Oslo Mind Group Seminar: Max Johannes Kippersund, Experiencing Ensembles: On the Limits of Perceptual Particularity
We will be discussing a draft of ‘Experiencing Ensembles: On the Limits of Perceptual Particularity’ by Max Johannes Kippersund.
One very widespread assumption about visual experience, is what I call “Particularism”. Put roughly, this is the assumption that the only properties we experience in cases of veridical perception are properties of particular things located in the perceived scene, and the only relations we experience are relations between particular things in the visual field. In this paper I develop a novel argument against Particularism. Building on recent empirical results from perceptual psychology, I will argue that we can experience what the average property is for groups of similar objects in a range of different feature dimensions. For instance, we can experience which orientation is the average orientation for a group of tilted lines.
Importantly, this claim is in conflict with Particularism. The reason for this is that when we experience that a group of lines has a certain average orientation, the orientation in question is not the property of any particular thing located in the visual field. This should be clear when reflecting on the fact that a certain orientation can be the average orientation for a group of lines even if no particular member of the group, or the group itself for that matter, actually instantiates that orientation. Hence, when we experience what the average property is for members in a perceived group, we are sensitive to a relation between the group members and a property which is not the property of any particular in the visual field. And this is in conflict with Particularism.
The argument presented in this paper is significant at two different levels. At a first level, it addresses an inherently interesting question in itself about whether we are sensitive to average orientation, size, emotional expression and the like in experience or only in post perceptual judgment. At a second level, the argument has major repercussions for one of the central theoretical debates in the philosophy of perception, between Naïve Realism and Representationalism. Naïve Realism, unlike Representationalism, implies Particularism. Hence, the argument presented in this paper provides a new reason to adopt Representationalism, and constitutes a direct challenge to Naïve Realism.
How to attend
This is a read-ahead seminar and will take place via Zoom. All are welcome to attend (Zoom login required).
The meeting link, along with a copy of the paper to be discussed, will be made available in advance via the Oslo Mind Group Team, which is open to all University of Oslo members, or upon request from the organizer for non-UiO users (see below).