Low-Level Properties in Perceptual Experience

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (5):682-703 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Whether perceptual experience represents high-level properties like causation and natural-kind in virtue of its phenomenology is an open question in philosophy of mind. While the question of high-level properties has sparked disagreement, there is widespread agreement that the sensory phenomenology of perceptual experience presents us with low-level properties like shape and color. This paper argues that the relationship between the sensory character of experience and the low-level properties represented therein is more complex than most assume. Careful consideration of mundane examples, like looking at a coin from an oblique angle, show that the low-level properties represented in experience do not necessarily figure in the sensory character of the experience. Furthermore, the sensible properties invoked when characterizing the sensory character of a perceptual experience are not necessarily included in the sensible properties represented in a perceptual experience. On this basis it is argued that perceptual experience has a disunified metaphysics, consisting in distinct sensory and cognitive components. The account is developed in relation to existing unified and disunified accounts, and discussed in terms of its implications for cognitive penetration, the reliability of introspection, the transparency of experience, and cognitive phenomenology.

Author's Profile

Philip Walsh
Gartner (Research and Advisory Consulting Firm)


Added to PP

760 (#19,833)

6 months
160 (#20,474)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?