Workshop on Metaphysics in Philosophy of Perception: Durham, May 23rd

Our next Purpose and Procedure in the Philosophy of Perception workshop! Email to register.

Metaphysics poster FINAL


Tom Crowther. Process, Persistence and the Temporal Structure of Experience

There is widespread agreement that material objects relate to time by persisting over intervals of time. But philosophers disagree about the way material objects persist. ‘Endurantists’ have typically been taken to hold that material objects are ‘wholly present’ at any time at which they exist. But it has proven difficult to give a satisfactory account of what it is for an object to be ‘wholly present’. The aim of this paper is to try to offer a more satisfactory characterization of the notion of endurance in the face of these difficulties. I will try to motivate the idea that we can make progress in the descriptive metaphysics of persistence by broadening our ontological horizons beyond the categories of ‘material objects’ and ‘events’. As well as material objects—such things as you and me, individual fig trees, cats and birds—and events—such things as the sinking of the Titanic, some particular shutting of a door—there are processes, such things as walking, running, writing and drawing. I want to suggest that a better understanding of the notion of process, and of how processes persist, may help us to a better understanding of the idea that material objects endure over time. But the connections between the notion of process and material persistence are not straightforward, and raise a number of further questions about the temporal ontology of process. Answering these questions, I propose, requires us to appreciate the basic connections between endurantist notions of the persistence of material objects and distinctive features of the temporal structure of the perceptual experience of material objects.

Nick Courtney. Perception and the Efficacy of Consciousness

Campbell (2014) has recently argued that intentionalist theories of perception render consciousness redundant. Cassam (2014) has responded by appealing to the Phenomenal Intentionality Research Programme. The intentionalists that Cassam appeals to posit a kind of intentionality – ‘phenomenal intentionality’ – that is essentially conscious. In particular, Cassam invokes Farkas’ structural account, as propounded in her Constructing a World for the Senses (2013). In this paper I explore Farkas’ account and I attempt to develop it, on Cassam’s behalf, in such a way that it might serve as a response to Campbell’s redundancy objection. I will argue that Farkas’ account will not serve Cassam’s purposes, as it is subject to a fatal objection of its own.