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Akins, Kathleen, , . What is it Like to Be Boring and Myopic?
1993, in Dennett and His Critics: Demystifying Mind, ed. B Dahlbom, Blackwell, 124-160.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Summary: A response to Thomas Nagel’s famous paper “What is it Like to be a Bat?”. Akins uses neuroscientific data to argue that we can find out that bats may not actually have a point of view, and that, contrary to Nagel, this kind of objective study can bring us closer to understanding individuals’ subjective experiences, not further away.

Comment: As "What is it Like to be a Bat?" is frequently taught, this paper serves as an interesting counterpoint response to it, providing an alternative perspective. A bit technical and heavy on hard neuroscience, but full understanding of that part is not essential to grasping the basic argument.

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Macpherson, Fiona, , . Ambiguous Figures and the Content of Experience
2006, Noûs 40 (1):82-117
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counterexample to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judgements to account for Gestalt switching. I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Macpherson, Fiona, , . Novel Colours and the Content of Experience
2003, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 84 (2003), 43-66.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Simon Prosser

Abstract: I propose a counterexample to naturalistic representational theories of phenomenal character. The counterexample is generated by experiences of novel colours reported by Crane and Piantanida. I consider various replies that a representationalist might make, including whether novel colours could be possible colours of objects and whether one can account for novel colours as one would account for binary colours or colour mixtures. I argue that none of these strategies is successful and therefore that one cannot fully explain the nature of the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences using a naturalistic conception of representation

Comment: Further reading, raises an interesting objection to intentionalism/representationalism
[This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Matthen, Mohan, , . How Things Look (and What Things Look That Way)
2010, In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Will Hornett

Abstract: What colour does a white wall look in the pinkish light of the late afternoon? What shape does a circular table look when you are standing next to it? These questions seem simple enough, but philosophers disagree sharply about them. In this paper, I attempt to provide a new approach to these questions, based on the idea that perception modifies our epistemic dispositions regarding specific environmental objects. I shall argue that by determining which object is involved in this way, we can determine the subject of visual predication. This enables us to parcel out visual features to different visual objects in a way that enables us to reconcile conflicting philosophical intuitions.

Comment: Matthen's discussion of perceptual constancy is very clear and is centered on a philosophical analysis of the perceptual psychology. For this reason, it serves as a useful empirically informed companion to other philosophical discussions of perceptual constancy which are less empirically informed. It would be great in a third year or postgraduate course in Philosophy of Perception.

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Nida-Rumelin, Martine, , . Qualia: The Knowledge Argument
2002, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Nora Heinzelmann

Abstract: The knowledge argument aims to establish that conscious experience involves non-physical properties. It rests on the idea that someone who has complete physical knowledge about another conscious being might yet lack knowledge about how it feels to have the experiences of that being. It is one of the most discussed arguments against physicalism.

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Siegel, Susanna, , . Do Experiences Have Contents?
2010, In Bence -Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Andrea Blomqvist, Contributed by: Will Hornett

Summary: This paper argues that despite the differences between perception and belief, perception involves states that are importantly similar to beliefs: conscious visual experiences. According to the Content View, these experiences have contents in the form of accuracy conditions. The paper develops and defends the Content View, discusses its significance, and argues that contrary to what is often supposed, the Content View is compatible with Naive Realist disjunctivism.

Comment: It is a fairly difficult paper because it has some technical sections and her main argument is rather dense. However, it is generally very clearly written, with numerous helpful examples, and a broad discussion of views on contemporary debate on perception. This paper could be used in a senior year or postgraduate course on the philosophy of perception as seminar reading since it is a detailed and controversial discussion of the metaphysics of perception. It has also been central to recent debates. It is is useful to teach alongside Thomas Raliegh's "Phenomenology Without Representation" (2013).

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