Compositionality, iconicity, and perceptual nonconceptualism

Philosophical Psychology 24 (2):177-193 (2011)
This paper concerns the role of the structural properties of representations in determining the nature of their content. I take as a starting point Fodor's (2007) and Heck's (2007) recent arguments making the iconic structure of perceptual representations essential in establishing their content as content of a different (nonconceptual) kind. I argue that the prima facie state?content error this strategy seems to display is nothing but a case of ?state?content error error,? i.e., the mistake of considering that the properties that characterize the type of content certain representations have are indeed independent of their structural properties. I also consider another objection to the general strategy, namely that it falls short of showing that the nonconceptual content of perceptual experiences thus established is the kind of content that figures in true explanations of intentional behavior. I concede this point in respect of Fodor's version of the strategy, while denying that it has any bearing on Heck's approach. The success of this objection in Heck's case ultimately depends, I argue, upon an unjustified commitment to a certain empirically suspect model of perception
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2011.558836
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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