A Puzzle about the Experience of Left and Right

Noûs (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Imagine your mirror-inverted counterpart on Mirror Earth, a perfect mirror image of Earth. Would her experiences be the same as yours, or would they be phenomenally mirror-inverted? I argue, first, that her experiences would be phenomenally the same as yours. I then show that this conclusion gives rise to a puzzle, one that I believe pushes us toward some surprising and philosophically significant conclusions about the nature of perception. When you have a typical visual experience as of something to your left, the following three claims seem very plausible: (1) No one could have an experience phenomenally just like yours without thereby having an experience as of something to her left. (2) Your experience is veridical. (3) Your experience doesn’t differ from that of your mirror-inverted counterpart with respect to veridicality. But (1)-(3) jointly contradict the claim that you and your mirror-inverted counterpart would have the same experiences. I argue that any viable response to this puzzle will embrace the following disjunction: either there is a degree of independence between perceptual phenomenology and representational content, contrary to popular intentionalist views of perception, or spatial subjectivism is true, where spatial subjectivism is the view that the spatial properties presented in perception are either mind-dependent or illusory.

Author's Profile

Brian Cutter
University of Notre Dame

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