The Structure of Perceptual Content
Symons, John William David
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Philosophers often endorse the claim that perceptual experience has content. However, the significance of this claim is highly disputed. A particularly central issue is the relationship between concepts and the content of perceptual experience. Accounts of this relationship are largely shaped by a key question; is perceptual content itself conceptual, or is it nonconceptual? In the following thesis, I focus on this debate, and consider arguments in favour of both conceptualism and nonconceptualism. The first chapter lays the foundation for the other two, by developing some general views about perceptual content, and what it means to claim that the content of perceptual experience is either conceptual or nonconceptual. In the second chapter, arguments on behalf of conceptualism are discussed, which largely focus on epistemic issues surrounding perceptual experience. The third chapter discusses the idea that perceptual experience outstrips conceptual resources in various ways. I argue that on the balance of considerations, primarily due to certain ways in which experience is situation dependent, a stronger case can be made for nonconceptualism.