Perception is one of the most pervasive and puzzling problems in philosophy, generating a great deal of attention and controversy in philosophy of mind, psychology and metaphysics. If perceptual illusion and hallucination are possible, how can perception be what it intuitively seems to be, a direct and immediate access to reality? How can perception be both internally dependent and externally directed? Perception is an outstanding introduction to this fundamental topic, covering both the perennial and recent work on the problem. Adam (...) Pautz examines four of the most important theories of perception: the sense datum view; the internal physical state view; the representational view; and naïve realism, assessing each in turn. He also discusses the relationship between perception and the physical world and the issue of whether reality is as it appears. Useful examples are included throughout the book to illustrate the puzzles of perception, including hallucinations, illusions, the laws of appearance, blindsight, and neuroscientific explanations of our experience of pain, smell and color. The book covers both traditional philosophical arguments and more recent empirical arguments deriving from research in psychophysics and neuroscience. The addition of chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and a glossary of terms make Perception essential reading for anyone studying the topic in detail, as well as for students of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and metaphysics. (shrink)
In “Radical Interpretation” (1974), David Lewis asked: by what constraints, and to what extent, do the non-intentional, physical facts about Karl determine the intentional facts about him? There are two popular approaches: the reductive externalist program and the phenomenal intentionality program. I argue against both approaches. Then I sketch an alternative multistage account incorporating ideas from both camps. If we start with Karl's conscious experiences, we can appeal to Lewisian ideas to explain his other intentional states. This account develops the (...) multistage Lewisian approach presented at the end of my earlier "Does Phenomenology Ground Mental Content?" (2013). (shrink)
I develop several new arguments against claims about "cognitive phenomenology" and its alleged role in grounding thought content. My arguments concern "absent cognitive qualia cases", "altered cognitive qualia cases", and "disembodied cognitive qualia cases". However, at the end, I sketch a positive theory of the role of phenomenology in grounding content, drawing on David Lewis's work on intentionality. I suggest that within Lewis's theory the subject's total evidence plays the central role in fixing mental content and ruling out deviant interpretations. (...) However I point out a huge unnoticed problem, the problem of evidence: Lewis really has no theory of sensory content and hence no theory of what fixes evidence. I suggest a way of plugging this hole in Lewis's theory. On the resulting theory, which I call " phenomenal functionalism", there is a sense in which sensory phenomenology is the source of all determinate intentionality. Phenomenal functionalism has similarities to the theories of Chalmers and Schwitzgebel. (shrink)
I address three interrelated issues concerning the contents of experiences. First, I address the preliminary issue of what it means to say that experiences have contents. Then I address the issue of why we should believe that experiences have contents. Finally, I address the issue of what the contents of experiences are.
H. H. Price (1932) held that experience is essentially presentational. According to Price, when one has an experience of a tomato, nothing can be more certain than that there is something of which one is aware. Price claimed that the same applies to hallucination. In general, whenever one has a visual experience, there is something of which one is aware, according to Price. Call this thesis Item-Awareness.
Phenomenal intentionality is irreducible. Empirical investigation shows it is internally-dependent. So our usual externalist (causal, etc.) theories do not apply here. Internalist views of phenomenal intentionality (e. g. interpretationism) also fail. The resulting primitivist view avoids Papineau's worry that terms for consciousness are highly indeterminate: since conscious properties are extremely natural (despite having unnatural supervenience bases) they are 'reference magnets'.
A preview of my book *Perception*. Discusses the relationship between perception and the physical world and the issue of whether reality is as it appears. Useful examples are included throughout the book to illustrate the puzzles of perception, including hallucinations, illusions, the laws of appearance, blindsight, and neuroscientific explanations of our experience of pain, smell and color. The book covers both traditional philosophical arguments and more recent empirical arguments deriving from research in psychophysics and neuroscience. The addition of chapter summaries, (...) suggestions for further reading and a glossary of terms make Perception essential reading for anyone studying the topic in detail, as well as for students of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology and metaphysics. (shrink)
Many favor representationalism about color experience. To a first approximation, this view holds that experiencing is like believing. In particular, like believing, experiencing is a matter of representing the world to be a certain way. Once you view color experience along these lines, you face a big question: do our color experiences represent the world as it really is? For instance, suppose you see a tomato. Representationalists claim that having an experience with this sensory character is necessarily connected with representing (...) a distinctive quality as pervading a round area out there in external space. Let us call it “sensible redness” to highlight the fact that the representation of this property is necessarily connected with the sensory character of the experience. Is this property, sensible redness, really co-instantiated with roundness out there in the space before you? (shrink)
In this paper, I do a few things. I develop a (largely) empirical argument against naïve realism (Campbell, Martin, others) and for representationalism. I answer Papineau’s recent paper “Against Representationalism (about Experience)”. And I develop a new puzzle for representationalists.
Develops an empirical argument against naive realism-disjunctivism: if naive realists accept "internal dependence", then they cannot explain the evolution of perceptual success. Also presents a puzzle about our knowledge of universals.
Using empirical research on pain, sound and taste, I argue against the combination of intentionalism about consciousness and a broadly ‘tracking’ psychosemantics of the kind defended by Fodor, Dretske, Hill, Neander, Stalnaker, Tye and others. Then I develop problems with Kriegel and Prinz's attempt to combine a Dretskean psychosemantics with the view that sensible properties are Shoemakerian response-dependent properties. Finally, I develop in detail my own 'primitivist' view of sensory intentionality.
What is the role of conscious experience in the epistemology of perceptual knowledge: how should we characterise what is going on in seeing that o is F in order to illuminate the contribution of seeing o to their status as cases of knowing that o is F? My proposal is that seeing o involves conscious acquaintance with o itself, the concrete worldly source of the truth that o is F, in a way that may make it evident to the subject (...) that o is an instance of ‘x is F’ as she understands this, and hence evident that o is F. Seeing that o is F is thus a way of its being evident that o is F and is therefore a way of knowing that o is F. (shrink)
The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call multiple candidate cases. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant and must allow massive (...) vagueness in conscious experience. I also will argue that a nonreductive theory of the conscious-of relation can easily provide a very satisfying, unified explanation of the ways in which this relation is significant. (shrink)
In the first instance, IIT is formulated as a theory of the physical basis of the 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness in a system. In addition, integrated information theorists have tried to provide a systematic theory of how physical states determine the specific qualitative contents of episodes of consciousness: for instance, an experience as of a red and round thing rather than a green and square thing. I raise a series of questions about the central explanatory target, the (...) 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness. I suggest it is not at all clear what scientists and philosophers are talking about when they talk about consciousness as gradable. I also raise some questions about the explanation of qualitative content. (shrink)
In this superb book, Williams sets a very ambitious goal for himself: to sketch biconditionals that define representational conditions in nonrepresentational terms. Representation is not a spooky, primitive capacity of the mind; it is built from more basic ingredients. At the center is his radical interpretation theory of belief and desire, inspired by the work of David Lewis.
I argue for three claims. First, there is a strong argument for identity physicalism (Lewis, Sider, Dorr) over dualism. It does achieve the physicalist dream of a maximally simple and uniform view of reality. However, there are also strong arguments against identity physicalism concerning the special nature of conscious experiences. Second, although nonidentity "ground" physicalism (Campbell, Johnston, Schaffer) is a possible fallback position, there is no reason to prefer to property dualism. It provides an equally complex and unattractive picture of (...) nature. Third, assuming identity physicalism fails, we also should not much care about which of these options is right. In fact, it becomes difficult to understand the difference. The upshot is that, when it comes to the metaphysics of consciousness, the “big divide” is between identity physicalism (Lewis, Sider, Dorr) and all the rest. This is where the debate should focus. (shrink)
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 (...) form of the puzzle, including the naïve realist. In §1 I explain representationalism about experience. In §§2-3 I develop the puzzle and criticize a response due to Ned Block and Jeff Speaks and another response based on a novel form of representationalism (“sensa representationalism”). In §4 I argue that defenders of “perceptual confidence” (Morrison, Munton, my earlier self) face an instance of the puzzle. In §5 I suggest that everyone faces a form of the puzzle. (shrink)
In “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness”, David Chalmers briefly raises a problem about how the connection between consciousness and our verbal and other behavior appears “lucky”. I raise a counterexample to Chalmers’s formulation of the problem. Then I develop an alternative formulation. Finally, I consider some responses, including illusionism about consciousness.
In this chapter, Pautz raises a puzzle about spatial experience for phenomenal internalists like Ned Block. If an accidental, lifelong brain-in-the-void (BIV) should have all the same experiences as you, it would have an experience as of items having various shapes, and be able to acquire concepts of those shapes, despite being cut off from real things with the shapes. Internalists cannot explain this by saying that BIV is presented with Peacocke-style visual field regions having various shapes, because these would (...) have to be non-physical sense data. They might instead explain this by saying that BIV “phenomenally represents” various shape properties. But since BIV lacks any interesting physical relations to shapes, this would imply that phenomenally representation is an irreducible relation. (shrink)
This is a chapter from my forthcoming book Perception (Routledge). I explain the physical state view of sensory experience (Papineau, McLaughlin, others). I criticize an argument against it based on the "transparency observation". Then I develop two alternative arguments against it. The first is a Leibniz's Law argument based on the essentially externally directed character of some experiences. The second concerns "brains in vats". Finally I consider a recent response due to David Papineau, which involves rejecting essential external directedness.
Physicalism about colour is the thesis that colours are identical with response-independent, physical properties of objects. I endorse the Argument from Structure against Physicalism about colour. The argument states that Physicalism cannot accommodate certain obvious facts about colour structure: for instance, that red is a unitary colour while purple is a binary colour, and that blue resembles purple more than green. I provide a detailed formulation of the argument. According to the most popular response to the argument, the Physicalist can (...) accommodate colour structure by explaining it in terms of colour experience. I argue that this response fails. Along the way, I examine other interesting issues in the philosophy of colour and colour perception, for instance the relational structure of colour experience and the description theory of how colour names refer. (shrink)
I criticize some armchair arguments against phenomenal externalism due to Block, Hawthorne, Kriegel, Levine, Shoemaker and others. I conclude by discussing an overlooked armchair argument: the argument from phenomenal localism.
In his excellent book *The Metaphysics of Sensory Experience* (2021), David Papineau argues against standard theories of sensory experience: the sense datum view, representationalism, naïve realism, and so on. The only view left standing is his own “qualitative view”. On Papineau’s physicalist version, all experiences are nothing but neural states, and the only features essentially involved in experience are intrinsic neural properties (29-30, 95-97). In my book *Perception* (2021), I developed an argument from spatial experience against this kind of view (...) (also Pautz 2010, 2017). Here I elaborate on that argument in the light of Papineau’s discussion. (shrink)
This paper elaborates on an argument in my book *Perception*. It has two parts. In the first part, I argue against what I call "basic" naive realism, on the grounds that it fails to accommodate what I call "internal dependence" and it requires an empirically implausible theory of sensible properties. Then I turn Craig French and Ian Phillips’ modified naïve realism as set out in their recent paper "Austerity and Illusion". It accommodates internal dependence. But it may retain the empirically (...) implausible theory of sensible properties. And it faces other empirical problems. Representationalism about experiences avoids those problems and is to be preferred. (shrink)
This paper is about Susanna Schellenberg's view on the explanatory role of perceptual experience. I raise a basic question about what the argument for her view might be. Then I develop two new problem cases: one involving “seamless transitions” between perception and hallucination and another involving the graded character of perceptual evidence and justification.
In the first instance, IIT is formulated as a theory of the physical basis of the 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness in a system. I raise a series of questions about the central explanatory target, the 'degree' or ‘level’ or ‘amount’ of consciousness. I suggest it is not at all clear what scientists and philosophers are talking about when they talk about consciousness as gradable. This point is developed in more detail in my paper "What Is the Integrated (...) Information Theory of Consciousness?"Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (1-2):1-2 (2019) . (shrink)
We take it that conscious acquaintance has great epistemic value. I develop a new problem for reductive physicalism concerning the epistemic value of acquaintance. The problem concerns "multiple candidate cases". (This develops a theme of my paper *The Significance Argument for the Irreducibility of Consciousness", Philosophical Perspectives 2017.).
Discusses recent work on representationalism, including: the case for a representationalist theory of consciousness, which explains consciousness in terms of content; rivals such as neurobiological type-type identity theory (Papineau, McLaughlin) and naive realism (Allen, Campbell, Brewer); John Campbell and David Papineau's recent objections to representationalism; the problem of the "laws of appearance"; externalist vs internalist versions of representationalism; the relation between representationalism and the mind-body problem.
I address the question of whether phenomenology is "prior to" all intentionality. I also sketch a version of David Lewis's interpretationism in which phenomenal intentionality plays the role of source intentionality.
This paper (from 2006) is now defunct. I argue against "realist primitivism". One of my arguments is a kind of "evolutionary debunking argument". Some of the material of this was incorporated into “Can Disjunctivists Explain Our Access to the Sensible World?” and "How Does Color Experience Represent the World?".
I argue that Byrne & Hilbert have not answered Hardin's objection to physicalism about color concerning the unitary-binary structure of the colors for two reasons. First, their account of unitary-binary structure seems unsatisfactory. Second, pace B&H, there are no physicalistically acceptable candidates to be the hue-magnitudes. I conclude with a question about the justification of physicalism about color.
Perhaps more than any other philosopher of mind, Ned Block synthesizes philosophical and scientific approaches to the mind; he is unique in moving back and forth across this divide, doing so with creativity and intensity. Over the course of his career, Block has made groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of intelligence, representation, and consciousness. Blockheads! (the title refers to Block's imaginary counterexample to the Turing test—and to the Block-enthusiast contributors) offers eighteen new essays on Block's work along with substantive and (...) wide-ranging replies by Block. (shrink)
In his superb book, The Metaphysics of Representation, Williams sketches biconditional reductive definitions of representational states in non-representational terms. The central idea is an extremely innovative variety of interpretationism about belief and desire. Williams is inspired by David Lewis but departs significantly from him. I am sympathetic to interpretationism for some basic beliefs and desires. However, I will raise three worries for Williams’s version (§2–4). It neglects the role of conscious experience, it makes beliefs and desire too dependent on "hidden (...) facts", and it commits to the unmotivated and problematic claim that mental content is always explanatorily prior to linguistic content. Then, I will suggest a modified version of interpretationism that avoids these problems (§5). I will conclude with a general question (§6). -/- . (shrink)
One of Jerry Fodor’s many seminal contributions to philosophy of mind was his inner sentence theory of belief and desire. To believe that p is to have a subpersonal inner sentence in one’s “belief-box” that means that p, and to desire that q is to have a subpersonal inner sentence in one’s “desire-box” that means that q. I will distinguish between two accounts of box-inclusion that exhaust the options: liberal and restrictive. I will show that both accounts have the mistaken (...) implication that in certain cases there can be radical but “secret” changes in a subject’s beliefs and desires. I will suggest that the correct moral to draw is that we should instead accept what Eric Schwitzgebel has called a “surface-level” theory of belief and desire. (shrink)
I develop a problem for the Fregean Reference Shift analysis of that-clause reference. The problem is discussed by Stephen Schiffer in his recent book The Things We Mean (2003). Either the defender of the Fregean Reference Shift analysis must count certain counterintuitive inferences as valid, or else he must reject a plausible Exportation rule. I consider several responses. I find that the best response relies on a Kaplan-inspired analysis of quantified belief reports. But I argue that this response faces some (...) serious problems. (shrink)
I begin by describing what I call simple naïve realism. Then I describe relevant empirical results. Next, I develop two new empirical arguments against simple naive realism. Then I briefly look at two new, more complex forms of naïve realism: one due to Keith Allen and the other due to Heather Logue and Ori Beck. I argue that they are not satisfactory retreats for naive realists. The right course is to reject naive realism altogether. My stalking horse is contemporary naive (...) realism but there is a larger, positive lesson: new empirical results support a brain-based theory of sensory consciousness. (shrink)
Jane Friedman proposes DBI: One ought not to believe an (complete) answer to a question & at the same time inquire into that question – that’d be irrational. I raise some counterexamples. Then I propose an alternative principle which avoids the counterexamples and which has the further advantage of following from more general platitudes about knowledge.