The Causal Theory of Perception
A causal theory of perception has been held by many philosophers, e. g. by Descartes, Locke, Kant, and Russell, to mention only a few. Yet these philosophers’ theories of perception differ greatly — so greatly that it would be misleading to say that they held ‘the same theory of perception’. But since my aim is to analyze the epistemological problem of perception and to appraise possible solutions to it (rather than to expound the views of any particular philosopher), I shall not go into special features of individual philosophers’ versions of the causal theory except insofar as this serves my purpose. Rather, I shall seek to formulate the fundamental features of the causal theory — fundamental in the sense that ignoring them would lead to overlooking either some aspect of the problem or some possible solution to it. In this task, I shall be guided by H. P. Grice’s valuable article, ‘The Causal Theory of Perception’.1 In this article Grice provides an excellent definition of the theory’s fundamental features.
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