The Spatial Content of Experience

Abstract
To what extent is the external world the way that it appears to us in perceptual experience? This perennial question in philosophy is no doubt ambiguous in many ways. For example, it might be taken as equivalent to the question of whether or not the external world is the way that it appears to be? This is a question about the epistemology of perception: Are our perceptual experiences by and large veridical representations of the external world? Alternatively, the question might be taken as asking whether or not the external world is like its ways of appearing to us, where the expression “ways of appearing” is intended to pick out aspects of our perceptual experiences themselves. This is a metaphysical version of the question of the relationship between appearance and reality: What is the relationship between the phenomenal features that characterize perceptual experience, on the one hand, and the mind-independent features of the external objects of perception, on the other? There are some philosophers who might resist distinguishing between these two questions. For them, “ways of appearing” in the phenomenal sense just are the ways that things appear to be (let’s call the latter the “intentional sense” of “ways of appearing”).1 That is, the phenomenal character of an experience is nothing over and above its representational content. Phenomenal properties are represented properties—the properties that an experience attributes to the external objects of perception. The question of whether or not phenomenal properties can be identified with the represented properties of an experience mirrors traditional questions in the philosophy of perception. If they can be identified with each other, then in veridical perception we might be said to “directly grasp” features of the external world through perception. The properties that are present to the mind are the very same properties that belong to the external objects of perception. Such a view affords....
Keywords spatial content  phenomenal content  consciousness  intentionality  representationalism
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References found in this work BETA
Ned Block (1986). Advertisement for a Semantics for Psychology. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 10 (1):615-78.
Tyler Burge (1986). Individualism and Psychology. Philosophical Review 95 (January):3-45.

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Citations of this work BETA
David J. Bennett (2011). How the World Is Measured Up in Size Experience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (2):345-365.
Neil Mehta (2012). Exploring Subjective Representationalism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):570-594.
David Bennett (2009). Varieties of Visual Perspectives. Philosophical Psychology 22 (3):329-352.
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