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Summary Do we employ concepts in perception for every feature that we perceive? Discrimination between shades of color outruns memory -you can distinguish more shades than you can identify. But does that fact entail that you can experience a specific shade of red, without having a concept of that specific shade? These issues are sharpened by settling on what concepts are, and what it is to "employ" a concept in perception. 
Key works Kant 2007 is a reference point for discussions of the role of concepts in perception. Evans 1982 and Peacocke 1992 offer key defenses and definitions of nonconceptual content. McDowell 1994 and Brewer 1999 offer key defenses and definitions of conceptual content. Stalnaker 2003 relates the issue to whether contents are structured.
Introductions Peacocke 1992 introduces several kinds of non-conceptual content.McDowell 1994 makes a case for the necessity of concepts for perception, and argues against non-conceptual content. Brewer 2005 and Byrne 2005 present two sides of the issue. Speaks 2005 and Byrne 2003 contain useful overviews of the issues.
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  1. Frederick R. Ablondi (2002). Kelly and McDowell on Perceptual Content. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7.
    [0] In a recent issue of _EJAP_, Sean Kelly [1998] defended the position that perceptual content is non-conceptual. More specifically, he claimed that John McDowell's view that concepts involved in perception can be understood as expressible through the use of demonstratives is ultimately untenable. In what follows, I want to look more closely at Kelly's position, as well as suggest possible responses one could make on McDowell's behalf.
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  2. Juan José Acero (1998). Non-Conceptual Content, Subject-Centered Information and the Naturalistic Demand. Philosophical Issues 9:359-367.
  3. Jan Almäng (2008). Affordances and the Nature of Perceptual Content. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2):161 - 177.
    According to John McDowell,<span class='Hi'></span> representational perceptual content is conceptual through and through.<span class='Hi'></span> This paper criticizes this view by claiming that there is a certain kind of representational and non-conceptual perceptual content that is sensitive to bodily skills.<span class='Hi'></span> After a brief introduction to McDowell's position,<span class='Hi'></span> Merleau-Ponty's notion of body schema and Gibson's notion of affordance are presented.<span class='Hi'></span> It is argued that affordances are constitutive of representational perceptual content,<span class='Hi'></span> and that at least some affordances,<span class='Hi'></span> the (...)
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  4. William P. Alston (1998). Perception and Conception. In Pragmatism, Reason, and Norms: A Realistic Assessment. New York: Fordham University Press.
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  5. William P. Alston (1998). Pragmatism, Reason, and Norms: A Realistic Assessment. New York: Fordham University Press.
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  6. Michael Ayers (2004). Sense Experience, Concepts and Content, Objections to Davidson and McDowell. In Ralph Schumacher (ed.), Perception and Reality - From Descartes to the Present. mentis.
    Philosophers debate whether all, some or none of the represcntational content of our sensory experience is conccptual, but the technical term "concept" has different uses. It is commonly linked more or less closely with the notions of judgdment and reasoning, but that leaves open the possibility that these terms share a systematic ambiguity or indeterminacy. Donald Davidson, however, holds an unequivocal and consistent, if paradoxical view that there are strictly speaking no psychological states with representational or intentional content except the (...)
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  7. Michael R. Ayers (2002). Is Perceptual Content Ever Conceptual? Philosophical Books 43 (1):5-17.
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  8. Katalin Balog (2009). Jerry Fodor on Non-Conceptual Content. Synthese 167 (3):311 - 320.
    Proponents of non-conceptual content have recruited it for various philosophical jobs. Some epistemologists have suggested that it may play the role of “the given” that Sellars is supposed to have exorcised from philosophy. Some philosophers of mind (e.g., Dretske) have suggested that it plays an important role in the project of naturalizing semantics as a kind of halfway between merely information bearing and possessing conceptual content. Here I will focus on a recent proposal by Jerry Fodor. In a recent paper (...)
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  9. Michael D. Barber (2008). Holism and Horizon: Husserl and McDowell on Non-Conceptual Content. [REVIEW] Husserl Studies 24 (2):79-97.
    John McDowell rejects the idea that non-conceptual content can rationally justify empirical claims—a task for which it is ill-fitted by its non-conceptual nature. This paper considers three possible objections to his views: he cannot distinguish empty conception from the perceptual experience of an object; perceptual discrimination outstrips the capacity of concepts to keep pace; and experience of the empirical world is more extensive than the conceptual focusing within it. While endorsing McDowell’s rejection of what he means by non-conceptual content, and (...)
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  10. Nathan Bauer (2012). A Peculiar Intuition: Kant's Conceptualist Account of Perception. Inquiry 55 (3):215-237.
    Abstract Both parties in the active philosophical debate concerning the conceptual character of perception trace their roots back to Kant's account of sensible intuition in the Critique of Pure Reason. This striking fact can be attributed to Kant's tendency both to assert and to deny the involvement of our conceptual capacities in sensible intuition. He appears to waver between these two positions in different passages, and can thus seem thoroughly confused on this issue. But this is not, in fact, the (...)
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  11. Jacob Beck (2012). The Generality Constraint and the Structure of Thought. Mind 121 (483):563-600.
    According to the Generality Constraint, mental states with conceptual content must be capable of recombining in certain systematic ways. Drawing on empirical evidence from cognitive science, I argue that so-called analogue magnitude states violate this recombinability condition and thus have nonconceptual content. I further argue that this result has two significant consequences: it demonstrates that nonconceptual content seeps beyond perception and infiltrates cognition; and it shows that whether mental states have nonconceptual content is largely an empirical matter determined by the (...)
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  12. John Bengson, Enrico Grube & Daniel Z. Korman (2011). A New Framework for Conceptualism. Noûs 45 (1):167 - 189.
    Conceptualism is the thesis that, for any perceptual experience E, (i) E has a Fregean proposition as its content and (ii) a subject of E must possess a concept for each item represented by E. We advance a framework within which conceptualism may be defended against its most serious objections (e.g., Richard Heck's argument from nonveridical experience). The framework is of independent interest for the philosophy of mind and epistemology given its implications for debates regarding transparency, relationalism and representationalism, demonstrative (...)
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  13. J. C. Berendzen (2010). Coping Without Foundations: On Dreyfus's Use of Merleau-Ponty. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (5):629-649.
    Hubert Dreyfus has recently invoked the work of Maurice Merleau?Ponty in criticizing the ?Myth of the Mental?. In criticizing that supposed myth, Dreyfus argues for a kind of foundationalism that takes embodied coping to be a self?sufficient layer of human experience that supports our ?higher? mental activities. In turn, Merleau?Ponty?s phenomenology is found, in Dreyfus?s recent writings, to corroborate this foundationalism. While Merleau?Ponty would agree with many of Dreyfus?s points, this paper argues that he would not, in fact, agree with (...)
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  14. José Luis Bermúdez (2007). What is at Stake in the Debate on Nonconceptual Content? Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):55–72.
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  15. Jose Luis Bermudez, Nonconceptual Mental Content. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  16. José Luis Bermúdez (1999). Cognitive Impenetrability, Phenomenology, and Nonconceptual Content. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):367-368.
    This commentary discusses Pylyshyn's model of perceptual processing in the light of the philosophical distinction between the conceptual and the nonconceptual content of perception. Pylyshyn's processing distinction maps onto an important distinction in the phenomenology of visual perception.
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  17. José Luis Bermúdez (1995). Nonconceptual Content: From Perceptual Experience to Subpersonal Computational States. Mind and Language 10 (4):333-369.
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  18. Jose Luis Bermudez (1995). Nonconceptual Content: From Perceptual Experience to Subpersonal Computational States. Mind and Language 10 (4):333-69.
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  19. Jose Luis Bermudez (1994). Peacocke's Argument Against the Autonomy of Nonconceptual Representational Content. Mind and Language 9 (4):402-18.
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  20. Jose Luis Bermudez & Fiona Macpherson (1998). Nonconceptual Content and the Nature of Perceptual Experience. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6.
    [1] 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 (...)
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  21. James Blachowicz (1997). Analog Representation Beyond Mental Imagery. Journal of Philosophy 94 (2):55 - 84.
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  22. Margaret A. Boden (ed.) (1990). The Philosophy of AI. Oxford University Press.
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  23. Bill Brewer (2005). Perceptual Experience has Conceptual Content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell.
    I take it for granted that sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs; indeed this claim forms the first premise of my central argument for (CC). 1 The subsequent stages of the argument are intended to establish that a person has such a reason for believing something about the way things are in the world around him only if he is in some mental state or other with a conceptual content: a conceptual state. Thus, given that sense experiential states (...)
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  24. Ingar Brinck (1999). Nonconceptual Content and the Distinction Between Implicit and Explicit Knowledge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):760-761.
    The notion of nonconceptual content in Dienes & Perner's theory is examined. A subject may be in a state with nonconceptual content without having the concepts that would be used to describe the state. Nonconceptual content does not seem to be a clear-cut case of either implicit or explicit knowledge. It underlies a kind of practical knowledge, which is not reducible to procedural knowledge, but is accessible to the subject and under voluntary control.
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  25. Berit Brogaard (2013). It's Not What It Seems. A Semantic Account of 'Seems' and Seemings. Inquiry 56 (2-3):210-239.
    I start out by reviewing the semantics of ?seem?. As ?seem? is a subject-raising verb, ?it seems? can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ?it seems?. I argue that ?it seems? is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ?it seems? does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...)
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  26. Otávio Bueno (2013). Perception and Conception: Shaping Human Minds. [REVIEW] Biosemiotics 6 (3):323-336.
    Perceptual experiences provide an important source of information about the world. It is clear that having the capacity of undergoing such experiences yields an evolutionary advantage. But why should humans have developed not only the ability of simply seeing, but also of seeing that something is thus and so? In this paper, I explore the significance of distinguishing perception from conception for the development of the kind of minds that creatures such as humans typically have. As will become clear, it (...)
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  27. Matthew Burstein (2010). Epistemological Behaviorism, Nonconceptual Content, and the Given. Contemporary Pragmatism 7 (1):168-89.
  28. Alex Byrne (2005). Perception and Conceptual Content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. 231--250.
    Perceptual experiences justify beliefs—that much seems obvious. As Brewer puts it, “sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs” (this volume, xx). In Mind and World McDowell argues that we can get from this apparent platitude to the controversial claim that perceptual experiences have conceptual content: [W]e can coherently credit experiences with rational relations to judgement and belief, but only if we take it that spontaneity is already implicated in receptivity; that is, only if we take it that experiences have (...)
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  29. Alex Byrne (2003). Consciousness and Nonconceptual Content. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 113 (3):261-274.
    Consciousness, Color, and Content is a significant contribution to our understanding of consciousness, among other things. I have learned a lot from it, as well as Tye’s other writings. What’s more, I actually agree with much of it – fortunately for this symposium, not all of it. The book continues the defense of the “PANIC” theory of phenomenal consciousness that Tye began in Ten Problems of Consciousness (1995). A fair chunk of it, though, is largely independent of this theory: the (...)
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  30. Alex Byrne (1996). Spin Control. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Perception. Ridgeview. 261--74.
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  31. Monima Chadha (2009). Contents of Experience. Sophia 48 (3):237-251.
    In this paper I aim to situate the Naiyayika theory of perception in contemporary philosophy of mind. Following the ancients, I suggest we reconsider the taxonomy and the assumed interactions between kinds of perceptual content. This reclassification will lead us to reconsider some aspects of the Cartesian conception of mind that continue to influence the work of contemporary theorists. I focus attention on different accounts of sensory perception favoured by ancient Indian Naiyayika philosophers and Descartes as a starting point for (...)
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  32. Monima Chadha (2009). An Independent, Empirical Route to Nonconceptual Content. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):439-448.
  33. Arindam Chakrabarti (2003). Perception, Apperception and Non-Conceptual Content. In Perspectives on Consciousness. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
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  34. Arindam Chakrabarti (2003). Perspectives on Consciousness. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
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  35. Ron Chrisley & J. Parthemore (2007). Synthetic Phenomenology:Exploiting Embodiment to Specify the Non-Conceptual Content of Visual Experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (7):44-58.
    Not all research in machine consciousness aims to instantiate phenomenal states in artefacts. For example, one can use artefacts that do not themselves have phenomenal states, merely to simulate or model organisms that do. Nevertheless, one might refer to all of these pursuits -- instantiating, simulating or modelling phenomenal states in an artefact -- as 'synthetic phenomenality'. But there is another way in which artificial agents (be they simulated or real) may play a crucial role in understanding or creating consciousness: (...)
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  36. Ronald L. Chrisley (1994). Taking Embodiment Seriously: Nonconceptual Content and Robotics. In Kenneth M. Ford, C. Glymour & Patrick Hayes (eds.), Android Epistemology. MIT Press.
    The development and deployment of the notion of pre-objective or nonconceptual content for the purposes of intentional explanation of requires assistance from a practical and theoretical understanding of computational/robotic systems acting in real-time and real-space. In particular, the usual "that"-clause specification of content will not work for non-conceptual contents; some other means of specification is required, means that make use of the fact that contents are aspects of embodied and embedded systems. That is, the specification of non-conceptual content should use (...)
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  37. Philippe Chuard, Perceptual Reasons.
    According to Conceptualists like John McDowell and Bill Brewer, the representational content of perceptual experiences is wholly conceptual. One of the main!and only!arguments they advance for this claim has to do with the epistemological role of perceptual experiences. I focus on Bill Brewers "1999# version of the argument. I show why Brewer fails to satisfactorily motivate the premises of his argument, and suggest that opponents of Conceptualism could accept these premises without thereby endorsing the conclusion. Finally, I consider whether the (...)
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  38. Philippe Chuard (2007). The Riches of Experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):20-42.
    Suppose you see a red ball. Unless you happen to be in a psychologist.
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  39. Philippe Chuard (2006). Demonstrative Concepts Without Reidentification. Philosophical Studies 130 (2):153-201.
    Conceptualist accounts of the representational content of perceptual experiences have it that a subject _S_ can experience no object, property, relation, etc., unless _S_ "i# possesses and "ii# exercises concepts for such object, property, or relation. Perceptual experiences, on such a view, represent the world in a way that is conceptual.
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  40. Andy Clark, Connectionism, Nonconceptual Content, and Representational Redescription.
  41. Annalisa Coliva (2003). The Argument From the Finer-Grained Content of Colour Experiences: A Redefinition of its Role Within the Debate Between McDowell and Non-Conceptual Theorists. Dialectica 57 (1):57-70.
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  42. Kevin Connolly (forthcoming). Which Kantian Conceptualism (or Nonconceptualism)? Southern Journal of Philosophy.
    A recent debate in Kant scholarship concerns the role of concepts in Kant’s theory of perception. Roughly, proponents of a "conceptualist" interpretation argue that for Kant, the possession of concepts is a prior condition for perception, while "nonconceptualist" interpreters deny this. The debate has two parts. One part concerns whether possessing empirical concepts is a prior condition for having empirical intuitions. A second part concerns whether Kant allows empirical intuitions without a priori concepts. Outside of Kant interpretation, the contemporary debate (...)
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  43. Kevin Connolly (2011). Does Perception Outstrip Our Concepts in Fineness of Grain? Ratio 24 (3):243-258.
    We seem perfectly able to perceive fine-grained shades of colour even without possessing precise concepts for them. The same might be said of shapes. I argue that this is in fact not the case. A subject can perceive a colour or shape only if she possesses a concept of that type of colour or shape. I provide new justification for this thesis, and do not rely on demonstrative concepts such as THIS SHADE or THAT SHAPE, a move first suggested by (...)
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  44. Luca Corti (2012). Crossing the Line: Sellars on Kant on Imagination. Verifiche: Rivista Trimestrale di Scienze Umane 41 (1-3):41-71.
    After Science and Metaphysics, Sellars’ encounter with Kant was characterized by acknowledging and working out the role played by imagination in perceptual experience. The mediating imaginative function provided him with a somewhat new and more Kantian account of the relationship between concepts and intuitions. After stressing the peculiar theoretical and exegetical background of Sellars’ approach to Kant – his project of “translating” his own ideas in the lingua franca of Kantianism – which has been influential in current normative interpretations of (...)
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  45. Cesare Cozzo (2002). Olismo epistemologico senza olismo linguistico. In Massimo Dell'Utri (ed.), Olismo. Quodlibet. 179-230.
  46. T. Crane, Nonconceptual Content.
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  47. Tim Crane (1992). The Nonconceptual Content of Experience. In , The Contents of Experience. Cambridge University Press.
    Some have claimed that people with very different beliefs literally see the world differently. Thus Thomas Kuhn: ‘what a man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual—conceptual experience has taught him to see’ (Kuhn 1970, p. ll3). This view — call it ‘Perceptual Relativism’ — entails that a scientist and a child may look at a cathode ray tube and, in a sense, the first will see it while the second won’t. The (...)
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  48. Tim Crane (1988). Concepts in Perception. Analysis 48 (June):150-53.
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  49. Tim Crane (1988). The Waterfall Illusion. Analysis 48 (June):142-47.
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  50. T. M. Crowther (2006). Two Conceptions of Conceptualism and Nonconceptualism. Erkenntnis 65 (2):245-276.
    Though it enjoys widespread support, the claim that perceptual experiences possess nonconceptual content has been vigorously disputed in the recent literature by those who argue that the content of perceptual experience must be conceptual content. Nonconceptualism and conceptualism are often assumed to be well-defined theoretical approaches that each constitute unitary claims about the contents of experience. In this paper I try to show that this implicit assumption is mistaken, and what consequences this has for the debate about perceptual experience. I (...)
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