The Multiple Contents of Experience: Representation and the Awareness of Phenomenal Qualities

Paul Coates

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Abstract

This paper examines the contents of perceptual experience, and focuses in particular on the relation between the representational aspects of an experience and its phenomenal character. It is argued that the Critical Realist two-component analysis of experience, advocated by Wilfrid Sellars, is preferable to the Intentionalist view. Experiences have different kinds of representational contents: both informational and intentional. An understanding of the essential navigational role of perception provides a principled way of explaining the nature of such representational contents. Experiences also have a distinct phenomenal content, or character, which is not determined by representational content.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-47
Number of pages23
JournalPhilosophical Topics
Volume37
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • Perceptual experience; perceptual content; critical realism; phenomenal qualities; representation; intentionalism; causal theory of perception; navigational account; Wilfrid Sellars;

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