Seeing Objects and Surfaces, and the ‘In Virtue Of’ Relation

Scott Campbell a1
a1 University of Nottingham


Frank Jackson in Perception uses the ‘in virtue of’ relation to ground the distinction between direct and indirect perception. He argues that it follows that our perception of physical objects is mediated by perceiving their facing surfaces, and so is indirect. I argue that this is false. Seeing a part of an object is in itself a seeing of the object; there is no indirectness involved. Hence, the ‘in virtue of’ relation is an inadequate basis for the direct-indirect distinction. I also argue that claims that we don't, ‘strictly speaking’, see objects, are also false.