Précis of Thinking and Perceiving




Malleability of perception
Perceptual content
Virtue and understanding
Epistemology of perception
Cognitive architecture
Perceptual learning
Perceptual expertise

How to Cite

Stokes, D. R. (2023). Précis of Thinking and Perceiving. Philosophy and the Mind Sciences, 4.


Thinking and Perceiving defends the claim that thought not only affects perceiving, thought improves perceiving. It thus defends a malleable architecture of the mind, opposite strong modularist views that claim that perception is informationally encapsulated and thus cognitively impenetrable. The argument for this view centers around cases of perceptual expertise. Experts in a wide variety of domains—radiology, birdwatching, elite athletics, fingerprint examination—have been empirically studied using behavioral, neural-physiological, and computational methods. This convergence of evidence is best explained in terms of cognitively sensitive perceptual improvements. And these improvements amount to epistemic virtue, where the virtue is partly resident in perception and credited to the perceiving agent. The view has far-reaching implications for a wide range of issues, including the epistemology of perception, the contents of perception, theory-ladenness in science and social perception, understanding and self-understanding, and aesthetic taste.


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