The Spatial Content of Experience

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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00359.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 20,860
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 49 references / Add more references

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.
Ian Phillips (2013). XII-Perceiving the Passing of Time. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):225-252.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

225 ( #11,762 of 1,906,985 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

22 ( #30,758 of 1,906,985 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.