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Reference and Consciousness

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  1. The Motivating Role of Truth in Reasoning: A Defence of Object-Dependent Fregean Senses.Johan Gersel - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (6):2701-2714.
    Intuitively, when all goes well, we adopt beliefs based on inference because we realize that their truth is established by the truth of the involved premises. If this intuitive picture of our successful reasoning is correct, then it must be possible that our reasoning is motivated by our sensitivity to the soundness of the involved inference. This paper argues that such a view of ideal reasoning can only be upheld if we accept the minority view that the proper inferential role (...)
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  • The Phenomenal Contribution of Attention.Jonathan Mitchell - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Strong or Pure Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is exhaustively determined by its intentional content. Contrastingly, impure intentionalism holds that there are also non content-based aspects or features which contribute to phenomenal character. Conscious attention is one such feature: arguably its contribution to the phenomenal character of a given conscious experience are not exhaustively captured in terms of what that experience represents, that is in terms of properties of its intentional object. This paper (...)
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  • Projectivism and Phenomenal Presence.Derek H. Brown - 2018 - In F. And Macpherson Dorsch (ed.), Phenomenal Presence. Oxford University Press. pp. 226-251.
    Projectivism is the thesis that we project at least some subjective aspects of perception into what we experience as the world outside ourselves. It is familiar from various phantom pains, afterimages, and hallucinations. Strong Projectivism asserts that all perceptual experiences involve and only involve direct awareness of projected elements. Strong Projectivism is an unpopular and I argue underappreciated variety of intentionalism (or representationalism). It straightforwardly explains the transparency of experience (section 2) and phenomena qualia theorists offer to avoid intentionalism such (...)
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  • Dysjunktywizm i natura percepcyjnej relacji.Paweł Zięba - 2016 - Analiza I Egzystencja 35:87-111.
    This paper surveys selected (though arguably representative) versions of metaphysical and epistemological disjunctivism. Although they share a common logical structure, it is hard to find a further common denominator among them. Two main conclusions are: (1) a specific standpoint on the nature of perceptual relation is not such a common denominator, which means that it is very unlikely that all of these views could be refuted with a single objection; (2) contrary to what its name suggests, disjunctivism can be correctly (...)
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  • Naïve Realism About Unconscious Perception.Paweł Jakub Zięba - 2019 - Synthese 196 (5):2045-2073.
    Recently, it has been objected that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported claim that mental states of the same fundamental kind as ordinary conscious seeing can occur unconsciously (SFK). The main aim of this paper is to establish the following conditional claim: if SFK turns out to be true, the naïve realist can and should accommodate it into her theory. Regarding the antecedent of this conditional, I suggest that empirical evidence renders SFK plausible but not obvious. For it (...)
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  • Selectionism and Diaphaneity.Paweł Jakub Zięba - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-31.
    Brain activity determines which relations between objects in the environment are perceived as differences and similarities in colour, smell, sound, etc. According to selectionism, brain activity does not create those relations; it only selects which of them are perceptually available to the subject on a given occasion. In effect, selectionism entails that perceptual experience is diaphanous, i.e. that sameness and difference in the phenomenal character of experience is exhausted by sameness and difference in the perceived items. It has been argued (...)
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  • What is Conscious Attention?Wayne Wu - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):93-120.
    Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is (...)
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  • Visual Attention, Conceptual Content, and Doing It Right.Wayne Wu - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):1003-1033.
    Reflection on the fine-grained information required for visual guidance of action has suggested that visual content is non-conceptual. I argue that in a common type of visually guided action, namely the use of manipulable artefacts, vision has conceptual content. Specifically, I show that these actions require visual attention and that concepts are involved in directing attention. In acting with artefacts, there is a way of doing it right as determined by the artefact’s conventional use. Attention must reflect our understanding of (...)
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  • The Contents of Perception and the Contents of Emotion.Bill Wringe - 2014 - Noûs 48 (1):275-297.
    Several philosophers think there are important analogies between emotions and perceptual states. Furthermore, considerations about the rational assessibility of emotions have led philosophers—in some cases, the very same philosophers—to think that the content of emotions must be propositional content. If one finds it plausible that perceptual states have propositional contents, then there is no obvious tension between these views. However, this view of perception has recently been attacked by philosophers who hold that the content of perception is object-like. I shall (...)
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  • On the Significance of Bodily Awareness for Bodily Action.Hong Yu Wong - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (261):790-812.
    What is the significance of bodily awareness for bodily action? The orthodox philosophical account from O'Shaughnessy claims that bodily awareness is necessary for bodily action. Whilst O'Shaughnessy's account appears to be consonant with the phenomenology of ordinary agency, it falls afoul to empirical counterexamples. The failure of O'Shaughnessy's account and its cousins might suggest that bodily action does not depend on bodily awareness. On the contrary, I argue that the contrast between the character of afferented and deafferented agency shows that (...)
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  • Individuating the Senses of ‘Smell’: Orthonasal Versus Retronasal Olfaction.Keith A. Wilson - 2021 - Synthese 199:4217-4242.
    The dual role of olfaction in both smelling and tasting, i.e. flavour perception, makes it an important test case for philosophical theories of sensory individuation. Indeed, the psychologist Paul Rozin claimed that olfaction is a “dual sense”, leading some scientists and philosophers to propose that we have not one, but two senses of smell: orthonasal and retronasal olfaction. In this paper I consider how best to understand Rozin’s claim, and upon what grounds one might judge there to be one or (...)
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  • Introduction: Perception Without Representation.Keith Wilson & Roberta Locatelli - 2017 - Topoi 36 (2):197-212.
  • Embodying the False-Belief Tasks.Michael Wilby - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):519-540.
    Embodied approaches to mindreading have tended to define themselves in contrast to cognitive approaches to social mindreading. One side effect of this has been a lack of engagement with key areas in the study of social cognition—in particular the topic of how we gain an understanding of the referential nature of others’ thoughts, and how that understanding develops from infancy. I argue that embodied accounts of mindreading are well equipped to enter into this debate, by making use of the notion (...)
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  • Does Property-Perception Entail the Content View?Keith A. Wilson - 2022 - Erkenntnis.
    Visual perception is widely taken to present properties such as redness, roundness, and so on. This in turn might be thought to give rise to accuracy conditions for experience, and so content, regardless of which metaphysical view of perception one endorses. An influential version of this argument—Susanna Siegel’s ’Argument from Appearing’—aims to establish the existence of content as common ground between representational and relational views of perception. This goes against proponents of ‘austere’ relationalism who deny that content plays a substantive (...)
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  • On an Argument for Humility.Ann Whittle - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (3):461-497.
    Considerations upon the nature of properties and laws have led some philosophers to claim that the correct epistemic attitude with regards to the intrinsic properties of particulars is scepticism. I examine one particularly clear version of this line of argument, and contend that a serious form of scepticism is not established. However, I argue that the theories of properties and laws underlying the argument have unwanted metaphysical implications. These provide a stronger reason to jettison the analyses. I end by sketching (...)
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  • Attention, Gestalt Principles, and the Determinacy of Perceptual Content.Ben White - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1133-1151.
    Theories of phenomenal intentionality have been claimed to resolve certain worries about the indeterminacy of mental content that rival, externalist theories face. Thus far, however, such claims have been largely programmatic. This paper aims to improve on prior arguments in favor of phenomenal intentionality by using attention and Gestalt principles as specific examples of factors that influence the phenomenal character of perceptual experience in ways that thereby help determine perceptual content. Some reasons are then offered for rejecting an alternative interpretation (...)
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  • Other Minds Are Neither Seen nor Inferred.Mason Westfall - 2020 - Synthese 198 (12):11977-11997.
    How do we know about other minds on the basis of perception? The two most common answers to this question are that we literally perceive others’ mental states, or that we infer their mental states on the basis of perceiving something else. In this paper, I argue for a different answer. On my view, we don’t perceive mental states, and yet perceptual experiences often immediately justify mental state attributions. In a slogan: other minds are neither seen nor inferred. I argue (...)
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  • Attention to Mental Paint and Change Detection.Assaf Weksler - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1991-2007.
    According to the influential thesis of attentional transparency, in having or reflecting on an ordinary visual experience, we can attend only outwards, to qualities the experience represents, never to intrinsic qualities of the experience itself, i.e., to “mental paint.” According to the competing view, attentional semitransparency, although we usually attend outwards, to qualities the experience represents, we can also attend inwards, to mental paint. So far, philosophers have debated this topic in strictly armchair means, especially phenomenological reflection. My aim in (...)
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  • Should We Respond to Evil with Indifference?Brian Weatherson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3):613–635.
    In a recent article, Adam Elga outlines a strategy for “Defeating Dr Evil with Self-Locating Belief”. The strategy relies on an indifference principle that is not up to the task. In general, there are two things to dislike about indifference principles: adopting one normally means confusing risk for uncertainty, and they tend to lead to incoherent views in some ‘paradoxical’ situations. I argue that both kinds of objection can be levelled against Elga’s indifference principle. There are also some difficulties with (...)
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  • The Philosophical Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.
    What is the philosophical significance of attention? The present article provides an overview of recent debates surrounding the connections between attention and other topics of philosophical interest. In particular, it discusses the interplay between attention and consciousness, attention and agency, and attention and reference. The article outlines the questions and contemporary positions concerning how attention shapes the phenomenal character of experience, whether it is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, and whether it plays a special role in the best philosophical theories (...)
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  • Sensorimotor Relationalism and Conscious Vision.Dave Ward - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    I argue that the phenomenal properties of conscious visual experiences are properties of the mind-independent objects to which the subject is perceptually related, mediated by the subject's practical understanding of their sensorimotor relation to those properties. This position conjoins two existing strategies for explaining the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences: accounts appealing to perceivers’ limited, non-inferential access to the details of their sensory relation to the environment, and the relationalist conception of phenomenal properties. Bringing these two positions together by emphasizing (...)
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  • Structure of Perceptual Objects: Introduction to the Synthese Topical Collection.Alfredo Vernazzani, Błażej Skrzypulec & Tobias Schlicht - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):1819-1830.
    Introduction to the topical collection "The Structure of Perceptual Objects"—with contributions by Mohan Matthen, EJ Green, Alisa Mandrigin, Blazej Skrzypulec, and Anna Drożdżowicz.
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  • Thinking by Doing: Rylean Regress and the Metaphysics of Action.Markos Valaris - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3395-3412.
    Discussions of Ryle’s regress argument against the “intellectualist legend” have largely focused on whether it is effective against a certain view about knowledge how, namely, the view that knowledge how is a species of propositional knowledge. This is understandable, as this is how Ryle himself framed the issue. Nevertheless, this focus has tended to obscure some different concerns which are no less pressing—either for Ryle or for us today. More specifically, I argue that a version of Ryle’s regress confronts any (...)
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  • Confusion is Corruptive Belief in False Identity.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):204-227.
    Speakers are confused about identity if they mistake one thing for two or two things for one. I present two plausible models of confusion, the Frege model and the Millikan model. I show how a prominent objection to Fregean models fails and argue that confusion consists in having false implicit beliefs involving the identity relation. Further, I argue that confused identity has characteristic corruptive effects on singular cognition and on the proper function of singular terms in linguistic communication.
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  • Idealism and the Identity Theory of Truth.Robert Trueman - 2020 - Mind 130 (519):783-807.
    In a recent article, Hofweber presents a new, and surprising, argument for idealism. His argument is surprising because it starts with an apparently innocent premiss from the philosophy of language: that ‘that’-clauses do not refer. I do not think that Hofweber's argument works, and my first aim in this paper is to explain why. However, I agree with Hofweber that what we say about ‘that’-clauses has important metaphysical consequences. My second aim is to argue that, far from leading us into (...)
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  • The Neuropsychology of Feature Binding and Conscious Perception.Barbara Treccani - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • A Psychofunctionalist Argument Against Nonconceptualism.Justin Tiehen - 2014 - Synthese 191 (16):3919-3934.
    In this paper I present a psychofunctionalist argument for conceptualism, the thesis that conscious visual experience is a conceptual state rather than a nonconceptual state. The argument draws on the holistic character of functionalist accounts of mind, together with the “Two Visual Systems Hypothesis” notably defended by Melvyn Goodale and David Milner.
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  • Are Sensory Concepts Learned by “Abstraction” From Experience?Pär Sundström - 2018 - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    In recent years, many philosophers and scientists have argued or accepted that it is impossible to learn primitive sensory concepts like “blue” and “red”. This paper defends a more qualified picture. I try to show that some received characterisations of “learning” are nonequivalent and point towards different learning-nonlearning distinctions. And, on some ways of specifying such a distinction, it might be correct that we do not and cannot “learn” a concept of blue. But on other ways of specifying such a (...)
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  • Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dustin Stokes - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663.
    Perception is typically distinguished from cognition. For example, seeing is importantly different from believing. And while what one sees clearly influences what one thinks, it is debatable whether what one believes and otherwise thinks can influence, in some direct and non-trivial way, what one sees. The latter possible relation is the cognitive penetration of perception. Cognitive penetration, if it occurs, has implications for philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. This paper offers an analysis of the phenomenon, (...)
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  • A Neglected Account of Perception.Tom Stoneham - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (3):307-322.
    I aim to draw the reader's attention to an easily overlooked account of perception, namely that there are no perceptual experiences, that to perceive something is to stand in an external, purely non-Leibnizian relation to it. I introduce the Purely Relational account of perception by discussing a case of it being overlooked in the writings of G.E. Moore, though we also find the same move in J. Cook Wilson, so it has nothing to do with an affection for sense-data. I (...)
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  • Aesthetics and Cognitive Science.Dustin Stokes - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (5):715-733.
    Experiences of art involve exercise of ordinary cognitive and perceptual capacities but in unique ways. These two features of experiences of art imply the mutual importance of aesthetics and cognitive science. Cognitive science provides empirical and theoretical analysis of the relevant cognitive capacities. Aesthetics thus does well to incorporate cognitive scientific research. Aesthetics also offers philosophical analysis of the uniqueness of the experience of art. Thus, cognitive science does well to incorporate the explanations of aesthetics. This paper explores this general (...)
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  • Cognitive Penetration and Attention.Steven Gross - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8:1-12.
    Zenon Pylyshyn argues that cognitively driven attentional effects do not amount to cognitive penetration of early vision because such effects occur either before or after early vision. Critics object that in fact such effects occur at all levels of perceptual processing. We argue that Pylyshyn’s claim is correct—but not for the reason he emphasizes. Even if his critics are correct that attentional effects are not external to early vision, these effects do not satisfy Pylyshyn’s requirements that the effects be direct (...)
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  • II—Waking, Knowing, and Being Conscious.James Stazicker - 2019 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 93 (1):137-160.
    Being conscious, in the sense in which this state is associated with being awake as opposed to dreaming or sleepwalking, has a distinctive experiential character and epistemic role. The former is reflected in the experience of waking up, the latter in traditional problems about perceptual knowledge. I outline a conception of being wakefully conscious which identifies this state in terms of its role in explaining knowledge about one’s environment and oneself. I suggest that this dual epistemic role may be grounded, (...)
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  • Attention, Visual Consciousness and Indeterminacy.James Stazicker - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (2):156-184.
    I propose a new argument showing that conscious vision sometimes depends constitutively on conscious attention. I criticise traditional arguments for this constitutive connection, on the basis that they fail adequately to dissociate evidence about visual consciousness from evidence about attention. On the same basis, I criticise Ned Block's recent counterargument that conscious vision is independent of one sort of attention (‘cognitive access'). Block appears to achieve the dissociation only because he underestimates the indeterminacy of visual consciousness. I then appeal to (...)
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  • Spectrum Inversion Without a Difference in Representation is Impossible.Jeff Speaks - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):339-361.
    Even if spectrum inversion of various sorts is possible, spectrum inversion without a difference in representation is not. So spectrum inversion does not pose a challenge for the intentionalist thesis that, necessarily, within a given sense modality, if two experiences are alike with respect to content, they are also alike with respect to their phenomenal character. On the contrary, reflection on variants of standard cases of spectrum inversion provides a strong argument for intentionalism. Depending on one’s views about the possibility (...)
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  • Logical Space and the Space of Sight: The Relevance of Wittgenstein's Arguments to Recent Issues in the Philosophy of Mind.Ludovic Soutif - 2008 - Dialogue 47 (3-4):501-536.
    ABSTRACTIn this article, I show and discuss the relevance of Wittgenstein's arguments as to the spatial structure of sight to recent issues in the philosophy of mind. The first, bearing upon the dimensionality of the manifolds at play in depiction, plays a critical role in Clark's attempt to provide an independent account ofqualiaand of their differentiative properties. The second, pertaining to the properly spatial structure formed by the data of sight, is explicitly appealed to in the debate on the realistic (...)
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  • Perceiving Events.Matthew Soteriou - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (3):223-241.
    The aim in this paper is to focus on one of the proposals about successful perception that has led its adherents to advance some kind of disjunctive account of experience. The proposal is that we should understand the conscious sensory experience involved in successful perception in relational terms. I first try to clarify what the commitments of the view are, and where disagreements with competing views may lie. I then suggest that there are considerations relating to the conscious character of (...)
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  • Naïve Realism and the Problem of Causation.Michael Sollberger - 2008 - Disputatio 3 (25):1-19.
    In the present paper, I shall argue that disjunctively construed naïve realism about the nature of perceptual experiences succumbs to the empirically inspired causal argument. The causal argument highlights as a first step that local action necessitates the presence of a type-identical common kind of mental state shared by all perceptual experiences. In a second step, it sets out that the property of being a veridical perception cannot be a mental property. It results that the mental nature of perceptions must (...)
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  • Causation in Perception: A Challenge to Naïve Realism.Michael Sollberger - 2012 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 3 (4):581-595.
    Defending a form of naïve realism about visual experiences is quite popular these days. Those naïve realists who I will be concerned with in this paper make a central claim about the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences. They argue that how it is with the perceiver subjectively when she sees worldly objects is literally determined by those objects. This way of thinking leads them to endorse a form of disjunctivism, according to which the fundamental psychological nature of seeings and hallucinations (...)
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  • Which Immunity to Error?Joel Smith - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (2):273-83.
    A self-ascription is a thought or sentence in which a predicate is self-consciously ascribed to oneself. Self-ascriptions are best expressed using the first-person pronoun. Mental self-ascriptions are ascriptions to oneself of mental predicates (predicates that designate mental properties), non-mental self-ascriptions are ascriptions to oneself of non-mental predicates (predicates that designate non-mental properties). It is often claimed that there is a range of self-ascriptions that are immune to error through misidentification relative to the first-person pronoun (IEM for short). What this means, (...)
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  • The Mental Lives of Zombies.Declan Smithies - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):343-372.
    Could there be a cognitive zombie – that is, a creature with the capacity for cognition, but no capacity for consciousness? Searle argues that there cannot be a cognitive zombie because there cannot be an intentional zombie: on this view, there is a connection between consciousness and cognition that is derived from a more fundamental connection between consciousness and intentionality. However, I argue that there are good empirical reasons for rejecting the proposed connection between consciousness and intentionality. Instead, I argue (...)
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  • The First-Person Plural and Immunity to Error.Joel Smith - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):141-167.
    I argue for the view that some we-thoughts are immune to error through misidentification (IEM) relative to the first-person plural pronoun. To prepare the ground for this argument I defend an account of the semantics of ‘we’ and note the variety of different uses of that term. I go on to defend the IEM of a certain range of we-thoughts against a number of objections.
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  • Perception and the External World.Declan Smithies - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1119-1145.
    In this paper, I argue that perception justifies belief about the external world in virtue of its phenomenal character together with its relations to the external world. But I argue that perceptual relations to the external world impact on the justifying role of perception only by virtue of their impact on its representational content. Epistemic level-bridging principles provide a principled rationale for avoiding more radically externalist theories of perceptual justification.
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  • Egocentric Space.Joel Smith - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (3):409-433.
    I discuss the relation between egocentric spatial representation and the capacity for bodily activity, with specific reference to Merleau-Ponty.
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  • Visual Endurance and Auditory Perdurance.Błażej Skrzypulec - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):467-488.
    Philosophers often state that the persistence of objects in vision is experienced differently than the persistence of sounds in audition. This difference is expressed by using metaphors from the metaphysical endurantism/perdurantism debate. For instance, it is claimed that only sounds are perceived as “temporally extended”. The paper investigates whether it is justified to characterize visually experienced objects and auditorily experienced sounds as different types of entities: endurants and perdurants respectively. This issue is analyzed from the perspective of major specifications of (...)
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  • The Uneasy Heirs of Acquaintance.Susanna Siegel - 2019 - Philosophical Issues 29 (1):348-365.
    My contribution to the first round of a tetralog with Bill Brewer, Anil Gupta, and John McDowell. Each of us has written a response to the writings of the other three philosophers on the topic "Empirical Reason". My initial contribution focuses on what we know a priori about perception. In the second round, we will each respond to the each writer's first-round contributions.
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  • Precise of The Contents of Visual Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):813-816.
  • Precise of The Contents of Visual Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (3):813-816.
  • Content, Character, and Color.Sydney Shoemaker - 2003 - Philosophical Issues 13 (1):253-78.
  • Unconscious perception and central coordinating agency.Joshua Shepherd & Myrto Mylopoulos - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3869-3893.
    One necessary condition on any adequate account of perception is clarity regarding whether unconscious perception exists. The issue is complicated, and the debate is growing in both philosophy and science. In this paper we consider the case for unconscious perception, offering three primary achievements. First, we offer a discussion of the underspecified notion of central coordinating agency, a notion that is critical for arguments that purportedly perceptual states are not attributable to the individual, and thus not genuinely perceptual. We develop (...)
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