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Reference and Consciousness

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Two Versions of the Conceptual Content of Experience.Daniel E. Kalpokas - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (1):36-55.
    In ‘Avoiding the Myth of the Given’, McDowell revisits the main themes of Mind and World in order to make two important corrections: first, he does not longer believe that the content of perceptual...
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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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  • Perceptual Existentialism Sustained.Christopher S. Hill - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1391-1410.
    There are two main accounts of what it is for external objects to be presented in visual experience. According to particularism, particular objects are built into the representational contents of experiences. Existentialism is a quite different view. According to existentialism, the representational contents of perceptual experiences are general rather than particular, in the sense that the contents can be fully captured by existentially quantified statements. The present paper is a defense of existentialism. It argues that existentialism is much better equipped (...)
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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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  • Attention as Selection for Action.Wayne Wu - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 97--116.
  • 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 Agential Profile of Perceptual Experience.Thomas Crowther - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):219-242.
    Reflection on cases involving the occurrence of various types of perceptual activity suggests that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience can be partly determined by agential factors. I discuss the significance of these kinds of case for the dispute about phenomenal character that is at the core of recent philosophy of perception. I then go on to sketch an account of how active and passive elements of phenomenal character are related to one another in activities like watching and looking at (...)
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  • Seeing What I Am Doing.Thor Grünbaum - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2):295-318.
    I argue against the view that an agent’s knowledge of her own current action cannot in any way rely on perception for its justification. Instead, I argue that when it comes to an agent’s knowledge of her own object-oriented intentional action, the agent’s belief about what she is doing is partly justified by her perception of the object of action. I proceed by first proposing an account of such actions according to which the agent’s knowledge is partly justified by her (...)
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  • Losing Oneself : On the Value of Full Attention.Dorothea Debus - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):1174-1191.
    The present paper considers the question whether, and if so how, a subject's full attention to an object which she interacts with might have value. More specifically, I defend the claim that in order for a subject's activity to have value, it is sufficient that the subject give her full attention to the object towards which the activity is directed.
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  • The Conceptual Nature of Imaginative Content.Margherita Arcangeli - 2020 - Synthese (1-2).
    Imagination is widely thought to come in two varieties: perception-like and belief-like imagination. What precisely sets them apart, however, is not settled. More needs to be said about the features that make one variety perception-like and the other belief-like. One common, although typically implicit, view is that they mimic their counterparts along the conceptuality dimension: while the content of belief-like imagination is fully conceptual, the content of perception-like imagination is fully non-conceptual. Such a view, however, is not sufficiently motivated in (...)
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  • Thinking About Many.James Openshaw - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2863-2882.
    The notorious problem of the many makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that almost coincident with any ordinary object are a vast number of near-indiscernible objects. As Unger was aware in his presentation of the problem, this abundance raises a concern as to how—and even whether—we achieve singular thought about ordinary objects. This paper presents, clarifies, and defends a view which reconciles a plenitudinous conception of ordinary objects with our having singular thoughts about those objects. Indeed, this strategy has (...)
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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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  • The Erotetic Theory of Attention: Questions, Focus and Distraction.Philipp Koralus - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (1):26-50.
    Attention has a role in much of perception, thought, and action. On the erotetic theory, the functional role of attention is a matter of the relationship between questions and what counts as answers to those questions. Questions encode the completion conditions of tasks for cognitive control purposes, and degrees of attention are degrees of sensitivity to the occurrence of answers. Questions and answers are representational contents given precise characterizations using tools from formal semantics, though attention does not depend on language. (...)
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  • Type 2 Blindsight and the Nature of Visual Experience.Berit Brogaard - 2015 - Consciousness and Cognition 32:92-103.
    Blindsight is a kind of residual vision found in people with lesions to V1. Subjects with blindsight typically report no visual awareness, but they are nonetheless able to make above-chance guesses about the shape, location, color and movement of visual stimuli presented to them in their blind field. A different kind of blindsight, sometimes called type 2 blindsight, is a kind of residual vision found in patients with V1 lesions in the presence of some residual awareness. Type 2 blindsight differs (...)
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  • Too Much Attention, Too Little Self. [REVIEW]Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):475-480.
    This is a good time for such a substantial book on Buddhaghosa. His ideas may be more difficult to digest than those of contemporary authors, but Ganeri convincingly argues for their relevance. Together with Ganeri’s considerable interpretive and philosophical work, Buddhaghosa’s view helps to fill out a perspective that is popular in cognitive science, in which the self is replaced by systems. In this case, the self is replaced by systems of attention, a view that Ganeri calls ‘Attentionalism.’ In this (...)
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  • Evans on Intellectual Attention and Memory Demonstratives.Mark Fortney - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Intellectual attention, like perceptual attention, is a special mode of mental engagement with the world. When we attend intellectually, rather than making use of sensory information we make use of the kind of information that shows up in occurent thought, memory, and the imagination (Chun, Golomb, & Turk-Browne, 2011). In this paper, I argue that reflecting on what it is like to comprehend memory demonstratives speaks in favour of the view that intellectual attention is required to understand memory demonstratives. Moreover, (...)
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  • Attention and Synthesis in Kant's Conception of Experience.Merritt Melissa & Markos Valaris - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):571-592.
    In an intriguing but neglected passage in the Transcendental Deduction, Kant appears to link the synthetic activity of the understanding in experience with the phenomenon of attention (B156-7n). In this paper, we take up this hint, and draw upon Kant's remarks about attention in the Anthropology to shed light on the vexed question of what, exactly, the understanding's role in experience is for Kant. We argue that reading Kant's claims about synthesis in this light allows us to combine two aspects (...)
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  • Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.
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  • Perceptual Attribution and Perceptual Reference.Jake Quilty-Dunn & E. J. Green - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Perceptual representations pick out individuals and attribute properties to them. This paper considers the role of perceptual attribution in determining or guiding perceptual reference to objects. We consider three extant models of the relation between perceptual attribution and perceptual reference–all attribution guides reference, no attribution guides reference, or a privileged subset of attributions guides reference–and argue that empirical evidence undermines all three. We then defend a flexible-attributives model, on which the range of perceptual attributives used to guide reference shifts adaptively (...)
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  • Predication and the Frege–Geach Problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
    Several philosophers have recently appealed to predication in developing their theories of cognitive representation and propositions. One central point of difference between them is whether they take predication to be forceful or neutral and whether they take the most basic cognitive representational act to be judging or entertaining. Both views are supported by powerful reasons and both face problems. Many think that predication must be forceful if it is to explain representation. However, the standard ways of implementing the idea give (...)
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  • Husserl’s philosophical estrangement from the conjunctivism-disjunctivism debate.Andrea Cimino - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 20 (4):743-779.
    Various attempts have been made recently to bring Husserl into the contemporary analytic discussion on sensory illusion and hallucination. On the one hand, this has resulted in a renewed interest in what one might call a ‘phenomenology of sense-deception.’ On the other hand, it has generated contrasting—if not utterly incompatible—readings of Husserl’s own account of sense perception. The present study critically evaluates the contemporary discourse on illusion and hallucination, reassesses its proximity to Husserl’s reflection on sensory perception, and highlights the (...)
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  • Joint Attention and Perceptual Experience.Lucas Battich & Bart Geurts - 2020 - Synthese (9): doi: 10.1007/s11229-020-02602-6.
    Joint attention customarily refers to the coordinated focus of attention between two or more individuals on a common object or event, where it is mutually “open” to all attenders that they are so engaged. We identify two broad approaches to analyse joint attention, one in terms of cognitive notions like common knowledge and common awareness, and one according to which joint attention is fundamentally a primitive phenomenon of sensory experience. John Campbell’s relational theory is a prominent representative of the latter (...)
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  • The Demonstrative Model of First-Person Thought.Daniel Morgan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1795-1811.
    What determines the reference of first-person thoughts—thoughts that one would express using the first-person pronoun? I defend a model on which our ways of gaining knowledge of ourselves do, in much the way that our ways of gaining knowledge of objects in the world determine the reference of perceptual demonstrative thoughts. This model—the Demonstrative Model of First-Person Thought—can be motivated by reference to independently plausible general principles about how reference is determined. But it faces a serious objection. There seems to (...)
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  • On the Possibility of Hallucinations.Farid Masrour - 2020 - Mind 129 (515):737-768.
    Many take the possibility of hallucinations to imply that a relationalist account, according to which perceptual experiences are constituted by direct relations to ordinary mind-independent objects, is false. The common reaction among relationalists is to adopt a disjunctivist view that denies that hallucinations have the same nature as perceptual experiences. This paper proposes a non-disjunctivist response to the argument from hallucination by arguing that the alleged empirical and a priori evidence in support of the possibility of hallucinations is inconclusive. A (...)
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  • Structural Disjunctivism, Indistinguishability and Introspection.Dirk Franken - 2020 - Acta Analytica 36 (1):63-85.
    1Perceptual disjunctivism, as I regard it in this paper, is the view that veridical perceptions and hallucinations, while indistinguishable via introspection, are states of fundamentally different kinds. This fundamental difference can be spelled out in various ways. According to the view I will be concerned with, it is a fundamental difference in the personal-level structure of both states. Against this version of disjunctivism, I will raise a new challenge. It is a variant of what can be seen as the standard (...)
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  • SINGULARISM about Episodic Memory.Nikola Andonovski - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):335-365.
    In the philosophy of memory, singularism is the view that episodic memories are singular mental states about unique personally experienced past events. In this paper, I present an empirical challenge to singularism. I examine three distinct lines of evidence from the psychology of memory, concerning general event memories, the transformation of memory traces and the minimized role temporal information plays in major psychological theories of episodic memory. I argue that singularist views will have a hard time accommodating this evidence, facing (...)
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  • Can Disjunctivists Explain Our Access to the Sensible World?Adam Pautz - 2011 - Philosophical Issues 21 (1):384-433.
    Develops an empirical argument against naive realism-disjunctivism: if naive realists accept "internal dependence", then they cannot explain the evolution of perceptual success. Also presents a puzzle about our knowledge of universals.
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  • Naive Realism for Unconscious Perceptions.Ori Beck - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    Unconscious perceptions (i.e., person-level perceptions that lack phenomenal character) have recently become a focal point in the debate for and against naive realism. In this paper I defend the naive realist side. More specifically, I use an idea of Martin’s to develop a new version of naive realism - neuro-computational naive realism. I argue that neuro-computational naive realism offers a uniform treatment of both conscious and unconscious perceptions. I also argue that it accommodates the possibility of phenomenally different conscious perceptions (...)
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  • Mental Time Travel and Disjunctivism.István Aranyosi - 2020 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 11 (2):367-384.
    The paper discusses radical constructivism about episodic memory as developed by Kourken Michaelian under the name of “simulationism”, a view that equates episodic memory with mental time travel. An alternative, direct realist view is defended, which implies disjunctivism about the appearance of remembering. While admitting the importance of mental time travel as an underlying cognitive mechanism in episodic memory, as well as the prima facie reasonableness of the simulationist’s critique of disjunctivism, I formulate three arguments in defense of disjunctivism, which (...)
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  • Properties in sight and in thought.Ivan V. Ivanov - 2019 - Synthese 198 (8):7049-7071.
    The main focus of acquaintance theorists has been the nature and mechanism of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. Generally, one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with general features has taken its bearings from one’s view of perceptual acquaintance with particulars. This has led to the glossing over of significant differences in the mechanisms of perceptual acquaintance with particulars and with general features. The difference in mechanisms suggests a difference in the sort of epistemic state at play in the two kinds of cases. (...)
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  • Are there epistemic conditions necessary for demonstrative thought?Michael Barkasi - 2019 - Synthese 198 (7):6111-6138.
    Starting with Gareth Evans, there’s an important tradition of theorizing about perception-based demonstrative thought which assigns necessary epistemic conditions to it. Its core idea is that demonstrative reference in thought is grounded in information links, understood as links which carry reliable information about their targets and which a subject exploits for demonstrative reference by tokening the mental files fed by these links. Perception, on these views, is not fundamental to perception-based demonstrative thought but is only the information link exploited in (...)
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  • Sentimental Perceptualism and the Challenge From Cognitive Bases.Michael Milona & Hichem Naar - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):3071-3096.
    According to a historically popular view, emotions are normative experiences that ground moral knowledge much as perceptual experiences ground empirical knowledge. Given the analogy it draws between emotion and perception, sentimental perceptualism constitutes a promising, naturalist-friendly alternative to classical rationalist accounts of moral knowledge. In this paper, we consider an important but underappreciated objection to the view, namely that in contrast with perception, emotions depend for their occurrence on prior representational states, with the result that emotions cannot give perceptual-like access (...)
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  • Norwood Russell Hanson’s Account of Experience: An Untimely Defense.Raja Rosenhagen - 2019 - Synthese (6):1-26.
    Experience, it is widely agreed, constrains our thinking and is also thoroughly theory-laden. But how can it constrain our thinking while depending on what it purports to constrain? To address this issue, I revisit and carefully analyze the account of observation provided by Norwood Russell Hanson, who introduced the term ‘theory-ladenness of observation’ in the first place. I show that Hanson’s account provides an original and coherent response to the initial question and argue that, if suitably developed, his account provides (...)
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  • Affective Representation and Affective Attitudes.Jonathan Mitchell - 2019 - Synthese (4):1-28.
    Many philosophers have understood the representational dimension of affective states along the model of sense-perceptual experiences, even claiming the relevant affective experiences are perceptual experiences. This paper argues affective experiences involve a kind of personal level affective representation disanalogous from the representational character of perceptual experiences. The positive thesis is that affective representation is a non-transparent, non-sensory form of evaluative representation, whereby a felt valenced attitude represents the object of the experience as minimally good or bad, and one experiences that (...)
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  • What is It Like to Think About Oneself? De Se Thought and Phenomenal Intentionality.Kyle Banick - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (5):919-932.
    The topic of the paper is at the intersection of recent debates on de se thought and phenomenal intentionality. An interesting problem for phenomenal intentionality is the question of how to account for the intentional properties of de se thought-contents---i.e., thoughts about oneself as oneself. Here, I aim to describe and consider the significance of a phenomenological perspective on self-consciousness in its application to de se thought. I argue that having de se thoughts can be explained in terms of the (...)
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  • A Kantian Virtue Epistemology: Rational Capacities and Transcendental Arguments.Karl Schafer - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 13):3113-3136.
    In this paper, I’ll sketch an approach to epistemology that draws its inspiration from two aspects of Kant’s philosophical project. In particular, I want to explore how we might develop a Kantian conception of rationality that combines a virtue-theoretical perspective on the nature of rationality with a role for transcendental arguments in defining the demands this conception of rationality places upon us as thinkers. In discussing these connections, I’ll proceed as follows. First, I’ll describe the sorts of epistemological questions I’ll (...)
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  • Visual Acquaintance, Action & The Explanatory Gap.Thomas Raleigh - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    Much attention has recently been paid to the idea, which I label ‘External World Acquaintance’ (EWA), that the phenomenal character of perceptual experience is partially constituted by external features. One motivation for EWA which has received relatively little discussion is its alleged ability to help deal with the ‘Explanatory Gap’ (e.g. Fish 2008, 2009, Langsam 2011, Allen 2016). I provide a reformulation of this general line of thought, which makes clearer how and when EWA could help to explain the specific (...)
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  • Epistemological Disjunctivism and Introspective Indiscriminability.Chris Ranalli - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (1):183-205.
    According to Duncan Pritchard’s version of epistemological disjunctivism, in paradigm cases of perceptual knowledge, one’s knowledge that p is grounded in one’s seeing that p, and one can, by reflection alone, come to know that they see that p. In this paper, I argue that the epistemic conception of introspective indiscriminability is incompatible with epistemological disjunctivism, so understood. This has the consequence that theories of the nature of sensory experience which accept the epistemic conception of introspective indiscriminability—such as phenomenal character (...)
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  • A New Defense of Trope Content View of Experience.Roberto Horácio de Sá Pereira - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (7):1757-1768.
    The idea that what we perceive are tropes is anything but new. In fact, it was one of the reasons why the ontology of tropes was postulated in the first place. Still, the claim that we perceive tropes is invariably and purely based on pre-philosophical intuitions or, indirectly, either as a supporting argument for the advantages of content view when compared to the relational view of experience, or as a supporting argument in favor of the irreducible subjective character of experience. (...)
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  • The Way Things Look: A Defence of Content.Andrea Giananti - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (3):541-562.
    How does perceptual experience disclose the world to our view? In the first introductory section, I set up a contrast between the representational and the purely relational conception of perceptual experience. In the second section, I discuss an argument given by Charles Travis against perceptual content. The third section is devoted to the phenomenon of perceptual constancy: in 3.1 I describe the phenomenon. In 3.2 I argue that the description given suggests a phenomenological distinction that can be deployed for a (...)
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  • How to Know One’s Experiences Transparently.Frank Hofmann - 2018 - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    I would like to propose a demonstrative transparency model of our immediate, introspective self-knowledge of experiences. It is a model entirely in line with transparency. It rests on three elements: mental demonstration, the capacity to apply concepts to what is given in experience, and ordinary inference. The model avoids inner sense, acquaintance, and any special kind of normativity or rationality. The crucial and new ingredient is mental demonstration. By mental demonstration we can refer indexically to the contents of our own (...)
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  • Rethinking Naive Realism.Ori Beck - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):607-633.
    Perceptions are externally-directed—they present us with a mind-independent reality, and thus contribute to our abilities to think about this reality, and to know what is objectively the case. But perceptions are also internally-dependent—their phenomenologies depend on the neuro-computational properties of the subject. A good theory of perception must account for both these facts. But naive realism has been criticized for failing to accommodate internal-dependence. This paper evaluates and responds to this criticism. It first argues that a certain version of naive (...)
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  • Please Mind the Gappy Content.Johan Gersel - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):219-239.
    Representationalist theories of experience face the problem that two sets of compelling intuitions seem to support the contrary conclusions that we should ascribe, respectively, singular contents and general contents to experience. Susanna Schellenberg has, in a series of articles, argued that we can conserve both sets of intuitions if we award a central explanatory role to the notions of gappy-contents and content-schemas in our theory of experience. I argue that there is difficulty in seeing how gappy-contents and content-schemas can fulfil (...)
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  • Either / Or.Alex Byrne & Heather Logue - 2008 - In Adrian Haddock & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 314-19.
    This essay surveys the varieties of disjunctivism about perceptual experience. Disjunctivism comes in two main flavours, metaphysical and epistemological.
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  • Recollection, Perception, Imagination.Alex Byrne - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148:15 - 26.
    Remembering a cat sleeping (specifically, recollecting the way the cat looked), perceiving (specifically, seeing) a cat sleeping, and imagining (specifically, visualizing) a cat sleeping are of course importantly different. Nonetheless, from the first-person perspective they are palpably alike. The paper addresses two questions: Q1. What are these similarities (and differences)? Q2. How does one tell that one is recalling (and so not perceiving or imagining)?
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  • Perception and Evidence.Alex Byrne - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170:101-113.
    Critical discussion of Susanna Schellenberg's account of hallucination and perceptual evidence.
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  • Epistemology Personalized.Matthew A. Benton - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269):813-834.
    Recent epistemology has focused almost exclusively on propositional knowledge. This paper considers an underexplored area of epistemology, namely knowledge of persons: if propositional knowledge is a state of mind, consisting in a subject's attitude to a (true) proposition, the account developed here thinks of interpersonal knowledge as a state of minds, involving a subject's attitude to another (existing) subject. This kind of knowledge is distinct from propositional knowledge, but it exhibits a gradability characteristic of context-sensitivity, and admits of shifty thresholds. (...)
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  • It's All in the Brain : A Theory of the Qualities of Perception.Jesper Östman - 2013 - Umeå Studies in Philosophy 11:168.
    This dissertation concerns the location and nature of phenomenal qualities. Arguably, these qualities naively seem to belong to perceived external objects. However, we also seem to experience phenomenal qualities in hallucinations, and in hallucinations we do not perceive any external objects. I present and argue for a theory of the phenomenal qualities, "brain theory", which claims that all phenomenal qualities we experience are physical properties instantiated in the brain, regardless of whether they are experienced in veridical perceptions or in hallucinations. (...)
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