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Do you see what I see?

The Great Conversation Continues with
Dr. Heather Gert

It might seem obvious that if someone asks you what you see, the correct response is a description of whatever you happen to be looking at. Even better, you can direct his attention to that thing and he’ll see it for himself.

But with only a little more thought, it’s easy to see that you can’t always direct someone else’s attention to what you see—because sometimes what you see isn’t the sort of thing anyone else is capable of seeing. Sometimes it’s something that, by its very nature, isn’t visible to anyone else. Visual hallucinations are an obvious example of this. And sometimes, despite the fact that you can direct another person’s attention to the object you’re looking at, that still won’t tell her what you see; because sometimes what you’re looking at is the sort of thing (often a picture or drawing) that can be seen in more than one way. So even if she knows what you’re looking at, she won’t know what you see.

Given all of this, what does it mean when a person says that he sees something? And what kind of thing, in the end, is capable of being seen?

Dr. Heather Gert, UNCG Dept of Philosophy,
will lead a philosophical analysis of seeing.

October 22nd, Faculty Center, 5:00 pm

The Great Conversation is sponsored by the Philosophy Dept and Phi Sigma Tau and offers an opportunity for students and faculty
of all disciplines to join us in philosophical inquiry.

Bring your good mind and bring a friend!