The aim of this paper is to explain what it means that bodily expressions are perceivable per se, as Direct Perception (DP) accounts seem to assume. They claim that we have direct access to the mentality of others through the perception of their expressions (§§1-2). And yet, a few issues might render DP’s grounds unsteady (§3). To avoid such risk, a more detailed account of how bodily expressions are perceivable can be of help. Our goal is not that of proposing an alternative to the current accounts of DP, but to explore an element of the latter that has been taken for granted: the perceptibility of expressions per se. Our thesis is that bodily expressions are a subset of gestalt structures. To account for this, we deal with what gestalts are (§4.1) and we investigate whether their features can be found in bodily expressions (§4.2). If bodily expressions are a subset of gestalt structures, then they are directly perceived and not inferred from their elements. We claim that conceiving bodily expressions as gestalt structures can give a steadier ground to DP’s accounts.
Bodily expressions as gestalts. An argument for grounding direct perception theories / Forlè, Francesca; Songhorian, Sarah. - In: PHILOSOPHICAL PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1465-394X. - (2022), pp. 1-23. [10.1080/09515089.2022.2106201]