David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Dialectica 66 (4):489-515 (2012)
John McDowell (in Mind and World) and Bill Brewer (in Perception and Reason) argue that the content of our perceptual experience is conceptual in the following sense. It is of the type of content that could be the content of a judgement – that is, a content which results from the actualization of two (or more) conceptual abilities. Specifically, they suggest that the conceptual abilities actualized in experience are demonstrative abilities, and thus the resulting content is of the type we may express by means of sentences of the form ‘this is thus’. In this paper I argue that we cannot construe experiential contents in this way. I first outline a construal of the ability to think about a thing being thus which is based on Brewer's discussion of conceptual experiential contents, and which I take to be the best construal available to the conceptualist. I then show that on this construal the demonstrative abilities that account for our experience of properties require intentional focused attention to the relevant properties. The conceptualist is thus committed to holding that we experience only the properties we are intentionally attending to, and I argue that this is implausible. The interest in examining Brewer's conceptualist construal of experiential content and pointing out its shortcoming is not limited merely to an interest in whether there is a workable conceptualist account of experiential content. I suggest that certain aspects of Brewer's construal capture important (and often neglected) aspects of our perceptual experience, and that understanding why the account fails can contribute to our understanding of both experiential content and demonstrative thought
|Keywords||Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content Demonstrative content Experience of properties visual attention|
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References found in this work BETA
Michael R. Ayers (2002). Is Perceptual Content Ever Conceptual? Philosophical Books 43 (1):5-17.
Jose Luis Bermudez, Anthony J. Marcel & Naomi M. Eilan (eds.) (1995). The Body and the Self. MIT Press.
Bill Brewer (2006). Perception and Content. European Journal of Philosophy 14 (2):165-181.
Bill Brewer (2005). Perceptual Experience has Conceptual Content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell.
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