Perception and the First Person

Christopher Peacocke

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception

Published in print July 2015 | ISBN: 9780199600472
Published online December 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Perception and the First Person

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  • Philosophy
  • Epistemology
  • Metaphysics


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What is it to perceive things as standing in relations to you? Why do you not need to keep track of yourself in perception? What is it to perceive a body part as belonging to you? A distinctive treatment of de se content, and the kind of entity to which de se contents refer, helps supply answers. The experience of ownership is additional to the experience of sensations as bodily located. Hume’s idea that the subject cannot be perceived is correct if taken as a thesis about the relations between the de se and what one can attend to as given in a certain way. Subjects can exist, and de se content can refer, without having objectively correct perceptual states. De se content at the nonconceptual level can explain some constitutive features of genuine first person conceptual content, when the relations between those two levels are properly understood.

Keywords: first person content; de se; experience of ownership; Hume; tracking; nonconceptual; body part; subject

Article.  7428 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; Metaphysics

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