GSTF Journal of General Philosophy (JPhilo)

, 1:4

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

In Support of Theory of Appearing: Defending Langsam against Djukic’s Critique

  • Ali FarAffiliated withUniversity of California BerkeleySanta Clara UniversitySan Francisco State University


The purpose of this paper is to defend Langsam’s Theory of Appearing (TA) against Djukic et al’s critique. In strengthening Langsam’s defense of TA, I adopt some of Le Morvan's arguments in defending Direct Realism. TA states that experiences are relations between material object and mind, and that phenomenal features are appearances of relations held between material objects and mind. Djukic objects to TA on three grounds of Hallucination, Causal Principle (CP), and Time-Gap: First, Djukic objects to TA on the ground that perception and hallucinations are phenomenally indistinguishable, thus phenomenal features (or properties) instantiated in perception may not be relations either, and thus TA could fail. In defending TA, Langsam argues that indistinguishability does not entail that perception and hallucination instantiate the same appearance. Moreover, disjunctivist conception of experience supports TA in that phenomenal features are either a relation between a material object and mind, or it is something else (as in cases of hallucination). I aim to show that sense-data (or like) theories of perception, that Djukic favors as being superior, would fail Djukic's own scrutiny in cases of hallucination in addition to being against common-sense. Second objection is that perception and hallucination must have the same-cause because they are indistinguishable, and also CP requires that same-causes to produce the same-effects. But hallucination and perception are different experiences, and hence TA fails CP. Responding to CP objection, “same-cause same-effect” only applies to intrinsic changes and intrinsic changes are changes in intrinsic properties and relations between intrinsic properties. Third, TA is opposed because for a given Time-Gap we cannot experience objects as they are (were) at the time of our perception. TA defeats this objection because it does not claim that “we can now (experience) the no-longer existent object as it is now, but only that we can now (experience) the once-existent object as it used to be. Fourth, to further strengthen TA, I will raise objections to TA including from the vantage point of Durability, Perceptual Relativity, Illusion, and Partial Perception arguments, and respond to such objections accordingly. To explicate TA, I argue from the vantage points of common sense, realistic physical biological considerations, and non-miraculous expectations from any theory of perception, including from TA.


Philosophy of Perception Theory of Appearing Direct Realism Disjunctivisim Langsam Djukic Le Morvan Hallucination Causal Principle Time Gap Partial Perception Perceptual Relativity Illusion Durability