Nonconceptual demonstrative reference

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):251-285 (2006)
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Abstract

The paper argues that the reference of perceptual demonstratives is fixed in a causal nondescriptive way through the nonconceptual content of perception. That content consists first in spatiotemporal information establishing the existence of a separate persistent object retrieved from a visual scene by the perceptual object segmentation processes that open an object-file for that object. Nonconceptual content also consists in other transducable information, that is, information that is retrieved directly in a bottom-up way from the scene (motion, shape, etc). The nonconceptual content of the mental states induced when one uses a perceptual demonstrative constitutes the mode of presentation of the perceptual demonstrative that individuates but does not identify the object of perceptual awareness and allows reference to it. On that account, perceptual demonstratives put us in a de re relationship with objects in the world through the non-conceptual information retrieved directly from the objects in the environment.

Author's Profile

Vincent C. Müller
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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