SOPhiA 2018

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Philosophy of Perception Naturalized: A Take on Burge/Campbell Debate
(Philosophy of Mind, English)

In the series of his papers from 2005 to 2014, as well as in his book from 2010, Tyler Burge criticizes positions within the philosophy of perception which are not in accordance with the existing knowledge of perceptual psychology, a "mature" and "mathematically rigorous" science (2014: 394, 2010a: 4). What lies at the basis of this critique is that the philosophers supporting naïve realism cannot incorporate within their respective theories the perception of animals and children. Furthermore, naïve realists also cannot provide an adequate explanation for the sensory experience of adults, since they do not represent the psychologically realistic understanding of perception due to their excessive intellectualization of sensory experience. According to Burge's assessment, the reason for the above can be found in the fact that no naïve realist has ever attentively and informedly considered empirical results.
Tout au contraire, John Campbell (2010) based his defense of naïve realism, or more precisely, of relationism, on the considerations from visual science and cognitive science, with an accompanying naturalistic critique of Burge's naturalistic moves when providing argumentation. Campbell wants to show that Burge's theory of perception does not have a good answer to George Berkeley's riddle: how experience allows our concepts of objects to be independent of our consciousness and mental states (Campbell, 2002a: 127-128). His relationism has an immediate answer due to the reference to a direct relation of acquaintance that connects the perception of the subject to the perceived object.
I will be demonstrating that it seems that Campbell uses the examples from empirical science to the extent it suits him, and when he cannot illustrate his own position with other examples from the same empirical science, then this is because this very empirical science has problems that it can not solve at this moment. These considerations will lead me to conclusion that debates such as Campbell/Burge debate are philosophically underdetermined. I will define philosophical subdetermination as a thesis that describes the case when philosophers, in order to confirm their own arguments, invoke a set of empirical data from the same scientific field, or thematically and methodologically related scientific fields, so it is difficult to judge the validity of arguments only on the basis of such set of empirical data. What I shall be sketching throughout this talk is that results of empirical research do not and cannot provide conclusivity to philosophical arguments, just sheer plausibility. But, The greater empirical plausibility of the arguments in such debates is important, but not decisive for assessing their validity.

Chair: Katsiaryna Suryna
Time: 10:00-10:30, 13 September 2018 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003
Remark: CHANGE. The talk is cancelled!

Vanja Subotić 
(University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Serbia)

I am MA Candidate in Philosophy & MA Student in Computing in Social Sciences. I am currently working on my two interrelated theses: "Natural Language Processing and Linguistic Competence: A Connectionist Approach" and "Explorations Into Competence: Pro et Contra The Expert View on Intuitions". My main fields of specialization on MA level of studies are philosophy of linguistics & language and philosophy of mind & cognition, but I shall be pursuing PhD in experimental philosophy, since I am interested in bridging the gap between formal and experimental semantics and in experimental testing of theories of reference.

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