9th December 2014
Prof. Paul Snowdon (UC London)
The purpose of the workshop “Perception, Representation, and the World” is to shed light on the interrelations among the concepts of perception and representation, and the consequences that different notions of representation have for an account of perception and its relation to the external world. On the one hand, it seems to be part of commonsense that perception is a representation of the world that surrounds us. Moreover, the idea of a representation of the world around us prima facie seems to entail that perception is a kind of relation to what it is a representation of. On the other hand, predominant philosophical and scientific theories of perception explain perception as a kind of neural representation of an abstract computational kind governed by algorithms that are partly innate and partly the result of learning. Consequently, the concept of representation appealed to in order to define perception is construed in a way that seems to undermine an idea that perception is a relation. But is a relational conception of perception really incompatible with a representationalist construal as proposed by orthodox philosophical and scientific theories of perception, or can they supplement each other? Moreover, what are the epistemological consequences of the predominant accounts of perception?
We intend to address the following questions:
1. Can a relational conception of perception be reconciled with a representationalist account of perception as it is understood in the predominant philosophical and scientific theories of it?
2. How is perception to be understood in order to support knowledge of the external world?
3. What is the relation between philosophical and scientific theories of perception?
Mindaugas Gilaitis, Stefan Riegelnik