David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):39 - 55 (2012)
In the philosophy of perception, typically, everything is illuminated. Discussions of perceptual experience primarily focus on subjects situated in illuminated environs. Rarely do we see treatment of putative perceptual experience involving darkness. In this paper, I will carefully canvas and characterize the nature of experiences of darkness, marking a substantive distinction between two such kinds of experiences. Crucially, I give an account of the distinctive phenomenology of experiences of darkness, and show that neither of the two broad kinds of experiences of darkness requires, as Roy Sorensen has recently suggested, the reification of unfamiliar entities to serve as objects of perceptual awareness. I will also offer potential candidates for the proper representational contents of experiences of darkness. This exploration not only reveals that such experiences pose no threat to a view like representationalism, but also demonstrates how experiences of darkness can be given their rightful place in a naturalistic theory of perceptual awareness. Atlast, darkness will be brought out from the shadows. A dungeon horrible, on all sides round, As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames No light; but rather darkness visible ? ?John Milton, Paradise Lost
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