Author: Natsoulas, Thomas
Affiliation: U California, Davis
Title: On perceptual aboutness.
Source: Behaviorism, 1977 Spr, 1977. 5 (1): p.75-97Reference.
Language: English
Subjects: Thesaurus terms: Awareness Cognitive Processes Perception Theories
Added Keywords: cognitive process vs awareness as perception
Classification Code: History & Systems (2140)
Population Terms: Human
Abstract: Distinguishes between two conceptions of perception: (a) as a process (i.e., has a structure over time; cognition) of the brain, and (b) as an awareness or state (as conceived by the perceiving individual) that exists instantaneously in its entirety. Whichever concept one accepts, perceptions (whether cognitions or awareness) are always "of" or "about" something. This property is termed "intentionality" or "aboutness." Given the aboutness characteristic of perceptions, therefore, if perception is a physical process it is necessary to determine how physical occurrences can have aboutness. Recently proposed answers to this problem are reviewed and evaluated, including D. M. Armstrong's (1968) "physicalist-compatible" theory and E. W. Hall's (1961) intentional realism. Both are found wanting, because to reduce intentionality to physical concepts is to lose touch with an entire dimension of perception. W. Sellar's (1968) verbal behavior model is considered to hold promise and is discussed in the context of the idea of concrete perceptual reference and the relevance of subjective experiential elements to perceptual intentionality. It is concluded that, rather than reject outright any physicalist/materialistic account of brain, mind, and behavior, what is needed is to enrich the conception of the physical to explain qualitative presence. (78 ref) ((c) 1999 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved)