Recent issues in high-level perception

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35 Scopus citations


Recently, several theorists have proposed that we can perceive a range of high-level features, including natural kind features (e.g., being a lemur), artifactual features (e.g., being a mandolin), and the emotional features of others (e.g., being surprised). I clarify the claim that we perceive high-level features and suggest one overlooked reason this claim matters: it would dramatically expand the range of actions perception-based theories of action might explain. I then describe the influential phenomenal contrast method of arguing for high-level perception and discuss some of the objections that have been raised against this strategy. Finally, I describe two emerging defenses of high-level perception, one of which appeals to a certain class of perceptual deficits and one of which appeals to adaptation effects. I sketch a challenge for the latter approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-862
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophy Compass
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • Adaptation effects
  • High-level perception
  • Perception-cognition divide
  • Phenomenal contrast method
  • Unilateral neglect
  • Visual experience


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