Mind and Reality

--- lecturer: [email protected]

A course at the University of Warwick.

Lecture 03

Date given: Tuesday 13th October 2020

This is the youtube page for Lecture 03. In case you prefer, I have also put a page with the videos on microsoft stream here. Or, if you prefer, you can see the slides with no audio or video here.

The Question (recap)

Fact to be explained: of all the objects that exist, you can think about some but not others. Why? What sort of relation between a subject and an object has to obtain if the subject is able to think about the object?

--- do one micro task for this unit

Next Steps: Acquaintance and Cognitive Penetration

In what follows, we will first consider, briefly and superficially, alternatives to the idea that acquaintance is what links your thoughts to their objects. We will then turn to the main topic of week 2: cognitive penetration and the question of there is a distinction between cognition and perception which would enable us to explain the possibility of thought about an object by appeal to acquaintance with it.


A quick, superficial look at the pragmatists’ core idea about how thoughts relate to the things they are about. This is an alternative to the Acquaintance View.

Reading (optional):

  • Putnam, H. (1981). Reason, truth and history. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Dewey, J. (1907). The control of ideas by facts i. The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, 4(8):197–203.
  • James, W. (1909). The Meaning of Truth : a Sequel to ”Pragmatism”. Longmans Green, London.

--- do one micro task for this unit

What Is Perception?

Before we can think clearly about whether there are top-down effects of perception, we need some kind of handle on the notion of perception.

Reading (optional):

  • Davidson, D. (1999). Replies to critics. In Hahn, L. E., editor, The Philosophy of Donald Davidson. Open Court, Chicago.
  • Davidson, D. (1997). Seeing through language. In Preston, J., editor, Thought and Language, Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, vol. 42. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Dretske, F. (2000). Simple seeing. In Perception, Knowledge and Belief. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Dretske, F. (1969). Seeing and Knowing. Routledge, London.

--- do one micro task for this unit