The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 35, 1998

Philosophy of Mind

Ralph Schumacher
Pages 205-209

Blindsight and the Role of the Phenomenal Qualities of Visual Perceptions

The aim of this paper is to defend a broad concept of visual perception, according to which it is a sufficient condition for visual perception that subjects receive visual information in a way which enables them to give reliably correct answers about the objects presented to them. According to this view, blindsight, non-epistemic seeing, and conscious visual experience count as proper types of visual perception. This leads to two consequences concerning the role of the phenomenal qualities of visual experiences. First, phenomenal qualities are not necessary in order to see something, because in the case of blindsight, subjects can see objects without experiences phenomenal qualities. Second, they cannot be intentional properties, since they are not essential properties of visual experiences, and because the content of visual experiences cannot be constituted by contingent properties.