Philosophy, Department of


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Published in American Philosophical Quarterly 11:2 (April 1974), pp. 103-112. Copyright © 1982 North American Philosophical Publications, Inc.


In this study I am going to present and discuss some of the central themes of Gustav Bergmann's theory of perception. I shall be concerned, however, only with "later Bergmann," that is, with the perceptual theory worked out in a series of essays in which Bergmann shifts from phenomenalism to a form of intentional realism. This label ("intentional realism") indicates the two dominant themes in Bergmann's later thought about perception: perceivings are analyzed as mental acts (thoughts) which are intentionally related to real and mind-independent objects and states of affairs. In a timely essay, " Intentionality" (1955) Bergmann presented an impressive defense of mental acts, and although the framework of that essay was still phenomenalistic, the structural analysis of mental acts and their intentionality presented there has not been significantly altered by Bergmann in later writings. In two subsequent essays, "Acts" (1960) and "Realistic Postscript" (1963) his realistic turn was worked out in detail in the context of giving a satisfactory account of ordinary perceptual experience. These three essays will comprise the core texts of the study that follows.

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