Embracing the In-Betweenness of Aspect-Perception's Normative and Evaluative Dimensions


  • Janette Dinishak University of California, Santa Cruz




Wittgenstein, aspect perception, aspect blindness, perception, perceptual experience, veridicality, psychological concepts


Abstract: This paper examines the following two ideas and their relations: (i) aspect-perception is a perceptual experience; (ii) veridicality is the primary standard for evaluating the success of a perceptual experience. I argue that a valuable lesson to glean from Wittgenstein’s investigations of aspect-perception is that aspect-perception is “in-between” when it comes to whether and how veridicality is at issue in it. Yet it does not follow from this in-betweenness that there is no standard by which we evaluate aspect-perception, no notion of success at perceiving an aspect. Aspect-perception has normative and evaluative dimensions that are not a matter of veridicality, or at least not in any straightforward way, some of which I explore here. These dimensions are brought to light, in part, by shifting evaluative focus to what the perceiver “brings” to aspect-perception experiences and attending to the ways aspect-perception requires and involves mastery of a technique. The shift in focus also helps illuminate different ways of understanding aspect-blindness and the kinds of failure at play in different kinds of aspect-blindness. All in all, embracing aspect-perception’s in-betweenness regarding whether or not veridicality is at issue in it illumines aspect-perception’s distinctive character and richness.

Author Biography

Janette Dinishak, University of California, Santa Cruz

Janette Dinishak is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Center for Public Philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include Wittgenstein, the ethics and epistemology of other minds, and the philosophy of psychology and psychiatry. She has published papers on Wittgenstein, Gestalt psychology, autism, and the pathologization and de-pathologization of human differences in Philosophical Psychology, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Philosophical Investigations, History of the Human Sciences, Metaphilosophy, PLOS One, and Disability Studies Quarterly.


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2022-08-14 — Updated on 2022-09-29