Perceptual Content and the Unity of Perception

Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):540-569 (2022)
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In recent work, Scott Soames (2010, 2013, 2015, 2019) and Peter Hanks (2011, 2013, 2015) have developed a theory of propositions on which these are constituted by complexes of intellectual acts. In this article, I adapt this type of theory to provide an account of perceptual content. After introducing terminology in section 1, I detail the approach proffered by Soames and Hanks in section 2, focusing on Hanks’s version. In section 3, I introduce a problem that these theories face, namely, how to account for the unity among the relevant intellectual acts. Section 4 provides an answer to this problem of unity, while section 5 explicates the relation to Soames and Hanks. In section 6, I extend the model to a theory of the unity of experiential consciousness. Finally, in section 7, I apply the preceding considerations to debates about the nature of perceptual representation. The upshot will be that experiential unity is not simply a phenomenal feature of consciousness, but central to an account of the role perceptual representation plays in perceptual cognition.

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David De Bruijn
Auburn University

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The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind.John R. Searle - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Perception, Hallucination, and Illusion.William Fish - 2009 - New York, US: Oxford University Press.
Mind and World.John McDowell - 1996 - Philosophical Quarterly 46 (182):99-109.
Seeing‐As in the Light of Vision Science.Ned Block - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):560-572.

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