2016 NEH Summer Institute on “Presupposition and Perception”

For further details, see the institute’s Web site: http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/neh_perception/home

The Topic: To philosophers, one of the most important divisions in the human mind is between perception and reasoning. We reason from information that we take ourselves to have already, and often our reasoning is unconscious. In contrast, perception is a means of taking in new information, and it is typically a mode of conscious experience. These two aspects of the mind become deeply intertwined when beliefs, fears, or desires influence what we see, hear, taste, or smell. Such influences are called top-down effects on perception. We will hold a four-week long Summer Institute to explore the diverse philosophical issues raised by top-down effects, covering four major themes: varieties of top-down effects on perception, the epistemology of top-down effects, moral and political perception, and perception in aesthetics. Along the way we will consider the various kinds of norms that govern the mind, and the interface between perception and broader social forces.

Dates: 26th June 2016 to July 21th 2016

Location: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

Co-directors: Nicholas Silins and Susanna Siegel have collaborated formally and informally for years about the epistemology of perception and other topics in philosophy.  Their discussions together have resulted in three co-authored articles:  “Consciousness, Attention, and Perceptual Justification” in Contemporary Perspectives on Scepticism and Perceptual Justification, “Attention and Perceptual Justification”, forthcoming in a festschrift for Ned Block with MIT Press, and the entry on Perceptual Justification in The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Perception, which is an introduction to contemporary problems of perceptual justification in analytic epistemology.

Stipends: All summer scholars will receive a stipend of $3,300 to help cover the cost of travel, housing, food, and materials. The stipend will be distributed in two checks, each for $1,650. The first check will be waiting for summer scholars when they arrive, and the second check will be given out during the second half of the institute. The stipends are taxable.

Application deadline: March 1, 2015