Philosophical Topics

Volume 44, Issue 2, Fall 2016

New Directions in the Philosophy of Perception

E. J. Green
Pages 121-148

Representationalism and Perceptual Organization

Some philosophers have suggested that certain shifts in perceptual organization are counterexamples to representationalism about phenomenal character. Representationalism about phenomenal character is, roughly, the view that there can be no difference in the phenomenal character of experience without a difference in the representational content of experience. In this paper, I examine three of these alleged counterexamples: the dot array (Peacocke 1983), the intersecting lines (Speaks 2010), and the 3 X 3 grid (Nickel 2007). I identify the two features of their phenomenology that call for explanation: grouping and prominence. I then argue that representationalists can adequately account for both of these features. I also critique some previous treatments of grouping and prominence.