Perceptual capacities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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. This chapter develops an account of perceptual capacities. This account involves an analysis of their function, their individuation and possession conditions, the relation between perceptual capacities and their employment, as well as their informational and neural base conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerception, Cognition and Aesthetics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9780429870286
ISBN (Print)9781138615939
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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