Zoom | Session 3 | MLAG Internal Research Seminar | Summer 2020
From: 2020-07-31 To:2020-07-31
Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
Mind, Language & Action
MLAG INTERNAL RESEARCH SEMINAR Summer 2020
Seminário de Investigação Interno do MLAG Verão 2020
The aim of this seminar-series is the discussion of recent or ongoing work of members of the research group MLAG (Institute of Philosophy, University of Porto). The first intended audience are MLAG members themselves, but we hope the discussions will be of interest to a wider audience so we will keep the sessions open (subject to registration). It is often the case that research lines are pursued unbeknownst of other members of the group, producing results that remain underdiscussed. So we decided to enter a period of self-knowledge. Everyone is invited to join – we will organize the sessions by Zoom so it is irrelevant where you are. We will try to organize sessions around the three main areas of our work: mind, language and action (although some of us are not very confortable with some of those words and would prefer to say that ‘thought’ and not mind is the main topic of our research)
Session 3 – Mind
Mattia Riccardi (UP/IF/MLAG), Phenomenology, Perceptual Realism and Leibhaftigkeit
Abstract: In this paper I argue that there is no tension between Husserl phenomenology and perceptual realism (PR) properly understood. I start with two preliminary points. First, Husserl carefully distinguishes his method from Cartesian scepticism: though his method abstracts away from common-sense realism, it doesn’t aim at showing it to be false or unjustified. Second, there are two versions of PR. The basic version is just the belief that perception is experience of “things” in one’s surroundings (whatever those things are). The sophisticated version is the belief that perception is direct experience of physical objects.
While Husserl rejects the sophisticated version as a philosophical theory dependent on specific metaphysical assumptions that goes well beyond what is “phenomenologically given”, his phenomenology vindicates basic perceptual realism (BPR). My argument for this claim goes as follows.
First, Husserl doesn’t believe that we experience purely mental objects distinct from the objects in one’s surroundings. Second, he identifies in Leibhaftigkeit a key feature of perceptual experience. For a thing to be experienced as leibhaft it is, in part, to be experienced as “out there” in one’s surroundings. This means that Leibhaftigkeit plays in Husserl’s phenomenology a role analogous to that of transparency in contemporary philosophy of perception: both are phenomenological features of perception qua presentation of things in one’s surroundings. This means that phenomenology vindicates BPR. Third, I argue that accepting BPR doesn’t commit one to sophisticated perceptual realism. To show this, I look at J.L. Austin’s discussion of perceptual realism and argue that the same kind of dialectic applies to Husserlian phenomenology as well.
Some recent or forthcoming work to be discussed:
- Sofia Miguens, The Logical Alien, Harvard UP, 2020.
- Charles Travis, Frege – The Pure Business of Being True, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2020.
- Mattia Riccardi ed. (with Frank Larøi), Journal of Consciousness Studies, Special Issue on Hallucination, 23/7-8 (2016).
MLAG Internal Research Seminar | Summer 2020: https://ifilosofia.up.pt/activities/mlag-internal-research-seminar-summer-2020
Mind, Language and Action Group (MLAG)
Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto – FIL/00502