Friday, August 19
Cutter Shabazz TENT
Free & Open to All.
Talk title: “Perceptual Knowledge and Embodied Skill”
Dave Ward, Edinburgh Summer Visitor in Philosophy
Abstract: "Some philosophers (including me) like to claim that perception is a kind of skilled, bodily engagement with the world. But none of these philosophers (also including me) say very much about what kind of 'skill' is at issue in this claim. In this talk I try to atone for this by spelling out the kind of bodily skill that is involved in perceiving, and why it matters.
Skilled activity, I argue, is an exercise of agency that involves a distinctive, affectively-mediated kind of practical self-understanding on the part of the agent. Thinking of perception as skill of this kind has at least two benefits. First, it affords a useful way of thinking about the normative credentials of perceptual experience. Perception, on this picture, is not the passive receipt of sensory information, but an active attempt to make sense of the world via our embodied interaction with it. Perceivers are responsible for their perceptual takes on the world in the same way that agents are responsible for their actions. Second, it affords a diagnosis of some philosophical puzzles about consciousness. What we know about the felt character of our conscious experience seems disconnected from what we know about the states and processes that give rise to our experience. If perceiving is an embodied skill, then the knowledge that we have of our own perceptual states is the practical knowledge that an agent has of their own activity, not the theoretical knowledge which perceptual psychology yields."
The Sapientia Lecture Series is underwritten by the Mark J. Byrne 1985 Fund in Philosophy.