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 (...) realism, often called “selectionism”, does indeed struggle with internal-dependence. It then develops an alternate version of naive realism which does not. This alternate version, inspired by an idea of Martin’s, accommodates the internal-dependence of perceptions by recognizing the role that the subject’s neuro-computational properties play in shaping perceptual phenomenology. At the same time, it retains the distinctive naive realist account of the external-directedness of perceptions. (shrink)
The paper presents a new theory of perceptual demonstrative thought, the property-dependent theory. It argues that the theory is superior to both the object-dependent theory (Evans, McDowell) and the object-independent theory (Burge).
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 (...) the explanatory role envisioned for them by Schellenberg. The central problem is that both gappy-contents and contentschemas lack truth-conditions. Schellenberg attempts to support her view by suggesting an analogy between the role of content-schemas in our account of experience and the role of Kaplan’s notion of character in our account of demonstrative statements. However, I show that this analogy breaks down at crucial places when it is explored in detail. Hence, gappy-contents and content-schemas cannot fill the explanatory roles that the representationalist awards to fully truth-evaluable contents. Therefore, Schellenberg’s theory provides no way for the representationalist to conserve both sets of competing intuitions. (shrink)
I assume that there exists a general phenomenon, the phenomenon of the explanatory gap, surrounding consciousness, normativity, intentionality, and more. Explanatory gaps are often thought to foreclose reductive possibilities wherever they appear. In response, reductivists who grant the existence of these gaps have offered countless local solutions. But typically such reductivist responses have had a serious shortcoming: because they appeal to essentially domain-specific features, they cannot be fully generalized, and in this sense these responses have been not just local but (...) parochial. Here I do better. Taking for granted that the explanatory gap is a genuine phenomenon, I offer a fully general diagnosis that unifies these previously fragmented reductivist responses. (shrink)
The non-transitivity of the relation looks the same as has been used to argue that the relation has the same phenomenal character as is non-transitive—a result that jeopardizes certain theories of consciousness. In this paper, I argue against this conclusion while granting the premise by dissociating lookings and phenomenology; an idea that some might find counter-intuitive. However, such an intuition is left unsupported once phenomenology and cognitive access are distinguished from each other; a distinction that is conceptually and empirically grounded.
Recent philosophy of mind has seen an increase of interest in theories of intentionality in offering a functional account of mental states. The standard intentionalist view holds that mental states can be exhaustively accounted for in terms of their representational contents. An alternative view proposed by Tim Crane, called impure intentionalism, specifies mental states in terms of intentional content, mode, and object. This view is also suggested to hold for states of sensory awareness. This paper primarily develops an alternative to (...) the impure intentionalist account of states of sensory awareness. On the basis of Husserl’s phenomenological work, I argue that a focus on intentionality at the level of sensory awareness is phenomenologically implausible. The final part offers an alternative functional account of sensory awareness based on what Husserl called ‘immanent association’. (shrink)
A central debate in the current philosophical literature on temporal experience is over the following question: do temporal experiences themselves have a temporal structure that mirrors their temporal contents? Extensionalists argue that experiences do have a temporal structure that mirrors their temporal contents. Atomists insist that experiences don’t have a temporal structure that mirrors their contents. In this paper, I argue that this debate is misguided. Both atomism and extensionalism, considered as general theories of temporal experience, are false, since temporal (...) experience is not a single undifferentiated phenomena as both theories require. I argue for this conclusion in two steps. First, I show that introspection cannot settle the debate. Second, I argue that the neuroscientific evidence is best read as revealing a host of mechanisms involved in temporal perception - some admitting of an extensionalist interpretation while others admitting only of an atomistic interpretation. As a result, neither side of the debate wins. (shrink)
Recently, various people have maintained that one must revise either the externalistically-based notion of singular thought or the naïve realism-inspired notion of relational particularity, as respectively applied to some thoughts and to some perceptual experiences. In order to do so, one must either provide a broader notion of singular thought or flank the notion of relational particularity with a broader notion of phenomenal particularity. I want to hold that there is no need of that revision. For the original notions can (...) still play the role for which they were invoked. This requires that both the first and the second notion respectively involve a dependence on and a metaphysical relation to the intentional objects of certain mental states once we are ontologically committed to such objects; both that object-dependence and that metaphysical relation are interpreted in terms of a substantive individuation of the relevant mental state via the object it is about: that object constitutes the state. (shrink)
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 (...) is possible that what is currently advocated as unconscious perception of the stimulus is in fact momentaneous perceptual awareness (or residual perceptual awareness) of the stimulus making the subject prone to judge in some way rather than another, or to act in some way rather than another. As to the apodosis, I show that neither the core of naïve realism nor any of its main motivations is undermined if SFK is assumed. On the contrary, certain incentives for endorsing naïve realism become more tempting on this assumption. Since the main motivations for naïve realism retain force under SFK, intentionalism is neither compulsory nor the best available explanation of unconscious perception. (shrink)
Externalist representationalism is touted as a superior rival to naïve realism, and yet a careful analysis of the externalist representationalist's analysis of our ordinary perceptual experiences shows the view to be far closer to naïve realism than we might have expected. One of the central advertised benefits of representationalist views in general is that they are compatible with the idea that ordinary, illusory and hallucinatory perceptual experiences are of the same fundamental kind. Naïve realists are forced to deny the ‘common (...) fundamental kind claim’ and adopt disjunctivism. However, I argue that externalist representationalism is also a version of disjunctivism. Consequently, one of the main rivals to naïve realism turns out not to be a rival at all. (shrink)
When we perceive an object, we perceive the object from a perspective. As a consequence of the perspectival nature of perception, when we perceive, say, a circular coin from different angles, there is a respect in which the coin looks circular throughout, but also a respect in which the coin's appearance changes. More generally, perception of shape and size properties has both a constant aspect—an aspect that remains stable across changes in perspective—and a perspectival aspect—an aspect that changes depending on (...) one's perspective on the object. How should we account for the perspectival aspect of spatial perception? We present a framework within which to discuss the perspectival aspect of perception and put forward three desiderata that any account of the perspectival aspect of perception should satisfy. We discuss views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of constitutively mind-dependent appearance properties as well as views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of representations of mind-independent perspectival properties. (shrink)
Claude Romano and Andrea Staiti have recently discussed Husserl’s account of perception in relation to debates in current analytic philosophy between so-called “conjunctivists” and “disjunctivists”. Romano and Staiti offer strikingly different accounts of the nature of illusion and hallucination, and opposing readings of Husserl. Romano thinks hallucinations and illusions are fleeting, fragile phenomena, while Staiti claims they are inherently retrospective phenomena. Romano reads Husserl as being committed to a form of conjunctivism that Romano rejects in favour of a version of (...) disjunctivism. Staiti, by contrast, claims that, from a Husserlian viewpoint, conjunctivism and disjunctivism are equally untenable. I suggest that both Romano and Staiti offer implausible accounts of illusions and hallucinations, and deliver premature verdicts on Husserl in relation to the analytic debates on perception. (shrink)
Pautz has argued that the most prominent naive realist account of hallucination—negative epistemic disjunctivism—cannot explain how hallucinations enable us to form beliefs about perceptually presented properties. He takes this as grounds to reject both negative epistemic disjunctivism and naive realism. Our aims are two: First, to show that this objection is dialectically ineffective against naive realism, and second, to draw morals from the failure of this objection for the dispute over the nature of perceptual experience at large.
A widespread claim, which I call ‘the Emotionality Claim’, is that imagination but not supposition is intimately linked to emotion. In more cognitive jargon, imagination is connected to the affect system, whereas supposition is not. EC is open to several interpretations which yield very different views about the nature of supposition. The literature lacks an in-depth analysis of EC which sorts out these different readings and ways to carve supposition and imagination at their joints. The aim of this paper is (...) to fill this gap. I shall argue that existing readings of EC fail to properly account for the emotional asymmetry between imagination and supposition. The tendency is to start from narrow conceptions of both imagination and supposition. I shall argue for a novel interpretation of EC pivoting on different ways a mental state can connect to the affect system. (shrink)
In this paper I address the question of whether bodily awareness is a form of perceptual awareness or not. I discuss José Luis Bermúdez’s and Shaun Gallagher’s proposals about this issue and find them unsatisfactory. Then I suggest an alternative view and offer some reasons for it.
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. (...) It is supported by a wide range of unexplored linguistic data and intuitive cases; and it promises to illuminate debates within epistemology, philosophy of religion, and ethics. (shrink)
Levinas is usually discussed as a philosopher wrestling with the nature of our experience of others, ethical obligation, and the divine. Unlike other phenomenologists, such as Husserl and Heidegger, he is not often mentioned in discussions about issues in philosophy of mind. His work in that area, especially on perception, is underappreciated. He gives an account of the nature of perceptual experience that is remarkable both in how it departs from that of others in the phenomenological tradition and for how (...) it fits in among presently available views about the nature of perceptual experience, namely, as a form of naïve realism. (shrink)
We investigate the nature of the sense of presence that usually accompanies perceptual experience. We show that the notion of a sense of presence can be interpreted in two ways, corresponding to the sense that we are acquainted with an object, and the sense that the object is real. In this essay, we focus on the sense of reality. Drawing on several case studies such as derealization disorder, Parkinson’s disease and virtual reality, we argue that the sense of reality is (...) two-way independent from the spatial and sensory contents of experience. We suggest that the sense of reality is an affective experience akin to a metacognitive feeling. Finally, we present a potentially important implication of our account for the current debate between Intentionalism and Naïve Realism. Since perception is “opaque” with respect to the reality of what is perceived, Intentionalism cannot refer to the sense of reality as what differentiates perception from sensory-like experiences such as imaginings. In contrast, Naïve Realism has an independent explanation of the specificity of perception. (shrink)
When we perceive an object, we perceive the object from a per- spective. As a consequence of the perspectival nature of perception, when we perceive, say, a circular coin from different angles, there is a respect in which the coin looks circular throughout, but also a respect in which the coin's appearance changes. More generally, perception of shape and size properties has both a constant aspect—an aspect that remains stable across changes in perspective—and a perspectival aspect—an aspect that changes depending (...) on one's perspective on the object. How should we account for the perspectival aspect of spatial perception? We present a framework within which to discuss the perspectival aspect of perception and put forward three desiderata that any account of the perspec- tival aspect of perception should satisfy. We discuss views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of consti- tutively mind‐dependent appearance properties as well as views on which the perspectival aspect of perception is analyzed in terms of representations of mind‐independent perspectival properties. (shrink)
Is property-awareness constituted by representation or not? If it were, merely being aware of the qualities of physical objects would involve being in a representational state. This would have considerable implications for a prominent view of the nature of successful perceptual experiences. According to naïve realism, any such experience—or more specifically its character—is fundamentally a relation of awareness to concrete items in the environment. Naïve realists take their view to be a genuine alternative to representationalism, the view on which the (...) character of such experiences is constituted by representation. But naïve realists must admit qualities or property instances as items of awareness if they are to remain wedded to common sense, and the nature of property-awareness may smuggle constitutive representation into the naïve realist account of character. I argue that whether property-awareness involves representation, and consequently whether naïve realism is distinct from representationalism or not, depends on what qualities are fundamentally. On universalist and nominalist accounts, property-awareness turns out to involve representation. Not so under tropism. (shrink)
Naïve realism, the view that perceptual experiences are irreducible relations between subjects and external objects, has intuitive appeal, but this intuitive appeal is sometimes thought to be undermined by the possibility of certain kinds of hallucinations. In this paper, I present the intuitive case for naïve realism, and explain why this intuitive case is not undermined by the possibility of such hallucinations. Specifically, I present the intuitive case for naïve realism as arguing that the only way to make sense of (...) the phenomenal character associated with perceptual experiences is by means of a naïve realist ontology. I then explain why this intuitive argument is not undermined by the possibility of hallucinatory experiences that possess the phenomenal character associated with perceptual experiences but, being hallucinations, do not have the ontological nature specified by naïve realism. (shrink)
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 (...) of Kant's views that many commentators have thought are in tension with one another: on the one hand, Kant's apparent commitment to naïve realism about perception and, on the other, his apparent commitment to the necessity of synthetic activity by the understanding for any kind of cognitive contact with external objects. (shrink)
Seeing total darkness is a peculiar perceptual state: in it, the subject is visually aware of something while seeming to fail to be aware of anything. Recent treatments of the topic leave this particular puzzle unsolved. Here, I attempt a solution. Following Dretske, I begin by suggesting that the perceptual report ‘S sees darkness’ is ambiguous between two distinct kinds of perceptual states: epistemic and non-epistemic. This will lead to an examination of the metaphysics of what is supposed to be (...) seen. I show, on the one hand, the difficulty of reducing the perception of total darkness to the perception of a particular instantiation of a property, and on the other, that it has important similarities with the perception of ‘stuff’. I propose, finally, that the solution to the puzzle might involve postulating a novel ontological status for total darkness: that of a ‘concrete universal’. Potential implications of interest for particularism and for naïve realism are suggested. (shrink)
The recent debate on cognitive phenomenology has largely focused on phenomenal aspects connected to the content of thoughts. By contrasts, aspects pertaining to their attitude have often been neglected, despite the fact that they are distinctive of the mental kind of thought concerned and, moreover, also present in experiences and thus less contentious than purely cognitive aspects. My main goal is to identify two central and closely related aspects of attitude that are phenomenologically salient and shared by thoughts with experiences, (...) namely the rational role that they play in our mental lives and their determination by factors external to them, such as external objects or reasons. In particular, I aim to defend Phenomenal Rationalism about judgemental thoughts and perceptual experiences: the view that their phenomenal character reflects their rational role, that is, their capacity to provide and/or respond to reasons. I conclude with some remarks about how this view may be extended to other kinds of th... (shrink)
According to intentionalism, perceptual experience is a mental state with representational content. When it comes to the epistemology of perception, it is only natural for the intentionalist to hold that the justificatory role of experience is at least in part a function of its content. In this paper, I argue that standard versions of intentionalism trying to hold on to this natural principle face what I call the “defeasibility problem”. This problem arises from the combination of standard intentionalism with further (...) plausible principles governing the epistemology of perception: that experience provides defeasible justification for empirical belief, and that such justification is best construed as probabilification. After exploring some ways in which the standard intentionalist could deal with the defeasibility problem, I argue that the best option is to replace standard intentionalism by what I call “phenomenal intentionalism”. Where standard intentionalism construes experiences as of p as having the content p, phenomenal intentionalism construes experiences as of p as having “phenomenal” or “looks contents”: contents of the form Lp. (shrink)
Phenomenal particularism is the view that particular external objects are sometimes part of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience. It is a central part of naïve realist or relational views of perception. We consider a series of recent objections to phenomenal particularism and argue that naïve realism has the resources to block them. In particular, we show that these objections rest on assumptions about the nature of phenomenal character that the naïve realist will reject, and that they ignore the full (...) resources that naïve realism has to offer in explaining phenomenal character. (shrink)
It is often held that in imagining experiences we exploit a special imagistic way of representing mentality—one that enables us to think about mental states in terms of what it is like to have them. According to some, when this way of thinking about the mind is paired with more objective means, an explanatory gap between the phenomenal and physical features of mental states arises. This paper advances a view along those lines, but with a twist. What many take for (...) a special imagistic way of thinking about experiences is instead a special way of misconstruing them. It is this tendency to misrepresent experiences through the use of imagery that gives rise to the appearance of an explanatory gap. The pervasiveness and tenacity of this misrepresentational reflex can be traced to its roots in a particular heuristic for monitoring and remembering the mental states of others. The arguments together amount to a new path for defending the transparency of perceptual experience. (shrink)
In the First Meditation, the Cartesian meditator temporarily concludes that he cannot know anything, because he cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while he is dreaming. To resist the meditator’s conclusion, one could deploy an asymmetry argument. Following Bernard Williams, one could argue that even if the meditator cannot discriminate dreaming from waking while dreaming, it does not follow that he cannot do it while awake. In general, asymmetry arguments seek to identify an asymmetry between a bad case that is entertained (...) as a ground for doubt and a good case in which one takes oneself to know something. My aim in this paper is to consider how effective asymmetry arguments are as an anti-skeptical strategy. I conclude that although asymmetry arguments provide an effective response to dreaming skepticism, they fail as a response to brains-in-a-vat skepticism. (shrink)
Disjunctivism has triggered an intense discussion about the nature of perceptual experience. A question in its own right concerns possible historical antecedents of the position. So far, Frege and Husserl are the most prominent names that have been mentioned in this regard. In my paper I shall argue that Max Scheler deserves a particularly relevant place in the genealogy of disjunctivism for three main reasons. First, Scheler’s view of perceptual experience is distinctively disjunctivist, as he explicitly argues that perceptions and (...) hallucinations differ in nature. Second, his version of the position is philosophically interesting in its own right. This is so primarily, though not exclusively, in virtue of the positive story he tells us about perceptual content. Third, Scheler’s case proves particularly instructive to the question of whether intentionalism and disjunctivism constitute a fundamental, unbridgeable divide. (shrink)
The transparency of perceptual experience has been invoked in support of many views about perception. I argue that it supports a form of enactivism—the view that capacities for perceptual experience and for intentional agency are essentially interdependent. I clarify the perceptual phenomenon at issue, and argue that enactivists should expect to find a parallel instance of transparency in our agentive experience, and that the two forms of transparency are constitutively interdependent. I then argue that i) we do indeed find such (...) parallels: the way in which an action is directed towards its goal through our bodily movements parallels the way in which an experience is directed towards its object through our perceptual sensation, and ii) reflecting on sensorimotor skills shows why the two instances of transparency are constitutively interdependent. Section 4 gives reasons for generalizing beyond the cases considered so far by applying the enactive view to Kohler's landmark studies of perceptual adaptation. The final section clarifies the form of enactivism to which the previous sections point. The view that emerges is one whereby our perceptual and practical skills are interrelated aspects of a single capacity to have one's mind intentionally directed upon the world. The transparency of experience, on this view, is achieved in virtue of our capacities as agents as much as it is given in virtue of our capacities as perceivers. (shrink)
According to the additive view of sensory imagination, mental imagery often involves two elements. There is an image-like element, which gives the experiences qualitative phenomenal character akin to that of perception. There is also a non-image element, consisting of something like suppositions about the image's object. This accounts for extra- sensory features of imagined objects and situations: for example, it determines whether an image of a grey horse is an image of Desert Orchid, or of some other grey horse. The (...) view promises to give a simple and intuitive explanation of some puzzling features of imagination, and, further, to illuminate imagination 's relation to modal knowledge. I contend that the additive view does not fulfil these two promises. The explanation of how images come to be determinate is redundant: the content constituting the indeterminate mental images on which the view relies is sufficient to deliver determinate images too, so the extra resources offered by the view are not required.. (shrink)
What are hallucinations? A common view in the philosophical literature is that hallucinations are degenerate kinds of perceptual experience. I argue instead that hallucinations are degenerate kinds of sensory imagination. As well as providing a good account of many actual cases of hallucination, the view that hallucination is a kind of imagination represents a promising account of hallucination from the perspective of a disjunctivist theory of perception like naïve realism. This is because it provides a way of giving a positive (...) characterisation of hallucination—rather than characterising hallucinations in negative, relational, terms as mental events that are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perceptual experiences. (shrink)
Intuition is sometimes derided as an abstruse or esoteric phenomenon akin to crystal-ball gazing. Such derision appears to be fuelled primarily by the suggestion, evidently endorsed by traditional rationalists such as Plato and Descartes, that intuition is a kind of direct, immediate apprehension akin to perception. This paper suggests that although the perceptual analogy has often been dismissed as encouraging a theoretically useless metaphor, a quasi-perceptualist view of intuition may enable rationalists to begin to meet the challenge of supplying a (...) theoretically satisfying treatment of their favoured epistemic source. It is argued, first, that intuitions and perceptual experiences are at a certain level of abstraction the same type of mental state, presentations, which are distinct from beliefs, hunches, inclinations, attractions, and seemings. The notion of a presentation is given a positive explication, which identifies its characteristic features, accounts for several of its substantive psychological roles, and systematically locates it in a threefold division among types of contentful states. Subsequently, it is argued that presentations, intuitive no less than sensory, are by their nature poised to play a distinctive epistemic role. Specifically, in the case of intuition, we encounter an intellectual state that is so structured as to provide justification without requiring justification in turn—something which may, thus, be thought of as ‘given’. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop a fresh understanding of the sense in which emotions are evaluations. We argue that we should not follow mainstream accounts in locating the emotion–value connection at the level of content and that we should instead locate it at the level of attitudes or modes. We begin by explaining the contrast between content and attitude, a contrast in the light of which we review the leading contemporary accounts of the emotions. We next offer reasons to think (...) that these accounts face substantial problems since they locate the link emotions bear to values at the level of content. This provides the incentive to pursue an alternative approach according to which emotions qualify as evaluations because they are specific types of attitudes, an approach we substantiate by appealing to felt bodily stances. We conclude by considering two reasons why this approach may be resisted; they respectively pertain to the alleged impossibility of drawing the attitude–content contrast in the case of the emotions and to the suspicion that so doing raises qualia-related worries. (shrink)
I am aware of the rain outside, but only in virtue of looking at a weather report. I am aware of my friend, but only because I hear her voice through my phone. Thus, there are some things that I’m aware of, but only indirectly. Many philosophers believe that there are also some things of which I am directly aware. The most plausible candidates are experiences such as pains, tickles, visual sensations, etc. In fact, the philosophical consensus seems to be (...) that experiences are the only plausible candidates for acquaintance. But I will argue that we are also acquainted with ourselves. After outlining what it means to be acquainted with oneself, I will introduce, develop, and defend a commonly used test for acquaintance. Then I will apply this test to us and show that we pass. I will consider various objections to my argument. But ultimately I will conclude that we can be, and often are, acquainted with ourselves. (shrink)
My question is: does phenomenal consciousness have a critical role in explaining the way conscious perceptions achieve objective import? I approach it through developing a dilemma I label ‘Burge’s Challenge’, which is implicit in his approach to perceptual objectivity. It says, crudely: either endorse the general structure of his account of how objective perceptual import is achieved, and give up on a role for consciousness. Or, relinquish Caused Representation, and possibly defend a role for consciousness. Someone I call Burge* holds (...) we should embrace the first horn of the dilemma. A second response, roughly the relationalist approach, opts for the second horn. The third option, implicit in many current approaches to perceptual consciousness, is to reject the dilemma. The paper argues for a version of the second response. The key argument turns on the development of a sceptical challenge to justify the assumption that we perceive particular intrinsic property instantiations, rather than their structural equivalents. The suggestion will be that only the relationalist approach can meet it in the way we think it is met. If this is right, there is a prima facie case for taking relationalist responses to the dilemma seriously. I end with two objections to this response, which might be made by the real Burge in defence of opting for the first horn of the dilemma, and by phenomenal intentionalists in defence of rejecting the dilemma. I use discussion of these to highlight one of the main issues that should be pursued in order to make good the claim that we should embrace the horn of the dilemma that Burge* rejects. (shrink)
The point of this paper is to reveal a dogma in the ordinary conception of sensory imagination, and to suggest another way forward. The dogma springs from two main sources: a too close comparison of mental imagery to perceptual experience, and a too strong division between mental imagery and the traditional propositional attitudes (such as belief and desire). The result is an unworkable conception of the correctness conditions of sensory imaginings—one lacking any link between the conditions under which an imagining (...) aids human action and inference and the conditions under which it is veridical. The proposed solution is, first, to posit a variety of imaginative attitudes—akin to the traditional propositional attitudes—which have different associated correctness (or satisfaction) conditions. The second part of the solution is to allow for imaginings with “hybrid” contents, in the sense that both mental images and representations with language-like constituent structure contribute to the content of imaginings. (shrink)
Some recently popular accounts of perception account for the phenomenal character of perceptual experience in terms of the qualities of objects. My concern in this paper is with naturalistic versions of such a phenomenal externalist view. Focusing on visual spatial perception, I argue that naturalistic phenomenal externalism conflicts with a number of scientific facts about the geometrical characteristics of visual spatial experience.
The aim of this paper is to argue that the phenomenal similarity between perceiving and visualizing can be explained by the similarity between the structure of the content of these two different mental states. And this puts important constraints on how we should think about perceptual content and the content of mental imagery.
This paper articulates what it would take to defend representationalism in the case of emotions – i.e. the claim that emotions attribute evaluative properties to target objects or events. We argue that representationalism faces a significant explanatory challenge that has not yet been adequately recognized. Proponents must establish that a representation relation linking emotions and value is explanatorily necessary. We use the case of perception to bring out the difficulties in meeting this explanatory challenge.
Stewart Cohen argues that basic knowledge is problematic, as it implies that subjects can acquire knowledge or justified beliefs about certain matters in ways that are supposedly too easy. Cohen raises two versions of the problem of easy knowledge, one involving the principle of closure and the other track-record style bootstrapping reasoning. In this paper I confront the problem of easy knowledge from the perspective of epistemological disjunctivism about perception. I argue that disjunctivism can do a better job than dogmatism (...) at responding to the version of the problem involving closure. I also argue that while disjunctivism would permit subjects to bootstrap their way to justified beliefs about the reliability of their perceptual powers, the disjunctivist can distinguish in a principled manner between this sort of bootstrapping and instances of it that we should agree are objectionable. (shrink)
The present paper offers a philosophical discussion of phenomena which in the empirical literature have recently been subsumed under the concept of ‘mental time travel’. More precisely, the paper considers differences and similarities between two cases of ‘mental time travel’, recollective memories (‘R-memories’) of past events on the one hand, and sensory imaginations (‘S-imaginations’) of future events on the other. It develops and defends the claim that, because a subject who R-remembers a past event is experientially aware of a past (...) particular event, while a subject who S-imagines a future event could not possibly be experientially aware of a future particular event, R-memories of past events and S-imaginations of future events are ultimately mental occurrences of two different kinds. (shrink)
Crispin Wright argues that John McDowell’s use of disjunctivism to respond to the sceptic misses the point of the sceptic’s argument, for disjunctivism is a thesis about the differing metaphysical natures of veridical and nonveridical experiences, whereas the sceptic’s point is that our beliefs are unjustified because veridical and nonveridical experiences can be phenomenally indistinguishable. In this paper, I argue that McDowell is responsive to the sceptic’s focus on phenomenology, for the point of McDowell’s response is that it is the (...) phenomenal character of experience that makes the belief in disjunctivism rational, and thereby also makes rational the anti-sceptical belief that, other things being equal, the world is the way it appears. (shrink)
When you have a perceptual experience of a given physical object that object seems to be immediately present to you in a way it never does when you consciously think about or imagine it. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) can provide a satisfying account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience while the content view (the view that to perceive is to (...) represent the world to be a certain way) cannot. I argue that this claim is false. Specifically, I maintain that the only acceptable naïve realist account of the relevant phenomenology is circular and that the content view can provide a similar account. In addition, I maintain that a certain specific variety of the content view provides a non-circular and thus more satisfactory account of this phenomenology. If so, then contrary to what is commonly assumed there are powerful phenomenological grounds for preferring the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
In philosophical inquiry into the mind, the metaphor of ‘transparency’ has been attractive to many who are otherwise in deep disagreement. It has thereby come to have a variety of different and mutually incompatible connotations. The mind is said to be transparent to itself, our perceptual experiences are said to be transparent to the world, and our beliefs are said to be transparent to – a great many different things. The first goal of this essay is to sort out the (...) different uses of the notion of transparency in the context of the philosophy of mind. The remainder of the essay will then be devoted to examining so-called Transparency theories of self-knowledge, or how we know our own minds. This type of theory has attracted a great deal of interest in recent years, but its prospects hinge on answers to unresolved questions concerning the epistemological details of the account and the scope of its ambitions. (shrink)
Within the philosophy of mind, consciousness is currently understood as the expression of one or other cognitive modality, either intentionality , transparency , subjectivity or reflexivity . However, neither intentionality, subjectivity nor transparency adequately distinguishes conscious from nonconscious cognition. Consequently, the only genuine index or defining characteristic of consciousness is reflexivity, the capacity for autonoetic or self-referring, self-monitoring awareness. But the identification of reflexivity as the principal index of consciousness raises a major challenge in relation to the cognitive mechanism responsible (...) for operationalizing such a reflexive state. Current reliance by higher-order and intrinsic self-representational theories on self-representing data structures to achieve reflexive self-awareness is highly problematic, suggesting a solution in terms of a self-referential processing regime. (shrink)
What is the metaphysical nature of perceptual experience? What evidence does experience provide us with? These questions are typically addressed in isolation. In order to make progress in answering both questions, perceptual experience needs to be studied in an integrated manner. I develop a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perceptual experience, by arguing that sensory states provide perceptual evidence due to their metaphysical structure. More specifically, I argue that sensory states are individuated by the perceptual capacities (...) employed and that there is an asymmetric dependence between their employment in perception and their employment in hallucination and illusion. Due to this asymmetric dependence, sensory states provide us with evidence. (shrink)