Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Philosophy/Neuroscience, and Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation argues for disunity in perceptual processing: rather than outputting to a single ‘centralized’ cognitive system, separate perceptual processing pathways produce different person-level representations for different purposes. I argue that this disunity has important implications for abstract theorizing in the philosophy and cognitive science of perception, for experimental methodology, and for our understanding of the normative role of perception itself. The first three chapters explore models in cognitive neuroscience which support perceptual disunity. In Chapter 1, I argue that a version of Milner and Goodale’s (2006) influential ‘two visual streams hypothesis’ survives its recent empirical challenges. In Chapter 2, I present a new conception of visual streams as core mechanisms for person-level representation-types. In Chapter 3, I argue that the function of functional division in the visual system is to realize both ‘task-coupled’ and ‘task-decoupled’ processing approaches in response to the same downstream task. Chapters 4 and 5 begin the work of investigating the normative implications of disunified perception. Chapter 4 argues for a responsibilist account of the epistemology of perception, on which we are epistemically responsible to indirectly influence our perceptual states in order to produce good epistemic outcomes. Chapter 5 explores the role of non-epistemic factors in determining our epistemic responsibilities. I argue for an account of ‘pragmatic encroachment’ that I call ‘degree encroachment’, on which non-epistemic factors influence the *degree* of continuous justification conferred by one’s perceptual experiences.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Casey O'Callaghan

Committee Members

Ron Mallon, Allan Hazlett, Julia Staffel, Daniel Stoljar,

Included in

Philosophy Commons