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Profile: Robert Schroer (University of Minnesota, Duluth)
  1. Jeanine Weekes Schroer & Robert Schroer (2014). Getting the Story Right: A Reductionist Narrative Account of Personal Identity. Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    A popular “Reductionist” account of personal identity unifies person stages into persons in virtue of their psychological continuity with one another. One objection to psychological continuity accounts is that there is more to our personal identity than just mere psychological continuity: there is also an active process of self-interpretation and self-creation. This criticism can be used to motivate a rival account of personal identity that appeals to the notion of a narrative. To the extent that they comment upon the issue, (...)
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  2. Jeanine Schroer & Robert Schroer (2013). Two Potential Problems with Philosophical Intuitions: Muddled Intuitions and Biased Intuitions. Philosophia 41 (4):1263-1281.
    One critique of experimental philosophy is that the intuitions of the philosophically untutored should be accorded little to no weight; instead, only the intuitions of professional philosophers should matter. In response to this critique, “experimentalists” often claim that the intuitions of professional philosophers are biased. In this paper, we explore this question of whose intuitions should be disqualified and why. Much of the literature on this issue focuses on the question of whether the intuitions of professional philosophers are reliable. In (...)
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  3. Robert Schroer (2013). Can a Single Property Be Both Dispositional and Categorical? The “Partial Consideration Strategy”, Partially Considered. Metaphysica 14 (1):63-77.
    One controversial position in the debate over dispositional and categorical properties maintains that our concepts of these properties are the result of partially considering unitary properties that are both dispositional and categorical. As one of its defenders (Heil 2005, p. 351) admits, this position is typically met with “incredulous stares”. In this paper, I examine whether such a reaction is warranted. This thesis about properties is an instance of what I call “the Partial Consideration Strategy”—i.e., the strategy of claiming that (...)
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  4. Robert Schroer (2013). Do the Primary and Secondary Intensions of Phenomenal Concepts Coincide in All Worlds? Dialectica 67 (4):561-577.
    A slew of conceivability arguments have been given against physicalism. Many physicalists try to undermine these arguments by offering accounts of phenomenal concepts that explain how there can be an epistemic gap, but not an ontological gap, between the phenomenal and the physical. Some complain, however, that such accounts fail to do justice to the nature of our introspective grasp of phenomenal properties. A particularly influential version of this complaint comes from David Chalmers (1996; 2003), who claims, in opposition to (...)
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  5. Robert Schroer (2013). Reductionism in Personal Identity and the Phenomenological Sense of Being a Temporally Extended Self. American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):339-356.
    The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...)
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  6. Brendan O'Sullivan & Robert Schroer (2012). Painful Reasons: Representationalism as a Theory of Pain. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):737-758.
    It is widely thought that functionalism and the qualia theory are better positioned to accommodate the ‘affective’ aspect (i.e., the hurtfulness) of pain phenomenology than representationalism. In this paper, we attempt to overturn this opinion by raising problems for both functionalism and the qualia theory on this score. With regard to functionalism, we argue that it gets the order of explanation wrong: pain experience gives rise to the effects it does because it hurts, and not the other way around. With (...)
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  7. Robert Schroer (2012). Representationalism and the Scene-Immediacy of Visual Experience: A Journey to the Fringe and Back. Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):595 - 615.
    Both visual experience and conscious thought represent external objects, but in visual experience these objects seem present before the mind and available for direct access in a way that they don?t in conscious thought. In this paper, I introduce a couple of challenges that this ?Scene-Immediacy? of visual experience raises for traditional versions of Representationalism. I then identify a resource to which Representationalists can appeal in addressing these challenges: the low-detail fringe of visual experience. I argue that low-detail contents within (...)
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  8. Robert Schroer (2012). Two Challenges That Categorical Properties Pose to Physicalism. Ratio 25 (2):195-206.
    What are physical objects like when they are considered independently of their causal interactions? Many think that the answer to this question involves categorical properties– properties that make contributions to their bearers that are independent of any causal interactions those objects may enter into. In this paper, I examine two challenges that this solution poses to Physicalism. The first challenge is that, given that they are distinct from any of the scientifically described causal powers that they happen to convey, categorical (...)
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  9. Robert Schroer (2011). Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep? Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker’s ‘Subset Account’ offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  10. Robert Schroer (2010). How Far Can the Physical Sciences Reach? American Philosophical Quarterlly 47 (3):253-266.
    : It is widely thought that dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties; specifying the nature of this dependency, however, has proven a difficult task. The dependency of dispositional properties upon categorical properties also presents a challenge to the thesis of Physicalism: If the physical sciences only tell us about the dispositional properties of the objects they study and if dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties, then it appears that there will be kind of property—categorical properties—that will escape description by the (...)
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  11. Robert Schroer (2010). Is There More Than One Categorical Property? Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):831-850.
    I develop a new theory of properties by considering two central arguments in the debate whether properties are dispositional or categorical. The first claims that objects must possess categorical properties in order to be distinct from empty space. The second argument, however, points out several untoward consequences of positing categorical properties. I explore these arguments and argue that despite appearances, their conclusions need not be in conflict with one another. In particular, we can view the second argument as supporting only (...)
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  12. Robert Schroer (2010). Where's the Beef? Phenomenal Concepts as Both Demonstrative and Substantial. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):505-522.
    One popular materialist response to the explanatory gap identifies phenomenal concepts with type-demonstrative concepts. This kind of response, however, faces a serious challenge: that our phenomenal concepts seem to provide a richer characterization of their referents than just the demonstrative characterization of 'that quality'. In this paper, I develop a materialist account that beefs up the contents of phenomenal concepts while retaining the idea that these contents contain demonstrative elements. I illustrate this account by focusing on our phenomenal concepts of (...)
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  13. Robert Schroer (2009). Does the Phenomenality of Perceptual Experience Present an Obstacle to Phenomenal Externalism? Philosophical Papers 39 (1):93-110.
    : Although Externalism is widely accepted as a thesis about belief, as a thesis about experience it is both controversial and unpopular. One potential explanation of this difference involves the phenomenality of perceptual experience—perhaps there is something about how perceptual experiences seem that straightforwardly speaks against Externalist accounts of their individuation conditions. In this paper, I investigate this idea by exploring the role that the phenomenality of color experience plays in a prominent argument against Phenomenal Externalism: Ned Block’s Inverted Earth (...)
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  14. Robert Schroer (2008). Memory Foundationalism and the Problem of Unforgotten Carelessness. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):74–85.
    According to memory foundationalism, seeming to remember that P is prima facie justification for believing that P. There is a common objection to this theory: If I previously believed that P carelessly (i.e. without justification) and later seem to remember that P, then (according to memory foundationalism) I have somehow acquired justification for a previously unjustified belief. In this paper, I explore this objection. I begin by distinguishing between two versions of it: One where I seem to remember that P (...)
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  15. Robert Schroer (2008). Open Your Eyes and Look Harder! (An Investigation Into the Idea of a Responsible Search). Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):409-430.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that we have epistemic responsibilities with respect to our visual searches, responsibilities that are far more fine-grained and interesting than the trivial responsibilities to keep our eyes open and “look hard”. In order to have such responsibilities, we must be able to exert fine-grained and interesting forms of control over our visual searches. I present both an intuitive case and an empirical case for thinking that we do, in fact, have such (...)
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  16. Robert Schroer (2008). Open Your Eyes and Look Harder! Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):409-430.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that we have epistemic responsibilities with respect to our visual searches, responsibilities that are far more fine-grained and interesting than the trivial responsibilities to keep our eyes open and “look hard.” In order to have such responsibilities, we must be able to exert fine-grained and interesting forms of control over our visual searches. I present both an intuitive case and an empirical case for thinking that we do, in fact, have such (...)
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  17. Robert Schroer (2008). The Woman in the Painting and the Image in the Penny: An Investigation of Phenomenological Doubleness, Seeing-in, and “Reversed Seeing-In”. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies 139 (3):329 - 341.
    The experience of looking at a tilted penny involves a “phenomenological doubleness” in that it simultaneously seems to be of something circular and of something elliptical. In this paper, I investigate the phenomenological doubleness of this experience by comparing it to another case of phenomenological doubleness––the phenomenological doubleness of seeing an object in a painting. I begin by pointing out some striking similarities between the phenomenological characters of these two experiences. I then argue that these phenomenological characters have a common (...)
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  18. Robert Schroer (2007). Reticence of Visual Phenomenal Character: A Spatial Interpretation of Transparency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):393-414.
    It is often claimed that the phenomenal character of visual experience is 'transparent' in that the phenomenal features of visual experience do not seem 'mental'. It is then claimed that this transparency speaks in favour of some theories of experience while speaking against others. In this paper, I advance both a negative and a positive thesis about transparency. My negative thesis is that visual phenomenal character is reticent in that it does not reveal whether it is mental or non-mental in (...)
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  19. Robert Schroer (2004). Environmental Representationalists on Afterimages and Phosphenes: Putting Our Best Foot Forward. Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (4):531-546.
    Environmental representationalism is the position that phenomenal differences between visual experiences are determined by the representational claims those experiences make about the surrounding environment. Afterimage and phosphene experiences are an important and widely cited objection to this position. In this paper, I defend environmental representationalism from this objection. In particular, I point out several ways in which typical environmental representationalist accounts of these experiences are lacking while developing a more satisfying account which focuses on how the visual system generates its (...)
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  20. Robert Schroer (2002). Matching Sensible Qualities: A Skeleton in the Closet for Representationalism. Philosophical Studies 107 (3):259-73.
    The intransitivity of matching sensible qualities of color is a threat not only to the sense-data theory, but to all realist theories of sensible qualities, including the current leading realist theory: representationalism. I save representationalism from this threat by way of a novel yet empirically plausible hypothesis about the introspective classification of sensible qualities of color. I argue that due to limitations of the visual system's ability to extract fine-grained information about color from the environment, introspective classification of sensible qualities (...)
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  21. Robert Schroer (2002). Seeing It All Clearly: The Real Story on Blurry Vision. American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (3):297-301.
    Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of a perceptual experience supervenes upon its representational content. The phenomenon of blurry vision is thought to raise a difficulty for this position. More specifically, it is alleged that representationalists cannot account for the phenomenal difference between clearly seeing an indistinct edge and blurrily seeing a distinct edge solely in terms of represented features of the surrounding environment. I defend representationalism from this objection by offering a novel account of the phenomenal difference (...)
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