Inscrutability and visual objects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The thesis that the visual system represents objects has garnered empirical support from a variety of sources in recent decades. But what kinds of things qualify as “objects” in the relevant sense? Are they ordinary three-dimensional bodies? Are they the facing surfaces of three-dimensional bodies? I argue that there is no fact of the matter: what we have are equally acceptable ways of assigning extensions to the relevant visual states. The view I defend bears obvious similarities to Quine’s thesis that linguistic reference is inscrutable. Importantly, though, I argue that even if Quine was wrong about inscrutability as a thesis about language and thought, the case for the inscrutability of visual reference remains strong.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2949-2971
Number of pages23
JournalSynthese
Volume194
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Indeterminacy
  • Inscrutability
  • Multiple-object tracking
  • Perception
  • Visual objects
  • Visual reference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)

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