Helmholtz's "The Facts of Perception" Analytical Essay by Shaad

Helmholtz's "The Facts of Perception"
A clarification of the arguments and concepts presented by H. Helmholtz in his essay "The Facts of Perception".
# 146705 | 2,351 words | 2 sources | APA | 2010 | BD
Published by on Jan 13, 2011 in Philosophy (Science) , Philosophy (Epistemology) , Literature (General)

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This essay examines Helmholtz's essay "The Facts of Perception" in order to clarify its arguments. The author's central thesis is presented as follows: all human perception is a process of learning. In other words, Helmholtz is opposed to the nativist view that knowledge is acquired directly. Descartes dualism and the British school of empirical skepticism is briefly discussed in this regard. It is shown that Kant denies nativism, yet insists on the a priori faculties that allow for the intuition of space and time. Helmholtz's essay is then described as principally a critique of Kant's "limited nativism". This is followed by an explanation of Helmholtz's conception of sense perceptions as "signs". The writer then discusses how the author uses this concept to refute nativism. The related concepts of "circles of quality" and "unconscious inferences" are also explained. It is then shown how Helmholtz refutes Kant's notion of space as an a priori intuitive faculty, using the concept of "conscious innervations". Finally, it is shown how "signs" pertain to the regularity in nature, and therefore direct towards higher truths.

From the Paper:

"Helmholtz's aim in his essay "The Facts in Perception'' is to demonstrate that all human perception is a process of learning. Here his principle arguments are directed against the nativist position, that which claims that knowledge is acquired directly and through native faculties. But Helmholtz is also particularly intent on dispelling Kant's notion of the transcendental a priori faculties of space and time. Kant is also opposed to nativism in general, and only concedes to a limited form of nativism when he posits the existence of a priori faculties that are necessary for intuition, thought and understanding. Helmholtz argues that even the perceptions of space and time are leant. In this essay he does not really tackle the issue of time, and instead devotes almost the entire part to the argument regarding space. At the heart of Helmholtz's argument is the idea that sense perceptions represent signs or symbols from something in external reality that is true and existing. Moreover, human existence is portrayed as a journey to interpret these signs correctly and arrive at truth. Helmholtz also identifies this endeavor with the thrust of science."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Descartes, R. (1997) Key Philosophical Writings. Wordsworth Editions, 1997.
  • Helmholtz, H. (1912) Popular lectures on scientific subjects. Longmans, Green, and co..

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Helmholtz's "The Facts of Perception" (2011, January 13) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/helmholtz-the-facts-of-perception-146705/

MLA Format

"Helmholtz's "The Facts of Perception"" 13 January 2011. Web. 07 June. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/helmholtz-the-facts-of-perception-146705/>