Abstract for Phillips’ talk

According to the same fundamental kind claim (SFK): perception of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious perception can, and does, occur without consciousness. SFK opposes the traditional and common-sense thought that perception is a determinate of consciousness (e.g. Moore 1925). Nonetheless, most contemporary philosophers regard SFK as an unquestionable empirical datum. Taking as my stalking horse Burge’s influential account of perception as objective, sensory representation by the individual, I examine Burge’s highly representative case for SFK. This case appeals to alleged dissociations between perception and consciousness: (a) in certain lower animals; (b) in clinical syndromes such as blindsight and neglect; and finally (c) in cases of priming in ordinary subjects under conditions of masking or inattention. In each case, I dispute whether the empirical data establishes SFK. I conclude that even on Burge’s ‘modern’ conception of perception, the traditional idea that perception is a determinate of conscious remains a scientifically respectable hypothesis.