When hallucinating, you fail to perceive an object: you seem to perceive one, but no object is there to be perceived. By contrast, many philosophers believe that hallucinations permit you to perceive properties; e.g. colours, shapes, etc. What is it about property perception that explains this asymmetry?

Property perception generates a number of such puzzles, yet so far researchers have adopted a piecemeal approach to them. Our project will develop a unified approach that investigates a triad of concerns: concerns about the metaphysics of perceived properties, about what is involved in property perception, and about what role property perception plays in thought. These concerns generate three sorts of questions:


  1. METAPHYSICAL questions concerning the relationship between property perception and the metaphysics of properties, where the latter will include, inter alia, claims about what distinguishes
    properties from objects.

  2. EPISTEMOLOGICAL questions concerning the role that property perception plays in underwriting our ability to think and know about the world.

  3. PERCEPTUAL questions concerning the relationship between property perception and other aspects of our more general capacity to perceive the world.

Addressing them as a unified set will reveal property perception’s oft-unrecognised significance for perceiving and conceiving of the external world. 

We will investigate these issues through a series of workshops hosted by the University of Oxford and generously supported by the John Fell Fund.

© 2020 Perceiving Properties project. perceivingproperties@gmail.com

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