“Seeing, Visualizing, and Believing” by John Zeimbekis (11 Apr)

I begin with an account of how visual processes construct the nonconceptual contents caused by picture perceptions, and then ask how those contents survive into doxastic, personal-level awareness. The account suggests that subjects have a degree of personal-level control over some of the visual processes that yield visual experiences, phenomenal characters, and nonconceptual contents as outputs. The cognitive penetrability of relatively early visual processes potentially conflicts with the use of perception to justify beliefs. I argue that this form of penetrability should be admitted, but that it does not have the pernicious epistemological consequences usually expected of cognitive penetrability because picture-perceptions do not cause beliefs. The account put forward secures a key point for understanding pictures as a form of representation. It shows that the mental states caused by pictures do not form the contents of attitudes or psychological modes (eg illusion, belief or perceptual belief with those contents), but are representations toward which we can subsequently adopt a number of different attitudes depending on the use of the picture. If there is time, I shall place this conclusion in the context of my (2010) proposal that pictures are always used to perform type (as opposed to token) demonstrations.

Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 11 April 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: John Zeimbekis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Patras
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

About the Speaker:

John Zeimbekis is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Patras and maître de conférences on leave from the University of Grenoble. He has held fellowships at the Institut Jean Nicod, Paris, and the University of Pennsylvania. He works on vagueness and appearance properties, pictorial representation, fiction and mind reading, aesthetic value, indexical thought, the contents of perception, and cognitive penetrability. Publications include articles in the BJA, JAAC, Noûs and Philosophical Studies, several articles and book chapters on aesthetics in French and in Greek, and a book on aesthetic judgment (Qu’est-ce qu’un jugement esthétique, Paris: Vrin, 2006). He recently completed a monograph, Pictures, Perception and Meaning, which is under review, and is co-editing (with A. Raftopoulos) a volume entitled Cognitive Penetrability. He is currently treasurer of the European Society for Aesthetics.

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