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Gow, Laura. The Limitations of Perceptual Transparency
2016, Philosophical Quarterly 66: 723-744
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Added by: Björn Freter

Abstract: My first aim in this paper is to show that the transparency claim cannot serve the purpose to which it is assigned; that is, the idea that perceptual experience is transparent is no help whatsoever in motivating an externalist account of phenomenal character. My second aim is to show that the internalist qualia theorist's response to the transparency idea has been unnecessarily concessive to the externalist. Surprisingly, internalists seem to allow that much of the phenomenal character of perceptual experience depends essentially (and not just causally) upon externally located properties. They argue that we can also be aware of internal, non-intentional qualia. I present an alternative response the internalist can make to the transparency claim: phenomenal character is wholly internal, and seeming to be aware of externally located properties just is being aware of internally constituted experiential features.

Comment: Clarifies the debate on whether perceptual experience is transparent and what significance this has. Points out some mistaken assumptions that both sides of the debate have made. Suggests how internalists should respond to the claim that perceptual experience is transparent. Easy to read if one has prior knowledge of the transparency idea.

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