Biology and Philosophy

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 243–261

Metaphysical realism as a pre-condition of visual perception

  • Stephen J. Boulter


In this paper I present a transcendental argument based on the findings of cognitive psychology and neurophysiology which invites two conclusions: First and foremost, that a pre-condition of visual perception itself is precisely what the Aristotelian and other commonsense realists maintain, namely, the independent existence of a featured, or pre-packaged world; second, this finding, combined with other reflections, suggests that, contra McDowell and other neo-Kantians, human beings have access to “things as they are in the world” via non-projective perception. These two conclusions taken together form the basis of “Aristotelian” metaphysical realism and a refutation of the neo-Kantian “two-factor” approach to perception.

Anti-realism Aristotle Constructivism Darwin Evolutionary biology Kant Metaphysical realism Visual perception in vertebrates 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen J. Boulter
    • 1
  1. 1.Field Chair for Philosophy, Westminster Institute of EducationOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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