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Helen Dugan

Appearance & Reality

What does skepticism about visual philosophy look like in 2018? How does Realism explain the relationship between the mind-independent world and our subjective perception of it? In my paper, I employ the works of realist John Searle and skeptic Donald Hoffman to explore explanations of this relationship between the mind and the world. Hoffman’s interface theory of perception states that our perceptions stand to the real world the way computer desktop icons stand to unknown computer circuits, whereas Searle believes we see things as they are. I focus on arguments from evolution, and I will argue that we can best understand the relationship between our visual perceptions and the reality they present as one based in behavioral relevancy. Our perceptions, I conclude, are reliable but incomplete. I propose that we have good reason to believe the best philosophical explanations lie somewhere in-between radical skepticism and brute realism.



Gary Hatfield (PHIL)

Russell Epstein (PSYC)