Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2004
The Philosophy of Perception
Jeffrey S. Galko
Ontology and Perception
The ontological question of what there is, from the perspective of common sense, is intricately bound to what can be perceived. The above observation, when combined with the fact that nouns within language can be divided between nouns that admit counting, such as ‘pen’ or ‘human’, and those that do not, such as ‘water’ or ‘gold’, provides the starting point for the following investigation into the foundations of our linguistic and conceptual phenomena. The purpose of this paper is to claim that such phenomena are facilitated by, on the one hand, an intricate cognitive capacity, and on the other by the complex environment within which we live. We are, in a sense, cognitively equipped to perceive discrete instances of matter such as bodies of water. This equipment is related to, but also differs from, that devoted to the perception of objects such as this computer. Behind this difference in cognitive equipment underlies a rich ontology, the beginnings of which lies in the distinction between matter and objects. The following paper is an attempt to make explicit the relationship between matter and objects and also provide a window to our cognition of such entities.