I am interested in the question of how to account for our ability to think about the mind-independent world with which we interact. Intuitively, this ability is due to our perceptual experience of our mind-independent environment - of the objects surrounding us, their properties, events, and so on. However, doubts have been raised as to whether it is possible to provide a philosophical account which preserves this intuition. In my research I aim to show how perceptual experience, specifically visual experience, can play a central role in an explanation of our ability to think about the mind-independent world. The key idea is that we can clarify how experience provides us with this ability by describing: (i) the perceptual mechanisms which underlie our experiences, (ii) our primitive conception of objects, properties and our ability to experience them, and (iii) the relation between (i) and (ii). Such a description, I suggest, clarifies how perceptual experience provides us with direct access to mind-independent objects and properties, where such access enables us to single them out in thought and form empirical concepts.
'Non-Conceptual Experiential Content and Reason-Giving' (2010), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 81(1), 1-23. [link]
‘Demonstrative Content and the Experience of Properties’ (2012) dialectica, 66(4), 489-515. [link]
Perception, Causation and Objectivity. Co-editor with Johannes Roessler and Naomi Eilan, 2011, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
h.lerman at warwick.ac.uk