• Cartesian Clarity
    Philosophers' Imprint 20 (19): 1-28. 2020.
    Clear and distinct perception is the centerpiece of Descartes’s philosophy — it is the source of all certainty — but what does he mean by ‘clear’ and ‘distinct’? According to the prevailing approach, what it means for a perception to be clear is that its content has a certain objective property, like truth. I argue instead that clarity is a subjective, phenomenal quality whereby a content is presented as true to the perceiving subject. In the special case of completely clear intellectual percept…Read more
  • What is the biological function of perception? I hold perception, especially visual perception in humans, has the biological function of accurately representing the environment. Tyler Burge argues this cannot be so in Origins of Objectivity (Oxford, 2010), for accuracy is a semantical relationship and not, as such, a practical matter. Burge also provides a supporting example. I rebut the argument and the example. Accuracy is sometimes also a practical matter if accuracy partly explains how perce…Read more
  • Perception and belief
    A. D. Smith
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (2): 283-309. 2001.
    An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent.There are two main issues to address. The first is that ‘collateral’ beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is argued that this still as…Read more