Seeing What Is So

Barry Stroud

in Perception, Causation, and Objectivity

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199692040
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729713 | DOI:

Series: Consciousness & Self-Consciousness Series

Seeing What Is So

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Any satisfactory understanding of human perceptual knowledge must make room for the fact that we know things about the world around us by perception alone. What this means is something that many philosophical theories of knowledge have denied. Those theories have said in one way or another that the most we can know by perception alone is something that in itself implies nothing about the way things are in the world around us. This view has not usually been taken by its defenders to imply that therefore we can know nothing about the world. Rather, it has been taken to show that perceptual knowledge of the world is a combination of two separate ingredients: what we know by sense-perception alone plus some things we know in some other ways. This way of understanding our knowledge of the world, when pressed, cannot really explain to those of us who have that knowledge how the knowledge we have is possible. It leaves us vulnerable to what we can recognize as reasons to doubt the grounds for any steps we are said to take beyond what we can know from perception alone. This chapter starts from the need to reject any such conception of our knowledge of the world. It suggests by contraposition that since we can and do know many things about the world around us by perception alone, all views that restrict the range of perceptual knowledge in that way must be rejected. The question is whether we can really understand perceptual knowledge of the world in the way that we need. The chapter focuses on visual perception: seeing.

Keywords: perceptual knowledge; sense-perception; world; visual perception; seeing

Chapter.  6807 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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