• James Russell


Many of the major problems in epistemology are rooted in our construal of perception. This is because there is a way of regarding perception that virtually guarantees scepticism. The form of the argument is usually that we believe in the existence of an external world which we come to know through sense perception, yet have no independent authority for this information. We never know things ‘as they are in themselves’, only the sensations to which they give rise. Certainly, we have good reason to distrust sensory information — just take the case of dreams, hallucinations, illusions, distortions brought about by drugs, the constancies (for example, things look smaller when we know they are not)… and so on.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 4.
    G. Ryle, The Concept of Mind (London:, Hutchinson, 1949).Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    U. Neisser, Cognition and Reality (San Francisco: Freeman, 1976) p. 17.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    For example: E. J. Gibson and R. Bergman, ‘The effect of training on absolute estimation of distance over the ground’, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1954, 48, pp. 473–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 12.
    J. J. Gibson, J. Purdy, and L. Lawrence, ‘A method for controlling stimulation for the study of space perception: the optical tunnel’, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1955, 50, pp. 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 13.
    G. A. Kaplan, ‘Kinetic disruption of optical texture: the perception of depth at an edge’, Perception and Psychophysics, 1969, 6, pp. 193–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 14.
    D. N. Lee and E. Aronson, ‘Visual proprioceptive control of standing in human infants’, Perception and Psychophysics, 1974, 15, pp. 529–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 15.
    W. Schiff, ‘Perception of impending collision’, Psychological Monographs 1965, 79, no. 604, relevant section, pp. 16–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 16.
    K. von Frieand and J. J. Gibson, ‘The sensitivity of the eye to two kinds of continuous transformation of a shadow-pattern’, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1959, 57, pp. 344–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 18.
    U. Neisser, ‘Gibson’s ecological optics: consequences of a different stimulus description’, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 1977, 7, p. 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 19.
    Gibson, ‘New reasons for realism’, Synthese, 1967, 17, pp. 162–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 25.
    J. A. Fodor and Z. W. Pylyshyn, ‘How direct is visual perception? Some reflections of Gibson’s “ecological approach”’, Cognition, 1981.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    See J. J. Gibson, ‘The concept of the stimulus in psychology’, American Psychologist, 1960, 115, pp. 694–703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 33.
    See E. J. Gibson, Principles of Perceptual Learning and Development (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969).Google Scholar
  14. 35.
    D. Marr and T. Poggio, ‘From understanding computation to understanding neural circuitry’, Neuroscience Research Program Bulletin. 1977, 15, pp. 470–88.Google Scholar
  15. 48.
    G. E. M. Anscombe, ‘The intentionality of perception: a grammatical feature’, in R. J. Butler (ed.), Analytical Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1965).Google Scholar
  16. 51.
    J. Hintikka, ‘On the logic of perception’, in Models for Modalities (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1969).Google Scholar
  17. 52.
    V.. C. Aldrich, ‘Aesthetic perception and objectivity’, British Journal of Aesthetics, 1978, 18, pp. 209–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 62.
    See J. Hopkins, ‘Visual geometry’, Philosophical Review 1973, for an analysis of this concept.Google Scholar
  19. 63.
    J. Piaget, The Mechanisms of Perception (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969).Google Scholar
  20. 66.
    D. W. Hamlyn, ‘Epistemology and conceptual development’, in T. Mischel (ed.), Cognitive Development and Epistemology (London: Academic Press, 1971).Google Scholar
  21. 67.
    See for example E. Vurpillot, in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1968.Google Scholar
  22. 69.
    T. G. R. Bower, ‘The visual world of infants’, Scientific American, 1966.Google Scholar
  23. 72.
    G. E. Butterworth and E. Cochran, ‘Towards a mechanism of joint visual attention in human infancy’, International Journal of Behavioural Development, 1980, 3, pp. 253–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 73.
    See T. G. R. Bower, Development in Infancy (San Francisco: Freeman, 1974).Google Scholar
  25. 77.
    H. Werner and B. Kaplan, Symbol Formation (London: Wiley, 1963).Google Scholar
  26. 80.
    A. Hannay, ‘The “what” and the “how”’, in D. F. Gustafson and B. L. Tapscott (eds), Body, Mind and Method (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1979) p. 26.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Russell 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Russell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LiverpoolEngland

Personalised recommendations