Despite their importance in the history of philosophy and in particular in the work of Aristotle and Kant, mental capacities have been neglected in recent philosophical work. By contrast, the notion of a capacity is deeply entrenched in psychology and the brain sciences. Driven by the idea that a cognitive system has the capacity it does in virtue of its internal components and their organization, it is standard to appeal to capacities in cognitive psychology. The main benefit of invoking capacities in an account of the mind is that it allows for an elegant counterfactual analysis of mental states: it allows us to analyze mental states on three distinct yet interrelated levels. A first level of analysis pertains to the function of mental capacities. A second level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, irrespective of the context in which they are employed. A third level of analysis pertains to the mental capacities employed, taking into account the context in which they are employed. I show how an account on which perception is constitutively a matter of employing discriminatory capacities allows for a unified account of perceptual content, perceptual consciousness, and perceptual evidence.
Susanna Schellenberg (Rutgers) Capacities First
Add to Calendar