This programme centres on the representative theory of perception which is held by Professor Hirst and which he summarises in the first minutes of the programme. The theory, he says, seeks to answe...r the question 'What is a person really aware of when he looks at an object?' He replies that we perceive an object by being directly aware of mental representations which are caused in us by it. Professor White opposes this view and argues that our common sense view of perception is an adequate answer to the question. What we are aware of when we look at atomato, he says, is simply a tomato. He further argues that the traditional problems of perception like hallucination and time lag can be explained philosophically without resorting to a representative theory.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A303, Problems of philosophy
Item code: A303; 08
First transmission date: 18-07-1973
Published: 1973
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:30
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Producer: Richard Callanan
Contributors: Rodney Hirst; Godfrey Norman Agmondisham Vesey; Alan White
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Darwin; Evolution
Footage description: Animated diagram and drawing shows what happens in a physical sense when an object is seen. Godfrey Vesey states the problem which is to be discussed, and which is "What is a person really aware of when he looks at an object? Vesey introduces the disputants, Hirst and White. Hirst explains the representative theory of perception. In his explanation the animated drawing used in sequence 1 is used again. The main points are printed on the screen. Vesey introduces Alan White who proceeds to examine the representative theory of perception and lists his objections. He poses the question whether the direct and indirect perception of an object are not in effect a method, direct and indirect of doing the same sort of thing. Hirst attempts to answer the objection raised by White. The latter replies still on the direct/indirect contrast. He refers also to the sense of touch. Vesey rephrases the question posed by White asking if there is an object in the case of an hallucination. The point is discussed. White clarifies his position suggesting that the representative theorist is drawing wrong analogies. In response to Vesey's prompting, White suggests that common sense can deal with the time lag in perception. Hirst replies and White takes up his counter arguments. Godfrey Vesey brings the programme to an end.
Master spool number: 6HT/70805
Production number: FOU1866D
Videofinder number: 81916
Available to public: yes