The Place of Concept in Human Cognitive Process of Perception: Why the Conceptualists Cannot Be Right?


There have been so many controversies in the meaning of concept and particularly its place in the cognitive process of perception. The conceptualists, particularly, John McDowell, D. W. Hamlyn, Bill Brewer and Sonia Sedivy, argue that the content of perceptual experience is always in a kind of relation with propositional attitude such that beliefs, judgments, hopes and aspirations are instantaneously captured in perception. If this is granted, then, it becomes difficult to admit the possibility of non-conceptuality in perception. But, on a critical look at the conceptualists’ arguments and deductions, we discover that the conceptualists conflate sensation with perception and concept formation. In view of this, this paper examines and does a critical analysis of the meaning of concept with the belief that if its place in the cognitive process of perception is determined and ascertained, the long standing problem about the nature and characterization of the content of human perceptual experience will automatically dissolve. Whilst distinguishing and separating sensation from perception, the paper establishes that concept-formation is not generic to perception and that there is a place for non-conceptuality in perception. This paper employs conceptual analytical tools to explain the place of concept, sensation and perceptual experience in the cognitive process of perception and thus establishes the truism of non-conceptuality in perception.

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Akintona, E. (2015) The Place of Concept in Human Cognitive Process of Perception: Why the Conceptualists Cannot Be Right?. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 96-103. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.51011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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