Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case (...) is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism. (shrink)
Which objects and properties are represented in perceptual experience, and how are we able to determine this? The papers in this collection address these questions together with other fundamental questions about the nature of perceptual content. The book draws together papers by leading international philosophers of mind, including Alex Byrne (MIT), Alva Noë (University of California, Berkeley), Tim Bayne (St Catherine’s College, Oxford), Michael Tye (University of Texas, Austin), Richard Price (All Souls College, Oxford) and Susanna Siegel (Harvard University) Essays (...) address the central questions surrounding the content of perceptual experience Investigates how are we able to determine the admissible contents of experience Published in association with the journal Philosophical Quarterly . (shrink)
Inspired by the writings of J. M. Hinton (1967a, 1967b, 1973), but ushered into the mainstream by Paul Snowdon (1980–1, 1990–1), John McDowell (1982, 1986), and M. G. F. Martin (2002, 2004, 2006), disjunctivism is currently discussed, advocated, and opposed in the philosophy of perception, the theory of knowledge, the theory of practical reason, and the philosophy of action. But what is disjunctivism?
If beliefs and desires affect perception—at least in certain specified ways—then cognitive penetration occurs. Whether it occurs is a matter of controversy. Recently, some proponents of the predictive coding account of perception have claimed that the account entails that cognitive penetrations occurs. I argue that the relationship between the predictive coding account and cognitive penetration is dependent on both the specific form of the predictive coding account and the specific form of cognitive penetration. In so doing, I spell out different (...) forms of each and the relationship that holds between them. Thus, mere acceptance of the predictive coding approach to perception does not determine whether one should think that cognitive penetration exists. Moreover, given that there are such different conceptions of both predictive coding and cognitive penetration, researchers should cease talking of either without making clear which form they refer to, if they aspire to make true generalisations. (shrink)
The senses, or sensory modalities, constitute the different ways we have of perceiving the world, such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. But how many senses are there? How many could there be? What makes the senses different? What interaction takes place between the senses? This book is a guide to thinking about these questions. Together with an extensive introduction to the topic, the book contains the key classic papers on this subject together with nine newly commissioned essays.One reason (...) that these questions are important is that we are receiving a huge influx of new information from the sciences that challenges some traditional philosophical views about the senses. This information needs to be incorporated into our view of the senses and perception. Can we do this whilst retaining our pre-existing concepts of the senses and of perception or do we need to revise our concepts? If they need to be revised, then in what way should that be done? Research in diverse areas, such as the nature of human perception, varieties of non-human animal perception, the interaction between different sensory modalities, perceptual disorders, and possible treatments for them, calls into question the platitude that there are five senses, as well as the pre-supposition that we know what we are counting when we count them as five.This book will serve as an inspiring introduction to the topic and as a basis from which further new research will grow. (shrink)
In this paper, we present new cases of illusion and hallucination that have not heretofore been identified. We argue that such cases show that the traditional accounts of illusion and hallucination are incorrect because they do not identify all of the cases of non-veridical experience that they need to and they elide important differences between cases. In light of this, we present new and exhaustive definitions of illusion and hallucination. First, we explicate the traditional accounts of illusion and hallucination. We (...) then proceed to outline cases of pure property experience—that is, experience as of properties, but not as of objects. We suggest that some might find it to be plausible that olfactory experience is of this kind. We argue that, within instances of such pure property experience, one can identify cases of veridical property perception, illusory property perception and hallucinatory property experience. With these distinctions in hand, we re-examine ordinary cases of experiences as of objects having properties. Drawing on the ideas uncovered by considering pure property experience, we bring to light many new cases of illusion and hallucination within ordinary experience as of objects having properties. These consist in different combinations of veridical perception, illusory perception and hallucination of both objects and properties. In order to accept that these new cases of illusion and hallucination exist in ordinary experience as of objects having properties, nothing turns on accepting the idea that there is pure property experience, or that olfactory experience is an instance of it. Such a conception of experience is simply a tool—a ladder to gain a good vantage point from which one can appreciate that there are these further cases. But this is a ladder that, as Wittgenstein might say, can be thrown away once it is used. Identifying new instances of illusion and hallucination provides much needed, important data for testing theories of experience and perception—theories that are frequently motivated, and should be judged, by their ability to account for cases of illusion and hallucination. (shrink)
This paper provides a categorization of cross-modal experiences. There are myriad forms. Doing so allows us to think clearly about the nature of different cross-modal experiences and allows us to clearly formulate competing hypotheses about the kind of experiences involved in different cross-modal phenomena.
The senses, or sensory modalities, constitute the different ways we have of perceiving the world, such as seeing, hearing , touching, tasting, and smelling. But what makes the senses different? How many senses are there? How many could there be? Wha t interaction takes place between the senses? This introduction is a guide to thinking about these questions.
Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counterexample to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judgements to account for Gestalt switching. (...) I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position. (shrink)
I argue that we should reject the sparse view that there are or could be only a small number of rather distinct senses. When one appreciates this then one can see that there is no need to choose between the standard criteria that have been proposed as ways of individuating the senses—representation, phenomenal character, proximal stimulus and sense organ—or any other criteria that one may deem important. Rather, one can use these criteria in conjunction to form a fine-grained taxonomy of (...) the senses. We can think of these criteria as defining a multidimensional space within which we can locate each of the senses that we are familiar with and which also defines the space of possible senses there could be. (shrink)
Visual imagery is a form of sensory imagination, involving subjective experiences typically described as similar to perception, but which occur in the absence of corresponding external stimuli. We used the Activation Likelihood Estimation algorithm (ALE) to identify regions consistently activated by visual imagery across 40 neuroimaging studies, the first such meta-analysis. We also employed a recently developed multi-modal parcellation of the human brain to attribute stereotactic co-ordinates to one of 180 anatomical regions, the first time this approach has been combined (...) with the ALE algorithm. We identified a total 634 foci, based on measurements from 464 participants. Our overall comparison identified activation in the superior parietal lobule, particularly in the left hemisphere, consistent with the proposed ‘top-down’ role for this brain region in imagery. Inferior premotor areas and the inferior frontal sulcus were reliably activated, a finding consistent with the prominent semantic demands made by many visual imagery tasks. We observed bilateral activation in several areas associated with the integration of eye movements and visual information, including the supplementary and cingulate eye fields (SCEFs) and the frontal eye fields (FEFs), suggesting that enactive processes are important in visual imagery. V1 was typically activated during visual imagery, even when participants have their eyes closed, consistent with influential depictive theories of visual imagery. Temporal lobe activation was restricted to area PH and regions of the fusiform gyrus, adjacent to the fusiform face complex (FFC). These results provide a secure foundation for future work to characterise in greater detail the functional contributions of specific areas to visual imagery. (shrink)
The main aim of Lupyan’s paper is to claim that perception is cognitively penetrated and that this is consistent with the idea of perception as predictive coding. In these remarks I will focus on what Lupyan says about whether perception is cognitively penetrated, and set aside his remarks about epistemology. I have argued (2012) that perception can be cognitively penetrated and so I am sympathetic to Lupyan’s overall aim of showing that perception is cognitively penetrable. However, I will be critical (...) of some of Lupyan’s reasoning in arguing for this position. I will also call for clarification of that reasoning. First, I will discuss what is meant by cognitive penetration and, in light of this, the sort of evidence that can be used to establish its existence. Second, I will question whether Lupyan establishes that all cases of cross-modal effects are cases of cognitive penetration. In doing so, I will suggest a form of cognitive penetration that has heretofore not been posited, and give an example of how one might test for its existence. Third, I will question whether Lupyan puts forward convincing evidence that categorical knowledge and language affect perception in a way that conclusively shows that cognitive penetration occurs. Fourth, I will closely examine Lupyan’s reply to the argument against cognitive penetration from illusion. I show that his reply is not adequate and that he misses a more straightforward reply that one could give. Fifth, I briefly concur with the remarks that Lupyan makes about the role of attention with respect to cognitive penetration. And finally, sixth, I spell out exactly what I think the relationship is between the thesis that predictive coding is the correct model of perception and the thesis that there is cognitive penetration. (shrink)
Philosophers and scientists have studied sensory perception and, in particular, vision for many years. Increasingly, however, they have become interested in the nonvisual senses in greater detail and the problem of individuating the senses in a more general way. The Aristotelian view is that there are only five external senses—smell, taste, hearing, touch, and vision. This has, by many counts, been extended to include internal senses, such as balance, proprioception, and kinesthesis; pain; and potentially other human and nonhuman senses. This (...) “multisensory turn” has been driven partly by developments in contemporary psychology and neuroscience, which have revealed a host of complex interrelations and interactions between sensory modalities previously thought to be distinct. Contrasts between modalities and other crossmodal phenomena, including multisensory integration, synesthesia, and sensory substitution, have also begun to receive more attention in a burgeoning scientific and philosophical literature on multisensory perception and other crossmodal effects. This article focuses on recent empirically informed contributions to the philosophy of perception, as well as key scientific works that provide important background information and insights into the nature of the senses and sensory perception. Indeed, one of the lessons of the multisensory turn, and of contemporary philosophy of mind more generally, is that philosophers ignore this body of empirical research at their peril because many human and animal senses turn out to be richer and more complex than philosophers and scientists had previously imagined, making this a fruitful area for interdisciplinary interaction and research. (shrink)
Abstract: This paper seeks to establish whether the cognitive penetration of experience is compatible with experience having nonconceptual content. Cognitive penetration occurs when one’s beliefs or desires affect one’s perceptual experience in a particular way. I examine two different models of cognitive penetration and four different accounts of the distinction between conceptual and nonconceptual content. I argue that one model of cognitive penetration—“classic” cognitive penetration—is compatible with only one of the accounts of nonconceptual content that I identify. I then consider (...) the other model of cognitive penetration—cognitive penetration “lite”. I provide reasons to think that this is compatible with three accounts of nonconceptual content. Moreover, I argue that the account of nonconceptual content that it is not compatible with is a spurious notion of nonconceptual content that ought to be abandoned. Thus, I claim that cognitive penetration lite is compatible with all reasonable specifications of nonconceptual content. (shrink)
Unlike those with type 1 blindsight, people who have type 2 blindsight have some sort of consciousness of the stimuli in their blind field. What is the nature of that consciousness? Is it visual experience? I address these questions by considering whether we can establish the existence of any structural—necessary—features of visual experience. I argue that it is very difficult to establish the existence of any such features. In particular, I investigate whether it is possible to visually, or more generally (...) perceptually, experience form or movement at a distance from our body, without experiencing colour. The traditional answer, advocated by Aristotle, and some other philosophers, up to and including the present day, is that it is not and hence colour is a structural feature of visual experience. I argue that there is no good reason to think that this is impossible, and provide evidence from four cases—sensory substitution, achomatopsia, phantom contours and amodal completion—in favour of the idea that it is possible. If it is possible then one important reason for rejecting the idea that people with type 2 blindsight do not have visual experiences is undermined. I suggest further experiments that could be done to help settle the matter. (shrink)
In this paper I examine whether representationalism can account for various thought experiments about colour inversions. Representationalism is, at minimum, the view that, necessarily, if two experiences have the same representational content then they have the same phenomenal character. I argue that representationalism ought to be rejected if one holds externalist views about experiential content and one holds traditional exter- nalist views about the nature of the content of propositional attitudes. Thus, colour inver- sion scenarios are more damaging to externalist (...) representationalist views than have been previously thought. More specifically, I argue that representationalists who endorse externalism about experiential content either have to become internalists about the content of propositional attitudes or they have to adopt a novel variety of externalism about the content of propositional attitudes. This novel type of propositional attitude externalism is investigated. It can be seen that adopting it forces one to reject Putnam. (shrink)
I propose a counterexample to naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. The counterexample is generated by experiences of novel colours reported by Crane and Piantanida. I consider various replies that a representationalist might make, including whether novel colours could be possible colours of objects and whether one can account for novel colours as one would account for binary colours or colour mixtures. I argue that none of these strategies is successful and therefore that one cannot fully explain the nature of (...) the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences using a naturalistic conception of representation. (shrink)
Is there a space of the sensory modalities? Such a space would be one in which we can represent all the actual, and at least some of the possible, sensory modalities. The relative position of the senses in this space would indicate how similar and how different the senses were from each other. The construction of such a space might reveal unconsidered features of the actual and possible senses, help us to define what a sense is, and provide grounds that (...) we might use to decide what is one token sense rather than multiple token senses. -/- In this paper, I explore, refine, and defend the idea that we can construct such a space—an idea that I briefly proposed in earlier work (Macpherson 2011a and 2011b). In doing so, I defend the idea from an objection that Richard Gray (2012) has voiced. Gray claims that the dimensions of the space of sensory modalities must generate a non-‐arbitrary ordering of the senses. He argues that we cannot find dimensions that do so. I disagree. I identify different ways in which a space could be arbitrary but I argue that we can define a space of the sensory modalities in a non-arbitrary manner. I give examples of what the dimensions might be. (shrink)
This volume presents ten new essays on the nature of perceptual imagination and perceptual memory, framed by an introductory overview of these topics. How do perceptual imagination and memory resemble and differ from each other and from other kinds of sensory experience? And what role does each play in perception and in the acquisition of knowledge? These are the two central questions that the contributors seek to address.
What kinds of features of the world figure consciously in our perceptual experience? Colours and shapes are uncontroversial; but what about volumes, natural kinds, reasons for belief, existences, relations? Eleven new essays investigate different kinds of phenomenal presence.
Forthcoming (2011) in K. Hawley and F. Macpherson (eds.) The Admissible Contents of Experience, Wiley‐Blackwell. The Admissible Contents of Experience Fiona Macpherson This essay provides an overview of the debate concerning the admissible contents of experience, together with an introduction to the papers in this volume. The debate is one that takes place among advocates of a certain way of thinking of perceptual experiences: that they are states that represent the world. For to say that a state has content is (...) to say that it represents; and its content is usually taken to be that which is represented. One should not be tempted to think that the debate is therefore marginal or esoteric, for this view of perceptual experience has been by far the dominant view of perceptual experience in recent years in philosophy (and in psychology and neuroscience). The debate is about what answer to give to a fundamental question about the nature of perceptual experience, namely: what objects and properties can it represent? (shrink)
The past 25 years have seen a rapid growth of knowledge about brain mechanisms involved in visual mental imagery. These advances have largely been made independently of the long history of philosophical – and even psychological – reckoning with imagery and its parent concept ‘imagination’. We suggest that the view from these empirical findings can be widened by an appreciation of imagination’s intellectual history, and we seek to show how that history both created the conditions for – and presents challenges (...) to – the scientific endeavor. We focus on the neuroscientific literature’s most commonly used task – imagining a concrete object – and, after sketching what is known of the neurobiological mechanisms involved, we examine the same basic act of imagining from the perspective of several key positions in the history of philosophy and psychology. We present positions that, firstly, contextualize and inform the neuroscientific account, and secondly, pose conceptual and methodological challenges to the scientific analysis of imagery. We conclude by reflecting on the intellectual history of visualization in the light of contemporary science, and the extent to which such science may resolve long-standing theoretical debates. (shrink)
This volume presents ten new essays on the nature of perceptual imagination and perceptual memory. The central questions are: How do perceptual imagination and memory resemble and differ from each other and from other kinds of sensory experience? And what role does each play in perception and in the acquisition of knowledge?
Reflection on skeptical scenarios in the philosophy of perception, made vivid in the arguments from illusion and hallucination, have led to the formulation of theories of the metaphysical and epistemological nature of perceptual experience. In recent times, the locus of the debate concerning the nature of perceptual experience has been the dispute between disjunctivists and common-kind theorists. Disjunctivists have held that there are substantial dissimilarities (either metaphysical or epistemological or both) between veridical perceptual experiences occurring when one perceives and perceptual (...) experiences involved in hallucination. Common-kind theorists have denied this. In this paper, I examine the nature of introspection – a faculty that has often been compared and contrasted to perception. I reflect on cases where introspection goes wrong in ways analogous to that in which our perceptual faculties can go wrong and formulate, what I take to be, an attractive theory of introspection. The cases that I focus on in which things go wrong are the case of zombies and the case of subjects with Anton’s syndrome. (Anton’s syndrome is a condition in which people who are blind claim that they can see.) I suggest that, just as it is possible to be a disjunctivist about perception, it is possible to be a disjunctivist about introspection. I argue that this is a good view of one type of introspection, namely, introspection of states that have phenomenal character, such as perceptual experiences. It has a good account to give of the cases in which such introspection seems to go wrong and it yields a plausible metaphysical and epistemological view of the nature of introspection. However, while I favour a disjunctive view of introspection, I do not favour a disjunctive view of perception. And, I suspect, that many disjunctivists about perception would not wish to condone my disjunctivist theory of introspection. I therefore go on to examine to what extent.. (shrink)
It is hoped that modern sensory substitution and augmentation devices will be able to replace or expand our senses. But to what extent has this been achieved to date? To what extent are the experiences created by sensory substitution devices like the sensory experiences that we are trying to replace? To what extent can we augment people’s senses providing them with new information and new experiences? The first aim of this introduction is to delve deeply into this question to discover (...) the usefulness of these devices, to outline the different sorts of experience that might be created, and what the evidence tells us about these experiences. While there are some reasons to be hopeful about the powers of sensory substitution devices, there are also reasons to wonder whether they will ever really have the practical applications that we hope they might have. The second aim is to look to see whether the study of modern sensory substitution and augmentation devices can shed light on the nature of our senses and perception in general. Much of the philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific work that takes place concerning sensory substitution and augmentation is keenly aware of the possibility that it might help our understanding and it seeks to comprehend many different aspects of perception. (shrink)
 Recent philosophy of mind and epistemology has seen an important and influential trend towards accounting for at least some features of experiences in content-involving terms. It is a contested point whether ascribing content to experiences can account for all the intrinsic properties of experiences, but on many theories of experiences there are close links between the ascription of content and the ways in which experiences are ascribed and typed. The issues here have both epistemological and psychological dimensions. On the (...) one hand, a theory of experiential content has a fundamental role in explaining how knowledge of the world can be acquired through experience. On the other hand, there are important psychological questions about the phenomenology of experiences and the conditions under which content ascriptions are made. (shrink)
How does visual imagination differ from visual perceptual experience? And how should we describe experiences of visual imagery? Moreover how can people who have visual imagery convey what it is like to have it to those who have never had it – congenital aphantisics? This paper addresses these questions using examples of illusions and other perceptual phenomena to hone in on the answers.
Is the sense-data theory, otherwise known as indirect realism, a form of representationalism? This question has been underexplored in the extant literature, and to the extent that there is discussion, contemporary authors disagree. There are many different variants of representationalism, and differences between these variants that some people have taken to be inconsequential turn out to be key factors in whether the sense-data theory is a form of representationalism. Chief among these are whether a representationalist takes the phenomenal character of (...) an experience to be explicable in virtue of the properties of an experience that represent something or explicable in virtue of that which gets represented. Another is whether representationalists hold a non-reductionist, or naturalistically or non-naturalistically reductionist variant of representationalism. In addition, subtle differences in what one takes phenomenal character to be on the sense-data theory – either awareness of sense-data or the sense-data themselves – together with one's account of representation, are crucial factors in determining whether sense-data theory is compatible with representationalism. This paper explores these relationships and makes manifest the complexities of the metaphysics of two central theories of perception. (shrink)
Synaesthesia is most often characterised as a union or mixing of the senses. i Richard Cytowic describes it thus: “It denotes the rare capacity to hear colours, taste shapes or experience other equally startling sensory blendings whose quality seems difficult for most of us to imagine” ( 1997, 7). One famous example is of a man who “tasted shapes”. When he experienced flavours he also experienced shapes rubbing against his face or hands. ii Such popular characterisations are rough and ready. (...) What is certainly true about synaesthesia is that it involves the interaction between sensory phenomena: in response to certain stimuli some sensory phenomena are elicited in synaesthetes that are not elicited in non-synaesthetes. However, the exact nature of the additional sensory phenomena forms a large part of the debate on the nature of synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a condition that has been known about for some time. In the late nineteenth century, and early twentieth, century very many articles appeared on the topic in the psychological literature. iii Much of this work on synaesthesia relied on introspective reports of subjects. In consequence, when later in the twentieth century psychologists eschewed introspective reports and radical behaviourist methodology became the order of the day, synaesthesia was rarely a topic of research. In more recent times, however, psychology has once again changed tack. With the advent of cognitive psychology and of objective techniques that try to probe the nature of conscious states of the mind that are reported in introspection, psychological interest in synaesthesia has resumed. Many new findings about the subject have recently been brought to light. In philosophy, interest in synaesthesia is only just beginning to arise. The phenomenon is potentially philosophically interesting for several reasons.. (shrink)
Recently, the term ‘aphantasia’ has become current in scientific and public discourse to denote the absence of mental imagery. However, new terms for aphantasia or its subgroups have recently been proposed, e.g. ‘dysikonesia’ or ‘anauralia’, which complicates the literature, research communication and understanding for the general public. Before further terms emerge, we advocate the consistent use of the term ‘aphantasia’ as it can be used flexibly and precisely, and is already widely known in the scientific community and among the general (...) public. (shrink)
This paper examines the representationalist view of experiences in the light of the phenomena of perfect and relative pitch. Two main kinds of representationalism are identified - environment-based and cognitive role-based. It is argued that to explain the relationship between the two theories a distinction should be drawn between various types of implicit and explicit content. When investigated, this distinction sheds some light on the difference between the phenomenology of perfect and relative pitch experiences and may be usefully applied to (...) describe the nature of experiences in the other sense modalities. (shrink)
Sensory substitution and augmentation devices are used to replace or enhance one sense by using another. Fiona Macpherson brings together neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers to focus on the nature of the perceptual experiences, the sensory interactions, and the changes that occur in the mind and brain while using these technologies.
Some naturalistic theories of consciousness give an essential role to teleology.1 This teleology is said to arise due to natural selection. Thus it is claimed that only certain states, namely, those that have been selected for by evolutionary pro- cesses because they contribute to (or once contributed to) an organism’s fitness, are conscious states. These theories look as if they are assigning a creative role to natural selection. If a state is conscious only if it has been selected for, then (...) selec- tion appears to be able to create a new feature of states, namely, their conscious nature. Yet, intuitively, natural selection cannot create anything. Natural selec- tion chooses certain features that already exist and makes them more (or less) prevalent in a population, but it cannot bring features into existence itself. Natu- ral selection can select for conscious states, but it cannot create them. This con- clusion has recently been argued for by Steven Horst (1999). If it is right, then teleological theories of conscious states should be rejected. A state cannot become a conscious experience in virtue of having been selected for by evolu- tionary process. (shrink)
This thesis is an examination and critique of naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. Phenomenal character refers to the distinctive quality that perceptual and sensational experiences seem to have; it is identified with 'what it is like' to undergo experiences. The central claims of representationalism are that phenomenal character is identical with the content of experience and that all representational states, bearing appropriate relations to the cognitive system, are conscious experiences. These claims are taken to explain both how conscious experiential (...) states arise and their nature. After examining the desiderata for naturalistic explanations, I argue that theories which ascribe nonconceptual content to experiences are the most plausible versions of representationalism. Further, causal covariation and teleological theories yield distinctive and interesting representationalist positions, hence, they become the focus of this study. To assess representationalism, I investigate whether all differences in phenomenal character can be correlated with differences in content. I claim that a useful distinction can be drawn between implicit and explicit content, which allows one to best describe the phenomena of perfect and relative pitch. I then argue that ambiguous figures show that two experiences can have the same content but different phenomenal character. I explicate the Inverted Earth hypothesis and claim that to identify content and phenomenal character, representationalists either have to condone the possibility of philosophical zombies, or hold that people lack authoritative first-person knowledge of their current experiences. Both these positions are unpalatable. Finally, I argue that representationalists cannot ascribe contents to experiences of novel colours to account for their phenomenal character. I also question, in light of dissociation phenomena, whether there is one distinctive relationship that all experiences bear to the cognitive system. I conclude that phenomenal character cannot be identical with the type of content under investigation, and that naturalistic representationalist theories cannot fully explain conscious experience. (shrink)
This article proposes a sensory studies methodology for the interpretation of museum objects. The proposed method unfolds in two phases: virtual encounter via an on-line catalog and actual exposure in the context of a handling workshop. In addition to exploring the écart between image and object, the “Sensing Art and Artifacts” exercise articulates a framework for arriving at a multisensory, cross-cultural, interactive understanding of aesthetic value. The case studies presented here involve four objects from the collection of the Hunterian Museum (...) as sensed and interpreted by scholars of psychology, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology. It is proposed that aesthetic judgment in the expanded (cross-cultural) sense contemplated here involves apprehending the museum object through multiple sensory modalities in place of the conventional Western ﬁxation on visible form. (shrink)
This essay is an introduction to the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour. Why has the examination of many different aspects of colour been a prominent feature in philosophy, to such an extent that the topic is worthy of a handbook? Here are two related answers. First, colours are exceedingly familiar, seemingly simple features that become enigmatic under scrutiny, and they are difficult to capture in any familiar-sounding, unsophisticated theory. Second, through colour one can confront various problems that span the (...) breadth of philosophy, including problems pertaining to perception, the mind-body relation, the nature of science, scepticism, vagueness, meta-ethics, and aesthetics. In this introduction we elaborate and guide the reader to the essays in the rest of this volume. (shrink)
The question of whether perception can be penetrated by cognition is in the limelight again. The reason this question keeps coming up is that there is so much at stake: Is it possible to have theory-neutral observation? Is it possible to study perception without recourse to expectations, context, and beliefs? What are the boundaries between perception, memory, and inference (and do they even exist)? Are findings from neuroscience that paint a picture of perception as an inherently bidirectional and interactive process (...) relevant for understanding the relationship between cognition and perception? We have assembled a group of philosophers and psychologists who have been considering the thesis of cognitive (im)penetrability in light of these questions (Abdel Rahman & Sommer, 2008; Goldstone, Landy, & Brunel, 2011; Lupyan, Thompson-Schill, & Swingley, 2010; Macpherson, 2012; Stokes, 2011). Rather than rehashing previous arguments which appear, in retrospect, to have been somewhat ill-posed (Pylyshyn, 1999), this symposium will present a thesis of cognitive (im)penetrability that is at once philosophically satisfying, empirically testable, and relevant to the questions that cognitive scientists find most interesting. (shrink)
This chapter explores the evidence for the existence of such new colour experiences and what their philosophical ramifications would be. I first define the notion of ‘novel colours’ and discuss why I think that this is the best name for such colours, rather than the numerous other names that they have sometimes been given in the literature. I then introduce the evidence and arguments for thinking that experiences as of novel colours exist, along with objections that people have had to (...) that evidence and to those arguments. To do so, I outline some facts about ordinary, non-novel colours before considering whether experiences as of novel colours, exist. Then I discuss the potentially significant ramifications the existence of novel colour experiences would have for theories of the metaphysics of colour, theories of the nature of colour experience, and for theories of the nature of perception more generally. (shrink)
This paper is divided into two main sections. The first articulates what I believe Strawson's position to be. I contrast Strawson's usage of 'physicalism' with the mainstream use. I then explain why I think that Strawson's position is one of property dualism and substance monism. In doing this, I outline his view and Locke's view on the nature of substance. I argue that they are similar in many respects and thus it is no surprise that Strawson actually holds a view (...) on the mind much like one plausible interpretation of Locke's position. Strawson's use of terminology cloaks this fact and he does not himself explicitly recognize it in his paper. In the second section, I outline some of Strawson's assumptions that he uses in arguing for his position. I comment on the plausibility of his position concerning the relation of the mind to the body compared with mainstream physicalism and various forms of dualism. Before embarking on the two main sections, in the remainder of this introduction, I very briefly sketch Strawson's view. (shrink)
Is the sense‐data theory, otherwise known as indirect realism, a form of representationalism? This question has been under‐explored in the extant literature, and to the extent that there is discussion, contemporary authors disagree. There are many different variants of representationalism, and differences between these variants that some people have taken to be inconsequential turn out to be key factors in whether the sense‐data theory is a form of representationalism. Chief among these are whether a representationalist takes the phenomenal character of (...) an experience to be explicable in virtue of the properties of an experience that represent something or explicable in virtue of that which gets represented. Another is whether representationalists hold a non‐reductionist, or naturalistically or non‐naturalistically reductionist variant of representationalism. In addition, subtle differences in what one takes phenomenal character to be on the sense‐data theory – either awareness of sense‐data or the sense‐data themselves – together with one's account of representation, are crucial factors in determining whether sense‐data theory is compatible with representationalism. This paper explores these relationships and makes manifest the complexities of the metaphysics of two central theories of perception. 1 Many thanks are due to Clare Batty, Derek Brown, and James Stazicker for discussion and feedback on earlier drafts, which made this essay better than it would otherwise have been. This work was supported by two grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (grant numbers AH/1027509/1 and AH/L007053/1). (shrink)
From David Hume's famous puzzle about 'the missing shade of blue' to current research into the science of colour, the topic of colour is an incredibly fertile region of study and debate, cutting across philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics and aesthetics as well as psychology. Debates about the nature of our experience of colour and the nature of colour itself are central to contemporary discussion and argument in philosophy of mind and psychology, and philosophy of perception. This outstanding Handbook contains (...) twenty-nine specially commissioned contributions by leading philosophers and examines the most important aspects of philosophy of colour. It is organised into six parts: The Importance of Colour to Philosophy The Science and Spaces of Colour Colour Phenomena Colour Ontology Colour Experience and Epistemology Language, Categories and Thought. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Colour is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind and psychology, epistemology, metaphysics and aesthetics, as well as for those interested in conceptual issues in the psychology of colour. (shrink)