, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 43–49

Overcoming the myth of the mental


DOI: 10.1007/s11245-006-0006-1

Cite this article as:
Dreyfus, H.L. Topoi (2006) 25: 43. doi:10.1007/s11245-006-0006-1


Can we accept John McDowell’s Kantian claim that perception is conceptual “all the way out,” thereby denying the more basic perceptual capacities we seem to share with prelinguistic infants and higher animals? More generally, can philosophers successfully describe the conceptual upper floors of the edifice of knowledge while ignoring the embodied coping going on on the ground floor? I argue that we shouldn’t leave the conceptual component of our lives hanging in midair and suggest how philosophers who want to understand knowledge and action can profit from a phenomenological analysis of the nonconceptual embodied coping skills we share with animals and infants, as well as the nonconceptual immediate intuitive understanding exhibited by experts.


myth of the givenmyth of the mentalphenomenologyexpertiseskillperceptionaction

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California-BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA