General Science and Philosophy


Seeing With the Two Systems of Thought—a Review of ‘Seeing Things As They Are: a Theory of Perception’ by John Searle (2015)

Authors: Michael R Starks

As so often in philosophy, the title not only lays down the battle line but exposes the author’s biases and mistakes, since whether or not we can make sense of the language game ‘Seeing things as they are’ and whether it’s possible to have a ‘philosophical’ ‘theory of perception’ (which can only be about how the language of perception works), as opposed to a scientific one, which is a theory about how the brain works, are exactly the issues. This is classic Searle—superb and probably at least as good as anyone else can produce, but lacking a full understanding of the fundamental insights of the later Wittgenstein and with no grasp of the two systems of thought framework, which could have made it brilliant. As in his previous work, Searle largely avoids scientism but there are frequent lapses and he does not grasp that the issues are always about language games, a failing he shares with nearly everyone. After providing a framework consisting of a Table of Intentionality based on the two systems of thought and thinking and decision research, I give a detailed analysis of the book.

Comments: 34 Pages.

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Submission history

[v1] 2016-09-18 10:23:45

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