Visual Reference and Iconic Content

Philosophy of Science 84 (4):761-781 (2017)
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Evidence from cognitive science supports the claim that humans and other animals see the world as divided into objects. Although this claim is widely accepted, it remains unclear whether the mechanisms of visual reference have representational content or are directly instantiated in the functional architecture. I put forward a version of the former approach that construes object files as icons for objects. This view is consistent with the evidence that motivates the architectural account, can respond to the key arguments against representational accounts, and has explanatory advantages. I draw general lessons for the philosophy of perception and the naturalization of intentionality.
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