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The representational character of experience

In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 153--181 (2004)

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  1. A Quick Argument Against Phenomenism, Fregeanism, Appearance Property-Ism and (Maybe) Functionalism About Perceptual Content.Jeff Speaks - manuscript
    A short paper which is pretty much what its title says it is.
     
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  • Agents of Change: Temporal Flow and Feeling Oneself Act.Nick Young - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (8):2619-2637.
    Here, I put forward a new account of how experience gives rise to the belief that time passes. While there is considerable disagreement amongst metaphysicians as to whether time really does pass, it has struck many as a default, ‘common sense’ way of thinking about the world. A popular way of explaining how such a belief arises is to say that it seems perceptually as though time passes. Here I outline some difficulties for this approach, and propose instead that the (...)
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  • Neural Synchrony and the Causal Efficacy of Consciousness.David Yates - 2020 - Topoi 39 (5):1057-1072.
    The purpose of this paper is to address a well-known dilemma for physicalism. If mental properties are type identical to physical properties, then their causal efficacy is secure, but at the cost of ruling out mentality in creatures very different to ourselves. On the other hand, if mental properties are multiply realizable, then all kinds of creatures can instantiate them, but then they seem to be causally redundant. The causal exclusion problem depends on the widely held principle that realized properties (...)
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  • What is Conscious Attention?Wayne Wu - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):93-120.
    Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is (...)
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  • Primer, Proposal, and Paradigm: A Review Essay of Mendelovici’s The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality.Philip Woodward - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (8):1246-1260.
    Angela Mendelovici’s book The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality is a paradigm-establishing monograph within the phenomenal intentionality research program. Mendelovici argues that extant theories of intentionality that do not appeal to consciousness are both empirically and metaphysically inadequate, and a coherent, consciousness-based alternative can adequately explain (or explain away) all alleged cases of intentionality. While I count myself a fellow traveler, I discuss four choice-points where Mendelovici has taken, I believe, the wrong fork. (1) The explanatory relation that holds between intentional (...)
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  • “I” and “Me”: The Self in the Context of Consciousness.Mateusz Woźniak - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Breaking the Self.Wanja Wiese - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-27.
    Are there logically possible types of conscious experience that are nomologically impossible, given independently justified assumptions about the neural underpinnings of consciousness in human beings? In one sense, this is trivial: just consider the fact that the types of perceptual experiences we can have are limited by our sensory organs. But there may be non-trivial types of conscious experience that are impossible. For instance, if there is a basic type of self-consciousness, corresponding to a phenomenal property that is nomologically necessary (...)
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  • Are Emotions Perceptual Experiences of Value?Demian Whiting - 2012 - Ratio 25 (1):93-107.
    A number of emotion theorists hold that emotions are perceptions of value. In this paper I say why they are wrong. I claim that in the case of emotion there is nothing that can provide the perceptual modality that is needed if the perceptual theory is to succeed (where by ‘perceptual modality’ I mean the particular manner in which something is perceived). I argue that the five sensory modalities are not possible candidates for providing us with ‘emotional perception’. But I (...)
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  • The Philosophical Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.
    What is the philosophical significance of attention? The present article provides an overview of recent debates surrounding the connections between attention and other topics of philosophical interest. In particular, it discusses the interplay between attention and consciousness, attention and agency, and attention and reference. The article outlines the questions and contemporary positions concerning how attention shapes the phenomenal character of experience, whether it is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, and whether it plays a special role in the best philosophical theories (...)
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  • Knowing What We Can Do: Actions, Intentions, and the Construction of Phenomenal Experience.Dave Ward, Tom Roberts & Andy Clark - 2011 - Synthese 181 (3):375-394.
    How do questions concerning consciousness and phenomenal experience relate to, or interface with, questions concerning plans, knowledge and intentions? At least in the case of visual experience the relation, we shall argue, is tight. Visual perceptual experience, we shall argue, is fixed by an agent’s direct unmediated knowledge concerning her poise (or apparent poise) over a currently enabled action space. An action space, in this specific sense, is to be understood not as a fine-grained matrix of possibilities for bodily movement, (...)
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  • Why Frege Cases Do Involve Cognitive Phenomenology but Only Indirectly.Alberto Voltolini - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (2):205-221.
    In this paper, I want to hold, first, that a treatment of Frege cases in terms of a difference in cognitive phenomenology of the involved experiential mental states is not viable. Second, I will put forward another treatment of such cases that appeals to a difference in intentional objects metaphysically conceived not as exotica, but as schematic objects, that is, as objects that have no metaphysical nature qua objects of thought. This allows their nature to be settled independently of their (...)
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  • Troubles with Phenomenal Intentionality.Alberto Voltolini - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (1):237-256.
    As far as I can see, there are two basic ways of cashing out the claim that intentionality is ultimately phenomenal: an indirect one, according to which the intentional content of an experiential intentional mental state is determined by the phenomenal character that state already possesses, so that intentionality is so determined only indirectly; a direct one, which centers on the very property of intentionality itself and can further be construed in two manners: either that very property is determined by (...)
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  • Different Kinds of Fusion Experiences.Alberto Voltolini - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (1):203-222.
    Some people have stressed that there is a close analogy between meaning experiences, i.e., experiences as of understanding concerning linguistic expressions, and seeing-in experiences, i.e., pictorial experiences of discerning a certain item – what a certain picture presents, viz. the picture’s subject – in another item – the picture’s vehicle, the picture’s physical basis. Both can be seen as fusion experiences, in the minimal sense that they are experiential wholes made up of different aspects. Actually, two important similarities between such (...)
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  • Precision and Perceptual Clarity.Jonna Vance - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):379-395.
    ABSTRACT When we see objects blurrily, in the periphery, or in dim light, we often experience their features unclearly. This paper argues that perceptual clarity is a dimension along which experiences vary, distinct from their distal contents. Drawing on models in perception science, the paper accounts for clarity by using the probabilistic notion of precision. The account’s first part is ecumenical: it says that experiences carry information about the precision of the representations from which each distal content of experience was (...)
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  • Reductive Representationalism and Emotional Phenomenology.Uriah Kriegel - 2017 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):41-59.
    A prominent view of phenomenal consciousness combines two claims: (i) the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states can be fully accounted for in terms of these states’ representational content; (ii) this representational content can be fully accounted for in non-phenomenal terms. This paper presents an argument against this view. The core idea is that the identity conditions of phenomenally conscious states are not fixed entirely by what these states represent (their representational contents), but depend in part on how they represent (...)
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  • Attention, Seeing, and Change Blindness.Michael Tye - 2010 - Philosophical Issues 20 (1):410-437.
  • Perspectival Tenses and Dynamic Tenses.Giuliano Torrengo - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (5):1045-1061.
    As far as our experience goes, we live in a dynamic present. Those two phenomenal features of experience—presentness and dynamism—are obviously connected. However, how they are connected is not obvious at all. In this paper, I criticise the view according to which the former can explain the latter, which I call sophisticated representationalism. My criticism will be based on an ambiguity in the notion of tense found in the philosophical literature, that between the perspectival understanding and the dynamic understanding of (...)
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  • Nonconceptualism and the Cognitive Impenetrability of Early Vision.Josefa Toribio - 2014 - Philosophical Psychology 27 (5):621-642.
    (2014). Nonconceptualism and the cognitive impenetrability of early vision. Philosophical Psychology: Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 621-642. doi: 10.1080/09515089.2014.893386.
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  • The Spatial Content of Experience.Brad Thompson - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):146-184.
    To what extent is the external world the way that it appears to us in perceptual experience? This perennial question in philosophy is no doubt ambiguous in many ways. For example, it might be taken as equivalent to the question of whether or not the external world is the way that it appears to be? This is a question about the epistemology of perception: Are our perceptual experiences by and large veridical representations of the external world? Alternatively, the question might (...)
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  • Representationalism and the Argument From Hallucination.Brad J. Thompson - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):384-412.
    Phenomenal character is determined by representational content, which both hallucinatory and veridical experiences can share. But in the case of veridical experience, unlike hallucination, the external objects of experience literally have the properties one is aware of in experience. The representationalist can accept the common factor assumption without having to introduce sensory intermediaries between the mind and the world, thus securing a form of direct realism.
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  • Color Constancy and Russellian Representationalism.Brad Thompson - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):75-94.
    Representationalism, the view that phenomenal character supervenes on intentional content, has attracted a wide following in recent years. Most representationalists have also endorsed what I call 'standard Russellianism'. According to standard Russellianism, phenomenal content is Russellian in nature, and the properties represented by perceptual experiences are mind-independent physical properties. I argue that standard Russellianism conflicts with the everyday experience of colour constancy. Due to colour constancy, standard Russellianism is unable to simultaneously give a proper account of the phenomenal content of (...)
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  • Cognitive Instrumentalism About Mental Representations.Samuel D. Taylor - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (3):518-550.
    Representationalists and anti-representationalists disagree about whether a naturalisation of mental content is possible and, hence, whether positing mental representations in cognitive science is justified. Here, I develop a novel way to think about mental representations based on a philosophical description of (cognitive) science inspired by cognitive instrumentalism. On this view, our acceptance of theories positing mental representations and our beliefs in (something like) mental representations do not depend on the naturalisation of content. Thus, I conclude that if we endorse cognitive (...)
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  • On Representationalism, Common-Factorism, and Whether Consciousness is Here and Now.Pär Sundström - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-12.
    A strong form of representationalism says that every conscious property of every mental state can be identified with some part of the state’s representational properties. A weaker representationalism says that some conscious property of some mental state can be identified with some part of the state’s representational properties. David Papineau has recently argued that all such theories are incorrect since they construe consciousness as consisting in “relations to propositions or other abstract objects outside space and time”, whereas consciousness is “concrete” (...)
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  • Colour and Consciousness: Untying the Metaphysical Knot.Pär Sundström - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (2):123 - 165.
    Colours and consciousness both present us with metaphysical problems. But what exactly are the problems? According to standard accounts, they are roughly the following. On the one hand, we have reason to believe, about both colour and consciousness, that they are identical with some familiar natural phenomena. But on the other hand, it is hard to see how these identities could obtain. I argue that this is an adequate characterisation of our metaphysical problem of colour, but a mischaracterisation of the (...)
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  • Kant on the Object-Dependence of Intuition and Hallucination.Andrew Stephenson - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260):486-508.
    Against a view currently popular in the literature, it is argued that Kant was not a niıve realist about perceptual experience. Naive realism entails that perceptual experience is object-dependent in a very strong sense. In the first half of the paper, I explain what this claim amounts to and I undermine the evidence that has been marshalled in support of attributing it to Kant. In the second half of the paper, I explore in some detail Kant’s account of hallucination and (...)
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  • Contemporary Philosophy of Mind and Buddhist Thought.John Spackman - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (10):741-751.
    Recent years have seen a growing interest in Buddhist thought as a potential source of alternative conceptions of the nature of the mind and the relation between the mental and the physical. This article considers and assesses three different models of what contemporary philosophy of mind can learn from Buddhist thought. One model, advocated by Alan Wallace, holds that we can learn from Buddhist meditation that both individual consciousness and the physical world itself emerge from a deeper, “primordial” consciousness. A (...)
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  • Content and the Stream of Consciousness.Matthew Soteriou - 2007 - Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):543–568.
  • The Significance of Cognitive Phenomenology.Declan Smithies - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):731-743.
    This is the second in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...)
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  • The Nature of Cognitive Phenomenology.Declan Smithies - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):744-754.
    This is the first in a series of two articles that serve as an introduction to recent debates about cognitive phenomenology. Cognitive phenomenology can be defined as the experience that is associated with cognitive activities, such as thinking, reasoning, and understanding. What is at issue in contemporary debates is not the existence of cognitive phenomenology, so defined, but rather its nature and theoretical role. The first article examines questions about the nature of cognitive phenomenology, while the second article explores the (...)
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  • The Mental Lives of Zombies.Declan Smithies - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):343-372.
    Could there be a cognitive zombie – that is, a creature with the capacity for cognition, but no capacity for consciousness? Searle argues that there cannot be a cognitive zombie because there cannot be an intentional zombie: on this view, there is a connection between consciousness and cognition that is derived from a more fundamental connection between consciousness and intentionality. However, I argue that there are good empirical reasons for rejecting the proposed connection between consciousness and intentionality. Instead, I argue (...)
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  • Perception and the External World.Declan Smithies - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1119-1145.
    In this paper, I argue that perception justifies belief about the external world in virtue of its phenomenal character together with its relations to the external world. But I argue that perceptual relations to the external world impact on the justifying role of perception only by virtue of their impact on its representational content. Epistemic level-bridging principles provide a principled rationale for avoiding more radically externalist theories of perceptual justification.
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  • Affective Experience, Desire, and Reasons for Action.Declan Smithies & Jeremy Weiss - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (1):27-54.
    What is the role of affective experience in explaining how our desires provide us with reasons for action? When we desire that p, we are thereby disposed to feel attracted to the prospect that p, or to feel averse to the prospect that not-p. In this paper, we argue that affective experiences – including feelings of attraction and aversion – provide us with reasons for action in virtue of their phenomenal character. Moreover, we argue that desires provide us with reasons (...)
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  • The Agony of Defeat?Nicholas Silins - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (3):505-532.
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  • 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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  • The Epistemic Impact of the Etiology of Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):697-722.
    In this paper I offer a theory of what makes certain influences on visual experiences by prior mental states (including desires, beliefs, moods, and fears) reduce the justificatory force of those experiences. The main idea is that experiences, like beliefs, can have rationally assessable etiologies, and when those etiologies are irrational, the experiences are epistemically downgraded.
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  • Is Experience Transparent?Charles Siewert - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):15-41.
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  • Why Do We Need Perceptual Content?Ayoob Shahmoradi - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):776-788.
  • A Representationalist Reading of Kantian Intuitions.Ayoob Shahmoradi - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):2169-2191.
    There are passages in Kant’s writings according to which empirical intuitions have to be (a) singular, (b) object-dependent, and (c) immediate. It has also been argued that empirical intuitions (d) are not truth-apt, and (e) need to provide the subject with a proof of the possibility of the cognized object. Having relied on one or another of the a-e constraints, the naïve realist readers of Kant have argued that it is not possible for empirical intuitions to be representations. Instead they (...)
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  • Un análisis del contenido protoproposicional de Peacocke.Nicolás Alejandro Serrano - 2017 - Análisis Filosófico 37 (2):169-194.
    En su caracterización del contenido no conceptual, Christopher Peacocke realiza un esfuerzo constante por diferenciar el contenido no conceptual protoproposicional que propone del contenido de tipo conceptual. En este trabajo analizaré tales esfuerzos para concluir que resultan infructuosos, llevando al autor a lo que podría denominarse como una rotulación incorrecta del contenido protoproposicional como no conceptual. Para ello, reconstruiré la posición no conceptualista de Peacocke y señalaré, mediante los ejemplos que el mismo autor ofrece, la gran similitud que existe entre (...)
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  • Perspectival Self-Consciousness and Ego-Dissolution.Miguel Angel Sebastian - 2020 - Philosophy and the Mind Sciences 1 (I):1-27.
    It is often claimed that a minimal form of self-awareness is constitutive of our conscious experience. Some have considered that such a claim is plausible for our ordinary experiences but false when considered unrestrictedly on the basis of the empirical evidence from altered states. In this paper I want to reject such a reasoning. This requires, first, a proper understanding of a minimal form of self-awareness – one that makes it plausible that minimal self-awareness is part of our ordinary experiences. (...)
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  • First-Person Perspective in Experience: Perspectival De Se Representation as an Explanation of the Delimitation Problem.Miguel Ángel Sebastián - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
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  • Functions and Mental Representation: The Theoretical Role of Representations and its Real Nature.Miguel Sebastián - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (2):317-336.
    Representations are not only used in our folk-psychological explanations of behaviour, but are also fruitfully postulated, for example, in cognitive science. The mainstream view in cognitive science maintains that our mind is a representational system. This popular view requires an understanding of the nature of the entities they are postulating. Teleosemantic theories face this challenge, unpacking the normativity in the relation of representation by appealing to the teleological function of the representing state. It has been argued that, if intentionality is (...)
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  • The Goldilocks Problem of the Specificity of Visual Phenomenal Content.Robert Schroer - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):476-495.
    Existentialist accounts maintain that visual phenomenal content takes the logical form of an existentially quantified sentence. These accounts do not make phenomenal content specific enough. Singularist accounts posit a singular content in which the seen object is a constituent. These accounts make phenomenal content too specific. My account gets the specificity of visual phenomenal content just right. My account begins with John Searle's suggestion that visual experience represents an object as seen, moves this relation outside the scope of the existential (...)
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  • Representationalism and the Scene-Immediacy of Visual Experience: A Journey to the Fringe and Back.Robert Schroer - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):595 - 615.
    Both visual experience and conscious thought represent external objects, but in visual experience these objects seem present before the mind and available for direct access in a way that they don?t in conscious thought. In this paper, I introduce a couple of challenges that this ?Scene-Immediacy? of visual experience raises for traditional versions of Representationalism. I then identify a resource to which Representationalists can appeal in addressing these challenges: the low-detail fringe of visual experience. I argue that low-detail contents within (...)
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  • Perceptual Consciousness as a Mental Activity.Susanna Schellenberg - 2019 - Noûs 53 (1):114-133.
    I argue that perceptual consciousness is constituted by a mental activity. The mental activity in question is the activity of employing perceptual capacities, such as discriminatory, selective capacities. This is a radical view, but I hope to make it plausible. In arguing for this mental activist view, I reject orthodox views on which perceptual consciousness is analyzed in terms of peculiar entities, such as, phenomenal properties, external mind-independent properties, propositions, sense-data, qualia, or intentional objects.
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  • Ontological Minimalism About Phenomenology.Susanna Schellenberg - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):1-40.
    I develop a view of the common factor between subjectively indistinguishable perceptions and hallucinations that avoids analyzing experiences as involving awareness relations to abstract entities, sense-data, or any other peculiar entities. The main thesis is that hallucinating subjects employ concepts (or analogous nonconceptual structures), namely the very same concepts that in a subjectively indistinguishable perception are employed as a consequence of being related to external, mind-independent objects or property-instances. These concepts and nonconceptual structures are identified with modes of presentation types. (...)
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  • Does the Phenomenality of Perceptual Experience Present an Obstacle to Phenomenal Externalism?Robert Schroer - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (1):93-110.
    : Although Externalism is widely accepted as a thesis about belief, as a thesis about experience it is both controversial and unpopular. One potential explanation of this difference involves the phenomenality of perceptual experience—perhaps there is something about how perceptual experiences seem that straightforwardly speaks against Externalist accounts of their individuation conditions. In this paper, I investigate this idea by exploring the role that the phenomenality of color experience plays in a prominent argument against Phenomenal Externalism: Ned Block’s Inverted Earth (...)
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  • Do Emotions Represent Values?Laura Schroeter, François Schroeter & Karen Jones - 2015 - Dialectica 69 (3):357-380.
    This paper articulates what it would take to defend representationalism in the case of emotions – i.e. the claim that emotions attribute evaluative properties to target objects or events. We argue that representationalism faces a significant explanatory challenge that has not yet been adequately recognized. Proponents must establish that a representation relation linking emotions and value is explanatorily necessary. We use the case of perception to bring out the difficulties in meeting this explanatory challenge.
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  • Subjective Externalism.Sarah Sawyer - 2018 - Theoria 84 (1):4-22.
    In this article I argue for a novel theory of representational content, which I call ‘subjective externalism’. The view combines an internal, subjective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins internalist theories of thought, and an external, objective constraint on the attribution of thought content which traditionally underpins externalist theories of thought. While internalism and externalism are mutually inconsistent, the constraints to which each theory is committed are not. It is this realization that opens up the conceptual (...)
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  • XIII—The Flow of Time in Experience.Thomas Sattig - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (3):275-293.
    Our perceptual experiences as of change over time seem to be accompanied by the sense that time flows. The sense of flow is widely regarded as one of the most elusive aspects of temporal experience. In this paper, I develop a novel account of its nature. I give an initial characterization of the sense of flow as the sense that the present changes—in short, as the sense of replacement. Further, I specify the type of account of the sense of replacement (...)
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