Justin makes a novel case, based on reflection on the “telos” of color vision, for a dispositional theory of colors. Justin’s case is highly suggestive, and comes tantalizingly close to resolving the debate in the metaphysics of color. But I have a few questions which I would like to see answered before I am converted.
I describe /mindset semantics/, a semantical framework built around a conception of entailment as preservation of /support/ (implicit acceptance undergirded by competence) together with a /classical modal/ semantics for declarative sentences---with the central application of showing how a language could integrate discourse that is expressive with discourse that is informative (namely, of solving the 'Frege-Geach problem'). (The approach owes much to the work of Veltman and Yalcin, and, less proximally, of Stalnaker.) I provide a range of philosophical, technical, and pedagogical (...) arguments for mindset semantics. And I apply mindset semantics to as wide a range of phenomena as I have been able to think of (some more familiar, others less familiar): epistemic modals, avowals of belief, avowals of what it's like, /ascriptions/ of all these, 'looks'-sentences, avowals of presumption, avowals of subjective credence and statements of objective chance, indicative and subjunctive conditionals, conditional probability, deontic modals, questions, avowals of wonderment, metaphysical modals, metaphysical indeterminacy, avowals and ascriptions of knowledge, 'ought'-claims, and avowals of various practical positions (intending, trying, needing). (shrink)
Jenann’s central metaphysical thesis is that there is an objective conditional probability function PrG(A/B), the domain of which includes a great many, perhaps all, pairs of contingent propositions. This pair can be synchronic or diachronic: both can concern how things are at the same time, or not. Jenann’s central epistemological thesis is antiskepticism about PrG, in the following sense: prima facie, the subjective credence functions of epistemically reasonable agents converge on PrG: roughly, if you’ve done a lot of science, for (...) all A, B, your C(A/B) is similar to PrG(A/B). (Compare antiskepticism about perceptual knowledge: prima facie, if circumstances are good and one’s visual experience represents that p, p.) These theses have two cool consequences: ﬁrst, the possibility of a novel approach to objective Bayesianism; second, a way of doing away with dynamical laws. (shrink)
The liar paradox can be shown semantically defective if we distinguish the /sentence/ ''snow is white' is true' from the /string/ that constitutes it. This paper develops the String-to-Sentence Theory of Truth---for short, String Theory---according to which, while the /string/ contains the string 'true', the /sentence/ is merely 'snow is white', which contains no such occurrence: more generally, a string like 'S is true' constitutes, relative to an assessor, the sentence which, to the assessor, means the same as S. So (...) suppose we attempt to define a singular term 'L' referring to the sentence 'not: L is true'. Relative to an assessor, 'L' refers to the sentence negating the assessor's sentence meaning the same as the referent of 'L'. So the referent of 'L' means the same as its negation. But no sentence means the same as its negation, so 'L' does not refer. The act of naming with which the liar paradox commences is semantically defective; so there can be no liar paradox. (shrink)
This somewhat odd paper argues against a representational view of visual experience using an intricate "inversion" type thought experiment involving double vision: two subjects could represent external space in the same way while differing phenomenally due to different "spread" in their double images. The spatial structure of the visual field is explained not by representation of external space but functionally, in terms of the possible locations of an attentional spotlight. -/- I'm fond of the ideas in this paper but doubt (...) I'll be returning to it soon. (shrink)
The view concerning perception developed in ‘There it is’ (Hellie 2011) involves, most centrally, the following theses: I. A. One brings a within the scope of attention only if a is an aspect of one’s perceptual (or sense-perceptual) condition; B. If one sees veridically, one ordinarily brings within the scope of attention such an a partly constituted by the condition of the bodies surrounding one; C. The perceptual condition of a dreaming subject is never partly constituted by the bodies surrounding (...) them; II. One brings a within the scope of attention just if it is situatedly analytic for one that a is genuine (where this is partly constitutive of the character of one’s rational position); III. If two subjects are in distinct rational positions, what it is like for them differs. (shrink)
(1) A <em>perceptual state</em> is an 'ecological' state of an animal; by contrast, an <em>attentional posture</em> is a 'psychological' state of an animal's stream of consciousness. The latter has content, the former (being nonpsychological) lacks it. The content of the latter is certainty in the existence of the target of attention (a qualitative state of an external object) with the nature it has. (2) I carry forward the view from 'There it is' to rebut hallucination worries about the 'certainty' plank. (...) (3) In response to spectral inversion worries, I urge a 'political' stance (cosmopolitanism abroad, regionalism at home) about the metaphysics presupposed in the 'nature' plank. (4) I sketch an expressivist semantics for 'this is white but looks red' on which it <em>informs</em> that this is white, <em>presupposes</em> that this exists, and <em>expresses</em> a purely predicative object-directed belief ascribing <em>redness</em>. (shrink)
Direct realists think that we can't get a clear view the nature of /hallucinating a white picket fence/: is it /representing a white picket fence/? is it /sensing white-picket-fencily/? is it /being acquainted with a white' picketed' sense-datum/? These are all epistemic possibilities for a single experience; hence they are all metaphysical possibilities for various experiences. Hallucination itself is a disjunctive or "multidisjunctive" category. I rebut MGF Martin's argument from statistical explanation for his "epistemic" conception of hallucination, but his view (...) embeds in my view as a "reference-fixer". (shrink)
‘Egalitarian' views of consciousness treat my stream of consciousness and yours as on a par ontologically. A range of worries about Chalmers's philosophical system are traced to a background presupposition of egalitarianism: Chalmers is apparently committed to ‘soul pellets'; the ‘phenomenal properties' at the core of the system are obscure; a ‘vertiginous question' about my identity is raised but not adequately answered; the theory of phenomenal concepts conflicts with the ‘transparency of experience'; the epistemology of other minds verges very close (...) to a priori physicalism; the system predicts that dualism is alluring, when it is not. (shrink)
A direct realist theory of perceptual justification. I take a ground-up approach, beginning with a theory of subjective rationality understood in terms of first-person rational explicability of the stream of consciousness. I mathematize this picture via a Tractarian spin on a semantical framework developed by Rayo. Perceptual states justify by being 'receptive': rationally inexplicable intentional states encoded in sentences that are analytic. Direct realists working within this framework should say that when one is taken in by hallucination one's overall picture (...) of the world is incoherent; in this sense, a belief based on delusive hallucination can be provided with exculpation but not with justification. (shrink)
Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!<br><br>Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /reflective indiscriminability/. I build a "displaced perception" account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems (...) from shared "qualia". Qualia are compatible with direct realism: while they generate an explanatory gap (and colors do not), so does /seeing/; qualia are excluded from perceptual consciousness by its "transparency"; instead, qualia are aspects of thought about the perceived environment. <br><br>The asymmetry between my treatments of color and seeing is grounded in the asymmetry between ignorance and error: while inversion shows that normal subjects are ignorant of the natures of the colors, hallucination shows not that perceivers are ignorant of the nature of seeing but that hallucinators are prone to error about their condition. Past literature has treated inversion and hallucination as on a par: externalists see error in both cases, while internalists see mutual ignorance. My account is so complicated because plausible results require mixing it up. (shrink)
In every familiar case, a conscious subject has a perspective on the world. From time to time, various things are brought within this perspective: when one sees a mockingbird, or entertains a thought about Tony Blair, the mockingbird---or Blair---comes within one’s perspective. Upon reflection, it seems that not all entries into a subject’s perspective are on a par: the mockingbird when seen seems to be in some sense more intimately within one’s perspective than is Blair when merely thought about. This (...) suggests---and a number of philosophers have found theoretical utility in supposing--- that there may be a maximally intimate way of being in a subject’s perspective. (shrink)
Jane’s fleeting glimpse of a mockingbird conscious is Jane’s taking a perspective on, or representing, that glimpse; or one might say that the specific feel of that fleeting glimpse can be understood by saying how things are from Jane’s perspective, or how Jane represented things to be (it was to Jane as if a mockingbird flashed by).
This paper expands on the discussion in the first section of 'Beyond phenomenal naivete'. Let Phenomenal Naivete be understood as the doctrine that some phenomenal characters of veridical experiences are factive properties concerning the external world. Here I present in detail a phenomenological case for Phenomenal Naivete and an argument from hallucination against it. I believe that these arguments show the concept of phenomenal character to be defective, overdetermined by its metaphysical and epistemological commitments together with the world. This does (...) not establish a gappish eliminativism, but a gluttish pluralism, on which there are many imperfect deservers of the name 'phenomenal character'. Different projects in the philosophy of mind -- phenomenology, philosophy of conscious, metaphysics and epistemology of perception -- are concerned with different deservers of the name. (shrink)
I argue against such "Relation Intentionalist" theories of consciousness as the higher-order thought and inner sense views on the grounds that they understand a subject's awareness of his or her phenomenal characters to be intentional, like seeming-seeing, rather than "direct", like seeing. The trouble with such views is that they reverse the order of explanation between phenomenal character and intentional awareness. A superior theory of consciousness, based on views expressed by Russell and Price, takes the relation of awareness to be (...) a nonintentional "acquaintance". (shrink)
I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', in the context of a reply to Eric Lormand's 'The explanatory stopgap'. I argue that Lormand is wrong to think it has a specially perceptual meaning. Rather, it has one of at least four candidate meanings: (a) e is some way as regards its subject; (b) e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; (c) e is some way in the awareness of (...) its subject; (d) e's subject is the "experiencer" of e. I provide additional argumentation for the view in this paper that in the context, 'like this' functions as a predicate variable. (shrink)
I interpret the anti-idealist manoeuverings of the second half of Moore's 'The refutation of idealism', material as widely cited for its discussion of 'transparency' and 'diaphanousness' as it is deeply obscure. The centerpiece of these manoeuverings is a phenomenological argument for a relational view of perceptual phenomenal character, on which, roughly, 'that which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact' is a non-intentional relation of conscious awareness, a view close to the opposite of the most characteristic contemporary view going (...) under the transparency rubric. The discussion of transparency and diaphanousness is a sidelight, its principal purpose to shore up the main line of argumentation against criticism; in those passages all Moore argues is that the relation of conscious awareness is not transparent, while acknowledging that it can seem to be. (shrink)
The naive realist takes a veridical visual experience to be an immediate relation to external entities. Is this how such an experience is phenomenally, by its phenomenal character? Only if there can be phenomenal error, since a hallucinatory experience phenomenally matching such a veridical experience would then be phenomenally but not in fact such a relation. Fortunately, such phenomenal error can be avoided: the phenomenal character of a visual experience involves immediate awareness of a sort of picture of external entities, (...) as on a representative theory of perception. The attraction of naive realism results from an erroneous projection of the immediacy of the subject's awareness of this picture onto the external entities pictured. (shrink)
Perception represents colors inexactly. This inexactness results from phenomenally manifest noise, and results in apparent violations of the transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability. Whether these violations are genuine depends on what is meant by 'transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability'.
I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledge argument. The reason the Knowledge Argument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent.
The representationalist theory of consciousness is the view that consciousness reduces to mental representation. This view comes in several variants which must explain introspective awareness of conscious mental states.