March 2, 2023, 1 p.m. UTC // March 2, 2023, 1 p.m. in UTC
In recent years, phenomenologists have been interested in the possibility that social perception could be direct. On a direct account of social perception, animals would be said to have reliable epistemic access to social properties of the environment in just the same was as they have reliable epistemic access to inanimate properties of the environment. Allowing social perception to be direct would seem to dissolve some longstanding problems in the philosophy of perception. A direct account of social perception would seem to avoid, for instance, the need for the kinds of intellectualistic intermediaries postulated by theory of mind accounts. Phenomenological discussions of direct social perception have, however, largely ignored the psychophysical mechanisms that would be necessary to make such a direct account of social perception plausible. I propose that direct social perception is best treated as an empirical problem within the domain of psychophysics, broadly construed.