Cognitive Penetration of Colour Experience: Rethinking the Issue in Light of an Indirect Mechanism

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):24-62 (2012)
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Abstract

Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one's cognitive system, for example, one's thoughts or beliefs? If one thinks that this can happen then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitively impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case of cognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typically use to explain away alleged cases. The case is one in which it seems subjects' beliefs about the typical colour of objects affects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generally sympathetic to the idea of cognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation of this plausible mechanism

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Fiona Macpherson
University of Glasgow

Citations of this work

Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dustin Stokes - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663.
Rich or Thin?Susanna Siegel & Alex Byrne - 2017 - In Bence Nanay (ed.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Perception. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 59-80.
The Virtual and the Real.David J. Chalmers - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (46):309-352.
The Two Faces of Mental Imagery.Margherita Arcangeli - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):304-322.

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References found in this work

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. AUSTIN - 1962 - Oxford University Press.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

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