Perceptual experience is an invaluable guide to our cognition of the world: (i) experience helps make thoughts about mind-independent objects possible, and (ii) experience helps make thoughts about mind-independent objects reasonable. My dissertation aims to answer the question: how should we account for experience if we are to do justice to its rational role in cognition? I argue that neither of the two dominant contemporary models of experience is satisfactory: experience as representation and experience as acquaintance. Experience should be understood as a matter of various items being present to the experiencing subject. Crucially, I propose an account of perceptual error in terms of the presence of unreal senseimages (in hallucination) and presentational tropes (in illusion).
First I argue against treating experience as a representational state. I show that such treatments require a strong relation to obtain between experience and content; I argue that the strong relation cannot be sustained. I show, in particular, that experience is not best understood as a state in which properties are attributed to objects or in which concepts are employed. Experience should instead be treated as a matter of a relation of subjects to objects and their properties.
Next, I argue against the acquaintance-based relational approaches to experience. These accounts do not treat illusion plausibly; they cannot sustain two basic facts: that an object can exhibit different appearances and that different objects can exhibit identical appearances. In response to this problem I posit a weaker perceptual relation: in experience certain items are present to the subject. Presence does not entail knowledge of items present.
Finally, I offer an improved relationalist approach to perceptual error. I endorse the idea that in hallucination there are items—unreal sense-images—present to the subject. However, I reject the proposal to treat illusions in the same way: presence of sense-images in illusion makes the presence of misperceived objects redundant. Instead, I propose that presentational tropes are present in illusion. Presentational tropes are relational particulars that require both a subject and an experienced object for their existence.
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Experience, Perception, Phenomenology, Presentational tropes, Relationalism, Representationalism|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be