Perceptual Learning and the Contents of Perception

Erkenntnis 79 (6):1407-1418 (2014)
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Abstract

Suppose you have recently gained a disposition for recognizing a high-level kind property, like the property of being a wren. Wrens might look different to you now. According to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument, such cases of perceptual learning show that the contents of perception can include high-level kind properties such as the property of being a wren. I detail an alternative explanation for the different look of the wren: a shift in one’s attentional pattern onto other low-level properties. Philosophers have alluded to this alternative before, but I provide a comprehensive account of the view, show how my account significantly differs from past claims, and offer a novel argument for the view. Finally, I show that my account puts us in a position to provide a new objection to the Phenomenal Contrast Argument.

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