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Philosophy 250: Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Perceptual Interactions

When: Thursdays 1-4, spring quarter 2020


Matthew Fulkerson
Office hours: Wednesdays 2-3 and by appointment, at

Jonathan Cohen
Last name, followed by the at sign, followed by the four letter abbreviation for the university, followed by '.', followed by 'edu'
Office hours: Tuesdays 2-3 and by appointment, at


This graduate seminar will focus on a cluster of interactions involving perception, and the lessons they hold for philosophical thinking about perception and the mind. These include interactions within perceptual modalities (e.g., the combination of different cues to obtain a single visual depth estimate), between modalities (e.g., the McGurk Effect), slightly more recherche (pathological?) interactions such as we see in synesthesia, connections between perception and emotion, and more. We'll spend some time talking about the range of interactive phenomena, how we might best characterize them, similarities and differences between the cases, and what they have to teach us about perception, perceptual systems, modularity, and cognitive architecture.

This seminar counts toward the distribution requirement in the area of philosophy of mind and language; it also counts as a core seminar.


The seminar requirements are of two main kinds: presentations, and a medium length (15 page) final paper.


We will determine your grade based on the following breakdown:
25% seminar presentations and participation
75% final paper

Further notes:

  1. Below we list core readings for the seminar; we'll be adding secondary readings from the critical literature. Other changes may happen as well.
  2. Most readings are linked below and obtainable (though in some cases only from a UCSD ip number, possibly through vpn). The ones not linked will be made available through canvas or dropbox.

Tentative Schedule

1-2 Classic perceptual interactions, the senses Grice, "Some remarks about the senses" Keely, "Making sense of the senses: Individuating modalities in humans and other animals"; Nudds, "The significance of the senses" O'Callaghan, "The Multisensory Character of Perception" Oisin, Andy, Samantha, Imani
3-4 Advanced multisensory interaction Angelaki and DeAngelis, "Multisensory Integration: psychophysics, neurophysiology, and computation", Ernst and Bulthoff, "Merging the senses into a robust percept", Casey O'Callaghan, "Grades of Multisensory Awareness" Michael, Zachary, Cameron
5-6 Perception and action Susan Hurley, "Perception and Action: Alternative Views"; Briscoe and Grush, "Action-Based Theories of Perception,"; Noe, "Precis of Action in Perception"; De Vignemont, "A Mosquito Bite Against the Enactive Approach to Bodily Experiences" Andy, Zack, Ruoro, Oisin
7-8 Multimodal individuals O'Callaghan, "Intermodal Binding Awareness"; Green,"Binding and Differentiation in Multisensory Object Perception"; Nudds, "Is audio-visual perception 'amodal' or 'cross-modal'?"; Cohen, "Multimodal binding as mereological co-constituency" Matt, Imani, Cameron, Jonathan
9-10 Epistemic interactions Siegel, "Cognitive Penetrability and Perceptual Justification"; Fulkerson, "Sensory Interactions and the Epistemology of Haptic Touch"; Nanay, "Multimodal Mental Imagery and Perceptual Justification" Samantha, Matt, Jonathan