Berkeley, Reid, and Perceptual Learning
Thursday, November 14, 2019 - 4:00pm

Join the Philosophy Department's Socratic Society for a talk by Rebecca Copenhaver, chair and professor of philosophy at Lewis & Clark College.

"Berkeley, Reid, and Perceptual Learning": Berkeley and Reid treat perception as a developmental ability by which typical humans acquire greater perceptual sensitivity to a greater range of features through repeated interaction with the environment. According to Berkeley, although humans are born without the ability to see distance, size, shape and other spatial features, humans learn to perceive these features by sight. Through practice, visible features such as light and color acquire spatial significance — a long term change in perception by which typical humans see visible spatial features originally unavailable to sight. Reid expanded Berkeley’s theory beyond vision to all of the sense modalities, and to features not originally presented to any sense: kind features such as ‘being a tomato’ as well as evaluative features, such as ‘being beautiful,’ or ‘being cruel’. Reid calls these “additional perceptive powers” acquired perceptions. Philosophers have assimilated the kinds of long-term changes in perception that Berkeley and Reid describe to changes in judgment or belief, on the one hand, or to changes in the contents of perception that are the result cognitive permeation (also known as cognitive penetration). By contrast, I argue that the changes Berkeley and Reid describe are best seen as cases of perceptual learning: they are long-lasting changes in perception that result from practice and experience with features in the organism’s environment (Prettyman 2018; Connolly 2019)

Thursday, Nov. 14 | 4 p.m.

Smith Memorial Student Union, Room 294