Hegel and McDowell on Perceptual Experience and Judgment

  • Paul ReddingEmail author
Part of the Studies in German Idealism book series (SIGI, volume 20)


In this paper, I start from a criticism that John McDowell has made of the account of perception contained in Mind and World. In the essay Avoiding the Myth of the Given, he describes his earlier account as having been flawed by his having equated the idea of the conceptuality of perceptual experience with that of its propositionality. While agreeing with this criticism, I suggest that McDowell’s diagnosis of the earlier problem, as well as his suggestions for its solution, are obscured by his continuing to situate his account of perception within the predominantly epistemological framework of Mind and World. In contrast, and guided by Hegel’s account of the logic of perceptual judgment, I invoke a different function served by Kant’s idea of the “intuitive” content of perceptual experience—its modal function of indicating actual from merely possible states of affairs. Comparing Hegel’s metaphysical position to that of contemporary modal actualists, I argue that by transforming Kant’s concept–intuition distinction into a logical distinction between different types of judgment employing different notions of predication, Hegel was able to capture the modal function played by Kantian intuition without falling into the problematic “Myth of the Given.”


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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