Specialized Visual Experiences

Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):74-98 (2021)
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Through extensive training, experts acquire specialized knowledge and abilities. In this paper, I argue that experts also acquire specialized visual experiences. Specifically, I articulate and defend the account that experts enjoy visual experiences that represent gestalt properties through perceptual learning. I survey an array of empirical studies on face perception and perceptual expertise that support this account. I also look at studies on perceptual adaptation that some might argue present a problem for my account. I show how the data are subject to an interpretation that is friendly to it. Last, I address two theoretical objections to the claim that visual experiences represent gestalt properties.

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Casey Landers
Texas State University


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