Projectivism and phenomenal presence

In F. And Macpherson Dorsch (ed.), Phenomenal Presence. Oxford University Press. pp. 226-251 (2018)
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Projectivism is the thesis that we project at least some subjective aspects of perception into what we experience as the world outside ourselves. It is familiar from various phantom pains, afterimages, and hallucinations. Strong Projectivism asserts that all perceptual experiences involve and only involve direct awareness of projected elements. Strong Projectivism is an unpopular and I argue underappreciated variety of intentionalism (or representationalism). It straightforwardly explains the transparency of experience (section 2) and phenomena qualia theorists offer to avoid intentionalism such as blurry vision and spectrum inversion (section 3). Finally, projectivism illuminates residual qualia-friendly cases involving imagination and emotion (section 4). Ultimately, instances of non-projected, non-intentional aspects of experience are hard to identify. Thus, the notion of phenomenal presence drawn from projectivism does justice to a great many of the forces at play in debates surrounding qualia and intentionalism. We should bound toward Strong Projectivism.

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Derek H. Brown
University of Glasgow


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