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CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS.

International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 79-92

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1095143


Apperception or Environment.

J. McDowell and Ch.Travis on the nature of perceptual judgement


Apercepción o ambiente.

    1. cDowell y Ch. Travis sobre la naturaleza del juicio perceptivo


      SOFIA MIGUENS


      University of Porto, Portugal


      Abstract


      Within current philosophy of perception John McDowell has for quite some time been defending a view inspired by Kant (McDowell 1994, McDowell 2009, McDowell 2013). Charles Travis opposes such view and counters it with his own, Frege-inspired, approach (Travis 2013, Travis 2014, Travis forthcoming). By analysing the clash between Travis’ idea of the silence of the senses and McDowell’s idea of intuitional content, the present article aims to characterize the core of their divergence regarding the nature of perceptual judgement. It also aims at presenting their engagement as a reformulated version of the debate around conceptual and nonconceptual content of perception, bringing forth some of its stakes. Such reformulated version of the debate makes it possible to bring out what a Kantian position on representation, consciousness and appearances ultimately amounts to, as well as to identify a particular angle of criticism to it.


      Keywords

      McDowell, Travis, Kant, Frege, judgement, perception.


      1. Triangulating the McDowell-Travis debate




        [Recibido: 14 de octubre 2017

        Aceptado: 28 de octubre de 2017]


        Sofia Míguens


        Much in current analytic philosophy of perception turns on the question whether perceptual experience has representational content (see e.g. Brogaaard 2014 for an overview). In such circumstances one might expect explicit discussions of the nature of representation to be always on the table. Yet the fact is the discussion within the philosophy of perception leaves the question relatively untouched. More often than not philosophers of perception exercize arguments on the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ cases, i.e. veridical perceptions on the one hand and illusions and hallucinations on the other, simply leaving assumptions about representation implicit. Discussions then tend towards a certain rigidity. Such rigidity is, I believe, absent from the debate that I analyse in what follows, the McDowell-Travis debate on perception and representation. One crucial point of interest of the debate is that it does concern the nature of representation directly. Another is that it brings forth what being a Kantian might arguably amount to, in such context – namely that it amounts to attributing a specific a role to consciousness in judgement –, as well as the form that a general opposition to such position might take.

        Although in what follows I contrast John McDowell’s and Charles Travis’ respective positions on perception, and stress their disagreement, I want to begin by calling attention to how much they have in common in the way they regard the job of philosophy of perception, and the nature of philosophy in general. In this they both contrast with much work in current philosophy of perception, which may be very close to – in fact almost conflated with – cognitive science of perception. Even in the case of philosophers one would not tend to immediately associate with cognitive science one very often comes across a lack of distinction between cognitive science of perception and philosophy, which might, of course, be supported by argument (see e.g. Burge 2010). This is, anyway, a conception of the job of philosophy of perception which neither McDowell nor Travis accept. For neither of them are the problems of philosophy of perception and the problems of cognitive science of perception to be conflated. Such stance bears on the discussion of the nature of representation, and translates e.g. in the fact that for neither of them is it legitimate (although this is quite widerspread in both cognitive science and philosophy) to speak of perceivers’ sub-personal states (such as brain states) as being representations proper. For both of them while the scientific work on perception is underway, the philosophical work on the nature of perception and representation is still to be done.

        Because the McDowell-Travis debate takes place over a background of wide philosophical agreement it is hard to clearly identify the source of their divergences. This is why a triangulation is called for. In this article I will use Kant and Frege in order to pursue such triangulation – more specifically, I will refer to their respective views of judgement as I compare and contrast McDowell’s and Travis’ proposals on perception and representation. This is almost too obvious a choice since a reading of Kant pervades McDowell’s representationalism regarding perceptual experience, whereas Frege is the (current) central reference for Travis’ claim that perceptual experiences do not have


        CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

        80 International Journal of Philosophy

        N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 79-92

        ISSN: 2386-7655

        Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1095143

        Apperception or Environment



        representational content1. What might add some interest to this triangulation is the fact that McDowell is not Kant, as Travis is not Frege: their readings of Kant and Frege are in fact quite controversial. They highlight and hide aspects of Kant and Frege, and this in itself is revealing of McDowell and Travis’ own positions and of the differences between them.

        Another cautionary note is called for before starting the triangulation. If we were to set out to simply compare Kant and Frege on judgement (i.e. not having McDowell and Travis in view) there clearly would be a lot at stake from the viewpoint of the history of philosophy and the history of logic. Questions regarding the nature and structure of judgements and propositions would be at stake, as well as the key notion of analyticity (a notion which completely changes shape from the hands of Kant to the hands of Frege2). But there is also something else, and in what follows I am going after that something else – this is what in my title appears as ‘apperception or environment’. As I will be presenting things, apperception is McDowell’s Kantian touchstone for judgement whereas environment is Travis’ Fregean touchstone. That is what I am mostly interested in in this article.


      2. Representation and ‘shared form’


        We know one thing from the start: in spite of background agreement, namely on the (negative) idea that a perceiver’s sub-personal cognitive states can not yet being thought of as representations proper, McDowell’s representationalist conception of perceptual experiencings (i.e. the idea that perceptual experiences themselves represent things as being a certain way) is simply at odds with Travis silence of the senses view of perception. But how can this disagreement be spelled out and better understood?

        Both McDowell and Travis address the question of perception as part of the general question of conceptual capacities of agents, i.e. the question of what being a thinker amounts to. Here is an example of McDowell doing it in his article “Conceptual capacities in perception”:


        «A zebra can be described, but that is no reason to suppose that the zebra itself has a form it shares with a description, or with the thought a description expresses.» (McDowell 2009b : 142)


        In order to understand this excerpt one has to have in mind the fact that some critics accuse McDowell of idealism precisely because they attribute to him the idea of a sharing of a form (the same form in world and thought); they see this as a ‘projection of subjectivity’. In this particular passage McDowell is denying such reading, by refusing that his view implies that a wordly object (a zebra) partakes of the form (in the quoted passage he is, by the way, discussing criticisms of his view by Michael Ayers). But if it is not a



        1 J.L.Austin was the main reference at the time of Travis’ 2004 Mind article The Silence of the Senses (Travis 2004/2013). This is the article most often cited as the locus of Travis’ position on perception (the position I will refer to as the ‘silence of the senses view of perception’).

        2 See Boyle forthcoming.

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        sharing of a form that he proposes, what is it then? Here is McDowell on perceptual experiencing. My visually experiencing this:


        or this…


        … is a taking-to-be, which then is (or not) endorsed by judgement. According to McDowell, perceivings (seemings) are claim-like, i.e they are claims-which-are-not yet- judgements. Now ‘claim’ is a term of Wilfrid Sellars, a term which McDowell thinks is ‘wrong in the letter but right in spirit’ – this is how he puts it in his article Avoiding the Myth of the Given (McDowell 2009a: 267). He uses the term to speak of experiences as intuitions. Here it is important to keep in mind that McDowell’s approach to perception is generally considered to have a dominating epistemological purpose. In the words of French philosopher Jocelyn Benoist, McDowell’s approach to perception has in fact an all too dominating epistemological purpose. Benoist speaks of ‘La misère du theoreticisme’, and describes it as ‘confondre perception et connaissance perceptive’ (Benoist 2013: 9) – conflating perception and perceptual knowledge. For McDowell, anyway, an account of perceptual experiencing is key in an account of knowledge in that we cannot understand the relations in virtue of which any judgement is warranted except as relations within the space of concepts (this is a core thesis of his 1994 book Mind & World). Only representations enter such relations, so the fact that perceptual experiences are representational is crucial for knowledge. But it is also the case that McDowell has reformulated his Mind and World position, the position according to which such representational content was propositional content. He is no longer commited to the idea of propositional content of experience; his article Avoiding the Myth of the Given is a particularly clear expression of the shift in his position (McDowell 2009a). He does not claim anymore that perceptual seemings have propositional content; he thinks that only judgements and assertions have propositional content. Yet he still claims that perceptual experiences have content: they have what he calls intuitional content. Now McDowell’s intuitional content is as an interpretation of Kant’s Anschauung. It is in fact the German word Anschauung that McDowell translates as a ‘having in view’ (McDowell 2009: 260). His current claim is that perceptual experiences have intuitional content; that is why they are representational.



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        N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 79-92

        ISSN: 2386-7655

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        Before the more recent exchanges and reformulations, McDowell representationalism had been a target for Travis, namely in his 2004 Mind article The silence of the senses (Travis 2004/2013). What Travis targeted then was the representationalists’ commitment to the determinateness of seemings. According to him such commitment necessarily came with representationalism concerning perceptual experience (McDowell was not the sole target of such criticism: so were e.g. Christopher Peacocke, Gilbert Harman, John Searle, Michael Tye or Colin McGinn). Yet for Travis (as McDowell himself put it once(and he is very good at formulating the opponent’s theses), if a rock might look like a crouching animal and also look like a rock this better not all be the content of the same perceptual experience (McDowell 2013b). In The silence of the senses what supported the objection to the representationalist’s commitment to the determinatness of seemings was, in a very Austinian vein, a linguistic analysis, i.e. an analysis of our ways of speaking of looks, seemings and appearances. The conclusion of the analysis was that there simply is not one single sense of looks available which would serve the purpose of the representationalist regarding perceptual experiences3. There are many senses of looks, or seemings, i.e. we speak of looks or appearances in many senses. In particular, there are (in Travis’ most recent 2013 terminology 4 ) perceptual (e.g. visual) appearances and conceptual appearances. Imagine that we say ‘The upper line looks longer’ as we look at the Müller-Lyer lines above. And then contrast it with the case where we say, watching TV on the night of the last French presidential election, and before knowing the full results: ‘It looks like Macron is going to win the election’. Travis point is that these are totally different phenomena, which should not be conflated. Yet a conflation of the many senses of looks and seemings is what Travis thinks is bound to happen when we speak of a perceptual experience as a particular seeming. We do as if there was one thing which is the one and one only way thinks look in a particular perceptual experience.

        Of course one might counter: but isn’t there really such a thing, at least sometimes? Let us consider again the Muller-Lyer illusion I introduced above. Should we not think that there is a look here (one and one only)? (A look which is not a conceptual look, but one objective visual look). Here is Benoist, quoting Merleau-Ponty, saying why we need not think that way:


        «dans l’illusion de Muller-Lyer les segments ne sont ni égaux ni non-égaux, c’est dans le monde objectif que cette alternative s’impose» (La Phenomenologie de la perception, in Le bruit du sensible, 92)


        According to Benoist, Merleau-Ponty means that in the objective world only (and thus with judgement) is there such an alternative. This is a position Benoist attributes to Travis (and agrees with). Anyway one point of Travis in The silence of the senses is that the variety of senses of looks and seemings precludes what the representationalist needs to get his case off the ground. Sticking to the non-determinateness of what one is presented


        3 Aimed against many representationalists, not just McDowell, who is special being a disjunctivist.

        4 Travis 2013 includes a rewritten version of the 2004 Mind article.

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        with, and thus to the idea that perception basically puts things in view is his suggestion; this is (part of what) the ‘silence of the senses’ view proposes. In other words, according to Travis, seeing is essentially unarticulated. But of course for McDowell this is The Myth of the Given. The interesting question for me here is how much does McDowell’s contrasting conviction (the conviction that seeing is essentially articulated) owe to Kant.


      3. McDowell’s Kant

        So I want to look at McDowell’s Kant, a reading which was very much influenced by Willfrid Sellars. Let us consider the Kant-inspired formulation of what constitutes the Myth of the Given: we succumb to the Myth of the Given by not acknowledging that the understanding is at play in sensibility itself. But what is it in Kant that interests McDowell, and what does it have to do with judgement?

        Although McDowell may care about transcendental arguments (see e.g. his “The disjunctive conception of experience as material for a transcendental argument”, in Engaged Intellect) (McDowell 2009d), and one might trace transcendental arguments to Kant, he does not care about Kant’s global transcendental framework, or his view of subjectivity as it includes, say, the difference between understanding and reason, or the topic of synthesis, or the Critique of Pure Reason inventory of the forms of propositional unity (i.e. the categories)). What he cares about is unity, the unity of judgement as it relates to intuition, hence the recurrent quote from the Critique of Pure Reason is


        «The same function which gives unity to the various representations in a judgement also gives unity to the mere synthesis of various representations in an intuition; and this unity in its most general expression, we entitle the pure concept of the understanding» (I. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason A 79/B104-105, § 10 Transcendental Analytics).


        We fall prey to the Myth of the Given by not acknowledging that only the unity of (content) of judgement could make for unity of content of intuitions.

        Notice that for Kant himself, judgement is in a very strong sense synthesis: a judgement is a mental act of synthesis, under a logical form, i.e. a form of discoursive synthesis (a category), which relates to the synthesis of Mannigfaltigkeit in intuition (Anschauung). It is because this mental act of judging is so crucial that we may e.g. defend (this is e.g. the thesis of Béatrice Longuenesse in her 1995 book on Kant and the capacity to judge5) that the capacity to judge (Vermögen zu urteilen) takes precedence over the categories as a fixed ‘table’ of forms (deduced from that of judgements). This (synthetic function of unity) is in fact decisive in Kant’s own framework not least because it is the link to the relation between judgement and consciousness. In §19 of the Transcendental Analytics we have Kant saying that a judgement is the way given Erkenntnisse, cognitions, are brought to the subjective unity of apperception, so to consciousness (die Art gegeben Erkentnisse zur objective Einheit der Apperzeption zu bringen, in his own words).


        5 Longuenesse 1995.


        84


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        ISSN: 2386-7655

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        Now McDowell’s own (officially, Kantian) story about experiencing and judging goes the following way. Experience reveals that things are thus and so; he calls this seemings. As we experience, capacities that belong to reason (he speaks of conceptual capacities) are actualized. They are actualized in the experiencing itself – but this does not mean we should think of perceptual experience as ’putting significances together’. All we need to acknowledge is that perceptual experiences are actualizations – not exercizes of conceptual capacities.

        But this means there is a potential for discoursive activity already there in intuition having its content – and for that to be so not all concepts need be at play, but some concepts have to. Yet content whose figuring in (such) knowledge is owed to the (further) recognitional capacity need not be part of the experience itself. Experiencing puts me in a position to know non-inferentially that e.g. what I saw (and then I did not have the concept of cardinal) was a cardinal:


        Although according to the view above experience has (conceptual) content, it does not have propositional content, nor need it include everything that the experience enables a subject to know non-inferentially. What McDowell means by saying that experiencings have intuitional content is that the unity of intuitional content is given; it is not a result of our putting significances together, as discoursive unity is. But it is not provided by sensibility alone either. This is what matters for McDowell. Seeing capacities of reason as actualized even in our unreflective perceptual awareness is, for McDowell, the best antidote to an intellectualistic conception of human rationality (2009: 271).

        Of course if in this anti-intellectualist view, seeings are seemings and thus (proto) judgings, one might wonder whether this is actually the best antidote to an intellectualist conception of human rationality (Hubert Dreyfus, himself a paladin of anti-intellectualism in philosophy and cognitive science, criticized McDowell, in the debate between them which took place a few years before his death6, for seeing us as ‘24hour rational animals’). But my point here is simply that in Kant himself what holds sensible and discursive unity together is the ‘I think’ of apperception. This in turn leads him to explore the originally synthetic unity of apperception – and such idea of originally synthetic unity of apperception is in we are already dealing with a view of consciousness, an idea of consciousness as synthesis. Notice that synthesis as in ‘consciousness as synthesis’, i.e. the synthetic unity of consciousness, is synthesis in a different sense than synthesis of concepts in a judgemen (namely it involves time). Be it as it may, it is unity that McDowell is


        6 Jonathan Shear 2013.

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        interested in in his use of Kant. He believes there is a task for unity, as Kant himself believed there was: the task of the unity of judgement. Need he go further, from judgement into the more obscure waters of the discussion of Kant’s position on consciousness and self-consciousness, a notably controversial topic? Maybe not. That is not what he is interested in primarily (and his own view on self-consciousness takes a clearly different route – let us not forget, e.g. that McDowell is an animalist concerning personal identity, which seems to be a position not easy to acomodate into any form of Kantianism). But just to finish sketching McDowell’s current view of judgement, what exactly is judgement, ‘the paradigmatic exercise of theoretical rationality’, as he calls it, in this picture of experience and intuition? Judging is, according to McDowell, making it explicit to oneself. Judgements are inner analogues to assertions. The capacity to judge is a capacity for spontaneity, for self-determination in the light of reasons recognized as such. This, for McDowell, is the most important trait of judgement. A knowledgeable perceptual judgement has its epistemic entitlement in the light of the subject’s experience (McDowell 2009: 257). This is what McDowell is most interested in: how experience represents things is not under one’s control (McDowell 2004: 11) but minimally it must be possible – in view of a particular seeming – to decide whether or not to judge that things are a certain way.


      4. Travis’ Frege

One key to understand the McDowell- Travis debate on perception is that whereas the problem of unity is a problem for McDowell, as he considers perception and judgement and Anshauung, it is a non-existing problem for Travis. Why is it so? In Travis’ Fregean (or, better, Frege-inspired) conception of judgement, a judgement is not an accomplishment, the accomplishment of a unity – there is no unity to be accomplished in judgement because there is no doing. A judgment takes place where there is room for being exposed to error, and that happens when being presented with (what there is) in an environment. ‘Environment’ in Travis terminology means ‘what there is to be met with’. A judgement is nothing like given Erkenntnisse (cognitions) being brought to the subjective unity of apperception. What a judgement is is rather a stance of an agent in an environment. In Frege Father of Disjunctivism Travis put it like this (Travis 2013: 89):


«Frege saw that we needed an environment, and thus perception, and not merely sensation, if there is something for logic to be about. Not that logic applies only to environmental thoughts but rather that only given an environment for thinkers can the notion of judgement gain a foothold»


Jerry Fodor once put his conception of mind in a nutshell by saying: no representations, no computations, no computations no mind. Here we have a starting motto for Travis’ conception of mind and thought: no environment, no judgement, no judgement, no logic (and if no logic then no thought). The reason for environment being so crucial is the fact that, for Travis, judgment involves a particular kind of correctness: truth. According to Frege, Truth is the very business of logic:



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«Der Logik kommt es zu, die Gesetze des Wahrseins zu erkennen» (Frege 1918/1993: ).


No truth, no logic. And Travis’ claim is that there is no such thing as this kind of correctness, i.e. truth, for the non-environmental:


«To be a judgement just is to be subject to a kind of correctness (i.e. truth), which is a particular kind of correctness (contrasting, for example, with being justified). Explaining what kind of correctness truth is and explaining what sort of attitude judgement is are one and the same enterprise» (Travis 2013: 71).


But Travis’ story is until now a story about logic, judgement and truth – how does it become a story about perception? And how is it possible that in this story Frege ends up not being a conceptualist regarding perception? Frege is usually, e.g. by Michael Dummett7, taken to have been, inasfar as he was concerned with perception, namely in The Thought, a conceptualist regarding perception. Admittedly Travis’ reading of Frege is very unorthodox. That is how the relevant passage of Der Gedanke that brings in the role of the non-sensible element nicht sinnliches, is usually read:


«Having impressions is not seeing things….It is necessary but not sufficient. Something nicht sinnliches has to be added. This is what unlocks the outer world. Without it each of us would be locked in an inner world. Besides the inner world we must distinguish the external world of sensible perceptible things. (but) To recognize any of these domains we need something not sensible» (Frege 1918/1997: 343) [In the original German: «Das Haben von Gesichtseindrücken ist zwar nötig zum Sehen der Dinge, aber nicht hinreichend. Was noch hinzukommen muß, ist nichts Sinnliches. Und dieses ist es doch gerade, was uns die Außenwelt aufschließt; denn ohne dieses Nichtsinnliche bliebe jeder in seiner Innenwelt eingeschlossen»]


This something nicht sinnliches is a what Frege calls a thought. In Travis’ terms, a thought always contains something reaching beyond the particular case, by means of which the particular case is presented as falling under a generality (etwas Allgemein). And nothing less than this, i.e. nothing less than something nicht sinnliches, a thought. makes for something truth-evaluable. Because it is precisely because something nicht sinnliches is for Frege involved in perception that Dummett sees Frege as a conceptualist regarding perception. How come Travis does not?

A further step in needed here. For Travis such step is a (Frege inspired) distinction between what the conceptual and the non-conceptual. The conceptual he identifies as ‘ways for things to be’. The non-conceptual are the particular ways things are. The conceptual is the domain of logic. And his point here is that logic is not sufficient for accounting for what he calls reason’s reach, i.e. for rationality. The idea is that such reach is reach to the non-conceptual, and such reach is to be done by judgement, and judgement



7 Dummett 1993.

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only. And so judgements are judgements done by agents, - which means that for Travis, Fregean thoughts properly considered will turn out to be abtractions form judgements).

Only through this further step are we then entiled to the following reading of

‘seeing’:


«But don’t we see that this flower has five petals? One can say that, but then one uses the word ‘see’ not in the sense of a bare experience involving light, but one means by this a connected thought and judgement.» Aber sehe ich denn nicht, dass diese Blume fünf Blumenblätter hat? Man kann das sagen, gebraucht aber das Wort ‘sehen’ dann nicht in dem Sinne des blossen Lichtempfindens, sondern man meint damit verbunden ein Denken und Urteilen»] (Frege 1897: 149)


Such reading of seeing is what Travis proposes as an alternative to McDowell’s Kantian reading of seeing as involving understanding in sensibility. One main point there is the role of judgement: judgment is involved in ‘reasons’s reach’, which is a reach from the conceptual to the non-conceptual. Of course form McDowell’s Kantian view point there is no such thing as the Travisian non-conceptual (the ways things are). Yet Travis’ account of representation as representing-as done by a thinker, or agent, is tied to this reaching from the conceptual to the non-conceptual as it is done by judgement. Representing-as is then, for Travis, a three party affair, or three-place relation: there is the representer, a thinker representing as a stretch of the non-conceptual (what is represented- as) as a way for something to be (so involving the conceptual, i.e. ‘ways for things to be’). There is no such thing as representation proper short of this third party affair (hence there are e.g. no sub-personal ‘representations’).

I will not get deeper into this view; its clearly ontological implications have to be substantiated. I just want to point out that in the McDowell-Travis debate Travis recruits Frege above all for thinking of how we even get something truth-evaluable into a picture of thinking and representing. And the idea is that what he terms ‘environment’ is needed for there to be accuracy conditions; this will do away with the ideia that experiencings themselves have anything like accuracy conditions. Experiencings do not have accuracy conditions, experiencings (just) bring our surroundings into view. Sight affords awareness of what is before the eyes, it puts opportunities on offer. Thought is a response to this; only thencan there be representing, as well as truth and falsity.


6. An ambiguity regarding appearances

I would like to finish by testing how McDowell’s Kant-inspired conception of judgement and Travis Frege-inspired conception of judgement position us, respectively, towards an ambiguity regarding the notion of appearances. This is an ambiguity which does matter for metaphysical discussions, i.e. when being a realist or an idealist concerning thought-world relations is at stake. I think there is a difference here, which comes out in McDowell’s and Travis’ respective (and apparently innocuous) linguistic preferences for ‘seemings’ and for ‘looks’.


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This is the ambiguity. When we speak of ‘appearances’ we might mean (1) an object as mere appearance, i.e. a seeming to me; (2) an object as the object of appearance as a phenomenon, my being appeared to.

Let us imagine Travis in his Austinian mode speaking of looks. Let us evoke Austin’s example of the soap lemon – let us say that there is a wax lemon in fornt of my eyes; it looks like a lemon, it looks like a real lemon; I think it is a lemon. So what? Are my senses misleading me? There is nothing wrong with my experience. There is a lemon in front of me, it is neither a hallucination, nor a real lemon: it is a wax imitation. The only mistake is in the thinking, the judging, there is nothing wrong in reality, or in my experiencing. Looks are of looks things, for anyone. This is sense 2 of appearances.

Now let us consider McDowell’s seemings, as claims (remember this is Sellars word, wrong in letter, right in spirit, McDowell says). He does speak of seemings as ‘acts of capacities of a subject in an environment’. But (think of the example of the Müller-Lyer illusion) there is the seeming and there is the deciding, the judging: the subject does not believe things are as they look.

Insofar as seemings are claims McDowell is being tempted to see them as seemings to a subject and there he is at risk of inherit a problem from Kant. The problem is the following. Considering senses 1 and 2 above, Kant would officialy, clearly chose the second sense of appearance: an object as the object of appearance is a phenomenon, one’s being appeared to. It is only with the idea that judging involves the unity of apperception that the first sense of appearance (an object as mere appearance is a seeming to me) sneaks in. But it is thus that Kant risks internalizing the object of representation in representation (I borrow the expression from Béatrice Longuenesse).

If a seeming is a judging and what judging is, is a bringing of representations under the unity of self-consciousness, then a seeming will be involved with self- consciousness. This is what I mean by internalizing the object of representation in representation.

Internalizing the object of representation in representation is obviously not the goal of McDowell (the opposite should be the case, if we think of his disjunctivism). But it is the shape of his appeal to Kantian unity, in the exercise of rational capacities, that makes him run that risk. And so their respective Kantian and Fregean allegiances when it comes to account for the nature of judgement makes a difference for what should be their common de-subjectivizing view of appearances, as fellow disjuntivists.

As for Travis Frege-inspired view of judgement, it is a deeply anti-Kantian view, and this is not because of any direct discussions about structure and analyticity, the kind of discussions logicians and historians of logic might be interested in when comparing Kant and Frege on judgement. The view is is deeply anti-Kantian because of the ‘environment- constraint for logic’ (to be) that it proposes, given the environment-constraint for judgement. Of course, in spite of the environment-constraint (which is a constraint for logic to be, i.e. for there to be logic), there is, in Travis, an idea about reason’s reach (to the non-conceptual) which contrasts with logic’s reach (which is reach within the conceptual). I am not claiming here that all this stands as it is. All I intend to stress is that in Travis view, in contrast to McDowell’s Kantian view, there is no role here for the ‘I think’ (as


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consciousness). There is no role for consciousness because there is no role for combination or synthesis, synthesis into a unity of concepts which are, as it were previously possessed. Neither McDowell’s nor Travis’ view of judgement is a descrition of psychological machinery at work. Still there is place for a difference between them as to what concepts are, which I will not go into here8. Suffice it to point out that for Frege as Travis reads him, in the ontology arising from his view of logic and language, concepts are at the level of Bedeutung, reference, not of Sinn, sense. In contrast McDowell’s Kantian way of seeing seemings as ‘representing’, as rational capacities operative in experiencing, inevitably involving apperception, things should be different.


Conclusion


I have been trying to get at the following. A view of perception is key for a picture of thought-world relations; having a clear picture of how perception and representation relate is particularly important there. Different conceptions of representation are very often simply invisible in current philosophy of perception when one starts off by discussing representational content and whether perception has it or not. One crucial aspect of the debate I analysed is that it concerns the nature of representation directly. In Kant and Frege there are explicit views of judgement, quite different ones, which go a long way in spelling out what one might mean by ‘representation’. Endorsing such views McDowell and Travis arrive at contrasting conceptions of perception, appearings and appearances, which I tried to analyse. Even if their debate on perception and representation goes on against a background of largely shared assumptions on how to do philosophy of perception, their respective Kantian and Fregean allegiances thus make a large difference. The contrast between a Kantian and a Fregean take on judgement, which I tried to express with the alternative ‘apperception and environment’, helps us come to terms with what the crucial questions concerning perception and representation are. That is an important step, not only for the philosophy of perception but also for assessing how a Kantian position fares within contemporary discussions in philosophy of mind and epistemology, and what kind of criticism it may be subject to.


References


8 Although I will not pursue the contrast between McDowell and Travis where it comes to ontology, I think there are illuminating differences there too. Travis thinks in terms of objects and concepts ‘after Frege’. The key point to take from Frege is the distinction between the conceptual and non-conceptual [or: between the conceptual and the historical] The conceptual: things being such and such; ways for things to be; ‘generalities’ The non-conceptual: things being as they are; not the sort of thing to which logic applies. McDowell has moved from his early focus on facts to more recent appeal to common sensibles (2009: 261) to grasp how some concpets have to be at play.

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N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 79-92

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1095143

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Boyle, Matthew, forthcoming. “Kant on Logic and the Laws of Understanding” in Miguens & Travis, The Logical Alian At 20, Cambridge MA, Harvard UP.

Brogaard, Berit, 2014. Does Perception Have Content? Oxford, OUP.

Burge, Tyler, 2010. The Origins of Objectivity, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Dummett, Michael, 1993. Origins of Analytic Philosophy. Cambridge MA, Harvard UP. Frege, Gottlob, 1918/1993. “Der Gedanke”, Beiträge zur Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus, 2, pp. 58-77. In Logische Untersuchungen, hrsg. Günther Patzig, Göttingen, Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1993. English translation: Beaney, Michael ed. 1997, The Frege Reader, London, Blackwell.

Frege, Gottlob, 1983. Logik 1897. In Nachgelassene Schriften, H. Hermes, F. Kambartel and F. Kaulbach eds, Hamburg, Felix Meiner, 1983, pp. 137-163.

Kant, Immanuel, 1929. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Norman Kemp Smith. London, Macmillan [edition quoted by J. McDowell]

McDowell, John, 1994. Mind and World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. McDowell, John, 2009a. “Avoiding the Myth of the Given”, in Having the World in View, Cambridge MA, Harvard UP.

McDowell, John, 2009b. “Conceptual Capacities in Perception”, in Having the World in View, Cambridge MA, Harvard UP.

McDowell, John, 2009c. “Sensory Consciousness in Kant and Sellars”, in Having the World in View Cambridge MA, Harvard UP.

McDowell, John, 2009d. “The disjunctive conception of experience as material for a transcendental argument”, in The Engaged Intellect Cambridge MA, Harvard UP. McDowell, John, 2009e. “Experiencing the World”, in The Engaged Intellect, Cambridge MA, Harvard UP.

McDowell, John, 2013 b. Are the Senses Silent? (Response to Charles Travis), http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=fBQHEGg5JSo (Agnes Cuming Lecture II)

McDowell, John 2013, Perceptual experience: both relational and contentful, European Journal of Philosophy 21, 144-157 (Mark Sacks Lecture)

Miguens, Sofia, forthcoming 2017. “Les problèmes philosophiques de la perception”. In R. Moati & D. Cohen-Lévinas eds. Lire Le Bruit du sensible de Jocelyn Benoist.

Narboux, Jean-Philippe, “Voir, dire, et dire voir : McDowell, Travis, Clarke”, in Lire L’esprit et le monde de McDowell, C. Alsaleh & A. Le Goff (éds.), Paris, Vrin, 2012, p.13-35. Suivi d’une réponse par John McDowell, p.249-255.

Shear, Jonathan ed., 2013 Mind, Reason and Being in the World – the McDowell-Dreyfus debate. London, Routledge.

Travis, Charles, (2013 / 2004). “The Silence of the Senses”, in Travis 2013, Perception – Essays After Frege, Oxford, OUP, pp. 23-58. Initially published in Mind, 113 (449), pp.59-

94. Extensively revised.

Travis, Charles, 2012. “While Under the Influence”, in Miguens and Preyer 2012,

Consciousness and Subjectivity, Frankfurt, Ontos Verlag.

Travis, Charles, 2013. “Frege, Father of Disjunctivism”, in Travis, Perception – Essays After Frege, Oxford, OUP, pp. 59-89


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ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1095143


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Travis, Charles, 2013. “Unlocking the Outer World”, in Travis, Perception – Essays After Frege, Oxford, OUP, pp. 59-89

Travis, Charles, 2014. “The Preserve of Thinkers”, in Berit Brogaard (ed) Does Perception Have Content?, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Travis, Charles, forthcoming. “The Move: the Divide, the Myth and Its Dogma”, in Johan Gersel, Rasmus Thybo Jensen, Morten S. Thaning and Soren Overgaard, (eds), In the Light of Experience: Essays on Reasons and Perception, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


CON-TEXTOS KANTIANOS

92 International Journal of Philosophy

N.o 6, Diciembre 2017, pp. 79-92

ISSN: 2386-7655

Doi: 10.5281/zenodo.1095143

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