Perceptual Constancy and Apparent Properties

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Properties like shape, size, and colour exhibit perceptual constancy: they appear to remain constant throughout variations in the conditions under which they are perceived. A number of writers have suggested that “apparent properties”, mind-independent relational properties that vary with the perceptual conditions, play an essential role in explaining perceptual constancy. On this view, when we see, e.g. a penny from an oblique angle, we see the circularity of the penny by or in virtue of seeing a mind-independent relational apparent property (its elliptical look). This chapter argues that views which explain the perception of constant properties of objects by appealing to perception of mind-independent apparent properties are structurally similar to sense-datum theories of perception; as such, they face many of the same challenges. It concludes that apparent properties play at best a modest explanatory role, functioning as the objects of awareness when we direct our attention in the appropriate ways.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhenomenal Presence
EditorsFabian Dorsch, Fiona Macpherson
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199666416
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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