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Robert Schroer
University of Minnesota, Duluth
  1. Painful Reasons: Representationalism as a Theory of Pain.Brendan O'Sullivan & Robert Schroer - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):737-758.
    It is widely thought that functionalism and the qualia theory are better positioned to accommodate the ‘affective’ aspect of pain phenomenology than representationalism. In this paper, we attempt to overturn this opinion by raising problems for both functionalism and the qualia theory on this score. With regard to functionalism, we argue that it gets the order of explanation wrong: pain experience gives rise to the effects it does because it hurts, and not the other way around. With regard to the (...)
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  2. Getting the Story Right: A Reductionist Narrative Account of Personal Identity.Jeanine Weekes Schroer & Robert Schroer - 2014 - Philosophical Studies (3):1-25.
    A popular “Reductionist” account of personal identity unifies person stages into persons in virtue of their psychological continuity with one another. One objection to psychological continuity accounts is that there is more to our personal identity than just mere psychological continuity: there is also an active process of self-interpretation and self-creation. This criticism can be used to motivate a rival account of personal identity that appeals to the notion of a narrative. To the extent that they comment upon the issue, (...)
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  3. Where's the Beef? Phenomenal Concepts as Both Demonstrative and Substantial.Robert Schroer - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):505-522.
    One popular materialist response to the explanatory gap identifies phenomenal concepts with type-demonstrative concepts. This kind of response, however, faces a serious challenge: that our phenomenal concepts seem to provide a richer characterization of their referents than just the demonstrative characterization of 'that quality'. In this paper, I develop a materialist account that beefs up the contents of phenomenal concepts while retaining the idea that these contents contain demonstrative elements. I illustrate this account by focusing on our phenomenal concepts of (...)
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  4. Reductionism in Personal Identity and the Phenomenological Sense of Being a Temporally Extended Self.Robert Schroer - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):339-356.
    The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...)
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  5. How Far Can the Physical Sciences Reach?Robert Schroer - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (3):253.
    To put it bluntly, Physicalism is the thesis that everything that exists is physical. Although Physicalism enjoys a great deal of popularity, two widely accepted theses, the physical sciences only tell us about the dispositional properties of the objects they study, and dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties, seem to guarantee that, under some sense of the word, the physical sciences are fated to give us an "incomplete" picture of what exists.In what follows, this challenge to Physicalism will be referred (...)
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  6.  89
    Hume's Table, Peacocke's Trees, the Tilted Penny and the Reversed Seeing-in Account.Robert Schroer - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (2):209-230.
    In seeing a tilted penny, we are experientially aware of both its circularity and another shape, which I dub ‘β-ellipticality’. Some claim that our experiential awareness of the intrinsic shapes/sizes of everyday objects depends upon our experiential awareness of β-shapes/β-sizes. In contrast, I maintain that β-property experiences are the result of what Richard Wollheim calls ‘seeing-in’, but run in reverse: instead of seeing a three-dimensional object in a flat surface, we see a flat surface in a three-dimensional object. Using this (...)
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  7. Memory Foundationalism and the Problem of Unforgotten Carelessness.Robert Schroer - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):74–85.
    According to memory foundationalism, seeming to remember that P is prima facie justification for believing that P. There is a common objection to this theory: If I previously believed that P carelessly (i.e. without justification) and later seem to remember that P, then (according to memory foundationalism) I have somehow acquired justification for a previously unjustified belief. In this paper, I explore this objection. I begin by distinguishing between two versions of it: One where I seem to remember that P (...)
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  8. Is There More Than One Categorical Property?Robert Schroer - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):831-850.
    I develop a new theory of properties by considering two central arguments in the debate whether properties are dispositional or categorical. The first claims that objects must possess categorical properties in order to be distinct from empty space. The second argument, however, points out several untoward consequences of positing categorical properties. I explore these arguments and argue that despite appearances, their conclusions need not be in conflict with one another. In particular, we can view the second argument as supporting only (...)
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  9. Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  10. Seeing It All Clearly: The Real Story on Blurry Vision.Robert Schroer - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (3):297-301.
    Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of a perceptual experience supervenes upon its representational content. The phenomenon of blurry vision is thought to raise a difficulty for this position. More specifically, it is alleged that representationalists cannot account for the phenomenal difference between clearly seeing an indistinct edge and blurrily seeing a distinct edge solely in terms of represented features of the surrounding environment. I defend representationalism from this objection by offering a novel account of the phenomenal difference (...)
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  11. Two Potential Problems with Philosophical Intuitions: Muddled Intuitions and Biased Intuitions.Jeanine Weekes Schroer & Robert Schroer - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1263-1281.
    One critique of experimental philosophy is that the intuitions of the philosophically untutored should be accorded little to no weight; instead, only the intuitions of professional philosophers should matter. In response to this critique, “experimentalists” often claim that the intuitions of professional philosophers are biased. In this paper, we explore this question of whose intuitions should be disqualified and why. Much of the literature on this issue focuses on the question of whether the intuitions of professional philosophers are reliable. In (...)
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  12. Do the Primary and Secondary Intensions of Phenomenal Concepts Coincide in All Worlds?Robert Schroer - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):561-577.
    A slew of conceivability arguments have been given against physicalism. Many physicalists try to undermine these arguments by offering accounts of phenomenal concepts that explain how there can be an epistemic gap, but not an ontological gap, between the phenomenal and the physical. Some complain, however, that such accounts fail to do justice to the nature of our introspective grasp of phenomenal properties. A particularly influential version of this complaint comes from David Chalmers (1996; 2003), who claims, in opposition to (...)
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  13. Representationalism and the Scene-Immediacy of Visual Experience: A Journey to the Fringe and Back.Robert Schroer - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):595 - 615.
    Both visual experience and conscious thought represent external objects, but in visual experience these objects seem present before the mind and available for direct access in a way that they don?t in conscious thought. In this paper, I introduce a couple of challenges that this ?Scene-Immediacy? of visual experience raises for traditional versions of Representationalism. I then identify a resource to which Representationalists can appeal in addressing these challenges: the low-detail fringe of visual experience. I argue that low-detail contents within (...)
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  14. Reticence of Visual Phenomenal Character: A Spatial Interpretation of Transparency.Robert Schroer - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):393-414.
    It is often claimed that the phenomenal character of visual experience is 'transparent' in that the phenomenal features of visual experience do not seem 'mental'. It is then claimed that this transparency speaks in favour of some theories of experience while speaking against others. In this paper, I advance both a negative and a positive thesis about transparency. My negative thesis is that visual phenomenal character is reticent in that it does not reveal whether it is mental or non-mental in (...)
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  15. Open Your Eyes and Look Harder! (An Investigation Into the Idea of a Responsible Search).Robert Schroer - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):409-430.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that we have epistemic responsibilities with respect to our visual searches, responsibilities that are far more fine-grained and interesting than the trivial responsibilities to keep our eyes open and “look hard”. In order to have such responsibilities, we must be able to exert fine-grained and interesting forms of control over our visual searches. I present both an intuitive case and an empirical case for thinking that we do, in fact, have such (...)
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  16. Matching Sensible Qualities: A Skeleton in the Closet for Representationalism.Robert Schroer - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (3):259-273.
    The intransitivity of matching sensible qualities of color is a threat not only to the sense-data theory, but to all realist theories of sensible qualities, including the current leading realist theory: representationalism. I save representationalism from this threat by way of a novel yet empirically plausible hypothesis about the introspective classification of sensible qualities of color. I argue that due to limitations of the visual system's ability to extract fine-grained information about color from the environment, introspective classification of sensible qualities (...)
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  17. Two Challenges That Categorical Properties Pose to Physicalism.Robert Schroer - 2012 - Ratio 25 (2):195-206.
    What are physical objects like when they are considered independently of their causal interactions? Many think that the answer to this question involves categorical properties– properties that make contributions to their bearers that are independent of any causal interactions those objects may enter into. In this paper, I examine two challenges that this solution poses to Physicalism. The first challenge is that, given that they are distinct from any of the scientifically described causal powers that they happen to convey, categorical (...)
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  18.  75
    Can a Single Property Be Both Dispositional and Categorical? The “Partial Consideration Strategy”, Partially Considered.Robert Schroer - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):63-77.
    One controversial position in the debate over dispositional and categorical properties maintains that our concepts of these properties are the result of partially considering unitary properties that are both dispositional and categorical. As one of its defenders (Heil 2005, p. 351) admits, this position is typically met with “incredulous stares”. In this paper, I examine whether such a reaction is warranted. This thesis about properties is an instance of what I call “the Partial Consideration Strategy”—i.e., the strategy of claiming that (...)
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  19. Environmental Representationalists on Afterimages and Phosphenes: Putting Our Best Foot Forward.Robert Schroer - 2004 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (4):531-546.
    Environmental representationalism is the position that phenomenal differences between visual experiences are determined by the representational claims those experiences make about the surrounding environment. Afterimage and phosphene experiences are an important and widely cited objection to this position. In this paper, I defend environmental representationalism from this objection. In particular, I point out several ways in which typical environmental representationalist accounts of these experiences are lacking while developing a more satisfying account which focuses on how the visual system generates its (...)
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  20. The Goldilocks Problem of the Specificity of Visual Phenomenal Content.Robert Schroer - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):476-495.
    Existentialist accounts maintain that visual phenomenal content takes the logical form of an existentially quantified sentence. These accounts do not make phenomenal content specific enough. Singularist accounts posit a singular content in which the seen object is a constituent. These accounts make phenomenal content too specific. My account gets the specificity of visual phenomenal content just right. My account begins with John Searle's suggestion that visual experience represents an object as seen, moves this relation outside the scope of the existential (...)
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  21. Does the Phenomenality of Perceptual Experience Present an Obstacle to Phenomenal Externalism?Robert Schroer - 2009 - Philosophical Papers 38 (1):93-110.
    : Although Externalism is widely accepted as a thesis about belief, as a thesis about experience it is both controversial and unpopular. One potential explanation of this difference involves the phenomenality of perceptual experience—perhaps there is something about how perceptual experiences seem that straightforwardly speaks against Externalist accounts of their individuation conditions. In this paper, I investigate this idea by exploring the role that the phenomenality of color experience plays in a prominent argument against Phenomenal Externalism: Ned Block’s Inverted Earth (...)
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  22.  56
    The Woman in the Painting and the Image in the Penny: An Investigation of Phenomenological Doubleness, Seeing-in, and “Reversed Seeing-In”.Robert Schroer - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):329 - 341.
    The experience of looking at a tilted penny involves a “phenomenological doubleness” in that it simultaneously seems to be of something circular and of something elliptical. In this paper, I investigate the phenomenological doubleness of this experience by comparing it to another case of phenomenological doubleness––the phenomenological doubleness of seeing an object in a painting. I begin by pointing out some striking similarities between the phenomenological characters of these two experiences. I then argue that these phenomenological characters have a common (...)
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  23.  23
    Open Your Eyes and Look Harder!Robert Schroer - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):409-430.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that we have epistemic responsibilities with respect to our visual searches, responsibilities that are far more fine-grained and interesting than the trivial responsibilities to keep our eyes open and “look hard.” In order to have such responsibilities, we must be able to exert fine-grained and interesting forms of control over our visual searches. I present both an intuitive case and an empirical case for thinking that we do, in fact, have such (...)
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  24.  28
    Putting Psychology Before Metaphysics in Moral Responsibility: Reactive Attitudes and a “Gut Feeling” That Can Trigger and Justify Them.Robert Schroer & Jeanine Weekes Schroer - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (3):357-387.
    In "Freedom and Resentment," P.F. Strawson argues that since the reactive attitudes are psychologically unavoidable, they do not stand in need of justification from philosophical theorizing about the metaphysical conditions necessary for free action. After reviewing and criticizing this line of argument, we develop an alternative account of how the reactive attitudes can be justified through a feature of our psychology. This new account focuses upon a collection of cognitive mechanisms identified by cognitive neuroscience, which recognize human beings (and other (...)
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  25.  1
    Can a Single Property Be Both Dispositional and Categorical? The “Partial Consideration Strategy”, Partially Considered.Robert Schroer - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):63-77.
    One controversial position in the debate over dispositional and categorical properties maintains that our concepts of these properties are the result of partially considering unitary properties that are both dispositional and categorical. As one of its defenders admits, this position is typically met with “incredulous stares”. In this paper, I examine whether such a reaction is warranted. This thesis about properties is an instance of what I call “the Partial Consideration Strategy”—i.e., the strategy of claiming that what were formerly thought (...)
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    Conceivability Arguments, Properties, and Powers: A New Defense of Dispositionalism.Robert Schroer - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (3):352-370.
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  27. The Phenomenal Character of Visual Consciousness.Robert Schroer - 2003 - Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Like all forms of perceptual consciousness, visual consciousness has a felt or "phenomenal" character---there is something that it is like to be visually conscious. In this thesis, I develop a physicalist account of the phenomenal character of visual consciousness. ;I begin by defending a version of Representationalism that I call "Environmental Representationalism". According to Environmental Representationalism the phenomenal similarities and differences obtaining between visual experiences are similarities and differences in the representational claims these experiences make about the surrounding environment. Environmental (...)
     
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