About this topic
Summary Do perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our immediate environment?  If so, what form does the 'telling' take? Do experiences have accuracy conditions? If so, what is the relationship between those accuracy conditions and the conscious character of experience? What is the relationship between contents of experience and concepts? If perceptual experiences have contents, which contents can they have? What kinds of properties are we presented with in experience? Are contents object-involving, or can two experiences have the same contents, even if they are experiences of seeing different objects?
Key works Siegel 2005 provides an overview of issues concerning the contents of perception.  Peacocke 1992 discuses basic issues concerning the role of concepts in experience contents.
Introductions Siegel 2005
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436 found
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  1. What do We Say When We Say How or What We Feel?Berit Brogaard - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12.
    Discourse containing the verb ‘feel’, almost without exception, purports to describe inner experience. Though this much is evident, the question remains what exactly is conveyed when we talk about what and how we feel? Does discourse containing the word ‘feel’ actually succeed in describing the content and phenomenology of inner experience? If so, how does it reflect the phenomenology and content of the experience it describes? Here I offer a linguistic analysis of ‘feels’ reports and argue that a subset of (...)
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  2. Do 'looks' reports reflect the contents of perception?Berit Brogaard - manuscript
    Roderick Chisholm argued that ‘look’ can be used in three different ways: epistemically, comparatively and non-comparatively. Chisholm’s non-comparative sense of ‘look’ played an important role in Frank Jackson’s argument for the sense-datum theory. The question remains..
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  3. The Phenomenal Use of 'Look'.Berit Brogaard - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    The article provides the state of the art on the debate about whether the logical form of ‘look’ statements commits us to any particular theory of perceptual experience. The debate began with Frank Jackson’s (1977) argument that ‘look’ statements commit us to a sense-datum theory of perception. Thinkers from different camps have since then offered various rejoinders to Jackson’s argument. Others have provided novel arguments from considerations of the semantics of ‘look’ to particular theories of perception. The article closes with (...)
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  4. Imagination constrained, imagination constructed.Christopher Gauker - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    A number of authors have asked what it takes for a course of mental imagery to be epistemically or practically useful. This paper addresses a prior question, namely, the difference between courses of imagination that are realistic and those that are fantastic. One approach, suggested by recent literature concerning the utility of imagery, holds that a course of imagination represents realistically if and only if the course of events represented conforms to certain accepted constraints. Against this it will be argued (...)
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  5. Are there irrational perceptual experiences?Kristjan Laasik - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-16.
    I argue that there are no irrational visual experiences, if we mean just the experiences that one is having now, but there are irrational visual experiences, if we mean also the experiences that one has had in the past. In other words, I will be arguing that perceptual irrationality is a retrospective phenomenon. So as to further support the first conjunct of my thesis, and to contextualize it among contemporary discussions, I also critique Susanna Siegel’s proposal that one could be (...)
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  6. Demystifying mind-independence.Kristjan Laasik - forthcoming - Husserl Studies:1-21.
    Both John Campbell and Quassim Cassam have argued that we perceptually experience objects as mind-independent (MI), purportedly solving a problem they refer to as “Berkeley’s Puzzle.” In this paper, I will consider the same topic from a Husserlian perspective. In particular, I will clarify the idea of MI and argue that there is, indeed, a sense in which we can perceptually experience objects as MI, while also making objections to Campbell’s and Cassam’s respective arguments to the same effect. In particular, (...)
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  7. The Perception of Virtue.Jennifer J. Matey - forthcoming - In Berit Brogaard & D. Gratzia (eds.), The Epistemology of Non-visual Perception. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.
    In this paper, I put forward an argument for the view that emotional responses of esteem to perceived demonstrations of good character represent the perceived character traits as valuable, and hence, as virtues. These esteeming experiences are analogous to perceptual representations in other modalities in their epistemic role as causing, providing content for and justifying beliefs regarding the value of the traits they represent. I also discuss the role that the perceiver’s own character plays in their ability to recognize and (...)
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  8. Third-Personal Evidence for Perceptual Confidence.John Morrison - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Perceptual Confidence is the view that our conscious perceptual experiences assign degrees of confidence. In previous papers, I motived it using first-personal evidence (Morrison 2016) and Jessie Munton motivated it using normative evidence (Munton 2016). In this paper, I will consider the extent to which it is motivated by third-personal evidence. I will argue that the current evidence is supportive but not decisive. I will also describe experiments that might provide more decisive evidence.
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  9. Against hearing phonemes - A note on O’Callaghan.Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum - forthcoming - In Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), Beiträge der Österreichischen Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft.
    Casey O’Callaghan has argued that rather than hearing meanings, we hear phonemes. In this note I argue that valuable though they are in an account of speech perception – depending on how we define ‘hearing’ – phonemes either don’t explain enough or they go too far. So, they are not the right tool for his criticism of the semantic perceptual account (SPA).
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  10. The Myth of the Mental?Joseph Schear (ed.) - forthcoming - Routledge.
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  11. Perceptual modes of presentation as object files.Gabriel Siegel - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Some have defended a Fregean view of perceptual content. On this view, the constituents of perceptual contents are Fregean modes of presentation (MOPs). In this paper, I propose that perceptual MOPs are best understood in terms of object files. Object files are episodic representations that store perceptual information about objects. This information is updated when sensory conditions change. On the proposed view, when a subject perceptually represents some object a under two distinct MOPs, then the subject initiates two object files (...)
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  12. The Contents of Experience.Susanna Siegel - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  13. What is the Content of a Hallucinatory Experience?Michael Tye - forthcoming - In Berit Brogaard (ed.), Does Perception have Content? Oxford University Press.
    Keith has just taken a hallucinogenic drug. A few minutes earlier, he was occupied with the beginning of H.H. Price's well-known book on perception. The combined effect of these activities is that Keith is now hallucinating a ripe tomato. This is not a de re hallucination. There is no particular tomato located elsewhere out of Keith's vision such that he is hallucinating that tomato as being before him. Keith is hallucinating a tomato without there being any particular tomato that he (...)
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  14. Epistemologia da Percepção.Eros Carvalho - 2022 - In Rogel Esteves de Oliveira, Kátia Martins Etcheverry, Thiege Vieira Rodrigues & Carlos Augusto Sartori (eds.), Compêndio de Epistemologia. Porto Alegre: Editora Fi. pp. 268-286.
    Tomamos como certo que os nossos sentidos nos colocam em contato com o ambiente ao nosso redor. Enquanto caminhamos em uma rua, vemos obstáculos que temos de contornar ou remover. Mesmo de costas, podemos ouvir a bicicleta que se aproxima e dar passagem. Em suma, por meio de experiências perceptivas (visuais, auditivas, olfativas etc.), ficamos conscientes de objetos ou eventos que estejam ocorrendo ao nosso redor. Além disso, com base no que percebemos, podemos formar e manter crenças acerca do ambiente (...)
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  15. Spatial experience and olfaction: A role for naïve topology.Bartek Chomanski - 2022 - Mind and Language 37 (4):715-733.
    In this paper, I provide an account of the spatiality of olfactory experiences in terms of topological properties. I argue that thinking of olfactory experiences as making the subject aware of topological properties enables us to address popular objections against the spatiality of smells, and it makes sense of everyday spatial olfactory phenomenology better than its competitors. I argue for this latter claim on the basis of reflection on thought experiments familiar from the philosophical literature on olfaction, as well as (...)
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  16. The Significance of the Many Property Problem.Tim Crane & Alex Grzankowski - 2022 - Phenomenology and Mind 22:170.
    One of the most influential traditional objections to Adverbialism about perceptual experience is that posed by Frank Jackson’s ‘many property problem’. Perhaps largely because of this objection, few philosophers now defend Adverbialism. We argue, however, that the essence of the many property problem arises for all of the leading metaphysical theories of experience: all leading theories must simply take for granted certain facts about experience, and no theory looks well positioned to explain the facts in a straightforward way. Because of (...)
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  17. The fragmentation of phenomenal character.Neil Mehta - 2022 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):209-231.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 104, Issue 1, Page 209-231, January 2022.
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  18. Visual features as carriers of abstract quantitative information.Ronald A. Rensink - 2022 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 8 (151):1793-1820.
    Four experiments investigated the extent to which abstract quantitative information can be conveyed by basic visual features. This was done by asking observers to estimate and discriminate Pearson correlation in graphical representations where the first data dimension of each element was encoded by its horizontal position, and the second by the value of one of its visual features; perceiving correlation then requires combining the information in the two encodings via a common abstract representation. Four visual features were examined: luminance, color, (...)
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  19. Does Property-Perception Entail the Content View?Keith A. Wilson - 2022 - Erkenntnis.
    Visual perception is widely taken to present properties such as redness, roundness, and so on. This in turn might be thought to give rise to accuracy conditions for experience, and so content, regardless of which metaphysical view of perception one endorses. An influential version of this argument—Susanna Siegel’s ’Argument from Appearing’—aims to establish the existence of content as common ground between representational and relational views of perception. This goes against proponents of ‘austere’ relationalism who deny that content plays a substantive (...)
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  20. Do We Visually Experience Objects’ Occluded Parts?Matt E. M. Bower - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (4):239-255.
    A number of philosophers have held that we visually experience objects’ occluded parts, such as the out-of-view exterior of a voluminous, opaque object. That idea is supposed to be what best explains the fact that we see objects as whole or complete despite having only a part of them in view at any given moment. Yet, the claim doesn’t express a phenomenological datum and the reasons for thinking we do experience objects’ occluded parts, I argue, aren’t compelling. Additionally, I anticipate (...)
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  21. Perceptual confidence: A Husserlian take.Kristjan Laasik - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy (2):354-364.
    In this paper, I propose a Husserlian account of perceptual confidence, and argue for perceptual confidence by appeal to the self-justification of perceptual experiences. Perceptual confidence is the intriguing view, recently developed by John Morrison, that there are not just doxastic confidences but also perceptual confidences, i.e., confidences as aspect of perceptual experience, enabling us to account, e.g., for the increasing confidence with which we experience an approaching human figure, while telling ourselves, as the viewing distance diminishes, “It looks like (...)
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  22. On Perceptual Confidence and “Completely Trusting Your Experience”.Jacob Beck - 2020 - Analytic Philosophy 61 (2):174-188.
    John Morrison has argued that confidences are assigned in perceptual experience. For example, when you perceive a figure in the distance, your experience might assign a 55-percent confidence to the figure’s being Isaac. Morrison’s argument leans on the phenomenon of ‘completely trusting your experience’. I argue that Morrison presupposes a problematic ‘importation model’ of this familiar phenomenon, and propose a very different way of thinking about it. While the article’s official topic is whether confidences are assigned in perceptual experience, it (...)
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  23. Phenomenology and Experimental Psychology: On the Prospects and Limitations of Experimental Research for a Phenomenological Epistemology.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - Journal of Transcendental Philosophy 1 (1):85-108.
    Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology is first and foremost a science of the structures of consciousness. Since it is intended to yield eidetic, i. e., a priori insights, it is often assumed that transcendental phenomenology and the natural sciences are totally detached from each other such that phenomenological investigations cannot possibly benefit from empirical evidence. The aim of this paper is to show that a beneficial relationship is possible. To be more precise, I will show how Husserl’s a priori investigations on consciousness (...)
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  24. ‘Let us imagine that God has made a miniature earth and sky’: Malebranche on the Body-Relativity of Visual Size.Colin Chamberlain - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):206-224.
    Malebranche holds that visual experience represents the size of objects relative to the perceiver's body and does not represent objects as having intrinsic or nonrelational spatial magnitudes. I argue that Malebranche's case for this body-relative thesis is more sophisticated than other commentators—most notably, Atherton and Simmons —have presented it. Malebranche's central argument relies on the possibility of perceptual variation with respect to size. He uses two thought experiments to show that perceivers of different sizes—namely, miniature people, giants, and typical human (...)
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  25. Perceptual Demonstrative Thought: A Property-Dependent Theory.Sean Crawford - 2020 - Topoi 39 (2):439-457.
    The paper presents a new theory of perceptual demonstrative thought, the property-dependent theory. It argues that the theory is superior to both the object-dependent theory (Evans, McDowell) and the object-independent theory (Burge).
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  26. The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence, by Susanna Schellenberg. [REVIEW]Craig French - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):339-349.
    The Unity of Perception: Content, Consciousness, Evidence, by SchellenbergSusanna. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. 272.
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  27. On the Difference Between Realistic and Fantastic Imagining.Christopher Gauker - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):1563-1582.
    When we imaginatively picture what might happen, we may take what we imagine to be either realistic or fantastic. A wine glass falling to the floor and shattering is realistic. A wine glass falling and morphing into a bird and flying away is fantastic. What does the distinction consist in? Two important necessary conditions are here defined. The first is a condition on the realistic representation of spatial configuration, grounded in an account of the imagistic representation of spatial configuration. The (...)
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  28. Probabilistic representations in perception: Are there any, and what would they be?Steven Gross - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (3):377-389.
    Nick Shea’s Representation in Cognitive Science commits him to representations in perceptual processing that are about probabilities. This commentary concerns how to adjudicate between this view and an alternative that locates the probabilities rather in the representational states’ associated “attitudes”. As background and motivation, evidence for probabilistic representations in perceptual processing is adduced, and it is shown how, on either conception, one can address a specific challenge Ned Block has raised to this evidence.
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  29. Representationalism, Double Vision, and Afterimages: A Response to Işık Sarıhan.René Jagnow - 2020 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 20 (6):435-451.
    In his paper “Double Vision, Phosphenes and Afterimages: Non-Endorsed Representations rather than Non-Representational Qualia,” Işık Sarıhan addresses the debate between strong representationalists and qualia theorists. He argues that qualia theorists like Ned Block and Amy Kind who cite double-vision, afterimages, etc., as evidence for the existence of qualia are mistaken about the actual nature of these states. According to Sarıhan, these authors confuse the fact that these states are non-endorsed representational states with the fact that they are at least partly (...)
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  30. Another Look at Mode Intentionalism.Jonathan Mitchell - 2020 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2519-2546.
    A central claim in contemporary philosophy of mind is that the phenomenal character of experience is entirely determined by its content. This paper considers an alternative called Mode Intentionalism. According to this view, phenomenal character outruns content because the intentional mode contributes to the phenomenal character of the experience. I assess a phenomenal contrast argument in support of this view, arguing that the cases appealed to allow for interpretations which do not require positing intentional modes as phenomenologically manifest aspects of (...)
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  31. "Cognitive Penetrability" - Ch 3 of Seemings and Epistemic Justification.Luca Moretti - 2020 - In Seemings and Epistemic Justification. Springer.
    In this chapter I introduce the thesis that perceptual appearances are cognitively penetrable and analyse cases made against phenomenal conservatism hinging on this thesis. In particular, I focus on objections coming from the externalist reliabilist camp and the internalist inferentialist camp. I conclude that cognitive penetrability doesn’t yield lethal or substantive difficulties for phenomenal conservatism.
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  32. The puzzle of the laws of appearance.Adam Pautz - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):257-272.
    In this paper I will present a puzzle about visual appearance. There are certain necessary constraints on how things can visually appear. The puzzle is about how to explain them. I have no satisfying solution. My main thesis is simply that the puzzle is a puzzle. I will develop the puzzle as it arises for representationalism about experience because it is currently the most popular theory of experience and I think it is along the right lines. However, everyone faces a (...)
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  33. Perceptual experience and degrees of belief.Thomas Raleigh & Filippo Vindrola - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly (2):378-406.
    According to the recent Perceptual Confidence view, perceptual experiences possess not only a representational content, but also a degree of confidence in that content. The motivations for this view are partly phenomenological and partly epistemic. We discuss both the phenomenological and epistemic motivations for the view, and the resulting account of the interface between perceptual experiences and degrees of belief. We conclude that, in their present state of development, orthodox accounts of perceptual experience are still to be favoured over the (...)
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  34. Waltonian PerceptualismSymposium: “Categories of Art” at 50.Madeleine Ransom - 2020 - The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 78 (1):66-70.
    Kendall Walton’s project in ‘Categories of Art’ (1970) is to answer two questions. First, does the history of an artwork’s production determine its aesthetic properties? Second, how – if at all – should knowledge of the history of a work’s production influence our aesthetic judgments of its properties? While his answer to the first has been clearly understood, his answer to the second less so. Contrary to how many have interpreted Walton, such knowledge is not necessary for making aesthetic judgments; (...)
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  35. Double Vision, Phosphenes and Afterimages: Non-Endorsed Representations rather than Non-Representational Qualia.Işık Sarıhan - 2020 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 16 (1):5-32.
    Pure representationalism or intentionalism for phenomenal experience is the theory that all introspectible qualitative aspects of a conscious experience can be analyzed as qualities that the experience non-conceptually represents the world to have. Some philosophers have argued that experiences such as afterimages, phosphenes and double vision are counterexamples to the representationalist theory, claiming that they are non- representational states or have non-representational aspects, and they are better explained in a qualia-theoretical framework. I argue that these states are fully representational states (...)
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  36. How can perceptual experiences explain uncertainty?Susanna Siegel - 2020 - Mind and Language 37 (2):134-158.
    Can perceptual experiences be states of uncertainty? We might expect them to be, if the perceptual processes from which they're generated, as well as the behaviors they help produce, take account of probabilistic information. Yet it has long been presumed that perceptual experiences purport to tell us about our environment, without hedging or qualifying. Against this long-standing view, I argue that perceptual experiences may well occasionally be states of uncertainty, but that they are never probabilistically structured. I criticize a powerful (...)
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  37. Visual experience.Pär Sundström - 2020 - In The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford: pp. 39-65.
    A visual experience, as understood here, is a sensory event that is conscious, or like something to undergo. This chapter focuses on three issues concerning such experiences. The first issue is the so-called ‘transparency’ of experiences. The chapter distinguishes a number of different interpretations of the suggestion that visual experiences are ‘transparent’. It then discusses in what sense, if any, visual experiences are ‘transparent’, and what further conclusions one can draw from that. The second issue is which properties we are (...)
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  38. Perceiving Potentiality: A Metaphysics for Affordances.Barbara Vetter - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1177-1191.
    According to ecological psychology, animals perceive not just the qualities of things in their environment, but their affordances: in James Gibson’s words, ’what things furnish, for good or ill’. I propose a metaphysics for affordances that fits into a contemporary anti-Humean metaphysics of powers or potentialities. The goal is to connect two debates, one in the philosophy of perception and one in metaphysics, that stand to gain much from each other.
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  39. McDowell and the Contents of Intuition.Jacob Browning - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):83-104.
    In Mind and World, John McDowell provided an influential account of how perceptual experience makes knowledge of the world possible. He recommended a view he called “conceptualism”, according to which concepts are intimately involved in perception and there is no non‐conceptual content. In response to criticisms of this view (especially those from Charles Travis), McDowell has more recently proposed a revised account that distinguishes between two kinds of representation: the passive non‐propositional contents of perceptual experience – what he now calls (...)
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  40. One Thing After Another: Why the Passage of Time Is Not an Illusion.Natalja Deng - 2019 - In Adrian Bardon, Valtteri Arstila, Sean Power & Argiro Vatakis (eds.), The Illusions of Time: Philosophical and Psychological Essays on Timing and Time Perception. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Does time seem to pass, even though it doesn’t, really? Many philosophers think the answer is ‘Yes’—at least when ‘time’s passing’ is understood in a particular way. They take time’s passing to be a process by which each time in turn acquires a special status, such as the status of being the only time that exists, or being the only time that is present. This chapter suggests that, on the contrary, all we perceive is temporal succession, one thing after another, (...)
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  41. On the Perception of Structure.E. J. Green - 2019 - Noûs 53 (3):564-592.
  42. Phenomenology and Perceptual Content.Kristjan Laasik - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (3):402-427.
    Terence Horgan and John Tienson argue that there is phenomenal intentionality, i.e., “a kind of intentionality, pervasive in human mental life, that is constitutively determined by phenomenology alone” (p. 520). However, their arguments are open to two lines of objection. First, Horgan and Tienson are not sufficiently clear as to what kind of content it is that they take to be determined by, or to supervene on, phenomenal character. Second, critics have objected that, for their conclusion to follow, Horgan and (...)
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  43. Review of Berit Brogaard Seeing and Saying. [REVIEW]Mohan Matthen - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201906.
    Brogaard's book is extremely informative about the grammar of perceptual verbs, and questions that it indicates representationalism (as opposed to naive realism). As useful as this is, I question how much grammar tells us much about perception.
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  44. Michael Madary's Visual Phenomenology. [REVIEW]Neil Mehta - 2019 - Philosophical Review 128 (1):131-134.
  45. Acquaintance, Conceptual Capacities, and Attention.Anders Nes - 2019 - In Jonathan Knowles & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Acquaintance: New Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 191-212.
    Russell’s theory of acquaintance construes perceptual awareness as at once constitutively independent of conceptual thought and yet a source of propositional knowledge. Wilfrid Sellars, John McDowell, and other conceptualists object that this is a ‘myth’: perception can be a source of knowledge only if conceptual capacities are already in play therein. Proponents of a relational view of experience, including John Campbell, meanwhile voice sympathy for Russell’s position on this point. This paper seeks to spell out, and defend, a claim that (...)
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  46. A Multisensory Philosophy of Perception.Casey O'Callaghan - 2019 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    Nearly every theory of perception just focuses on one sense at a time; but most of the time we perceive using multiple senses. Casey O'Callaghan offers a revisionist multisensory philosophy of perception: he explores how our senses work together and influence each other, leading to surprising perceptual illusions and novel forms of experience.
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  47. The uneasy heirs of acquaintance.Susanna Siegel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):348-365.
    My contribution to the first round of a tetralog with Bill Brewer, Anil Gupta, and John McDowell. Each of us has written a response to the writings of the other three philosophers on the topic "Empirical Reason". My initial contribution focuses on what we know a priori about perception. In the second round, we will each respond to the each writer's first-round contributions.
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  48. A New Method for Establishing high-level Visual Content: The Conflict cross-modal Approach.Daniel Tippens - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):169-191.
    Restrictivists hold that visual experience only represents low-level properties such as shape, spatial location, motion, color, etc. Expansionists contend that visual experience also represents high-level properties such as being a pine tree. I outline a new approach to support expansionism called the conflict cross-modal argument. What I call the conflict cross-modal effects occur when at least two perceptual systems disagree about some property belonging to a common stimulus, and this disagreement causes a change in the representational and phenomenal content of (...)
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  49. Philosophy of Mind in the Phenomenological Tradition.Philip J. Walsh & Jeff Yoshimi - 2019 - In Amy Kind (ed.), Philosophy of Mind in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries: The History of the Philosophy of Mind, Vol. 6. New York: Routledge. pp. 21-51.
  50. Odors, Objects and Olfaction.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):81-94.
    Olfaction represents odors, if it represents anything at all. Does olfaction also represent ordinary objects like cheese, fish and coffee-beans? Many think so. This paper argues that it does not. Instead, we should affirm an austere account of the intentional objects of olfaction: olfactory experience is about odors, not objects. Visuocentric thinking about olfaction has tempted some philosophers to say otherwise.
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