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Concepts, attention, and perception

Pelling, Charlie (2008) Concepts, attention, and perception. Philosophical Papers 37 (2), pp. 213-242. ISSN 0556-8641.

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According to the conceptualist view in the philosophy of perception, we must possess concepts for all the objects, properties and relations which feature in our perceptual experiences. In this paper, I investigate the possibility of developing an argument against the conceptualist view by appealing to the notion of attention. In Part One, I begin by setting out an apparently promising version of such an argument, a version which appeals to a link between attention and perceptual demonstrative concept possession. In Part Two, however, I show how the conceptualist can challenge what appears to be the key premise of the argument, and I go on to describe, in Part Three, an important further difficulty which we face if we attempt to overcome this challenge in a particular way. My conclusion will be that the conceptualist’s challenge to the argument is convincing and hence that the argument remains inconclusive.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in Philosophical Papers 2008 [copyright Taylor & Francis], available online at:
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Dr. Charlie Pelling
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2012 09:40
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

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