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Summary What kinds of information is conveyed to a subject by her conscious perceptions? Suppose you are looking into a piano at the array of hammers and strings. There will be a way these things look to you when you see them: they will look to have a certain shape, color, texture, and arrangement relative to one another, among other things. Your visual experience conveys to you that the piano has these features. If your experience is illusory in some respect then the piano won't really have all those features; but even then, there will still be something conveyed to you by your experience. Issues in this category include:  what are contents and what is their relation to experiences? Which contents are contents of experience? In virtue of what do experiences have contents, when they do? What is the role of the particular objects we see in the contents of experience? What is the role of properties in the contents of experience?  What is the role of concepts in determining which experiences we have, and which contents they have?
Key works  
Introductions "The Contents of Perception". Stanford Encyclopedia."The Representational Content of Experience" Chalmers, D. 2004.
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  1. Ron Chrisley, Robotic Specification of The.
    Standard, linguistic means of specifying the content of mental states do so by expressing the content in question. Such means fail when it comes to capturing non-conceptual aspects of visual experience, since no linguistic expression can adequately express such content. One alternative is to use depictions: images that either evoke (reproduce in the recipient) or refer to the content of the experience. Practical considerations concerning the generation and integration of such depictions argue in favour of a synthetic approach: the generation (...)
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  2. David Guimond, (Re)Sounding : Disintegrating Visual Space in Music.
    While the groundbreaking insights that contemporary theorists have formulated with regards to space---as a multiplicity without essence, as an active event, and as inseparable from subjectivity, power, Otherness and time---have ostensibly purged it of its traditional understanding as absolute, a specific visuality characteristic of Cartesian perspectivalism remains privileged in its theorization which force it to remain so. While the complexity of space cannot be recovered from an abstract contemplation of its visual geometry in a way that reflects these contemporary concerns, (...)
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  3. Stephen R. C. Hicks (1994). The Contents of Experience. Review of Metaphysics 47 (4):803-804.
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  4. J. M. Hinton (1967). On Not Having What You Are Given. Inquiry 10 (1-4):313-316.
    The statement, that these or those philosophers do not accept the distinction between what is, and what is not, ?given? in perception, has very little content; and should receive only a corresponding degree of emphasis.
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  5. Kenneth Hobson (2013). Bill Brewer, Perception and Its Objects. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 33 (6):437-439.
    In this focused and carefully argued book, Bill Brewer develops and defends the Object View (OV), a version of direct realism. Brewer appropriates for his foundational concept what he considers to be a key insight of the early modern tradition: perceptual experience is an irreducibly relational act of direct acquaintance, the direct object of which constitutes the fundamental nature of experience. While many of the early moderns held—partly as a consequence of the arguments from hallucination and illusion—that the direct objects (...)
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  6. Walter Hopp (2013). No Such Look: Problems with the Dual Content Theory. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):813-833.
    It is frequently alleged that a round plate viewed from an oblique angle looks elliptical, and that when one tree is in front of another that is the same intrinsic size, the front one looks larger than the rear one. And yet there is also a clear sense in which the plate viewed from an angle looks round, and a clear sense in which the two trees look to be the same size. According to the Dual Content Theory (DCT), what (...)
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  7. Frank Jackson (2012). Michael Tye on Perceptual Content. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):199-205.
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  8. William James (1887). The Perception of Space (IV.). Mind 12 (48):516-548.
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  9. Joseph J. Kockelmans (1988). Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science. International Studies in Philosophy 20 (3):117-118.
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  10. Richard M. Kurtz (1969). A Conceptual Investigation of Witkin's Notion of Perceptual Style. Mind 78 (312):522-533.
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  11. Mark Lance (1996). Quantification, Substitution, and Conceptual Content. Noûs 30 (4):481-507.
  12. Andrew Latus (1998). W. Martin Davies, Experience and Content: Consequences of Continuum Theory Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 18 (2):92-94.
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  13. Daniel Laurier (2004). Reasons, Contents, and Experiences. Disputatio 1 (17):1 - 21.
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  14. Leonard Linsky (1962). The Incommunicability of Content. Journal of Philosophy 59 (January):21-22.
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  15. Heather Logue (2012). The Contents of Visual Experience, by Susanna Siegel. [REVIEW] Mind 121 (483):842-849.
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  16. K. Magill (forthcoming). Tim Crane (Ed.), The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. Radical Philosophy.
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  17. Anna Marmodoro (2012). Aristotle on Complex Perceptual Content. The Metaphysics of the Common Sense. Philosophical Inquiry 34 (1/2):15-65.
    In his theory of perception Aristotle is committed to the principle that there is a one-to-one correspondence between a sensible quality, the modification of a sense organ by that quality, and the content of the perceptual experience of it. But on the basis of this principle, simultaneous perceptions of different sensible qualities give rise only to distinct perceptual contents. This generates the problem of how we become aware of complex perceptual content, e.g. in discerning red from cold. This paper examines (...)
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  18. M. G. F. Martin (1993). The Content of Experience.
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  19. Manolo Martínez (2015). Disgusting Smells and Imperativism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (5-6):191-200.
    I sketch and defend an imperativist treatment of the phenomenology associated with disgusting smells. This treatment, I argue, allows us to make better sense than other intentionalist alter-natives both of the neuroanatomy of olfaction, and of a natural pre-theoretical stance regarding the sense of smell.
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  20. Mohan Matthen (2015). Introduction to Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception. In Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception. Oxford University Press 1-25.
    Perception is the ultimate source of our knowledge about contingent facts. It is an extremely important philosophical development that starting in the last quarter of the twentieth century, philosophers have begun to change how they think of perception. The traditional view of perception focussed on sensory receptors; it has become clear, however, that perceptual systems radically transform the output of these receptors, yielding content concerning objects and events in the external world. Adequate understanding of this process requires that we think (...)
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  21. B. Maund (2012). The Contents of Visual Experience * by Susanna Siegel. Analysis 72 (3):627-629.
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  22. Rainer Mausfeld (2013). The Attribute of Realness and the Internal Organization of Perceptual Reality. In Liliana Albertazzi (ed.), Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology. Visual Peception of Shape, Space and Appearance. Wiley
    The chapter deals with the notion of phenomenal realness, which was first systematically explored by Albert Michotte. Phenomenal realness refers to the impression that a perceptual object is perceived to have an autonomous existence in our mind-independent world. Perceptual psychology provides an abundance of phenomena, ranging from amodal completion to picture perception, that indicate that phenomenal realness is an independent perceptual attribute that can be conferred to perceptual objects in different degrees. The chapter outlines a theoretical framework that appears particularly (...)
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  23. Brian McLaughlin & D. Gene Witmer (1993). Tim Crane, Ed., The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 13 (1):8-13.
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  24. Brian Mclaughlin & D. Gene Witmer (1993). Tim Crane, Ed., The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 13:8-13.
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  25. M. Merleau-Ponty (1989). Perceptual Content. In John Perry, J. Almog & Howard K. Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press
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  26. W. H. S. Monck (1884). Visual Space-Perceptions in the Dark. Mind 9 (36):617.
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  27. W. H. S. Monok (1884). Visual Space-Perceptions in the Dark. Mind 9 (36):617.
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  28. Bence Nanay (forthcoming). Philosophy of Perception: A Road-Map with Many Bypass Roads. In Current Controversies in Philosophy of Perception. Routlegde
    An introduction to contemporary debates in philosophy of perception.
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  29. Thomas Natsoulas (2002). Missing the Experiential Presence of Environmental Objects: A Construal of Immediate Sensible Representations as Conceptual. Journal of Mind and Behavior 23 (4):325-350.
    McDowell does not succeed in his effort toward accounting for the wonder of nature that the experiential presence of environmental objects is, owing to his exclusive attention to the conceptual capacities involved. Thus, he construes immediate sensible representations to be involuntary actualizations of conceptual capacities exercised in judging and speech. Only in possessing propositional contents to the effect of being caused to occur by their respective objects, are immediate sensible representations proposed to differ from thoughts evoked by their objects, and (...)
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  30. Adam Pautz (2009). What Are the Contents of Experiences? Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236):483-507.
    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.
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  31. Walter B. Pitkin (1910). Some Neglected Paradoxes of Visual Space. III. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (4):92-100.
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  32. Walter B. Pitkin (1910). Some Neglected Paradoxes of Visual Space. IV. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 7 (8):204-215.
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  33. Walter B. Pitkin (1909). Some Neglected Paradoxes of Visual Space. II. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 6 (24):645-655.
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  34. Athanasios Raftopoulos (2008). Ambiguous Figures and Nonconceptual Content. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 42:179-187.
    Macpherson (2006) argues that the square/regular diamond figure threatens representationalism, which holds that the phenomenal character of experience is either identical, or supervenes on, the nonconceptual content of experience (NCC). Her argument is that representationalism is committed to the thesis that differences in the phenomenal experience of ambiguous figures, the gestalt switch, should be explained by differences in the NCC of perception of these figures. However, with respect to the square/regular diamond figure such differences in NCC do not explain the (...)
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  35. Matthew Ratcliffe (2013). The Contents of Experience. In Matthew C. Haug (ed.), Philosophical Methodology: The Armchair or the Laboratory? Routledge 353.
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  36. Sonia Anne Sedivy (1992). The Determinate Character of Perceptual Experience. Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
    I argue that perceptual content is distinctive in kind from the content of pure cognition, a difference which shows up experientially in the determinate character of perceptual experience. We see determinate individuals and determinate properties, seeing each as members or instantiations of describable kinds. I show that there is no tension in conceiving perception as both conceptually articulated and determinate. Rather, we became misled into thinking that there is a tension as a result of misinterpretations of the mid-twentieth century diagnoses (...)
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  37. Susanna Siegel (forthcoming). The Contents of Experience. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  38. Susanna Siegel (2013). Erratum To: Precis of The Contents of Visual Experience. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 163 (3):817-817.
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  39. Susanna Siegel (2013). Erratum To: Precis of The Contents of Visual Experience. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):817-817.
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  40. Susanna Siegel (2013). Precise of The Contents of Visual Experience. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):813-816.
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  41. Barry Smith (1992/93). The Soul and Its Parts: Varieties of Inexistence. Brentano-Studien 4:35–51.
    From the point of view of Brentano’s philosophy, contemporary philosophy of mind presupposes an over-crude theory of the internal structures of mental acts and states and of the corresponding types of parts, unity and dependence. We here describe Brentano’s own account of the part-whole structures obtaining in the mental sphere, and show how it opens up new possibilities for mereological investigation. One feature of Brentano’s view is that the objects of experience are themselves parts of mind, so that there is (...)
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  42. Edward W. Soja (1996). Thirdspace Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  43. Satoru Suzuki (2005). High-Level Pattern Coding Revealed by Brief Shape Aftereffects. In Colin W. G. Clifford & Gillian Rhodes (eds.), Fitting the Mind to the World: Adaptation and After-Effects in High-Level Vision. OUP Oxford 135--172.
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  44. John William David Symons, The Structure of Perceptual Content.
    Thesis (Master, Philosophy) -- Queen's University, 2007-11-19 19:16:04.362.
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  45. Brad Thompson, Bthompso@Smu.Edu.
    When I open my eyes and look at a Rubik’s cube, there is something it is like for me visually in looking at it. Various color qualities are presented to me, and they are arranged in a specific pattern. By having an experience with this particular phenomenal character I am also thereby visually representing the world outside my experience as being a certain way. If I experience a blue square to the left of a red square, the world outside my (...)
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  46. Anna Tomaszewska, The Contents of Perceptual Experience: A Kantian Perspective.
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  47. L. Wiesenthal (1985). Visual Space From the Perspective of Possible World Semantics II. Synthese 64 (2):241 - 270.
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  48. Diego Zucca, Defending the Content View of Perceptual Experience.
    This thesis is a defense of the Content View on perceptual experience, of the idea that our perceptual experiences represent the world as being a certain way and so have representational content. Three main issues are addressed in this work. Firstly, I try to show that the Content View fits very well both with the logical behaviour of ordinary ascriptions of seeing-episodes and related experiential episodes, and with our pretheoretical intuitions about what perceiving and experiencing ultimately are: that preliminary analysis (...)
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Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content
  1. André Abath (2008). The Constitution Argument Against Conceptualism. Sorites 20:49-66.
    According to philosophers such as McDowell and Brewer, the contents of perceptual experience are conceptual. This view came to be known as Conceptualism. However, a number of critics have argued that they are wrong in thinking this, for they claim that there is an argument, the so-called Fineness of Grain Argument, which is valid and sound, and has as its consequence the falsity of Conceptualism. Although McDowell and Brewer seem to acknowledge that the Fineness of Grain Argument, if valid and (...)
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  2. André Abath (2005). Nonconceptual Content, Fineness of Grain and Recognitional Capacities. Abstracta 1 (2):193-206.
    One of the current debates in philosophy of mind is whether the content of perceptual experiences is conceptual or nonconceptual. The proponents of nonconceptual content, or nonconceptualists, typically support their position by appealing to the so-called Fineness of Grain Argument, which, in rough terms, has as its conclusion that we do not possess concepts for everything we perceive. In his Mind and World, John McDowell tried to give a response to the argument, and show that we do possess concepts for (...)
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