How to Think About Nonconceptual Content

The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy 10 (1):1-24 (2010)
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Abstract

This paper provides a general account of what nonconceptual content is, and some considerations in favor of its existence. After distinguishing between the contents and objects of mental states, as well as the properties of being conceptual and being conceptualized, I argue that what is phenomenologically distinctive about conceptual content is that it is not determined by, and does not determine, the intuitive character of an experience. That is, for virtually any experience E with intuitive character I, there is no conceptual content C such that undergoing E entails that one is entertaining C, and that for virtually any conceptual content C, there is no experience E with intuitive character I such that entertaining C entails that one is undergoing E. I then argue that while perceptual states and conceptual states can, and in certain cases must, have the same objects, they have different sorts of intentional contents. Perception, I argue, has two kinds of mutually dependent contents that can be varied independently of any conceptual content: intuitive content and horizonal content. I finish by distinguishing between the manner in which intuitive contents “fulfill” conceptual contents in epistemic fulfillment, and the manner in which they fulfill empty horizonal contents in intuitive fulfillment.

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Walter Hopp
Boston University

Citations of this work

Husserlian Horizons, Cognitive Affordances and Motivating Reasons for Action.Marta Jorba - 2020 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (5):1-22.
Perceptual Confidence: A Husserlian Take.Kristjan Laasik - 2021 - European Journal of Philosophy (2):354-364.
Do We Have To Choose Between Conceptualism and Non-Conceptualism?Corijn Van Mazijk - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (5):645-665.

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