The philosophy of perception investigates the nature of our sensory experiences and their relation to reality. In the second edition of this popular book, William Fish introduces the subject thematically, setting out the major theories of perception together with their motivations and attendant problems. While providing historical background to debates in the field, this comprehensive overview focuses on recent presentations and defenses of the different theories, and looks beyond visual perception to take into account the role of other senses.

The second edition organizes the contents into two main parts: the first deals with philosophical theories of perception, and the second covers key topics and issues in perception as they are discussed in philosophy, cognitive science, and psychology. Two completely new chapters have been added – one on color and color vision; and a second on the interaction between sense modalities – and other chapters have been significantly updated to include discussion of topics such as pre-twentieth-century philosophy of perception, phenomenal intentionality, color adverbialism, predictive processing approaches to perception, ecological approaches to perception, and in-depth discussions of the non-visual senses. Additional updates include fuller and easier-to-understand explanations of some important views that were glossed over in the first edition and greater coverage of research from the last 25 years. All chapter summaries, references, and Suggested Reading lists at the end of each chapter have been brought up to date and the volume now includes a more extensive index at the back of the book. 

Key Features and Benefits:

  • The only single-authored textbook on philosophy of perception currently available
  • Devoted to contemporary theories and topics, but with appropriate historical coverage for fuller understanding of contemporary work
  • Each chapter includes a chapter overview, questions for further consideration, and an annotated list of Suggested Readings

Includes coverage of topics like:
- the phenomenal principle
- perception and hallucination
- perception and content
- naïve realism and disjunctivism

- intentionalism and representationalism
- the nature of content
- qualia theories and phenomenal intentionality
- perception and empirical science
- color and color science
- theories of non-visual perception
- Molyneux’s problem
- cross-modal illusions
- multimodality

Key Changes to the Second Edition

  • The division of the book into two major parts: Part I on philosophical theories of perception, Part II on key interdisciplinary topics in perception
  • The addition of two new chapters on color and color vision, and interaction between different sense modalities
  • More topics from the last 25 years of philosophy of perception
  • Combined chapters on belief acquisition theories and intentional theories into one larger chapter
  • More material on the growing intersection of the philosophy and psychology of perception
  • Includes coverage of Molyneux’s problem and of cross-modal illusions
  • Updated chapter summaries, references, and Suggested Reading lists at the end of each chapter
  • A summary table and a more extensive index

chapter 1|9 pages


part Part I|124 pages

Philosophical Theories of Visual Perception

chapter 2|22 pages

Sense Datum Theories

chapter 4|29 pages

Adverbialism and Qualia Theories

chapter 5|34 pages

Naïve Realism

part Part II|111 pages

The Philosophy of Perception and the Sciences of the Mind

chapter 7|28 pages

Color, Color Vision, and Color Science

chapter 9|21 pages