Perception as action

Matthew D Conduct


In this paper I take seriously the idea that perceptual experiences, the sensory experiences that we enjoy when perceiving, are mental actions. I provide a picture that identifies them as a species of basic action and in so doing combine disjunctive accounts of experience and action. Disjunctivism about sensory experience is usually put forward to defend naïve realism and I argue that a view of perception as a form of action can help the naïve realist position. It does so in three ways. First, it offers an account of the determination of phenomenal character that is in accord with the key commitments of naïve realism but that is less susceptible to the argument from illusion. Second, it provides an account of the relation between hallucinatory experience and perceptual experience. Third, it takes two different debates about disjunctivism as a thesis about action, and disjunctivism as a thesis about perception, and reduces the latter to just a special case of the former.


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