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Robert Schroer
University of Minnesota, Duluth
  1. Painful Reasons: Representationalism as a Theory of Pain.Brendan O'Sullivan & Robert Schroer - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):737-758.
    It is widely thought that functionalism and the qualia theory are better positioned to accommodate the ‘affective’ aspect of pain phenomenology than representationalism. In this paper, we attempt to overturn this opinion by raising problems for both functionalism and the qualia theory on this score. With regard to functionalism, we argue that it gets the order of explanation wrong: pain experience gives rise to the effects it does because it hurts, and not the other way around. With regard to the (...)
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  2. Reductionism in Personal Identity and the Phenomenological Sense of Being a Temporally Extended Self.Robert Schroer - 2013 - American Philosophical Quarterly 50 (4):339-356.
    The special and unique attitudes that we take towards events in our futures/pasts—e.g., attitudes like the dread of an impeding pain—create a challenge for “Reductionist” accounts that reduce persons to aggregates of interconnected person stages: if the person stage currently dreading tomorrow’s pain is numerically distinct from the person stage that will actually suffer the pain, what reason could the current person stage have for thinking of that future pain as being his? One reason everyday subjects believe they have a (...)
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  3. Getting the Story Right: A Reductionist Narrative Account of Personal Identity.Jeanine Weekes Schroer & Robert Schroer - 2014 - Philosophical Studies (3):1-25.
    A popular “Reductionist” account of personal identity unifies person stages into persons in virtue of their psychological continuity with one another. One objection to psychological continuity accounts is that there is more to our personal identity than just mere psychological continuity: there is also an active process of self-interpretation and self-creation. This criticism can be used to motivate a rival account of personal identity that appeals to the notion of a narrative. To the extent that they comment upon the issue, (...)
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  4. Memory Foundationalism and the Problem of Unforgotten Carelessness.Robert Schroer - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (1):74–85.
    According to memory foundationalism, seeming to remember that P is prima facie justification for believing that P. There is a common objection to this theory: If I previously believed that P carelessly (i.e. without justification) and later seem to remember that P, then (according to memory foundationalism) I have somehow acquired justification for a previously unjustified belief. In this paper, I explore this objection. I begin by distinguishing between two versions of it: One where I seem to remember that P (...)
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  5. Seeing It All Clearly: The Real Story on Blurry Vision.Robert Schroer - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (3):297-301.
    Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of a perceptual experience supervenes upon its representational content. The phenomenon of blurry vision is thought to raise a difficulty for this position. More specifically, it is alleged that representationalists cannot account for the phenomenal difference between clearly seeing an indistinct edge and blurrily seeing a distinct edge solely in terms of represented features of the surrounding environment. I defend representationalism from this objection by offering a novel account of the phenomenal difference (...)
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  6.  37
    Hume's Table, Peacocke's Trees, the Tilted Penny and the Reversed Seeing-in Account.Robert Schroer - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (2):209-230.
    In seeing a tilted penny, we are experientially aware of both its circularity and another shape, which I dub ‘β-ellipticality’. Some claim that our experiential awareness of the intrinsic shapes/sizes of everyday objects depends upon our experiential awareness of β-shapes/β-sizes. In contrast, I maintain that β-property experiences are the result of what Richard Wollheim calls ‘seeing-in’, but run in reverse: instead of seeing a three-dimensional object in a flat surface, we see a flat surface in a three-dimensional object. Using this (...)
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  7. Two Potential Problems with Philosophical Intuitions: Muddled Intuitions and Biased Intuitions.Jeanine Schroer & Robert Schroer - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (4):1263-1281.
    One critique of experimental philosophy is that the intuitions of the philosophically untutored should be accorded little to no weight; instead, only the intuitions of professional philosophers should matter. In response to this critique, “experimentalists” often claim that the intuitions of professional philosophers are biased. In this paper, we explore this question of whose intuitions should be disqualified and why. Much of the literature on this issue focuses on the question of whether the intuitions of professional philosophers are reliable. In (...)
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  8. Is There More Than One Categorical Property?Robert Schroer - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):831-850.
    I develop a new theory of properties by considering two central arguments in the debate whether properties are dispositional or categorical. The first claims that objects must possess categorical properties in order to be distinct from empty space. The second argument, however, points out several untoward consequences of positing categorical properties. I explore these arguments and argue that despite appearances, their conclusions need not be in conflict with one another. In particular, we can view the second argument as supporting only (...)
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  9. Can Determinable Properties Earn Their Keep?Robert Schroer - 2011 - Synthese 183 (2):229-247.
    Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the accusation that the (...)
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  10. Open Your Eyes and Look Harder! (An Investigation Into the Idea of a Responsible Search).Robert Schroer - 2008 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):409-430.
    In this paper, I explore and defend the idea that we have epistemic responsibilities with respect to our visual searches, responsibilities that are far more fine-grained and interesting than the trivial responsibilities to keep our eyes open and “look hard”. In order to have such responsibilities, we must be able to exert fine-grained and interesting forms of control over our visual searches. I present both an intuitive case and an empirical case for thinking that we do, in fact, have such (...)
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  11. Representationalism and the Scene-Immediacy of Visual Experience: A Journey to the Fringe and Back.Robert Schroer - 2012 - Philosophical Psychology 25 (4):595 - 615.
    Both visual experience and conscious thought represent external objects, but in visual experience these objects seem present before the mind and available for direct access in a way that they don?t in conscious thought. In this paper, I introduce a couple of challenges that this ?Scene-Immediacy? of visual experience raises for traditional versions of Representationalism. I then identify a resource to which Representationalists can appeal in addressing these challenges: the low-detail fringe of visual experience. I argue that low-detail contents within (...)
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  12. Two Challenges That Categorical Properties Pose to Physicalism.Robert Schroer - 2012 - Ratio 25 (2):195-206.
    What are physical objects like when they are considered independently of their causal interactions? Many think that the answer to this question involves categorical properties– properties that make contributions to their bearers that are independent of any causal interactions those objects may enter into. In this paper, I examine two challenges that this solution poses to Physicalism. The first challenge is that, given that they are distinct from any of the scientifically described causal powers that they happen to convey, categorical (...)
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  13. Environmental Representationalists on Afterimages and Phosphenes: Putting Our Best Foot Forward.Robert Schroer - 2004 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (4):531-546.
    Environmental representationalism is the position that phenomenal differences between visual experiences are determined by the representational claims those experiences make about the surrounding environment. Afterimage and phosphene experiences are an important and widely cited objection to this position. In this paper, I defend environmental representationalism from this objection. In particular, I point out several ways in which typical environmental representationalist accounts of these experiences are lacking while developing a more satisfying account which focuses on how the visual system generates its (...)
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  14.  78
    The Goldilocks Problem of the Specificity of Visual Phenomenal Content.Robert Schroer - 2014 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (3-4):476-495.
    Existentialist accounts maintain that visual phenomenal content takes the logical form of an existentially quantified sentence. These accounts do not make phenomenal content specific enough. Singularist accounts posit a singular content in which the seen object is a constituent. These accounts make phenomenal content too specific. My account gets the specificity of visual phenomenal content just right. My account begins with John Searle's suggestion that visual experience represents an object as seen, moves this relation outside the scope of the existential (...)
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  15. Do the Primary and Secondary Intensions of Phenomenal Concepts Coincide in All Worlds?Robert Schroer - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):561-577.
    A slew of conceivability arguments have been given against physicalism. Many physicalists try to undermine these arguments by offering accounts of phenomenal concepts that explain how there can be an epistemic gap, but not an ontological gap, between the phenomenal and the physical. Some complain, however, that such accounts fail to do justice to the nature of our introspective grasp of phenomenal properties. A particularly influential version of this complaint comes from David Chalmers (1996; 2003), who claims, in opposition to (...)
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  16. How Far Can the Physical Sciences Reach?Robert Schroer - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterlly 47 (3):253-266.
    : It is widely thought that dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties; specifying the nature of this dependency, however, has proven a difficult task. The dependency of dispositional properties upon categorical properties also presents a challenge to the thesis of Physicalism: If the physical sciences only tell us about the dispositional properties of the objects they study and if dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties, then it appears that there will be kind of property—categorical properties—that will escape description by the (...)
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  17.  27
    How Far Can the Physical Sciences Reach?Robert Schroer - 2010 - American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (3):253.
    To put it bluntly, Physicalism is the thesis that everything that exists is physical. Although Physicalism enjoys a great deal of popularity, two widely accepted theses, the physical sciences only tell us about the dispositional properties of the objects they study, and dispositional properties depend upon categorical properties, seem to guarantee that, under some sense of the word, the physical sciences are fated to give us an "incomplete" picture of what exists.In what follows, this challenge to Physicalism will be referred (...)
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