Perception in Early Modern Philosophy

Alison Simmons

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780199600472
Published online January 2014 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Perception in Early Modern Philosophy

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As a new mechanical conception of the physical world established itself in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a number of pressing questions arose concerning the nature of perception: What are the proper objects of perception? What sort of causal process gives rise to perceptual experience? What is the structure of perceptual experience itself? Can the senses reliability show us what the world is like? And what, after all, is the cognitive function of the senses? This chapter explores various attempts to address these questions by some of the leading philosophers of the period, including Galileo, Hobbes, Descartes, Malebranche, Locke, Boyle, Berkeley, and Reid.

Keywords: distance perception; external world scepticism; ideas; veil of ideas; mechanical hypothesis; mind–body problem; Molyneux problem; natural geometry; objects of perception; perceptual judgement; natural judgement; free judgement; primary and secondary qualities; resemblance; retinal image; sensation; perception

Article.  11022 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy

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