Philosophical Studies

, Volume 173, Issue 9, pp 2377–2396 | Cite as

Contextualism about object-seeing

  • Ben PhillipsEmail author


When is seeing part of an object enough to qualify as seeing the object itself? For instance, is seeing a cat’s tail enough to qualify as seeing the cat itself? I argue that whether a subject qualifies as seeing a given object varies with the context of the ascriber. Having made an initial case for the context-sensitivity of object-seeing, I then address the contention that it is merely a feature of the ordinary notion. I argue that the notions of object-seeing that earn their explanatory keep in both vision science and the philosophy of perception are context-sensitive as well.


Object-seeing Contextualism Seeing-ascriptions Multiple-object tracking Perceptual demonstrative thought 



I would like to thank the following people for useful input on earlier versions of this paper: Jacob Berger, Tony Dardis, Ryan DeChant, Jørgen Dyrstad, Nemira Gasiunas, Grace Helton, Zoe Jenkin, Uriah Kriegel, Laura Larocca, Myrto Mylopoulus, David Neely, Gary Ostertag, Jesse Prinz, Jake Quilty-Dunn, David Rosenthal, Jonathan Schaffer, and Elmar Geir Unnsteinsson. I’m also grateful to audiences at the CUNY Cognitive Science Speaker Series, L’Institut Jean Nicod, and the University of Toronto.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Graduate CenterCUNYNew YorkUSA

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