Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView. Despite the acknowledgement of the moral significance of consent there is still much work to be done in determining which specific sexual encounters count as unproblematically consensual. This paper focuses on the impact of deception. It takes up the specific case of deception about one's self. It may seem obvious that one ought not to lie to a sexual partner about who one is, but determining which features of oneself are most relevant, as well as (...) the lies which it follows would be impermissible to tell, is complicated. It is argued here that deception about one's morally valenced character traits, those we think of as virtues and vices, are particularly problematic. This is true regardless of whether knowing the truth about those traits would have made a difference to one's partner's consent. Attention is then drawn to a range of types of lies that one ought not to tell. (shrink)
Studies show that people we judge to have good character we also evaluate to be more attractive. I argue that in these cases, evaluative perceptual experiences represent morally admirable people as having positive (often intrinsic) value. Learning about a person's positive moral attributes often leads us to feel positive esteem for them. These feelings of positive esteem can come to partly constitute perceptual experiences. Such perceptual experiences evaluate the subject in an aesthetic way and seem to attribute aesthetic qualities like (...) 'beauty' to the object of perception. Moreover, these aesthetic qualities like 'beauty' represent the perceived to have various kinds of value. (shrink)
What makes a life meaningful and how do we know when our lives have meaning? This paper provides a new answer to these questions drawing on the experience of grief. It is argued that grief is a unique kind of transformative experience that gives us access to facts about the meaningfulness and value that even the most seemingly mundane aspects of our day-to-day lives have had which goes largely unrecognized until the source of that meaning is lost.
David Rosenthal's higher-order thought theory is one of the most widely argued for of the higher-order accounts of consciousness. I argue that Rosenthal vacillates between two models of the HOT theory. First, I argue that these models employ different concepts of 'state consciousness'; the two concepts each refer to mental state tokens, but in virtue of different properties. In one model, the concept of 'state consciousness' is more consistent with how the term is typically used, both by philosophers and scientists, (...) and in commonsense usage. This model, however, also has its problems. In the second part of the paper, I develop a modified version of Rosenthal's transitivity principle, thereby avoiding some complications that stem from the original transitivity principle. I suggest that Rosenthal occasionally employs this modified model himself, and that the inconsistency identified in the first section of this paper might really reflect Rosenthal's vacillation between these two versions of the transitivity principle. I offer one explanation for how this equivocation may have occurred. These two versions would result if articulations of the transitivity principle employed the term 'mental state' inconsistently, to refer on some occasions merely to mental state types, and on others, to tokened mental states. I conclude by arguing, contrary to Rosenthal and others, that the theory is not incompatible with view that conscious states are uniquely casual efficacious. (shrink)
A theory of perception must be capable of explaining the full range of conscious perception, including amodal perception. In amodal perception we perceive the world to contain physical features that are not directly detectable by the sensory receptors. According to the active-externalist theory of perception, amodal perception depends on active engagement with perceptual objects. This paper focuses on amodal visual perception and presents a counter-example to the idea that active-externalism can account for amodal perception. The counterexample involves the experience of (...) so-called ‘impossible objects’, objects experienced in perceptual character as having geometrical properties that no physically real object can have. (shrink)
A central task of philosophy of mind in recent decades has been to come up with a comprehensive account of the mind that is consistent with materialism. To this end, philosophers have offered useful reductive accounts of mentality in terms that are ultimately explainable by neurobiology. Although these accounts have been useful for explaining some psychological states, one feature?phenomenality or consciousness?has proven to be particularly intractable. The Higher-Order Thought theory (HOT) has been offered as one reductive theory of consciousness. According (...) to HOT, a mental state is conscious if it becomes the content of a suitable higher-order thought that one is in that mental state. In recent years, critics have lodged a series of challenging objections to the view and several alternative theories have been proposed in response to these objections. This paper offers a defense of the traditional Higher-Order Thought theory. First, two different models of consciousness based on HOT are distinguished. The paper argues that one of the models is better supported by the HOT literature. It is then demonstrated that the better supported model is not vulnerable to the objections most commonly lodged against the HOT theory. Finally, it is shown that alternative self-representational theories do not improve upon the HOT theory in the way that they are proposed to. In fact, each of the alternative self-representational views reviewed here is vulnerable to a unique set of problems. In light of these factors, HOT still offers a viable reductive solution to the hard problem. (shrink)
Phenomenal intentionality is a view about the representational content of conscious experiences that grounds the content of experiences in their phenomenal character. The view is motivated by evidence from introspection, as well as theoretical considerations and intuitions. This paper discusses one potential problem with the view. The view has difficulty accounting for the intentionality of color experiences. Versions of the view either fail to count things as part of the content of color experience that should be counted, resulting in verdicts (...) that some color experiences are inaccurate which should not be, or they admit properties as part of their contents that ought not to be admitted, resulting in color experiences being considered to be accurate when they ought not to be considered so. This is a problem because color predicates are usefully employed in sciences such as biology, cognitive science, and engineering. They are used in generalizations that take the form of laws governing the presence and behavior of properties. Scientific practice relies on the assumption that the laws governing how entities behave employ terms that refer to actual properties that entities really have. We should therefore assume that there is some consistent set of properties to which our color terms refer. (shrink)
In this paper, I put forward an argument for the view that emotional responses of esteem to perceived demonstrations of good character represent the perceived character traits as valuable, and hence, as virtues. These esteeming experiences are analogous to perceptual representations in other modalities in their epistemic role as causing, providing content for and justifying beliefs regarding the value of the traits they represent. I also discuss the role that the perceiver’s own character plays in their ability to recognize and (...) respond appropriately to virtue in others, showing that moral virtues are also epistemic virtues when it comes to facilitating knowledge about the character of people we encounter. (shrink)
This paper develops the case for the representation of high-level properties in visual experience from synesthesia. I draw on a special variety of number– color synesthesia to argue that we can visually experience graphemes (like ‘4’) to have numerical values (or to represent numbers). A small subset of number-color synesthetes seem to have a heightened ability to perform mental arithmetic in virtue of their synesthesia. How can we explain the apparently facilitative effect of synesthesia on mental arithmetic in synesthete savants? (...) I argue that only the view that synesthete savants visually experience graphemes as having numerical values can account for the role that their color photisms play in facilitating their performance of mental arithmetic. (shrink)
This is an encyclopedia entry on Synesthesia. It provides a summary of our current knowledge about the condition and it reviews the philosophical implications that have been drawn from considerations about synesthesia. It's import for debates about consciousness, perception, modular theories of mind, creativity and aesthetics are discussed.
This paper takes up the question of whether we can visually represent something as having semantic value. Something has semantic value if it represents some property, thing or concept. An argument is offered that we can represent semantic value based on a variety of number-color synesthesia. This argument is shown to withstand several objections that can be lodged against the popular arguments from phenomenal contrast and from the mundane example of reading.