Perceptual Spaces Are Sense-Modality- Neutral

Ingvar Johansson 1
  • 1 Umeå University, , Umeå, Sweden


The paper presents and discusses phenomenological facts about perceptual spaces and percepts, but ends with a few thoughts about possible causal explanations of such spaces. The overarching double-sided hypothesis claims that - from a phenomenological point of view - each individual animal has at each consciously perceived moment of time a sense-modality-neutral perceptual space, and that these perceptual spaces are so-called container spaces. This means, to be concrete, that blind persons, deaf persons, and all perceptually non-handicapped persons have the same kind of phenomenological perceptual space, a sense-modality-neutral container space. The causal reflections bring in James J. Gibson’s work on such matters.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Barwich, Ann-Sophie. Making Sense of Smell: Classifications and Model Thinking in Olfaction Theory. PhD thesis at the University of Exeter, 2013.

  • Barwich, Ann-Sophie. “Measuring the World: Towards a process model of perception.” In Everything Flows: Towards a processual philosophy of biology, edited by D. Nicholson and J. Dupré, ch. 17. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

  • Berkeley, George. An Essay Towards a New Theory of Vision. 1709. Available 23 February 2018.

  • Broad, C.D. Kant. An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

  • Burge, Tyler. Origins of Objectivity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

  • Casati, Roberto and Dokic, Jerome. “Sounds.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2010. Available Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Chastrette, Maurice. “Classification of Odors and Structure-Odor Relationships.” In Olfaction, Taste, and Cognition, edited by C. Rouby et al., 100-16. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

  • Check, Erika. “People track scents in same way as dogs.” Nature December 17, 2006.

  • Chirimuuta, Mazviita. Outside Color. Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2015.

  • Clark, Austen. A Theory of Sentience. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

  • Classen, Constance, Howes, David and Synnott, Anthony. Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell. London: Routledge, 2002.

  • Colyvan, Mark. “Can the Eleatic Principle be Justified?”, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28. 1998. 313-36.

  • Costall, Alan. “1966 and All That: James Gibson and Bottom-Down Theory.” Ecological Psychology 29. 2017, 221-30.

  • Costall, Alan and Morris, Paul. “The ‘Textbook Gibson’: The Assimilation of Dissidence.” History of Psychology 18. 2015. 1-14.

  • Crombie, A.C. Augustine to Galileo 2. Harmondsworth: Peregrine Books, 1969.

  • Dainton, Barry. Stream of Consciousness. Oxon: Routledge, 2000.

  • Dainton, Barry. Time and Space. Chesham: Acumen, 2001.

  • Dainton, Barry. The Phenomenal Self. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

  • de Vignemont, Frederique and Massin, Olivier. “Touch.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception, edited by M. Matthen, 294-309. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  • Edwards, Michael. Fragrances of the World: The Fragrance Wheel (2018). Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Egidi, Rosaria. “Marty’s Theory of Space.” In Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics. The Philosophy and Theory of Language of Anton Marty, edited by K. Mulligan, 171-80. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.

  • Euler, Leonhard. “Reflections on Space and Time.” 1748. Available

  • pdf; translation of “Réflexions sur l’espace et le temps”, Histoire de l’Academie Royale des sciences et belles lettres 4: 324-33. Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Gibson, James J. The Senses Considered as Perceptual Systems. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1966.

  • Gibson, James J. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. NewYork: Psychology Press, 2015 [1979].

  • Hardin, C. L. Color for Philosophers. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1988.

  • Henning, Hans. Der Geruch. Leipzig: J.A. Barth, 1916.

  • Husserl, Edmund. “Notizen zur Raumkonstitution.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research I. 1940. 21-37, 217-26.

  • Husserl, Edmund. Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1982 [1913].

  • Husserl, Edmund. Thing and Space: Lectures of 1907. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997 [1973].

  • Johansson, Ingvar. “Marty on Grounded Relations.” In Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics. The Philosophy and Theory of Language of Anton Marty, edited by K. Mulligan, 151-6. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.

  • Johansson, Ingvar. Ontological Investigations (second enl. ed.). Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. 2004 [1989].

  • Johansson, Ingvar. “John Searle on Perception-Review.” Metaphysica 18. 2017. 259-75.

  • Johansson, Ingvar. “A Presentation and Defense of Anton Marty’s Conception of Space.” In Anton Marty and Contemporary Philosophy, edited by G. Bacigalupo and H. Leblanc. London: Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming.

  • Kant, Immanuel. “On the First Ground of the Distinction of Regions of Space” [1768]. In The Philosophy of Right and Left, edited by James Van~Cleve and Robert E. Frederick, 27-33. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991.

  • Kant, Immanuel. Kant’s Inaugural Dissertation of 1770. New York: Columbia College, 1991. Available Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Katz, David. The World of Colour. London: Kegan Paul, 1935 [1911].

  • Katz, David. The World of Touch. Hilsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1989 [1925].

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare. Seeing Through. PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh, 2011.

  • Mac Cumhaill, Clare, “Perceiving Immaterial Paths.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research XC. 2015. 687-715.

  • Marty, Anton. Raum und Zeit. Halle: Niemeyer, 1916.

  • Massin, Olivier. L’objectivité du toucher. Métaphysique et Perception. PhD thesis at the University of Provence, 2010.

  • Massin, Olivier and Hämmerli, Marion. “Is Purple a Red and Blue Chessboard? Brentano on Color Mixtures.” The Monist 100. 2017. 37-63.

  • Matthen, Mohan. “Introduction.”. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception, edited by M. Matthen, 1-26. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  • Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962 [1945].

  • Michotte, Albert, Thinès, Georges and Crabbe, G. “Amodal Completion of Perceptual Structures.” In Michotte’s Experimental Phenomenology of Perception, edited by G. Thinès, A. Costall and G. Butterworth, 140-67. London: Routledge, 2014 [1991].

  • Mizrahi, Vivian. “Sniff, smell, and stuff.” Philosophical Studies 171. 2014. 233-50.

  • Moore, George Edward. Philosophical Papers. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959.

  • Moran, Dermot and Cohen, Joseph.) The Husserl Dictionary. London: Continuum IPG, 2012.

  • Mulligan, Kevin. “Perception.” In The Cambridge Companion to Husserl, edited by Smith and Smith, 168-238. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

  • Nerlich, Graham. The Shape of Space (second rev. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994 [1976].

  • Nerlich, Graham. “Incongruent Counterparts and the Reality of Space.” Philosophy Compass 4. 2009. 598-613.

  • Nudds, Matthew. “Audition.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception, edited by M. Matthen, 275-92. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  • O’Callaghan, Casey. “Auditory Perception.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2014. Available Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Poincaré, Henri. Science and Method. London: Thomas Nelson, 1914 [1908].

  • Roberts, Tom. “A Breath of Fresh Air: Absence and the Structure of Olfactory Perception.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97. 2016, 400-20.

  • Searle, John. Intentionality. An essay in the philosophy of mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

  • Searle, John. Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  • Simons, Peter. “Marty on Time.” In Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics. The Philosophy and Theory of Language of Anton Marty, edited by K. Mulligan, 157-70. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.

  • Smith, Barry. “Brentano and Marty: An Inquiry into Being and Truth.” In Mind, Meaning and Metaphysics. The Philosophy and Theory of Language of Anton Marty, edited by K. Mulligan, 111-49. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990.

  • Sorensen, Roy. “Perceiving Nothings.” In In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception, edited by M. Matthen, 542-63. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

  • Strawson, Peter. Individuals. London: Methuen, 1964 [1959].

  • Stumpf, Carl. Psychologie und Erkenntnistheorie. 1891. Available Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Sundström, Pär. “Are Colors Visually Complex?.” In Johanssonian Investigations, edited by C. Svennerlind, J. Almäng, and R. Inghtorsson, 627-39. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2013.

  • Tye, Michael. “Qualia.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2015. Available Accessed 23 February 2018.

  • Wagner, Armin. “Pre-Gibsonian Observations on Active Touch.” History of Psychology 19. 2016. 93-104.

  • Young, Nick. “Hearing Spaces.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95. 2017. 242-55.


Journal + Issues

Open Philosophy is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all areas of philosophy. The objective of Open Philosophy is to foster free exchange of ideas and provide an appropriate platform for presenting, discussing and disseminating new concepts, current trends, theoretical developments and research findings related to the broadest philosophical spectrum.