Ambiguous figures and representationalism

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (3):307-323 (2011)
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Abstract

Ambiguous figures pose a problem for representationalists, particularly for representationalists who believe that the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual (MacPherson in Nous 40(1):82–117, 2006). This is because, in viewing ambiguous figures, subjects have perceptual experiences that differ in phenomenal properties without differing in non-conceptual content. In this paper, I argue that ambiguous figures pose no problem for non-conceptual representationalists. I argue that aspect shifts do not presuppose or require the possession of sophisticated conceptual resources and that, although viewing ambiguous figures often causes a change in phenomenal properties, this change is accompanied by a change in non-conceptual content. I illustrate the case by considering specific examples

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Nico Orlandi
University of California, Santa Cruz

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