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Philosophy

“Do Experts Really Perceive the World Differently from Non-Experts?” By Kevin Connolly (Minerva Schools)

Date: 3:30pm PST November 9 Location: J.R. Howard Hall 102

People sometimes say things like the following: Cabernet Sauvignon tastes differently to an expert wine taster, or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony sounds differently to a seasoned conductor. Such claims are often made by philosophers, from the 14th-century Hindu philosopher Vedānta Deśika to the 18th-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid as well as to contemporary philosophers like Ned Block, Susanna Siegel, and Christopher Peacocke. But do experts really perceive the world differently from non-experts? According to an alternative story, the wine tastes (or the symphony sounds) the same to the expert and non-expert alike. On this view, it’s just that the expert has specialized concepts for the wine (or the symphony) that the non-expert lacks, while the wine tastes (or the symphony sounds) the same to both. Which of these two accounts is correct? In this talk, I examine and evaluate the evidence, drawing on philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience.

Philosophy

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