About this topic
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. J. Almog (1985). Form and Content. Noûs 19 (4):603-616.
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  2. Brenda Almond (2012). The Contents of Visual Experience, by Susanna Siegel. Oxford: Oxford. Mind 121:483.
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  3. Editorial Board (2005). Contents of Volume 81. Studia Logica 81 (3).
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  4. Editorial Boards (2005). Contents of Volume 14. Journal of Logic, Language and Information 14 (4).
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  5. Myron L. Braunstein (1971). Perception of Rotation in Figures with Rectangular and Trapezoidal Features. Journal of Experimental Psychology 91 (1):25.
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  6. Berit Brogaard (ed.) (forthcoming). Philosophical Studies Volume on High-Level Content.
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  7. Monima Chadha (2006). Yet Another Attempt to Salvage Pristine Perceptions! Philosophy East and West 56 (2):333-342.
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  8. 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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  9. Philippe Chuard (2007). Indiscriminable Shades and Demonstrative Concepts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):277 – 306.
    Conceptualists have it that the representational content of perceptual experience is determined by the concepts a subject applies in having such an experience. Conceptualists like Bill Brewer [1999] and John McDowell [1994] have laid particular emphasis on demonstrative concepts in trying to account for the fact that subjects can perceive and discriminate very many specific shades of colour in experience. Against this, it has been objected that such demonstrative concepts have incoherent conditions of extension and/or of individuation, due to the (...)
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  10. John Dilworth (2003). Medium, Subject Matter and Representation. Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (1):45-62.
    I argue that the physical marks on a canvas resulting from an artist's intentional, stylistic and expressive acts cannot themselves be the artist's expression, but instead they serve to signify or indicate those acts. Thus there is a kind of indicative content associated with a picture that is distinct from its subject matter (or 'representational content'). I also argue that this kind of indicative content is closely associated with the specific artistic medium chosen by the artist as her expressive medium, (...)
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  11. Fred Dretske (1993). Modes of Perceptual Representation. In Christopher Hookway (ed.), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge University Press. 147--157.
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  12. William Fish (2013). High-Level Properties and Visual Experience. Philosophical Studies 162 (1):43-55.
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  13. Kathrin Glüer (2012). Perception and Intermediaries. In Gerhard Preyer (ed.), Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental. Oxford University Press.
    Donald Davidson famously held that only beliefs provide reasons for belief. Perceptual experiences, he held, are not even propositional attitudes, and thus doubly disqualified from being reason providers. John McDowell and others have tried to restore the intuitive reason-providing role of experience by suggesting that experiences do have contents. However, on McDowell’s account, experiences provide ‘reasons’ in a sense very different from the Davidsonian. In this paper, I argue that there is a better way of rescuing the reason-providing role of (...)
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  14. Stephen R. C. Hicks (1994). The Contents of Experience. Review of Metaphysics 47 (4):803-804.
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  15. 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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  16. Kenneth Hobson (2013). Bill Brewer, Perception and Its Objects. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 33 (6):437-439.
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  17. 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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  18. Frank Jackson (2012). Michael Tye on Perceptual Content. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):199-205.
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  19. William James (1887). The Perception of Space (IV.). Mind 12 (48):516-548.
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  20. Joseph J. Kockelmans (1988). Space-Perception and the Philosophy of Science. International Studies in Philosophy 20 (3):117-118.
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  21. Richard M. Kurtz (1969). A Conceptual Investigation of Witkin's Notion of Perceptual Style. Mind 78 (312):522-533.
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  22. Mark Lance (1996). Quantification, Substitution, and Conceptual Content. Noûs 30 (4):481-507.
  23. 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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  24. Daniel Laurier (2004). Reasons, Contents, and Experiences. Disputatio 1 (17):1 - 21.
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  25. Leonard Linsky (1962). The Incommunicability of Content. Journal of Philosophy 59 (January):21-22.
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  26. Heather Logue (2012). The Contents of Visual Experience, by Susanna Siegel. [REVIEW] Mind 121 (483):842-849.
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  27. K. Magill (forthcoming). Tim Crane (Ed.), The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. Radical Philosophy.
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  28. 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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  29. M. G. F. Martin (1993). The Content of Experience.
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  30. Mohan Matthen (forthcoming). Introduction to Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Perception. In , Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Perception. Oxford University Press.
    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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  31. B. Maund (2012). The Contents of Visual Experience * by Susanna Siegel. Analysis 72 (3):627-629.
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  32. 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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  33. Brian McLaughlin & 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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  34. Brian Mclaughlin & Gene Witmer (1993). Tim Crane, Ed., The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 13:8-13.
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  35. 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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  36. W. H. S. Monck (1884). Visual Space-Perceptions in the Dark. Mind 9 (36):617.
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  37. W. H. S. Monok (1884). Visual Space-Perceptions in the Dark. Mind 9 (36):617.
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  38. 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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  39. Main Conference Page, Conference: The Admissible Contents of Experience.
    The Topic: Much work has been done on the nature of perceptual representation. Familiar debates surround questions about the content of perceptual experience, such as: Is the content wide or narrow? Is the content conceptual or non-conceptual? What is the relation between content and phenomenal character? However, a fundamental question that has not received a great deal of attention is what are the admissible contents of perceptual experience? Equivalently, what contents do perceptual experiences have? Or, which objects and properties are (...)
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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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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  44. 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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  45. 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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  46. Susanna Siegel (forthcoming). Precis of The Contents of Visual Experience. Philosophical Studies.
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  47. Susanna Siegel (forthcoming). The Contents of Experience. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  48. Susanna Siegel (2013). Erratum To: Precis of The Contents of Visual Experience. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 163 (3):817-817.
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  49. Susanna Siegel (2013). Erratum To: Precis of The Contents of Visual Experience. Philosophical Studies 163 (3):817-817.
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  50. 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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