, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 441-447

Note on Two Snowdon Criticisms of the Causal Theory of Perception

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Two arguments Paul Snowdon has brought against the causal theory of perception are examined. One involves the claim that, based on the phenomenology of perceptual situations, it cannot be the case that perception is an essentially causal concept. The other is a reductio, according to which causal theorists’ arguments imply that a proposition Snowdon takes to be obviously non-causal (A is married to B) can be analyzed into some sort of indefinite ‘spousal connection’ plus a causal ingredient. I conclude that neither argument is sound. The reason that Snowdon’s critiques fail is that, since causal theories need not be about ‘effect ends’ that are internally manifest to perceivers, no such ostensibly separable, non-causal property as it being to S as if he were perceiving O need be an essential element in a causal theory of perception.