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Summary Representationalism about consciousness is (roughly) the view that phenomenal consciousness is a species of mental representation.  Reductive representationalism identifies consciousness with a kind of representational state specified in a functional/physical vocabulary.  Non-reductive representationalism simply states that consciousness is representation of a special kind, perhaps of a conscious kind.  Representation is often glossed in terms of "aboutness" or "accuracy conditions". Representationalist views can also be more or less pure. The purest form of representationalism holds that phenomenal character is identical to or supervenes on representational content. Less pure forms of representationalism hold that phenomenal character supervenes on representational content and other factors, for example, sensory modalities, or, more generally, "manners of representation".  
Key works Precursors to representationalism include the intentionalist accounts of perception in Bergmann 1960Anscombe 1965Hintikka 1969, and Harman 1990, as well as the view of perception as belief defended in Armstrong 1968 and Pitcher 1971.  The key modern works include Dretske 1995Lycan 1996, and Tye 1995 for reductive representationalism. Byrne 2001, Chalmers 2004, and Crane 2003 are important defences of non-reductive representationalism. Block 1996 and follow-up papers have been influential as a criticism of the view. 
Introductions Bourget & Mendelovici 2014, Lycan 2000, and Seager & Bourget 2007 are broad introductions to representationalism covering many key issues. Chalmers 2004 also makes for a good introduction. 
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  1. added 2020-06-16
    The Two-Dimensional Content of Consciousness.Simon Prosser - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (3):319 - 349.
    In this paper I put forward a representationalist theory of conscious experience based on Robert Stalnaker's version of two-dimensional modal semantics. According to this theory the phenomenal character of an experience correlates with a content equivalent to what Stalnaker calls the diagonal proposition. I show that the theory is closely related both to functionalist theories of consciousness and to higher-order representational theories. It is also more compatible with an anti-Cartesian view of the mind than standard representationalist theories.
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  2. added 2020-06-03
    The Very Idea of the Phenomenological.Gregory McCulloch - 1993 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 93:39.
    The phenomenological can be reduced to the intentional. Intentional states have a what-it-is-like, and there is no special phenomenal object of introspection.
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  3. added 2020-05-28
    Experiencing Pain: A Scientific Enigma and its Philosophical Solution.Coninx Sabrina - forthcoming - Berlin: de Gruyter.
    Although pain is one of the most fundamental and unique experiences we undergo in everyday life, it also constitutes one of the most enigmatic and frustrating subjects for many scientists. This book provides a detailed analysis of why this issue is grounded in the nature of pain itself. It also offers a philosophically driven solution of how we may still approach pain in a theoretically compelling and practically useful manner. Two main theses are defended: (i) Pain seems inscrutable because there (...)
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  4. added 2020-05-26
    Strong Representationalism and Bodily Sensations: Reliable Causal Covariance and Biological Function.Coninx Sabrina - forthcoming - Philosophical Psychology.
    Bodily sensations, such as pain, hunger, itches, or sexual feelings, are commonly characterized in terms of their phenomenal character. In order to account for this phenomenal character, many philosophers adopt strong representationalism. According to this view, bodily sensations are essentially and entirely determined by an intentional content related to particular conditions of the body. For example, pain would be nothing more than the representation of actual or potential tissue damage. In order to motivate and justify their view, strong representationalists often (...)
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  5. added 2020-04-05
    Loopy Regulations: The Motivational Profile of Affective Phenomenology.Luca Barlassina & Max Khan Hayward - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    Affective experiences such as pains, pleasures, and emotions have affective phenomenology: they feel (un)pleasant. This type of phenomenology has a loopy regulatory profile: it often motivates us to act a certain way, and these actions typically end up regulating our affective experiences back. For example, the pleasure you get by tasting your morning coffee motivates you to drink more of it, and this in turn results in you obtaining another pleasant gustatory experience. In this article, we argue that reflexive imperativism (...)
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  6. added 2019-12-25
    On the Correct Treatment of Inverted Earth.Gary Bartlett - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):294-311.
    The Inverted Earth case has seen fierce debate between Ned Block, who says it defeats the causal-covariational brand of wide representationalism about qualia, and Michael Tye and Bill Lycan, who say it does not. The debate has generated more heat than light because of a failure to get clear on who is supposed to be proving what, and what premises can be deployed in doing so. I argue that a correct understanding of the case makes it clear that the causal (...)
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  7. added 2019-12-18
    The Dreams of Alpha-Lupi: A Trip In Virtual Reality.Francisco Valdez - manuscript
    Dreams as Virtual Reality simulations. When David Chalmers wrote “The Virtual and the Real” the argument many focused on the metaphysical and epistemic nature Virtual Reality and how it compares to waking states and dreaming sates. But one interesting segment of the paper is where he defends his thesis by claiming that dreams are not experiences. This is where I take issue and, in my paper, I claim that dreams as much as VR are epistemically similar enough to be called (...)
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  8. added 2019-12-15
    On Schellenberg’s The Unity of Perception.Ayoob Shahmoradi - manuscript
    My general worry is that none of Schellenberg’s arguments against naive realism, generalism, and Russellian representationalism are successful. Thus her attempt at ruling these views out fails. Her main arguments rely on a shared premise which seems to be false (§2.1). Apart from that, these arguments rely on an under-specified notion of ‘constitution’; there seems to be no sense of the term that makes all the premises of her major arguments true without trivializing their conclusions (§2.2). In §3 the worry (...)
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  9. added 2019-12-12
    Sankarāchārya and Kantian Notion of Consciousness.Manas Kumar Sahu - forthcoming - Advaitya Utsav Conference.
    In this paper, my objective is to show how Sankarāchārya's concept of reality is deferent from the Kantian notion of reality, despite many similarities between them. Cartesian skepticism of universal doubt is a challenged for the Kantian notion of reality; however, it can't be applied to Sankarāchārya's concept of reality because of the acceptance of different paradigm to explain the reality and Sankarāchārya's non-representationalistic approach towards the reality. The attack on representationalism can't be applicable to Sankarāchārya's philosophy.
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  10. added 2019-11-02
    Liberal Representationalism: A Deflationist Defense.Marc Artiga - 2016 - Dialectica 70 (3):407-430.
    The idea that only complex brains can possess genuine representations is an important element in mainstream philosophical thinking. An alternative view, which I label ‘liberal representationalism’, holds that we should accept the existence of many more full-blown representations, from activity in retinal ganglion cells to the neural states produced by innate releasing mechanisms in cognitively unsophisticated organisms. A promising way of supporting liberal representationalism is to show it to be a consequence of our best naturalistic theories of representation. However, several (...)
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  11. added 2019-11-01
    Consciousness.Tony Cheng - 2019 - In Heather Salazar (ed.), Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind. Quebec: Rebus Foundation Publishing. pp. 41-48.
  12. added 2019-10-20
    Misplacing Memories? An Enactive Approach to the Virtual Memory Palace.Anco Peeters & Miguel Segundo-Ortin - 2019 - Consciousness and Cognition 76:102834.
    In this paper, we evaluate the pragmatic turn towards embodied, enactive thinking in cognitive science, in the context of recent empirical research on the memory palace technique. The memory palace is a powerful method for remembering yet it faces two problems. First, cognitive scientists are currently unable to clarify its efficacy. Second, the technique faces significant practical challenges to its users. Virtual reality devices are sometimes presented as a way to solve these practical challenges, but currently fall short of delivering (...)
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  13. added 2019-09-23
    Merleau-Ponty Sonha com Ovelhas Elétricas? Ou Androides, ginóides, e a fenomenologia de Merleau-Ponty.Sandro Rinaldi Feliciano - manuscript
    Este pequeno ensaio tem como objetivo verificar se, e como, a fenomenologia de Merleau-Ponty pode ser aplicada a androides. Androides são “autômatos com forma humana”, enquanto robôs são “aparelhos automáticos capazes de manipular objetos ou executar operações segundo um programa” (Larousse Do Brasil, 2009) assim podemos dizer que um androide é um robô, mas nem todo robô é um androide Devido à diversidade de gêneros, foi criado o termo ginóide, separando se assim os androides de aparência masculina (andros) da feminina (...)
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  14. added 2019-08-22
    The Transparency of Experience and the Neuroscience of Attention.Assaf Weksler, Hilla Jacobson & Zohar Z. Bronfman - forthcoming - Synthese.
    According to the thesis of transparency, subjects can attend only to the representational content of perceptual experience, never to the intrinsic properties of experience that carry this representational content, i.e., to “mental paint.” So far, arguments for and against transparency were conducted from the armchair, relying mainly on introspective observations. In this paper, we argue in favor of transparency, relying on the cognitive neuroscience of attention. We present a trilemma to those who hold that attention can be directed to mental (...)
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  15. added 2019-07-19
    The Logical Structure of Consciousness.Michael Starks (ed.) - 2019 - Las Vegas, NV USA: Reality Press.
  16. added 2019-06-06
    I—The Presidential Address: Sensory Experience and Representational Properties.David Papineau - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (1pt1):1-33.
    This paper is about the nature of conscious sensory properties. My initial thesis is that these properties should not be equated with representational properties. I argue that any such representationalist view is in danger of implying that conscious sensory properties are constituted by relations to propositions or other abstract objects outside space and time; and I add that, even if this implication can be avoided, the broadness of representational properties in any case renders them unsuitable to constitute conscious properties. In (...)
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  17. added 2019-06-06
    Transparency, Intentionalism, and the Nature of Perceptual Content.Jeff Speaks - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):539-573.
    I argue that the transparency of experience provides the basis of arguments both for intentionalism -- understood as the view that there is a necessary connection between perceptual content and perceptual phenomenology -- and for the view that the contents of perceptual experiences are Russellian propositions. While each of these views is popular, there are apparent tensions between them, and some have thought that their combination is unstable. In the second half of the paper, I respond to these worries by (...)
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  18. added 2019-06-06
    Matching Sensible Qualities: A Skeleton in the Closet for Representationalism.Robert Schroer - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (3):259-273.
    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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  19. added 2019-06-06
    On the Intentionality of Moods: Phenomenology and Linguistic Analysis.Jorge V. Arregui - 1996 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 70 (3):397-411.
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  20. added 2019-06-05
    Causal Roles and Higher-Order PropertiesTen Problems of Consciousness.Frank Jackson & Michael Tye - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (3):657.
    I discuss whether Michael Tye, in Ten Problems of Consciousness. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1966, holds that phenomenal properties are neurological properties, but that what gives them their phenomenal property names are their highly complex interconnections with other neurological properties and, most especially, subjects' surroundings. Or, alternatively, whether he holds that they are higher-level, wide functional properties in the sense of being properties of having properties that fill some specified wide or distal roles.
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  21. added 2019-06-05
    Two Cheers for RepresentationalismTen Problems of Consciousness.Sydney Shoemaker & Michael Tye - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (3):671.
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  22. added 2019-05-10
    The Consequences Of Intentionalism.Daniel Stoljar - 2007 - Erkenntnis 66 (1-2):247-270.
    This article explores two consequences of intentionalism. My first line of argument focuses on the impact of intentionalism on the 'hard problem' of phenomenal character. If intentionalism is true, the phenomenal supervenes on the intentional. Furthermore, if physicalism about the intentional is also true, the intentional supervenes on the physical. Therefore, if intentionalism and physicalism are both true, then, by transitivity of supervenience, physicalism about the phenomenal is true. I argue that this transitivity argument is not persuasive, because on any (...)
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  23. added 2019-04-11
    More of Me! Less of Me!: Reflexive Imperativism About Affective Phenomenal Character.Luca Barlassina & Max Khan Hayward - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1013-1044.
    Experiences like pains, pleasures, and emotions have affective phenomenal character: they feel pleasant or unpleasant. Imperativism proposes to explain affective phenomenal character by appeal to imperative content, a kind of intentional content that directs rather than describes. We argue that imperativism is on the right track, but has been developed in the wrong way. There are two varieties of imperativism on the market: first-order and higher-order. We show that neither is successful, and offer in their place a new theory: reflexive (...)
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  24. added 2019-04-01
    Consciousness, Color, and Content.Michael Tye - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1):245-247.
    In 1995, in my book, Ten Problems of Consciousness, I proposed a version of the theory of phenomenal consciousness now known as representationalism. The present book, in part, consists of a further development of that theory along with replies to common objections. It is also concerned with two prominent challenges for any reductive theory of consciousness: the explanatory gap and the knowledge argument. In addition, it connects representationalism with two more general issues: the nature of color and the location of (...)
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  25. added 2019-03-01
    Michael Tye on Pain and Representational Content.Barry Maund - unknown
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  26. added 2019-02-03
    'Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness' by William S. Robinson. [REVIEW]Christian Onof - 2006 - Philosophical Psychology 19 (4).
  27. added 2019-01-30
    Erratum To: Introduction: Perception Without Representation.Keith Wilson & Roberta Locatelli - 2017 - Topoi 36 (2):213-213.
  28. added 2018-09-23
    Neural Synchrony and the Causal Efficacy of Consciousness.David Yates - forthcoming - Topoi:1-16.
    The purpose of this paper is to address a well-known dilemma for physicalism. If mental properties are type identical to physical properties, then their causal efficacy is secure, but at the cost of ruling out mentality in creatures very different to ourselves. On the other hand, if mental properties are multiply realizable, then all kinds of creatures can instantiate them, but then they seem to be causally redundant. The causal exclusion problem depends on the widely held principle that realized properties (...)
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  29. added 2018-09-22
    Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2018 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of higher-order representational theories of consciousness. Representational theories of consciousness attempt to reduce consciousness to “mental representations” rather than directly to neural or other physical states. This approach has been fairly popular over the past few decades. Examples include first-order representationalism (FOR) which attempts to explain conscious experience primarily in terms of world-directed (or first-order) intentional states (Tye 2005) as well as several versions of higher-order representationalism (HOR) which holds that what makes a mental state M conscious is (...)
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  30. added 2018-09-14
    Intentionalism.Tim Crane - 2009 - In Brian McLaughlin & Ansgar Beckermann (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 474-93.
    The central and defining characteristic of thoughts is that they have objects. The object of a thought is what the thought concerns, or what it is about. Since there cannot be thoughts which are not about anything, or which do not concern anything, there cannot be thoughts without objects. Mental states or events or processes which have objects in this sense are traditionally called ‘intentional,’ and ‘intentionality’ is for this reason the general term for this defining characteristic of thought. Under (...)
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  31. added 2018-07-23
    Michael Madary's Visual Phenomenology.Neil Mehta - forthcoming - Philosophical Review.
  32. added 2018-04-13
    Perfect Pitch and the Content of Experience.Fiona Macpherson - 1999 - Anthropology and Philosophy 3 (2):89-101.
    This paper examines the representationalist view of experiences in the light of the phenomena of perfect and relative pitch. Two main kinds of representationalism are identified - environment-based and cognitive role-based. It is argued that to explain the relationship between the two theories a distinction should be drawn between various types of implicit and explicit content. When investigated, this distinction sheds some light on the difference between the phenomenology of perfect and relative pitch experiences and may be usefully applied to (...)
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  33. added 2018-04-04
    Consciousness and the Limits of Memory.Joseph Gottlieb - 2018 - Synthese 195 (12):5217-5243.
    Intermodal representationalism is a popular theory of consciousness. This paper argues that intermodal representationalism is false, or at least likely so. The argument turns on two forms of exceptional episodic memory: hyperthymesia and prodigious visual memory in savant syndrome. Emerging from this argument is a broader lesson about the relationship between memory and perception; that it may be possible to entertain in memory the very same content as in a corresponding perceptual experience, and that the ‘overflow’ interpretation of the classic (...)
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  34. added 2018-03-20
    The Whence and Whither of Experience.Nick Treanor - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1119-1138.
    Consider a toothache, or a feeling of intense pleasure, or the sensation you would have if you looked impassively at an expanse of colour. In each case, the experience can easily be thought to fill time by being present throughout a period. This way of thinking of conscious experience is natural enough, but it is in deep conflict with the view that physical processes are ultimately responsible for experience. The problem is that physical processes are related to durations in a (...)
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  35. added 2018-03-12
    Singularidade fenomênica e conteúdo perceptivo.Marco Aurélio Sousa Alves - 2018 - Manuscrito 41 (1):67-91.
    The most prominent theories of perceptual content are incapable of accounting for the phenomenal particularity of perceptual experience. This difficulty, or so I argue, springs from the absence of a series of distinctions that end up turning the problem apparently unsolvable. After briefly examining the main shortcomings of representationalism and naïve realism, I advance a proposal of my own that aims to make the trivial fact of perceptually experiencing a particular object as such philosophically unproblematic. Though I am well aware (...)
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  36. added 2018-02-27
    Sensing, the Senses, and Attention.Casey O'Callaghan - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):485-491.
  37. added 2018-02-17
    A Non Representationalist View of Model Explanation.Ashley Graham Kennedy - 2012 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2):326-332.
  38. added 2018-02-17
    Reply to Lopes.Fred Dretske - 2000 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 60 (2):455-459.
    There is a terminological matter that should be settled before getting down to business. Lopes himself is not confused about this, but a reader—especially one who doesn't pay much attention to footnotes —might easily be.
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  39. added 2018-02-17
    Intersubjective Science.Max Velmans - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (2-3):299-306.
    The study of consciousness in modern science is hampered by deeply ingrained, dualist presuppositions about the nature of consciousness. In particular, conscious experiences are thought to be private and subjective, contrasting with physical phenomena which are public and objective. In the present article, I argue that all observed phenomena are, in a sense, private to a given observer, although there are some events to which there is public access. Phenomena can be objective in the sense of intersubjective, investigators can be (...)
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  40. added 2018-02-17
    What What its Like is Really Like.Michael Tye - 1995 - Analysis 55 (2):125-126.
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  41. added 2018-01-13
    The Phenomenal Basis of Intentionality.Angela Mendelovici - 2018 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    Some mental states seem to be "of" or "about" things, or to "say" something. For example, a thought might represent that grass is green, and a visual experience might represent a blue cup. This is intentionality. The aim of this book is to explain this phenomenon. -/- Once we understand intentionality as a phenomenon to be explained, rather than a posit in a theory explaining something else, we can see that there are glaring empirical and in principle difficulties with currently (...)
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  42. added 2017-12-31
    Representation, Consciousness, and Time.Sean Allen-Hermanson - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):137-155.
    I criticize Bourget’s intuitive and empirical arguments for thinking that all possible conscious states are underived if intentional. An underived state is one of which it is not the case that it must be realized, at least in part, by intentional states distinct from itself. The intuitive argument depends upon a thought experiment about a subject who exists for only a split second while undergoing a single conscious experience. This, however, trades on an ambiguity in "split second." Meanwhile, Bourget's empirical (...)
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  43. added 2017-12-26
    The Collapse Argument.Joseph Gottlieb - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):1-20.
    We can divide philosophical theories of consciousness into two main camps: First-Order theories and Higher-Order theories. Like all Higher-Order theories, many First-Order theories are mentalistic theories of consciousness: they attempt to reduce a mental state’s being consciousness using mental (but non-phenomenal) terms, such as being available to certain cognitive centers. I argue that mentalistic First-Order theories, once fully cashed out, collapse into some form of Higher-Order theory. I contend that not only is there general considerations in favor of this conclusion, (...)
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  44. added 2017-12-08
    Implications of Intensional Perceptual Ascriptions for Relationalism, Disjunctivism, and Representationalism About Perceptual Experience.David Bourget - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):381-408.
    This paper aims to shed new light on certain philosophical theories of perceptual experience by examining the semantics of perceptual ascriptions such as “Jones sees an apple.” I start with the assumption, recently defended elsewhere, that perceptual ascriptions lend themselves to intensional readings. In the first part of the paper, I defend three theses regarding such readings: I) intensional readings of perceptual ascriptions ascribe phenomenal properties, II) perceptual verbs are not ambiguous between intensional and extensional readings, and III) intensional perceptual (...)
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  45. added 2017-12-08
    Representationalism and Sensory Modalities: An Argument for Intermodal Representationalism.David Bourget - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):251-268.
    Intermodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are fully determined by their contents. In contrast, intramodal representationalists hold that the phenomenal characters of experiences are determined by their contents together with their intentional modes or manners of representation, which are nonrepresentational features corresponding roughly to the sensory modalities. This paper discusses a kind of experience that provides evidence for an intermodal representationalist view: intermodal experiences, experiences that unify experiences in different modalities. I argue that such experiences are much (...)
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  46. added 2017-11-27
    Pleasure, Displeasure, and Representation.Timothy Schroeder - 2001 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 31 (4):507-530.
    The object of the present work is to rectify the neglect that pleasure and displeasure have been suffering from in the philosophy of mind, and to give an account of pleasure and displeasure which reveals a striking degree of unity and theoretical tractabiliy underlying the diverse phenomena: a representationalist account.
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  47. added 2017-10-20
    Representationalism and Perceptual Organization.E. J. Green - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (2):121-148.
    Some philosophers have suggested that certain shifts in perceptual organization are counterexamples to representationalism about phenomenal character. Representationalism about phenomenal character is, roughly, the view that there can be no difference in the phenomenal character of experience without a difference in the representational content of experience. In this paper, I examine three of these alleged counterexamples: the dot array, the intersecting lines, and the 3 X 3 grid. I identify the two features of their phenomenology that call for explanation: grouping (...)
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  48. added 2017-10-05
    Dualism, Reductionism, and Reflexive Monism.Max Velmans - 2007 - In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. New York: Blackwell. pp. 346-358.
    (added for 2013 upload): This chapter compares classical dualist and reductionist views of phenomenal consciousness with an alternative, reflexive way of viewing the relations amongst consciousness, brain and the external physical world. It argues that dualism splits the universe in two fundamental ways: in viewing phenomenal consciousness as having neither location nor extension it splits consciousness from the material world, and subject from object. Materialist reductionism views consciousness as a brain state or function (located and extended in the brain) which (...)
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  49. added 2017-09-25
    What Makes Up a Mood Experience?Bartek Chomanski - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (5-6):104-127.
    In this paper I argue that the phenomenal character of a mood experience wholly depends on affective modifications (appropriate for the mood in question) to the phenomenal characters of one's non-mood experiences. I argue that this view accounts for all distinctive aspects of mood phenomenology, in contrast to currently existing accounts of moods, each of which faces trouble accounting for some distinctive aspect of mood experience. I also explain how my view allows for holding both that moods seemingly lack intentional (...)
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  50. added 2017-09-20
    The World as-Perceived, the World as-Described by Physics, and the Thing-Itself: A Reply to Rentoul and Wetherick.Max Velmans - 1992 - Philosophical Psychology 5 (2):167 – 172.
    This paper summarised the main arguments presented in "Consciousness, brain and the physical world" Philosophical Psychology (1990) to introduce a symposium on that paper. This was the first symposium on Velmans' Reflexive Model of Perception (the departure point for Reflexive Monism). This summary of the 1990 paper was followed by three critiques (by Robert Rentoul, Norman Wetherick, and Grant Gillett) followed by two replies. At the time of this upload (25 years later) many of the points in the 1991 paper (...)
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