Disjunctivism and Realism
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Disjunctivism and Realism book
This chapter argues that conceptual realism offers an important alternative to na?ve realist, purely relational approaches with which ‘disjunctivism’ has come to be readily associated. I argue that John McDowell’s account of perception as both contentful and relational tends to go unnoted when the options for disjunctive theories are laid out. But McDowell’s approach is important because it comes up the middle between ‘intentional’ and ‘relational’ views of perception. In doing so, it offers theoretical resources for explaining perceptual experience and its epistemic standing that purely relational views associated with na?ve realism do not have. McDowell’s work opens a unified approach to perception and its epistemic potential that turns on the claim that it is contents and the broader context of capacities in which such contents figure that secure the perceiver’s relation to what she sees. I call views of this kind conceptual realism, though commonsense realism might be more apt. Following comparison of the explanations that conceptual and na?ve realism can provide of various difficult scenarios, the chapter concludes with an example of how conceptual realist theories might disagree or diverge from the detail of McDowell’s approach. My criticism draws on aesthetics to discuss experience of aesthetic properties.