Knowing What I See
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If I descry a hawk, I find the hawk but I do not find my seeing of the hawk. My seeing of the hawk seems to be a queerly transparent sort of process, transparent in that while a hawk is detected, nothing else is detected answering to the verb in ‘see a hawk’. Ryle, The Concept of Mind 1. Introduction By using my eyes, I can come to know that there is a hawk perching on the fence post. Cognitive science has made enormous progress in understanding how we have this sort of perceptual knowledge. Any textbook on perception will go into detail about the receptors in the eye, the detection of low-level features such as edges, the recovery of 3D shape, and theories of object recognition. Much is controversial, and much is unknown, but the broad shape of a satisfying account, together with some of the intricate small parts, is clear enough.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Introspection and Consciousness (book)
Oxford University Press
Byrne, Alex. "Knowing What I See." Chapter 7 in Introspection and Consciousness, Edited by Declan Smithies and Daniel Stoljar, Oxford: Oxford University Press, June 2012.
Author's final manuscript