Object Files, Properties, and Perceptual Content

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):283-307 (2016)
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Abstract

Object files are mental representations that enable perceptual systems to keep track of objects as numerically the same. How is their reference fixed? A prominent approach, championed by Zenon Pylyshyn and John Campbell, makes room for a non-satisfactional use of properties to fix reference. This maneuver has enabled them to reconcile a singularist view of reference with the intuition that properties must play a role in reference fixing. This paper examines Campbellā€™s influential defense of this strategy. After criticizing it, a new approach is sketched. The alternative view introduces representational contents to explain perceptual individuation. After arguing that those contents are not satisfactional, it is concluded that there is room for a third view of reference fixing that does not fit into the singularist/descriptivist dichotomy.

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Santiago Echeverri
National Autonomous University of Mexico

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