Benj Hellie University of Toronto, University of Toronto at Scarborough
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  1. Benj Hellie, Jenann Ismael's 'Probability and Physics'.
    Jenann’s central metaphysical thesis is that there is an objective conditional probability function PrG(A/B), the domain of which includes a great many, perhaps all, pairs of contingent propositions. This pair can be synchronic or diachronic: both can concern how things are at the same time, or not. Jenann’s central epistemological thesis is antiskepticism about PrG, in the following sense: prima facie, the subjective credence functions of epistemically reasonable agents converge on PrG: roughly, if you’ve done a lot of science, for (...)
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  2. Benj Hellie, Sentences, Strings, and Truth.
    The liar paradox can be shown semantically defective if we distinguish the /sentence/ ''snow is white' is true' from the /string/ that constitutes it. This paper develops the String-to-Sentence Theory of Truth---for short, String Theory---according to which, while the /string/ contains the string 'true', the /sentence/ is merely 'snow is white', which contains no such occurrence: more generally, a string like 'S is true' constitutes, relative to an assessor, the sentence which, to the assessor, means the same as S. So (...)
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  3. Benj Hellie (forthcoming). How We Do. In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modals. Oxford UP.
    Anscombean action theory hits the semantics and pragmatics of practical language with some assistance from mindset semantics. Hilites: an intention is an attitude toward an action-type, implemented by another intention; the structural order of intentions is recognized in knowhow; knowhow is grasp of an 'instruction' -- a conditional with imperative antecedent and consequent; the content of an imperative is an action-type; a command involving a certain imperative manifests an intention of our collective agency regarding the content of the imperative; a (...)
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  4. Benj Hellie (forthcoming). On Tests of Context. Inquiry.
    Assume a 'Stalnakean' conception of contexts as mental states. A /test of context/ is a context-dependent sentence with semantic values limited to the /trivial/ and /vacuous/ propositions: perhaps 'I believe that P' is trivial if I do believe that P, vacuous if I don't. Tests of context solve the 'Frege-Geach' problem for expressivism (see my 'There it is' and 'How we do'; also seminal work by Seth Yalcin and Nate Charlow): kind of a big deal. But Cian Dorr and Geoff (...)
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  5. Benj Hellie (forthcoming). Love in the Time of Cholera. In Berit Brogaard (ed.), Does Perception Have Content? Oxford UP.
    We begin with a theory of the structure of sensory consciousness; a target phenomenon of 'presentation' can be clearly located within this structure. We then defend the rational-psychological necessity of presentation. We conclude with discussion of these philosophical challenges to the possibility of presentation. One crucial aspect of the discussion is recognition of the <cite>nonobjectivity</cite> of consciousness (a technical appendix explains what I mean by that). The other is a full-faced stare at the limitations of rational psychology: much of the (...)
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  6. Benj Hellie (2013). Against Egalitarianism. Analysis 73 (2):304-320.
    ‘Egalitarian' views of consciousness treat my stream of consciousness and yours as on a par ontologically. A range of worries about Chalmers's philosophical system are traced to a background presupposition of egalitarianism: Chalmers is apparently committed to ‘soul pellets'; the ‘phenomenal properties' at the core of the system are obscure; a ‘vertiginous question' about my identity is raised but not adequately answered; the theory of phenomenal concepts conflicts with the ‘transparency of experience'; the epistemology of other minds verges very close (...)
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  7. Benj Hellie (2013). It's Still There! In Richard Brown (ed.), Consciousness Inside and Out. Springer.
    The view concerning perception developed in ‘There it is’ (Hellie 2011) involves, most centrally, the following theses: I. A. One brings a within the scope of attention only if a is an aspect of one’s perceptual (or sense-perceptual) condition; B. If one sees veridically, one ordinarily brings within the scope of attention such an a partly constituted by the condition of the bodies surrounding one; C. The perceptual condition of a dreaming subject is never partly constituted by the bodies surrounding (...)
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  8. Benj Hellie (2013). The Multidisjunctive Conception of Hallucination. In Fiona Mapherson (ed.), Hallucination. MIT Press.
    Direct realists think that we can't get a clear view the nature of /hallucinating a white picket fence/: is it /representing a white picket fence/? is it /sensing white-picket-fencily/? is it /being acquainted with a white' picketed' sense-datum/? These are all epistemic possibilities for a single experience; hence they are all metaphysical possibilities for various experiences. Hallucination itself is a disjunctive or "multidisjunctive" category. I rebut MGF Martin's argument from statistical explanation for his "epistemic" conception of hallucination, but his view (...)
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  9. Benj Hellie (2011). There It Is. Philosophical Issues 21 (1):110-164.
    A direct realist theory of perceptual justification. I take a ground-up approach, beginning with a theory of subjective rationality understood in terms of first-person rational explicability of the stream of consciousness. I mathematize this picture via a Tractarian spin on a semantical framework developed by Rayo. Perceptual states justify by being 'receptive': rationally inexplicable intentional states encoded in sentences that are analytic. Direct realists working within this framework should say that when one is taken in by hallucination one's overall picture (...)
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  10. Benj Hellie (2010). An Extenalist's Guide to Inner Experience. In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press. 97.
    Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!<br><br>Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /reflective indiscriminability/. I build a "displaced perception" account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems (...)
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  11. Benj Hellie (2009). Acquaintance. In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans & Patrick Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
    In every familiar case, a conscious subject has a perspective on the world. From time to time, various things are brought within this perspective: when one sees a mockingbird, or entertains a thought about Tony Blair, the mockingbird---or Blair---comes within one’s perspective. Upon reflection, it seems that not all entries into a subject’s perspective are on a par: the mockingbird when seen seems to be in some sense more intimately within one’s perspective than is Blair when merely thought about. This (...)
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  12. Benj Hellie (2009). Representationalism. In Patrick Wilken, Tim Bayne & Axel Cleeremans (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford UP.
    Jane’s fleeting glimpse of a mockingbird conscious is Jane’s taking a perspective on, or representing, that glimpse; or one might say that the specific feel of that fleeting glimpse can be understood by saying how things are from Jane’s perspective, or how Jane represented things to be (it was to Jane as if a mockingbird flashed by).
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  13. Benj Hellie (2007). Factive Phenomenal Characters. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):259--306.
    This paper expands on the discussion in the first section of 'Beyond phenomenal naivete'. Let Phenomenal Naivete be understood as the doctrine that some phenomenal characters of veridical experiences are factive properties concerning the external world. Here I present in detail a phenomenological case for Phenomenal Naivete and an argument from hallucination against it. I believe that these arguments show the concept of phenomenal character to be defective, overdetermined by its metaphysical and epistemological commitments together with the world. This does (...)
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  14. Benj Hellie (2007). Higher-Order Intentionalism and Higher-Order Acquaintance. Philosophical Studies 134 (3):289--324.
    I argue against such "Relation Intentionalist" theories of consciousness as the higher-order thought and inner sense views on the grounds that they understand a subject's awareness of his or her phenomenal characters to be intentional, like seeming-seeing, rather than "direct", like seeing. The trouble with such views is that they reverse the order of explanation between phenomenal character and intentional awareness. A superior theory of consciousness, based on views expressed by Russell and Price, takes the relation of awareness to be (...)
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  15. Benj Hellie (2007). 'There's Something It's Like' and the Structure of Consciousness. Philosophical Review 116 (3):441--63.
    I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', in the context of a reply to Eric Lormand's 'The explanatory stopgap'. I argue that Lormand is wrong to think it has a specially perceptual meaning. Rather, it has one of at least four candidate meanings: (a) e is some way as regards its subject; (b) e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; (c) e is some way in the awareness of (...)
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  16. Benj Hellie (2007). That Which Makes the Sensation of Blue a Mental Fact: Moore on Phenomenal Relationism. European Journal of Philosophy 15 (3):334-66.
    I interpret the anti-idealist manoeuverings of the second half of Moore's 'The refutation of idealism', material as widely cited for its discussion of 'transparency' and 'diaphanousness' as it is deeply obscure. The centerpiece of these manoeuverings is a phenomenological argument for a relational view of perceptual phenomenal character, on which, roughly, 'that which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact' is a non-intentional relation of conscious awareness, a view close to the opposite of the most characteristic contemporary view going (...)
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  17. Benj Hellie (2006). Beyond Phenomenal Naivete. Philosophers' Imprint 6 (2):1-24.
    The naive realist takes a veridical visual experience to be an immediate relation to external entities. Is this how such an experience is phenomenally, by its phenomenal character? Only if there can be phenomenal error, since a hallucinatory experience phenomenally matching such a veridical experience would then be phenomenally but not in fact such a relation. Fortunately, such phenomenal error can be avoided: the phenomenal character of a visual experience involves immediate awareness of a sort of picture of external entities, (...)
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  18. Benj Hellie (2005). Noise and Perceptual Indiscriminability. Mind 114 (455):481-508.
    Perception represents colours inexactly. This inexactness results from phenomenally manifest noise, and results in apparent violations of the transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability. Whether these violations are genuine depends on what is meant by 'transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability'.
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  19. Benj Hellie (2004). Inexpressible Truths and the Allure of the Knowledge Argument. In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary. The Mit Press. 333.
    I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledge argument. The reason the Knowledge Argument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent.
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  20. Benj Hellie (2002). Consciousness and Representationalism. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan.
    The representationalist theory of consciousness is the view that consciousness reduces to mental representation. This view comes in several variants which must explain introspective awareness of conscious mental states.
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  21. Benj Hellie (2001). Presence to the Mind: Issues in the Intentional Theory of Consciousness. Dissertation, Princeton University
     
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  22. Benj Hellie, Justin Fisher's 'Color Representations as Hash Values'.
    Justin makes a novel case, based on reflection on the “telos” of color vision, for a dispositional theory of colors. Justin’s case is highly suggestive, and comes tantalizingly close to resolving the debate in the metaphysics of color. But I have a few questions which I would like to see answered before I am converted.
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  23. Benj Hellie, Peacocke's 'Concepts of Conscious States'.
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  24. Benj Hellie, Visual Form, Attention, and Binocularity.
    This somewhat odd paper argues against a representational view of visual experience using an intricate "inversion" type thought experiment involving double vision: two subjects could represent external space in the same way while differing phenomenally due to different "spread" in their double images. The spatial structure of the visual field is explained not by representation of external space but functionally, in terms of the possible locations of an attentional spotlight. -/- I'm fond of the ideas in this paper but doubt (...)
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