Conscious recollection, of the kind characterised by sensory mental imagery, is often thought to involve ‘episodically’ recalling experienced events in one’s personal past. One might wonder whether this overlooks distinctive ways in which we sometimes recall ordinary, persisting objects. Of course, one can recall an object by remembering an event in which one encountered it. But are there acts of recall which are distinctively objectual in that they are not about objects in this mediated way (i.e., by way of being (...) about events in which they featured)? This question has broad implications, not least for understanding the nature and role of imagery in remembering, the requirements of memory-based singular thought about objects, and the sense in which remembering involves ‘mental time travel’ through which one ‘relives’ past events. In this paper, I argue that we sometimes do recall objects from our past without remembering events in which they featured. The positive view of such cases I go on to propose draws on a wide body of empirical work in its support and accommodates a more nuanced picture of the role of imagery in remembering. In a slogan: remembering might essentially involve a kind of ‘re-experiencing’, but it need not involve ‘reliving’. (shrink)
The notorious problem of the many makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that almost coincident with any ordinary object are a vast number of near-indiscernible objects. As Unger was aware in his presentation of the problem, this abundance raises a concern as to how—and even whether—we achieve singular thought about ordinary objects. This paper presents, clarifies, and defends a view which reconciles a plenitudinous conception of ordinary objects with our having singular thoughts about those objects. Indeed, this strategy has (...) independent application in the case of singular thoughts about other putatively ‘abundant’ phenomena, such as locations or lumps of matter. In essence, singular thought-vehicles need not express just one singular content. If there are many objects, one’s singular thought-vehicle may express as many thought-contents. (shrink)
When characterizing the content of a subject’s perceptual experience, does their seeing an object entail that their visual experience represents it as being a certain way? If it does, are they thereby in a position to have perceptually-based thoughts about it? On one hand, representationalists are under pressure to answer these questions in the affirmative. On the other hand, it seems they cannot. This paper presents a puzzle to illustrate this tension within orthodox representationalism. We identify several interesting morals which (...) may be drawn in response, each of which teaches us something interesting and important about perceptual experience and its interface with cognition and related phenomena. (shrink)
I suggest that the theories of remembering one finds in the philosophy of memory literature are best characterised as theories principally operating at three different levels of inquiry. Simulationist views are theories of the psychofunctional process type remembering. Causalist views are theories of referential remembering. Epistemic views are theories of successful remembering. Insofar as there is conflict between these theories, it is a conflict of integration rather than—as widely presented—head-on disagreement. Viewed in this way, we can see the previous awareness (...) condition and preservationism as principles applying at only some of the corresponding levels of inquiry. Where either principle has been rejected, it is, I claim, due to arguments which slip between these different levels. While the view of the landscape I offer does not dissolve ongoing disputes about the nature of remembering, it clarifies the dialectical rules of engagement, helping to clear the path for future, collaborative progress to be made. The view enables us to see less conflict in the recent philosophy of memory literature than there seems at face value to be. (shrink)
It is widely supposed that if there is to be a plausible connection between the truth of a de re attitude report about a subject and that subject’s possession of a singular thought, then ‘acquaintance’-style requirements on singular thought must be rejected. I show that this belief rests on poorly motivated claims about how we talk about the attitudes. I offer a framework for propositional attitude reports which provides both attractive solutions to recalcitrant puzzle cases and the key to preserving (...) acquaintance constraints. The upshot is that there is an independently motivated response to the principal argument against acquaintance. (shrink)
According to capacitism, to perceive is to employ personal-level, perceptual capacities. In a series of publications, Schellenberg (2016, 2018, 2019b, 2020) has argued that capacitism offers unified analyses of perceptual particularity, perceptual content, perceptual consciousness, perceptual evidence, and perceptual knowledge. “Capacities first” (2020: 715); appealing accounts of an impressive array of perceptual and epistemological phenomena will follow. We argue that, given the Schellenbergian way of individuating perceptual capacities which underpins the above analyses, perceiving an object does not require employing a (...) perceptual capacity which picks it out. Although each eye, used on its own, can suffice for perceiving objects in one’s environment, binocular vision allows one to see the same object(s) via both eyes, taking advantage of informational disparities registered by each eye. Yet in certain conditions it is possible to simultaneously see one object via the left eye and a distinct object via the right eye (at least when the inputs are sufficiently similar to prevent the onset of binocular rivalry). We argue that capacitism has trouble making sense of this. After surveying responses, we conclude that not all of the above phenomena can be unified under the capacitist framework. We then present a more nuanced, disjunctivist account of how capacities are individuated. While it may be illuminating to think of perceiving as the employment of perceptual capacities, this picture does not best favour a ‘common factor’ theory of perceptual content in the way existing presentations have envisaged. (shrink)
What is involved in having a singular thought about an ordinary object? On the leading epistemic view, one has this capacity if and only if one has belief-forming dispositions which would reliably enable one to get its properties right (Dickie, 2015). I first argue that Dickie’s official view entails surprising and unpalatable claims about either rationality or singular thought, before offering a precisification. Once we have reached that level of abstraction, it becomes difficult to see what is distinctively epistemic about (...) the framework. If we are to tease out the delicate connection between singular thought and knowledge, we should suspend the assumption that there is a homogeneous core, present in all cases of such thought, and that it is from there that its (univocal) epistemic character derives. (shrink)
This paper defends Lewis’ influential treatment of de se attitudes from recent criticism to the effect that a key explanatory notion—self-ascription—goes unexplained. It is shown that Lewis’ treatment can be reconstructed in a way which provides clear responses. This sheds light on the explanatory ambitions of those engaged in Lewis’ project.