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The Nonconceptual Content of Experience

In The Contents of Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 136-57 (1992)

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  1. Visual Attention, Conceptual Content, and Doing It Right.Wayne Wu - 2008 - Mind 117 (468):1003-1033.
    Reflection on the fine-grained information required for visual guidance of action has suggested that visual content is non-conceptual. I argue that in a common type of visually guided action, namely the use of manipulable artefacts, vision has conceptual content. Specifically, I show that these actions require visual attention and that concepts are involved in directing attention. In acting with artefacts, there is a way of doing it right as determined by the artefact’s conventional use. Attention must reflect our understanding of (...)
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  • Emotion and Language in Philosophy.Constant Bonard - forthcoming - In Gesine Lenore Schiewer, Jeanette Altarriba & Bee Chin Ng (eds.), Emotion and Language. An International Handbook.
    In this chapter, we start by spelling out three important features that distinguish expressives—utterances that express emotions and other affects—from descriptives, including those that describe emotions (Section 1). Drawing on recent insights from the philosophy of emotion and value (2), we show how these three features derive from the nature of affects, concentrating on emotions (3). We then spell out how theories of non-natural meaning and communication in the philosophy of language allow claims that expressives inherit their meaning from specificities (...)
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  • Which Attitudes for the Fitting Attitude Analysis of Value?Julien A. Deonna & Fabrice Teroni - 2021 - Theoria 87 (5):1099-1122.
    According to the fitting attitude (FA) analysis of value concepts, to conceive of an object as having a given value is to conceive of it as being such that a certain evaluative attitude taken towards it would be fitting. Among the challenges that this analysis has to face, two are especially pressing. The first is a psychological challenge: the FA analysis must call upon attitudes that shed light on our value concepts while not presupposing the mastery of these concepts. The (...)
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  • Emotions, Me, Myself and I.Fabrice Teroni - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (4):433-451.
    We are prone to think that the emotions someone undergoes are somehow revelatory of the sort of person she is, and philosophers working in the field have frequently insisted upon the existence of an intimate relation between a subject and her emotions. But how intimate is the relation between emotions and the self? I first explain why interesting claims about this relation must locate it at the level of emotional intentionality. Given that emotions have a complex intentional structure – they (...)
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  • Do We Have To Choose Between Conceptualism and Non-Conceptualism?Corijn Van Mazijk - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (5):645-665.
    It is today acknowledged by many that the debate about non-conceptual content is a mess. Over the past decades a vast collection of arguments for non-conceptual content piled up in which a variety of conceptions of what determines a state’s content is being used. This resulted in a number of influential attempts to clarify what would make a content non-conceptual, most notably Bermúdez’s classic definition, Heck’s divide into ‘state’ and ‘content’ conceptualism and Speaks’s ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ non-conceptualism. However, these interpretations, (...)
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  • Visual Experience and Motor Action: Are the Bonds Too Tight?Andy Clark - 2001 - Philosophical Review 110 (4):495-519.
    How should we characterize the functional role of conscious visual experience? In particular, how do the conscious contents of visual experience guide, bear upon, or otherwise inform our ongoing motor activities? According to an intuitive and (I shall argue) philosophically influential conception, the links are often quite direct. The contents of conscious visual experience, according to this conception, are typically active in the control and guidance of our fine-tuned, real-time engagements with the surrounding three-dimensional world. But this idea (which I (...)
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  • Nonconceptual Content and the "Space of Reasons".Richard Heck - 2000 - Philosophical Review 109 (4):483-523.
    In Mind and World, John McDowell argues against the view that perceptual representation is non-conceptual. The central worry is that this view cannot offer any reasonable account of how perception bears rationally upon belief. I argue that this worry, though sensible, can be met, if we are clear that perceptual representation is, though non-conceptual, still in some sense 'assertoric': Perception, like belief, represents things as being thus and so.
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  • (Non-)Conceptual Representation of Meaning in Utterance Comprehension.Anders Nes - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Many views of utterance comprehension agree that understanding an utterance involves knowing, believing, perceiving, or, anyhow, mentally representing the utterance to mean such-and-such. They include cognitivist as well as many perceptualist views; I give them the generic label ‘representationalist’. Representationalist views have been criticized for placing an undue metasemantic demand on utterance comprehension, viz. that speakers be able to represent meaning as meaning. Critics have adverted to young speakers, say about the age of three, who do comprehend many utterances but (...)
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  • Some Like It HOT: Consciousness and Higher-Order Thoughts.Alex Byrne - 1997 - Philosophical Studies 86 (2):103-29.
    Consciousness is the subject of many metaphors, and one of the most hardy perennials compares consciousness to a spotlight, illuminating certain mental goings-on, while leaving others to do their work in the dark. One way of elaborating the spotlight metaphor is this: mental events are loaded on to one end of a conveyer belt by the senses, and move with the belt.
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  • Divulgare la mente.Andrea Bucci - 2018 - Chieti CH, Italia: Edizioni Tabula Fati.
    Raccolta di brevi saggi in filosofia della mente.
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  • Perception and Conceptual Content.Alex Byrne - 2005 - In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell. pp. 231--250.
    Perceptual experiences justify beliefs—that much seems obvious. As Brewer puts it, “sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs” (this volume, xx). In Mind and World McDowell argues that we can get from this apparent platitude to the controversial claim that perceptual experiences have conceptual content: [W]e can coherently credit experiences with rational relations to judgement and belief, but only if we take it that spontaneity is already implicated in receptivity; that is, only if we take it that experiences have (...)
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  • Brentano and the Parts of the Mental: A Mereological Approach to Phenomenal Intentionality.Arnaud Dewalque - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (3):447-464.
    In this paper, I explore one particular dimension of Brentano’s legacy, namely, his theory of mental analysis. This theory has received much less attention in recent literature than the intentionality thesis or the theory of inner perception. However, I argue that it provides us with substantive resources in order to conceptualize the unity of intentionality and phenomenality. My proposal is to think of the connection between intentionality and phenomenality as a certain combination of part/whole relations rather than as a supervenience (...)
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  • Don't PANIC: Tye's Intentionalist Theory of Consciousness.Alex Byrne - 2001 - A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Mind.
    _Consciousness, Color, and Content_ is a significant contribution to our understanding of consciousness, among other things. I have learned a lot from it, as well as Tye.
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  • Color and Similarity.Alex Byrne - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (3):641-65.
    Anything is similar to anything, provided the respects of similarity are allowed to be gerrymandered or gruesome, as Goodman observed.2 But similarity in non-gruesome or—as I shall say—genuine respects is much less ecumenical. Colors, it seems, provide a compelling illustration of the distinction as applied to similarities among properties.3 For instance, in innumerable gruesome respects, blue is more similar to yellow than to purple. But in a genuine respect, blue is more similar to purple than to yellow (genuinely more similar, (...)
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  • Cognitive Penetration Lite and Nonconceptual Content.Athanassios Raftopoulos - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1097-1122.
    The Macpherson :24–62, 2012) argued that the perceptual experience of colors is cognitively penetrable. Macpherson also thinks that perception has nonconceptual content because this would provide a good explanation for several phenomena concerning perceptual experience. To have both, Macpherson must defend the thesis that the CP of perception is compatible with perception having NCC. Since the classical notion of CP of perception does not allow perception to have NCC, Macpherson proposes CP-lite. CP-lite makes room for an experience to have content (...)
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  • Defeating Looks.Kathrin Glüer - 2018 - Synthese 195 (7):2985-3012.
    In previous work, I have suggested a doxastic account of perceptual experience according to which experiences form a kind of belief: Beliefs with what I have called “phenomenal” or “looks-content”. I have argued that this account can not only accommodate the intuitive reason providing role of experience, but also its justificatory role. I have also argued that, in general, construing experience and perceptual beliefs, i.e. the beliefs most directly based on experience, as having different contents best accounts for the defeasibility (...)
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  • Belief Justification and Perception.Wolfgang Benkewitz - 1999 - Erkenntnis 50 (2-3):193-208.
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  • Imagination and the Will.Fabian Dorsch - 2005 - Dissertation, University College London
    The principal aim of my thesis is to provide a unified theory of imagining, that is, a theory which aspires to capture the common nature of all central forms of imagining and to distinguish them from all paradigm instances of non-imaginative phenomena. The theory which I intend to put forward is a version of what I call the Agency Account of imagining and, accordingly, treats imaginings as mental actions of a certain kind. More precisely, it maintains that imaginings are mental (...)
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  • Empirical Concepts and the Content of Experience.Hannah Ginsborg - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):349-372.
    The view that the content of experience is conceptual is often felt to conflict with the empiricist intuition that experience precedes thought, rather than vice versa. This concern is explicitly articulated by Ayers as an objection both to McDowell and Davidson, and to the conceptualist view more generally. The paper aims to defuse the objection in its general form by presenting a version of conceptualism which is compatible with empiricism. It proposes an account of observational concepts on which possession of (...)
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  • The Skeptic's Dogmatism: A Constructive Response to the Skeptical Problem.Kaplan Levent Hasanoglu - 2011 - Dissertation,
    The problem of philosophical skepticism relates to the difficulty involved in underwriting the claim that we know anything of spatio-temporal reality. It is often claimed, in fact, that proper philosophical scrutiny reveals quite the opposite from what common sense suggests. Knowledge of external reality is thought to be even quite obviously denied to us as a result of the alleged fact that we all fail to know that certain skeptical scenarios do not obtain. A skeptical scenario is one in which (...)
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  • Blur.Keith Allen - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):257-273.
    This paper presents an ‘over-representational’ account of blurred visual experiences. The basic idea is that blurred experiences provide too much, inconsistent, information about objects’ spatial boundaries, by representing them as simultaneously located at multiple locations. This account attempts to avoid problems with alternative accounts of blurred experience, according to which blur is a property of a visual field, a way of perceiving, a form of mis-representation, and a form of under-representation.
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  • Strong Representationalism and Centered Content.Berit Brogaard - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (3):373 - 392.
    I argue that strong representationalism, the view that for a perceptual experience to have a certain phenomenal character just is for it to have a certain representational content (perhaps represented in the right sort of way), encounters two problems: the dual looks problem and the duplication problem. The dual looks problem is this: strong representationalism predicts that how things phenomenally look to the subject reflects the content of the experience. But some objects phenomenally look to both have and not have (...)
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  • In Defence of Non-Conceptual Content.Simone Gozzano - 2008 - Axiomathes 18 (1):117-126.
    In recent times, Evans’ idea that mental states could have non-conceptual contents has been attacked. McDowell (Mind and World, 1994) and Brewer (Perception and reason, 1999) have both argued that that notion does not have any epistemological role because notions such as justification or evidential support, that might relate mental contents to each other, must be framed in conceptual terms. On his side, Brewer has argued that instead of non-conceptual content we should consider demonstrative concepts that have the same fine (...)
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  • Conceptualism and the (Supposed) Non-Transitivity of Colour Indiscriminability.Charlie Pelling - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 134 (2):211 - 234.
    In this paper, I argue that those who accept the conceptualist view in the philosophy of perception should reject the traditional view that colour indiscriminability is non-transitive. I start by outlining the general strategy that conceptualists have adopted in response to the familiar ‘fineness of grain’ objection, and I show why a commitment to what I call the indiscriminability claim seems to form a natural part of this strategy. I then show how together, the indiscriminability claim and the non-transitivity claim (...)
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  • Consciousness and Nonconceptual Content. [REVIEW]Alex Byrne - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 113 (3):261-274.
    Consciousness, Color, and Content is a significant contribution to our understanding of consciousness, among other things. I have learned a lot from it, as well as Tye’s other writings. What’s more, I actually agree with much of it – fortunately for this symposium, not all of it. The book continues the defense of the “PANIC” theory of phenomenal consciousness that Tye began in Ten Problems of Consciousness (1995). A fair chunk of it, though, is largely independent of this theory: the (...)
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  • Leibnizin pienet havainnot ja tunteiden muodostuminen.Markku Roinila - 2018 - Havainto.
    Keskityn siihen miten Leibnizilla yksittäiset mielihyvän tai mielipahan tiedostamattomat havainnot voivat kasautua tai tiivistyä ja muodostaa vähitellen tunteita, joista tulemme tietoisiksi.
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  • No Need to Get Emotional? Emotions and Heuristics.Andras Szigeti - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4):845-862.
    Many believe that values are crucially dependent on emotions. This paper focuses on epistemic aspects of the putative link between emotions and value by asking two related questions. First, how exactly are emotions supposed to latch onto or track values? And second, how well suited are emotions to detecting or learning about values? To answer the first question, the paper develops the heuristics-model of emotions. This approach models emotions as sui generis heuristics of value. The empirical plausibility of the heuristics-model (...)
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  • Perception, Nonconceptual Content, and Immunity to Error Through Misidentification.Kristina Musholt & Arnon Cahen - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (7):703-723.
    The aim of this paper is twofold. First, we clarify the notion of immunity to error through misidentification with respect to the first-person pronoun. In particular, we set out to dispel the view that for a judgment to be IEM it must contain a token of a certain class of predicates. Rather, the importance of the IEM status of certain judgments is that it teaches us about privileged ways of coming to know about ourselves. We then turn to examine how (...)
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  • A Modal Analysis of Phenomenal Intentionality: Horizonality and Object-Directed Phenomenal Presence.Kyle Banick - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10903-10922.
    In this article I argue that phenomenal intentionality fundamentally consists in a horizonality structure, rather than in a relation to a representational content or the determination of accuracy conditions. I provide a distinctive modal model of intentionality that conceives of phenomenal intentionality as the enjoyment of a plus ultra that points beyond what is actual. The directedness of intentionality on the world, thus, consists in “pointing ahead” to possibilities. The principal difficulty for the modal model is logical: the most obvious (...)
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  • Some Reflections on Husserlian Intentionality, Intentionalism, and Non-Propositional Contents.Corijn van Mazijk - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (4):499-517.
    This paper discusses Husserl’s theory of intentionality and compares it to contemporary debates about intentionalism. I first show to what extent such a comparison could be meaningful. I then outline the structure of intentionality as found in Ideas I. My main claims are that – in contrast with intentionalism – intentionality for Husserl covers just a region of conscious contents; that it is essentially a relation between act-processes and presented content; and that the side of act-processes contains non-representational contents. In (...)
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  • The Transparency of Experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
    A common objection to sense-datum theories of perception is that they cannot give an adequate account of the fact that introspection indicates that our sensory experiences are directed on, or are about, the mind-independent entities in the world around us, that our sense experience is transparent to the world. In this paper I point out that the main force of this claim is to point out an explanatory challenge to sense-datum theories.
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  • Levels of Perceptual Content.Elisabeth Pacherie - 2000 - Philsophical Studies 100 (3):237-54.
    My main thesis is this paper is that, although Dretske's distinction between simple perception and cognitive perception constitutes an important milestone in contemporary theorizing on perception, it remains too coarse to account for a number of phenomena that do not seem to fall squarely on either side of the divide. I argue that what is needed in order to give a more accurate account of perceptual phenomena is not a twofold distinction of the kind advocated by Dretske but a threefold (...)
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  • Too Much Ado About Belief.Jérôme Dokic & Elisabeth Pacherie - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):185-200.
    Three commitments guide Dennett’s approach to the study of consciousness. First, an ontological commitment to materialist monism. Second, a methodological commitment to what he calls ‘heterophenomenology.’ Third, a ‘doxological’ commitment that can be expressed as the view that there is no room for a distinction between a subject’s beliefs about how things seem to her and what things actually seem to her, or, to put it otherwise, as the view that there is no room for a reality/appearance distinction for consciousness. (...)
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  • The Ontology of Perception: Bipolarity and Content.Jérôme Dokic - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (2-3):153-169.
    The notion of perceptual content is commonly introduced in the analysis of perception. It stems from an analogy between perception and propositional attitudes. Both kinds of mental states, it is thought, have conditions of satisfaction. I try to show that on the most plausible account of perceptual content, it does not determine the conditions under which perceptual experience is veridical. Moreover, perceptual content must be bipolar, whereas perception as a mental state is not. This has profound consequences for the epistemological (...)
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  • Recent Work in Perception: Naïve Realism and its Opponents.Matthew Nudds - 2009 - Analysis 69 (2):334-346.
    Suppose that you are looking at a vase of flowers on the table in front of you. You can visually attend to the vase and to the flowers, noticing their different features: their colour, their shape and the way they are arranged. In attending to the vase, the flowers and their features, you are attending to mind-independent objects and features. Suppose, now, that you introspectively reflect on the visual experience you have when looking at the vase of flowers. In doing (...)
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  • Brentano's Theory of Consciousness Revisited. Reply to My Critics.Denis Fisette - 2015 - Argumentos 7 (3):13-35.
    Reply to eight critical reviews of my paper "Franz Brentano and Higher-Order Theories of Consciousness" in the same issue of the journal Argumentos.
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  • Representational Theories of Phenomenal Character.Fiona Macpherson - 2000 - Dissertation, University of Stirling
    This thesis is an examination and critique of naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. Phenomenal character refers to the distinctive quality that perceptual and sensational experiences seem to have; it is identified with 'what it is like' to undergo experiences. The central claims of representationalism are that phenomenal character is identical with the content of experience and that all representational states, bearing appropriate relations to the cognitive system, are conscious experiences. These claims are taken to explain both how conscious experiential (...)
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  • It's Not What It Seems. A Semantic Account of ‘Seems’ and Seemings.Berit Brogaard - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):210-239.
    I start out by reviewing the semantics of ‘seem’. As ‘seem’ is a subject-raising verb, ‘it seems’ can be treated as a sentential operator. I look at the semantic and logical properties of ‘it seems’. I argue that ‘it seems’ is a hyperintensional and contextually flexible operator. The operator distributes over conjunction but not over disjunction, conditionals or semantic entailments. I further argue that ‘it seems’ does not commute with negation and does not agglomerate with conjunction. I then show that (...)
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  • Against Treating Introspection as Perception-Like.Renee Smith - 2010 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 16 (1):79-86.
    : A perceptual theory of introspection is one that treats introspection as a species of perception or as a special case of perception. Additionally, a perceptual theory of introspection is one for which introspection shares at least some of the essential features of perception. However, I will show that there are certain essential features of perception that introspection lacks. Moreover, those features common to perception and introspection are insufficient to distinguish perception from belief. Thus, there is good reason to deny (...)
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  • Qualifying Qualia Through the Skyhook Test.Tere Vadén - 2001 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):149-169.
    If we are to preserve qualia, one possibility is to take the current academic, philosophical, and theoretical notion less seriously and current natural science and some pre-theoretical intuitions about qualia more seriously. Dennett (1997) is instrumental in showing how ideas of the intrinsicalness and privacy of qualia are misguided and those of ineffability and immediacy misinterpreted. However, by combining ideas of non-mechanicalness used in contemporary natural science with the pre-theoretical idea that qualia are special because they are unique, we get (...)
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  • Representationalism, Inversion and Color Constancy.Renée Smith - 2007 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 21 (1):1-15.
    Sydney Shoemaker has gone to great lengths to defend a representationalist view of phenomenal character, and yet he describes this view as breaking with standard representationalism in two ways. First, he thinks his representationalist position is consistent with the possibility of spectrum inversion, and second, he thinks there are qualia. Thus, we can think of his position in the qualia debate as moderate representationalism by taking up some middle ground between these two major camps. This \moderate" view faces several problems. (...)
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  • Putting Thoughts to Work: Concepts, Systematicity, and Stimulus‐Independence.Elisabeth Camp - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2):275-311.
    I argue that we can reconcile two seemingly incompatible traditions for thinking about concepts. On the one hand, many cognitive scientists assume that the systematic redeployment of representational abilities suffices for having concepts. On the other hand, a long philosophical tradition maintains that language is necessary for genuinely conceptual thought. I argue that on a theoretically useful and empirically plausible concept of 'concept', it is necessary and sufficient for conceptual thought that a thinker be able to entertain many of the (...)
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  • Talking Our Way to Systematicity.Léa Salje - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2563-2588.
    Do we think in a language-like format? Taking the marker of language-like formats to be the property of unconstrained systematicity, this paper considers the following master argument for the claim that we do: language is unconstrainedly systematic, if language is unconstrainedly systematic then so is thought, so thought is unconstrainedly systematic. It is easy to feel that there is something right about this argument, that there will be some way of filling in its details that will vindicate the idea that (...)
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  • Content, Illusion, Partition.York H. Gunther - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (2):185-202.
    Philosophers of mind have recently sought to establish a theoret- ical use for nonconceptual content. Although there is disagreement about what nonconceptual content is supposed to be, this much is clear. A state with nonconceptual content is mental. Hence, while one may deny that refrigerators and messy rooms have conceptual capacities, their states, as physical and not mental, do not have nonconceptual content. A state with nonconceptual content is also intentional, which is to say that it represents a feature of (...)
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  • Demonstrative Concepts Without Reidentification.Philippe Chuard - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (2):153-201.
    Conceptualist accounts of the representational content of perceptual experiences have it that a subject _S_ can experience no object, property, relation, etc., unless _S_ "i# possesses and "ii# exercises concepts for such object, property, or relation. Perceptual experiences, on such a view, represent the world in a way that is conceptual.
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  • ‘That’ Response Doesn't Work: Against a Demonstrative Defense of Conceptualism.Adina L. Roskies - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):112-134.
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  • Expectations Without Content.Michael Luntley - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (2):217-236.
    In this paper I show how the way experience presents things to us can be treated without attributing a representational content to experience. The basic claim that experience can present us with more things than the range of things available to us in thought is neutral with respect to the choice between a content account of experience and a naïve content-free account. I show how Meyer's theory of expectations in accounting for our experience of music supports the naïve account. Expectations (...)
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  • In Defence of a Doxastic Account of Experience.Kathrin Glüer - 2009 - Mind and Language 24 (3):297-327.
    Today, many philosophers think that perceptual experiences are conscious mental states with representational content and phenomenal character. Subscribers to this view often go on to construe experience more precisely as a propositional attitude sui generis ascribing sensible properties to ordinary material objects. I argue that experience is better construed as a kind of belief ascribing 'phenomenal' properties to such objects. A belief theory of this kind deals as well with the traditional arguments against doxastic accounts as the sui generis view. (...)
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  • Defining and Defending Nonconceptual Contents and States.James Van Cleve - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):411-430.
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  • Perception Without Propositions.Christopher Gauker - 2012 - Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):19-50.
    In recent years, many philosophers have supposed that perceptual representations have propositional content. A prominent rationale for this supposition is the assumption that perceptions may justify beliefs, but this rationale can be doubted. This rationale may be doubted on the grounds that there do not seem to be any viable characterizations of the belief-justifying propositional contents of perceptions. An alternative is to model perceptual representations as marks in a perceptual similarity space. A mapping can be defined between points in perceptual (...)
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