Theses Doctoral

Patterns of Perception

Gasiunas-Kopp, Nemira Hathor

Our ordinary concept of perception contains a seeming tension: we distinguish perception from thought on the grounds that it is a direct awareness of mind-independent objects through their effects on our senses; yet we also allow that what we see (hear, feel, etc) is determined by how we interpret or classify the data that comes through our senses. Theorists of perception disagree over which of these intuitions should prevail, with some maintaining that concepts are in play all the way down and others that perceptual awareness is wholly immediate and concrete. But we do not have to choose. This dissertation argues that the patterns of perception sustain a distinctive form of nonconceptual classification, in which property spaces organize sensory matter so as to preserve rather than discard its concreteness and detail. What then is classification without concepts? What sort of abstraction, generality, representation, or form does it entail? And what ramifications then for thinking about the roots of language and reason, and of our awareness of the external world?


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Goehr, Lydia
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 3, 2019