The Problem of Perception
First published Tue Mar 8, 2005; substantive revision Fri Feb 4, 2011 Sense-perception—the awareness or apprehension of things by sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste—has long been a preoccupation of philosophers. One pervasive and traditional problem, sometimes called “the problem of perception”, is created by the phenomena of perceptual illusion and hallucination: if these kinds of error are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? The present entry is about how these possibilities of error challenge the intelligibility of the phenomenon of perception, and how the major theories of perception in the last century are best understood as responses to this challenge. 1. The Problem of Perception 1.1 Introduction This entry will focus on a single, central problem of perception: how to reconcile some apparently obvious truths about our experience of the world with the possibility of certain kinds of perceptual error. 2.
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