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The Home Page of
Gary Hatfield

Adam Seybert Professor in Moral and Intellectual Philosophy
Visual Studies Program
Department of Philosophy
University of Pennsylvania
Cohen Hall, Rm. 433
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6304
Phone #: 215-898-6346
Fax #: 215-898-5576 (cover sheet required)
E-address: hatfield (at) phil.upenn.edu

Gary Hatfield received the PhD from the University of Wisconsin--Madison in 1979,
then taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins before coming to Penn in 1987.
He works in the history of modern philosophy, the philosophy of psychology, theories of vision, and the philosophy of science.  In 1990, he published The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception from Kant to Helmholtz; at HOPOS 2016, the 25th anniversary of the book was celebrated. In 2009, Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology appeared from the Clarendon Press; a revised version of his book on Descartes' Meditations appeared in 2014.  In 2012, an edited volume (co-edited with the psychologist Sarah Allred) arising from an IRCS workshop on the constancies was published by Oxford: Visual Experience.  The revised edition of his translation of Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics appeared in 2004.  He is affiliated with the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics, as well as the Visual Studies Program.  He has directed dissertations in history of philosophy, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy and history of science, and has advised several postdocs in these fields.  He has long been fascinated by visual perception and the mind–body problem.  For further information, consult Curriculum Vitae (selected [html] or full [pdf]) and research statement.

Office Hours for Fall, 2019 (Cohen 422): Tues, 1-2pm; Thurs, 12-1pm, & by apptmt.

Courses a picture appears here

Fall 2023
Phil , Philosophy and Visual Perception
An examination of major trends of thought in experimental psychology in relation to philosophy and the philosophy of science. Questions to be asked include: What is the subject matter and object of explanation of experimental psychology? What is the relation between psychology and neuroscience? How is scientific psychology related to traditional philosophical investigations of the mental? Is mental content causally efficacious? How does an evolutionary perspective contribute to psychological theory? What are the implications of embodiment for thinking about the mind? The course covers the classical systems and schools of psychology, starting in earnest with experimental work on the senses in the nineteenth century, moving to the functionalism of James and Dewey, and then proceeding to behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, and cognitive science. The remaining two-thirds of the course focuses on contemporary topics and problems: perception, cognition, modularity, mental content and evolution, the language of thought, ecological psychology, connectionism, embodiment, and mind and brain.
Readings include works by James, Watson, Skinner, Tolman, Kohler, Fodor, Churchland, Dennett, Dretske, Shapiro, and others.

Spring 2024
VLST 301, Senior Seminar for VLST major

Phil 526, Spring 2020, Philosophy of Psychology: Qualia, Objectivity, and Subjectivity
The seminar will draw on recent and earlier examinations of these topics. Some questions to be addressed: Is qualitative experience inherently subjective? Or does it target objective (e.g., physical) properties but simply present them in a subjectively distinctive manner? Are .primary qualities. (shape, size, other spatial properties) presented in an objective manner by the visual system? This will take us into questions concerning the perceptual constancies, but also into questions about whether experiences of .primary qualities. are objective in a way that experiences of .secondary qualities. cannot be. If sensory experience is in some way subjective, does this preclude it from being objective? What is the proper standard for objectivity as regards sensory experiences (contents)?
After a discussion of the development of conceptions of objectivity and subjectivity in the early modern period (as background), we will begin with Michelle Montague.s book on The Given: Experience and Its Content, which develops a Brentanian conception of mental content, founded in perceptual experience. Additional contemporary authors (potentially) to be addressed include Burge, Dretske, Dominic Gregory, Edward Hopp, and Christopher Hill (among others).
The main requirement is a term paper, but there may be a shorter paper and/or presentations.
Undergraduates need permission.
Registration Notes
UNDERGRADUATES NEED PERMISSION (write to hatfield@sas.upenn.edu)

Faculty Seminars and Working Groups

On-Line Publications (open access)

Review of John Bickle (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Neuroscience, Oxford UP, 2009, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Descartes, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Helmholtz and Philosophy: Science, Perception, and Metaphysics, with Variations on Some Fichtean Themes. The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 6.3 (2018).

Sense Data, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Review of Penelope Maddy, A Plea for Natural Philosophy: And Other Essays, Oxford UP, 2023, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2023).

Web talks and podcasts

OMNIA Podcast: Tribute to Hilary Putnam, C.48, HON.85 (Audio)
Professors of Philosophy Gary Hatfield, Scott Weinstein, and Daniel Singer discuss the influential scholar.s legacy in their field and his unique connection with Penn as scholar and alumnus. Thursday, July 7, 2016

Talk in Edinburgh, "Gibson and Gestalt: Representation (Presentation) and Constrution." Professor Gary Hatfield (Penn) speaks at the event "The World in Us: Gestalt Structure, Phenomenology and Embodied Cognition", 9th July 2017.

Gary Hatfield (Penn, Visual Studies, Philosophy): Introduction, on the concept of a liberal arts education, workshop on Making and Materiality: Studio Arts in a Liberal Arts Education, Friday, 15 Sept. 2017. (Includes the subsequent presentation by Nick Sousanis.)

Gary Hatfield (Penn) addresses the question: "Phenomenally Converging Railway Tracks: A Misperception?" at a conference entitled The Philosophy and Psychology of Visual Space: An Interdisciplinary Workshop, Ohio State University, Feb. 2019.

Papers in pdf format

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Papers On Line from IRCS.

The papers are compressed and formatted as postscript input to a printer. After downloading, run the unix command "gunzip" (e.g., gunzip 01-04.ps.gz or gunzip 96-05.ps.Z); a picture appears here
"lpr" the resulting file, specifying a printer if needed (e.g., lpr -Pcogsci 01-04.ps).

Links in History and Philosophy of Psychology

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Vision and Visual Studies

Early Modern Philosophy and Science

Philosophy of Science and Science Studies

Last modified 12 Oct 2018.
Gary Hatfield (hatfield (at) sas.upenn.edu)
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