue that neither the newly resurgent Relational approach to perception nor the predominant Representational approach can account for this core feature. The former views experience in terms of a primitive experiential relation between the subject and the world, and the latter in terms of a subject’s relation to representational contents.

My arguments emphasize that experience which justifies a complex proposition, such as that something has multiple properties, must also justify the propositions entailed, such as that something has each of those individual properties. This requires the experience to have multiple “objects” (ranging over ordinary objects, properties or states). When these are treated as terms of a relation, there is no room to explain the presentation of connections between them as required for the justification of the complex proposition. This difficulty assails the Representational view as well for it appeals to multiple contents treated as multiple terms of a representational relation. I argue that no explanation of the justificatory unity of the terms is forthcoming.

This failure stems from inadequately distinguishing empirical justification from rational justification. The difference must lie in empirical justification being sensitive to the object of perception in a way that rational justification is not. I argue that for this to be so, experience must be understood as necessarily partial and the only way to adequately account for this is to regard the subject as the unity of the experience. The common failure of Relational and Representational views then traces to their adopting a framework that wrongly reifies the subject.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jacob, Anjana
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGupta, Anilagupta@pitt.eduAGUPTA
Committee MemberMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.eduJMCDOWEL
Committee MemberMachery, Edouardmachery@pitt.eduMACHERY
Committee MemberEngstrom, Stephenengstrom@pitt.eduENGSTROM
Date: 27 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 July 2012
Approval Date: 27 September 2012
Submission Date: 14 August 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 151
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: perceptual multiplicity, acquaintance, relationalism, representationalism,frege puzzle, disjunctivism, campbell, martin, peacocke, mcdowell, perceptual justification, empirical justificaiton, intentionalism, conscious attention, modes of presentation, perceptual subject, individuation of experience, scenario content, protopropositional content, hallucination, binding parameter, propositional justification, partiality of experience, receptivity, perceptual demonstratives, naive realism, introspective indiscriminability, self-consciousness
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 21:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:02


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