, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 411–432 | Cite as

Perception Pragmatized: a Pragmatic Reconciliation of Representationalism and Relationalism

  • André Sant’Anna


This paper develops a theory of perception that reconciles representationalism and relationalism by relying on pragmatist ideas. I call it the pragmatic view of perception. I argue that fully reconciling representationalism and relationalism requires, first, providing a theory in which how we perceive the world involves representations; second, preserving the idea that perception is constitutively shaped by its objects; and third, offering a direct realist account of perception. This constitutes what I call the Hybrid Triad. I discuss how Charles Peirce’s theory of perception can provide a framework for such a view and I devote the rest of the paper to developing my own pragmatic and Peircean theory of perception. In particular, I argue that considering perception as a continuous temporal process, which essentially involves interaction with the environment, allows us to do justice to the Hybrid Triad. I motivate this view by discussing how a pragmatic theory of perception would deal with issues such as the distinction between veridical and non-veridical experiences and the nature of perceptual objects.


Perception Pragmatism Representationalism Relationalism Hybridism 



I’m grateful to Kirk Michaelian, Andrew Moore, and Cathy Legg for their helpful comments over several drafts of this paper. I’d also like to thank Bob Hanna, Ligia Coutes, Chloe Wall, and audiences at the University of Otago and the University of Waikato for comments on previous drafts of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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