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MIRA-Open: Justin D'Ambrosio

Thursday, December 14, 2017 - 2:00pm

Claudia Cohen 493

Justin D'Ambrosio, postdoctoral research fellow on the Language of Consciousness project at ANU,  will give a talk. Title and abstract are below. Light refreshments will be provided. 

"A New Perceptual Adverbialism"

Perceptual Adverbialism has a distinguished lineage; it has been defended, in various forms, by Ducasse [1942], Chisholm [1956], Sellars [1975], Goodman [1976], and Tye [1975, 1984]. And yet, it’s not an understatement to say that most recent work in the philosophy of perception hardly treats it as a live option. In this paper I first outline what I take to be the main reasons adverbialism has seemed so implausible, one of which is Jackson’s famous “Many Property” problem. I then develop and defend a novel version of adverbialism that overcomes the traditional difficulties—including the Many Property problem—and allows for the assignment of accuracy conditions to perceptual states. The key insight in developing this view is due to Anscombe; Anscombe [1965] argued that perceptual verbs are intensional transitive verbs (ITVs), and, as it turns out, our best semantics for ITVs is an adverbial one. There is significant debate over whether Anscombe was right about perceptual verbs. But whether or not she was, perceptual verbs can be treated as intensional for the purposes of articulating adverbialism as a metaphysical view. However, in other work I present empirical evidence that perceptual verbs are intensional in natural language, which points to the possibility that an adverbial theory can unify the semantics and metaphysics of perception.