Two talks on Perception - A mini-workshop

Center for Subjectivity Research
University of Copenhagen
27th of September 2012
Lecture room 25-5-11
Organizer: Rasmus Thybo Jensen (

Prior registration is not required.
The conference is free and open to all, including students. 


Thursday 27th of September

10.15-11.15: Frode Kjosavik (Norwegian University of Life Sciences): From immediacy to intimacy? Relational vs. non-relational accounts of perception

Both John McDowell and Tyler Burge subscribe to a Content View of perception, and both claim to have broadly Kantian views. Still, they present sharply contrasting accounts of perceptual experiences, including genuine perceptions and perceptual referential illusions, as well as of duplicate substitutions in perception. In my talk, I shall briefly suggest various ways in which epistemological and phenomenological considerations might lead one to take a firm stand on these issues. I shall then discuss and assess both relational and non-relational construals of the immediacy of perceptual acquaintance.

11.15-11.30: Coffee Break                                         

11.30-12.30: Jan Almäng (University of Gothenberg): An Argument Against Disjunctivism

Disjunctivist accounts of perceptual experiences are often criticized for failing to adequately explain hallucinations, but their ability to explain veridical experiences are rarely criticized. In this talk it is argued that disjunctivism cannot explain veridical perceptual experiences either. A central claim in disjunctivism is that in veridical experiences the perceived object is a part of the experience. Disjunctivists must consequently claim that a perceptual experience is a complex consisting of at least two relata and a relation connecting them. One of these relata is the perceived object. Little is however said about the second relatum and the relation connecting the two relata in disjunctivists’ account of perceptual experiences.

The problem for the disjunctivist is that intentionalists can make the same claim with respect to veridical experiences. An intentionalist can easily claim that veridical experiences differ from hallucinations in that the former but not the latter are characterized by a complex containing the object perceived. In this case the claim would be that there is an intentional state which bears an intentional relation to the perceived object whereas there is only an intentional state in hallucinations. So the complex would on such an account consist of the intentional state and the object perceived, with an intentional relation connecting the two constituents of the complex. Such an account is however obviously not a disjunctivist account, since hallucinations and veridical perceptions have a common factor, viz. the intentional state.

In order to be a tenable alternative to intentionalism, disjunctivism must provide us with an account of the second relatum and the relation connecting the two relata in veridical experiences. In this talk the various options available for a disjunctivist are analyzed. It is argued that these options are all metaphysically implausible.

Acknowledgments: The organizer thanks The Danish Council for Independent Research for supporting this workshop.