David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Topics 33 (1):185-206 (2005)
Perceptual states represent the world as being certain ways, as having certain properties. Which ways and properties are these? When I hold out my hand and look at it, it seems that I have a visual experience of a hand. One traditional view has held that my perceptual state is not of a hand but merely of an array of color patches, or the like, which disposes me to believe that there’s a hand without itself actually representing anything as being a hand; the perceptual state, that is, is not actually of a hand. A very different sort of view might allow into the contents of perceptual states not just hands, but perhaps even psychological states, semantic properties, causal relations, such counterfactual properties as Gibsonian affordances, and maybe even highly specific properties like that of being a pileated woodpecker. Either view purports to express a deep fact about the nature of (human) perception, one that is not merely a matter of one’s individual circumstances. Given my cognitive and perceptual apparatus, what ways can perception represent the world as being? What sorts of properties are represented in perception? What are the contents of perceptual states?
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