The ‘Perceptual Given’ and ‘Perceptual Mediators’ Or The Formation of the Visual Experience

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI:
The ‘Perceptual Given’ and ‘Perceptual Mediators’ Or The Formation of the Visual Experience

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When outer objects are seen, it is through mediation by the epistemologically more immediate items, ‘the visual given’ and ‘the visual mediators’. There is reason for thinking that seeing is the result of a two‐stage causal transaction, the first is the psycho‐physical causation of a sensuous array in body‐relative physical space, the second the psycho‐psycho causing by the latter of a mental process that subjects that array to organizing/interpreting in the forming of the visual experience. ‘The given’ names the psychological product of the first transaction: it is the hypothesized middle term in a hypothesized causal triple. Then since the order/meaning in the content of visual experience is wholly determined by the susceptibility of the perceiving mind, ‘The given’ must single out the sensuous array under its minimum (‘pointillist’) description. Meanwhile ‘the visual mediators’ names a set of perceptual go‐betweens, which are proxy for the object, such as light/surface/colour. Their perception is at once that through which object‐perception occurs, and the form taken by it. Finally, it is proposed that the formation of the internal object of the visual experience takes the following form: the mind constitutes out of the ‘given’ a two‐dimensionally ordered internal object, which in turn explanatorily precedes and causes the acquisition of the more ambitious internal visual objects.

Keywords: causation; internal object; mediation; organization; perception; seeing; the given

Chapter.  15996 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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