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Matthen, Mohan. How Things Look (and What Things Look That Way)
2010, In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Will Hornett
Abstract: What colour does a white wall look in the pinkish light of the late afternoon? What shape does a circular table look when you are standing next to it? These questions seem simple enough, but philosophers disagree sharply about them. In this paper, I attempt to provide a new approach to these questions, based on the idea that perception modifies our epistemic dispositions regarding specific environmental objects. I shall argue that by determining which object is involved in this way, we can determine the subject of visual predication. This enables us to parcel out visual features to different visual objects in a way that enables us to reconcile conflicting philosophical intuitions.

Comment: Matthen's discussion of perceptual constancy is very clear and is centered on a philosophical analysis of the perceptual psychology. For this reason, it serves as a useful empirically informed companion to other philosophical discussions of perceptual constancy which are less empirically informed. It would be great in a third year or postgraduate course in Philosophy of Perception.

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