Varieties of Presence

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Harvard University Press, Feb 6, 2012 - Philosophy - 192 pages
Main description: The world shows up for us-it is present in our thought and perception. But, as Alva NoŽ contends in his latest exploration of the problem of consciousness, it doesn't show up for free. The world is not simply available; it is achieved rather than given. As with a painting in a gallery, the world has no meaning-no presence to be experienced-apart from our able engagement with it. We must show up, too, and bring along what knowledge and skills we've cultivated. This means that education, skills acquisition, and technology can expand the world's availability to us and transform our consciousness. Although deeply philosophical, Varieties of Presence is nurtured by collaboration with scientists and artists. Cognitive science, dance, and performance art as well as Kant and Wittgenstein inform this literary and personal work of scholarship intended no less for artists and art theorists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, and anthropologists than for philosophers. NoŽ rejects the traditional representational theory of mind and its companion internalism, dismissing outright the notion that conceptual knowledge is radically distinct from other forms of practical ability or know-how. For him, perceptual presence and thought presence are species of the same genus. Both are varieties of exploration through which we achieve contact with the world. Forceful reflections on the nature of understanding, as well as substantial examination of the perceptual experience of pictures and what they depict or model are included in this far-ranging discussion.
 

Contents

Free Presence
1
1 Conscious Reference
15
2 Fragile Styles
30
3 Real Presence
47
4 Experience of the World in Time
74
5 Presence in Pictures
82
6 On OverIntellectualizing the Intellect
114
7 Ideology and the Third Realm
134
Afterword
153
A List
157
Bibliography
161
Acknowledgments
167
Index
169
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About the author (2012)

NoŽ Alva : Alva NoŽ is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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