Perceptual Pluralism

Noûs (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Perceptual systems respond to proximal stimuli by forming mental representations of distal stimuli. A central goal for the philosophy of perception is to characterize the representations delivered by perceptual systems. It may be that all perceptual representations are in some way proprietarily perceptual and differ from the representational format of thought (Dretske 1981; Carey 2009; Burge 2010; Block ms.). Or it may instead be that perception and cognition always trade in the same code (Prinz 2002; Pylyshyn 2003). This paper rejects both approaches in favor of perceptual pluralism, the thesis that perception delivers a multiplicity of representational formats, some proprietary and some shared with cognition. The argument for perceptual pluralism marshals a wide array of empirical evidence in favor of iconic (i.e., image-like, analog) representations in perception as well as discursive (i.e., language-like, digital) perceptual object representations.
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Archival date: 2018-08-07
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2018-08-07

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