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Skepticism and the Veil of Perception
     

Skepticism and the Veil of Perception

by Michael Huemer
 

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Since Descartes, one of the central questions of Western philosophy has been that of how we know that the objects we seem to perceive are real. Philosophical skeptics claim that we know no such thing. Representationalists claim that we can gain such knowledge only by inference, by showing that the hypothesis of a real world is the best explanation for the kind of

Overview

Since Descartes, one of the central questions of Western philosophy has been that of how we know that the objects we seem to perceive are real. Philosophical skeptics claim that we know no such thing. Representationalists claim that we can gain such knowledge only by inference, by showing that the hypothesis of a real world is the best explanation for the kind of sensations and mental images we experience. Both accept the doctrine of a 'veil of perception': that perception can only give us direct awareness of images or representations of objects, not the external objects themselves. In contrast, Huemer develops a theory of perceptual awareness in which perception gives us direct awareness of real objects, not mental representations, and we have non-inferential knowledge of the properties of these objects. Further, Huemer confronts the four main arguments for philosophical skepticism, showing that they are powerless against this kind of theory of perceptual knowledge.

Author Biography: Michael Huemer is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Editorial Reviews

Mind
This essay is useful for its clear, accessible discussion of standard skeptical arguments and its critical review of the major arguments for sense-data. Huemer's discussion of those matters is comprehensive and engaging.
Booknews
In opposition to both skeptics and representationalists, Huemer (philosophy, U. of Colorado, Boulder) presents a theory of perceptual awareness, according to which perception gives us direct awareness of real objects and non-inferential knowledge of the properties of these objects. He responds to the major arguments for skepticism, including the infinite regress argument, the problem of the criterion, the brain in the vat, and the impossibility of verification. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Mind: A Quarterly Review of Philosophy
This essay is useful for its clear, accessible discussion of standard skeptical arguments and its critical review of the major arguments for sense-data. Huemer's discussion of those matters is comprehensive and engaging.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780742512528
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
07/15/2001
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Huemer is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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