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3.11a. Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content (Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content on PhilPapers)

See also:
Ablondi, Frederick R. (2002). Kelly and McDowell on perceptual content. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7.   (Google)
Abstract: [0] In a recent issue of _EJAP_, Sean Kelly [1998] defended the position that perceptual content is non-conceptual. More specifically, he claimed that John McDowell's view that concepts involved in perception can be understood as expressible through the use of demonstratives is ultimately untenable. In what follows, I want to look more closely at Kelly's position, as well as suggest possible responses one could make on McDowell's behalf
Alm, Jan (2008). Affordances and the nature of perceptual content. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2):161 – 177.   (Google)
Abstract: According to John McDowell, representational perceptual content is conceptual through and through. This paper criticizes this view by claiming that there is a certain kind of representational and non-conceptual perceptual content that is sensitive to bodily skills. After a brief introduction to McDowell's position, Merleau-Ponty's notion of body schema and Gibson's notion of affordance are presented. It is argued that affordances are constitutive of representational perceptual content, and that at least some affordances, the so-called 'conditional affordances', are essentially related to the body schema. This means that the perceptual content depends upon the nature of the body schema. Since the body schema does not pertain to the domain that our conceptual faculties operate upon, it is argued that this kind of perceptual content cannot be conceptual. At least some of that content is representational, yet it cannot feature as non-demonstrative conceptual content. It is argued that if it features as demonstrative conceptual content, it has to be captured by private concepts. Since McDowell's theory does not allow for the existence of a private language, it is concluded that at least some representational perceptual content is non-conceptual
Alston, William P. (1998). Perception and conception. In Pragmatism, Reason, and Norms: A Realistic Assessment. New York: Fordham University Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Ayers, Michael R. (2002). Is perceptual content ever conceptual? Philosophical Books 43 (1):5-17.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Balog, Katalin (2009). Jerry Fodor on Non-conceptual Content. Synthese 167 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Proponents of non-conceptual content have recruited it for various philosophical jobs. Some epistemologists have suggested that it may play the role of “the given” that Sellars is supposed to have exorcised from philosophy. Some philosophers of mind (e.g., Dretske) have suggested that it plays an important role in the project of naturalizing semantics as a kind of halfway between merely information bearing and possessing conceptual content. Here I will focus on a recent proposal by Jerry Fodor. In a recent paper he characterizes non-conceptual content in a particular way and argues that it is plausible that it plays an explanatory role in accounting for certain auditory and visual phenomena. So he thinks that there is reason to believe that there is non-conceptual content. On the other hand, Fodor thinks that non-conceptual content has a limited role. It occurs only in the very early stages of perceptual processing prior to conscious awareness. My paper is examines Fodor’s characterization of non-conceptual content and his claims for its explanatory importance. I also discuss if Fodor has made a case for limiting non-conceptual content to non-conscious, sub-personal mental states.
Barber, Michael D. (2008). Holism and horizon: Husserl and McDowell on non-conceptual content. Husserl Studies 24 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: John McDowell rejects the idea that non-conceptual content can rationally justify empirical claims—a task for which it is ill-fitted by its non-conceptual nature. This paper considers three possible objections to his views: he cannot distinguish empty conception from the perceptual experience of an object; perceptual discrimination outstrips the capacity of concepts to keep pace; and experience of the empirical world is more extensive than the conceptual focusing within it. While endorsing McDowell’s rejection of what he means by non-conceptual content, and appreciating his insight into the experiential synthesis of intuition and conception (in particular, its role in grasping objects), I will argue that Edmund Husserl presents an even more comprehensive account of perceptual experience that explains how we experience the contribution of receptivity and sensibility and how they cooperate in perceptual discrimination. Further, it reveals “horizons”—a unique kind of contents, surplus content (rather than independent non-conceptual content)—beyond the synthesis of intuitive and conceptual contents through which objects are grasped. Such horizons play a constitutive role, making experience with its conceptual dimensions and justificatory potential possible; they in no way function like a bare given that is to fulfill some independent justificatory role. Whereas McDowell focuses on how experience does not take place in isolation from the exercise of conceptual capacities, Husserl complements his view by situating experience in a more encompassing whole and by elucidating the surplus-horizons that exceed the conceptual content of experience; play an inseparable, constitutive role within it; and indicate the limits of conceptual comprehension
Bermúdez, José Luis (1999). Cognitive impenetrability, phenomenology, and nonconceptual content. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):367-368.   (Google)
Abstract: This commentary discusses Pylyshyn's model of perceptual processing in the light of the philosophical distinction between the conceptual and the nonconceptual content of perception. Pylyshyn's processing distinction maps onto an important distinction in the phenomenology of visual perception
Bermudez, Jose Luis & Macpherson, Fiona (1998). Nonconceptual content and the nature of perceptual experience. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6.   (Cited by 11 | Google)
Abstract: [1] Recent philosophy of mind and epistemology has seen an important and influential trend towards accounting for at least some features of experiences in content-involving terms. It is a contested point whether ascribing content to experiences can account for all the intrinsic properties of experiences, but on many theories of experiences there are close links between the ascription of content and the ways in which experiences are ascribed and typed. The issues here have both epistemological and psychological dimensions. On the one hand, a theory of experiential content has a fundamental role in explaining how knowledge of the world can be acquired through experience. On the other hand, there are important psychological questions about the phenomenology of experiences and the conditions under which content ascriptions are made
Bermudez, Jose Luis (1995). Nonconceptual content: From perceptual experience to subpersonal computational states. Mind and Language 10 (4):333-69.   (Cited by 75 | Google | More links)
Bermudez, Jose Luis (online). Nonconceptual mental content. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Bermudez, Jose Luis (1994). Peacocke's argument against the autonomy of nonconceptual representational content. Mind and Language 9 (4):402-18.   (Cited by 20 | Google | More links)
Bermúdez, José Luis (2007). What is at stake in the debate on nonconceptual content? Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):55–72.   (Google | More links)
Brewer, Bill (2005). Perceptual experience has conceptual content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Abstract: I take it for granted that sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs; indeed this claim forms the first premise of my central argument for (CC). 1 The subsequent stages of the argument are intended to establish that a person has such a reason for believing something about the way things are in the world around him only if he is in some mental state or other with a conceptual content: a conceptual state. Thus, given that sense experiential states do provide reasons for empirical beliefs, they must have conceptual content
Brinck, Ingar (1999). Nonconceptual content and the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):760-761.   (Google)
Abstract: The notion of nonconceptual content in Dienes & Perner's theory is examined. A subject may be in a state with nonconceptual content without having the concepts that would be used to describe the state. Nonconceptual content does not seem to be a clear-cut case of either implicit or explicit knowledge. It underlies a kind of practical knowledge, which is not reducible to procedural knowledge, but is accessible to the subject and under voluntary control
Byrne, Alex (2003). Consciousness and nonconceptual content. Philosophical Studies 113 (3):261-274.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Byrne, Alex (2005). Perception and conceptual content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Byrne, Alex (1996). Spin control. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Perception. Ridgeview.   (Google)
Chadha, Monima (2009). Contents of experience. Sophia 48 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I aim to situate the Naiyayika theory of perception in contemporary philosophy of mind. Following the ancients, I suggest we reconsider the taxonomy and the assumed interactions between kinds of perceptual content. This reclassification will lead us to reconsider some aspects of the Cartesian conception of mind that continue to influence the work of contemporary theorists. I focus attention on different accounts of sensory perception favoured by ancient Indian Naiyayika philosophers and Descartes as a starting point for reconsidering contemporary accounts of perceptual content.I show that Descartes' account of sensory perception provides the impetus for a causal-explanatory account of conceptual content in terms of its non-conceptual counterpart. Though contemporary philosophers claim to have cast off their Cartesian heritage, my discussion reveals that some of its tenets continue to influence the work of contemporary philosophers. I offer reasons for rejecting yet another Cartesian influence and recommend that we follow the Nyaya taxonomy of perceptual states
Chakrabarti, Arindam (2003). Perception, apperception and non-conceptual content. In Perspectives on Consciousness. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Chrisley, Ron & Parthemore, J. (2007). Synthetic phenomenology:Exploiting embodiment to specify the non-conceptual content of visual experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (7):44-58.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Not all research in machine consciousness aims to instantiate phenomenal states in artefacts. For example, one can use artefacts that do not themselves have phenomenal states, merely to simulate or model organisms that do. Nevertheless, one might refer to all of these pursuits -- instantiating, simulating or modelling phenomenal states in an artefact -- as 'synthetic phenomenality'. But there is another way in which artificial agents (be they simulated or real) may play a crucial role in understanding or creating consciousness: 'synthetic phenomenology'. Explanations involving specific experiential events require a means of specifying the contents of experience; not all of them can be specified linguistically. One alternative, at least for the case of visual experience, is to use depictions that either evoke or refer to the content of the experience. Practical considerations concerning the generation and integration of such depictions argue in favour of a synthetic approach: the generation of depictions through the use of an embodied, perceiving and acting agent, either virtual or real. Synthetic phenomenology, then, is the attempt to use the states, interactions and capacities of an artificial agent for the purpose of specifying the contents of conscious experience. This paper takes the first steps toward seeing how one might use a robot to specify the non- conceptual content of the visual experience of an (hypothetical) organism that the robot models
Chrisley, Ronald L. (1994). Taking embodiment seriously: Nonconceptual content and robotics. In Kenneth M. Ford, C. Glymour & Patrick Hayes (eds.), Android Epistemology. MIT Press.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Chuard, Philippe (2006). Demonstrative concepts without reidentification. Philosophical Studies 130 (2):153-201.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Conceptualist accounts of the representational content of perceptual experiences have it that a subject _S_ can experience no object, property, relation, etc., unless _S_ "i# possesses and "ii# exercises concepts for such object, property, or relation. Perceptual experiences, on such a view, represent the world in a way that is conceptual
Chuard, Philippe (ms). Perceptual reasons.   (Google)
Abstract: According to Conceptualists like John McDowell and Bill Brewer, the representational content of perceptual experiences is wholly conceptual. One of the main!and only!arguments they advance for this claim has to do with the epistemological role of perceptual experiences. I focus on Bill Brewers "1999# version of the argument. I show why Brewer fails to satisfactorily motivate the premises of his argument, and suggest that opponents of Conceptualism could accept these premises without thereby endorsing the conclusion. Finally, I consider whether the conclusion really supports Conceptualism
Chuard, Philippe (2007). The Riches of experience. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):20-42.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Suppose you see a red ball. Unless you happen to be in a psychologist
Clark, Andy (ms). Connectionism, nonconceptual content, and representational redescription.   (Annotation | Google)
Coliva, Annalisa (2003). The argument from the finer-grained content of colour experiences: A redefinition of its role within the debate between McDowell and non-conceptual theorists. Dialectica 57 (1):57-70.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Crane, Tim (1988). Concepts in perception. Analysis 48 (June):150-53.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Crane, Tim (1992). The nonconceptual content of experience. In Tim Crane (ed.), The Contents of Experience. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 110 | Google)
Crane, Tim (1988). The waterfall illusion. Analysis 48 (June):142-47.   (Cited by 18 | Google)
Crowther, T. M. (2006). Two conceptions of conceptualism and nonconceptualism. Erkenntnis 65 (2):245-276.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Though it enjoys widespread support, the claim that perceptual experiences possess nonconceptual content has been vigorously disputed in the recent literature by those who argue that the content of perceptual experience must be conceptual content. Nonconceptualism and conceptualism are often assumed to be well-defined theoretical approaches that each constitute unitary claims about the contents of experience. In this paper I try to show that this implicit assumption is mistaken, and what consequences this has for the debate about perceptual experience. I distinguish between two different ways that nonconceptualist (and conceptualist) proposals about perceptual content can be understood: as claims about the constituents that compose perceptual contents or as claims about whether a subject
Cunningham, Suzanne (1989). Perception, meaning, and mind. Synthese 80 (August):223-241.   (Google | More links)
Cussins, Adrian (2003). Content, conceptual content, and nonconceptual content. In York H. Gunther (ed.), Essays on Nonconceptual Content. MIT Press.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Cussins, Adrian (1993). Nonconceptual content and the elimination of misonceived composites. Mind and Language 8 (2):234-52.   (Google)
Cussins, Adrian (1990). The connectionist construction of concepts. In Margaret A. Boden (ed.), The Philosophy of AI. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 107 | Annotation | Google)
Abstract: The character of computational modelling of cognition depends on an underlying theory of representation. Classical cognitive science has exploited the syntax/semantics theory of representation that derives from logic. But this has had the consequence that the kind of psychological explanation supported by classical cognitive science is
psychological phenomena are modelled in terms of relations that hold between concepts, and between the sensors/effectors and concepts. This kind of explanation is inappropriate for the Proper Treatment of Connectionism (Smolensky 1988)
Dokic, J (2001). Shades and concepts. Analysis 61 (3):193-201.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Dretske, Fred (2003). Sensation and perception (1981). In Essays on Nonconceptual Content. Cambridge MA: Bradford Book/MIT Press.   (Google)
Duhau, Laura (2009). Conceptuality and Generality: A Criticism of an Argument for Content Dualism. Crítica 41 (123):39-63.   (Google)
Forman, David (2006). Learning and the Necessity of Non-Conceptual Content in Sellars's "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind". In Michael P. Wolf & Mark Lance (eds.), The Self-Correcting Enterprise: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars. Rodopi.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: For Sellars, the possibility of empirical knowledge presupposes the existence of "sense impressions" in the perceiver, i.e., non-conceptual states of perceptual consciousness. But this role for sense impressions does not implicate Sellars' account in the Myth of the Given: sense impressions do not stand in a justificatory relation to instances of perceptual knowledge; their existence is rather a condition for the possibility of the acquisition of empirical concepts. Sellars suggests that learning empirical concepts presupposes that we can remember certain past facts that we could not conceptualize at the time they obtained. And such memory presupposes, in turn, the existence of certain (past) non-conceptual sensory states that can be conceptualized
Ginsborg, Hannah (2006). Empirical concepts and the content of experience. European Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):349-372.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Gómez-Torrente, Mario (1998). Report of an unsuccessful search for nonconceptual content. Philosophical Issues 9:369-379.   (Google | More links)
Gonzalez Arnal, Stella (2006). Non-articulable content and the realm of reasons. Teorema 25 (1):121-131.   (Google)
Gunther, York H. (2001). Content, illusion, partition. Philosophical Studies 102 (2):185-202.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Philosophers of mind have recently sought to establish a theoret- ical use for nonconceptual content. Although there is disagreement about what nonconceptual content is supposed to be, this much is clear. A state with nonconceptual content is mental. Hence, while one may deny that refrigerators and messy rooms have conceptual capacities, their states, as physical and not mental, do not have nonconceptual content. A state with nonconceptual content is also intentional, which is to say that it represents a feature of the world for a subject. It may be tempting to think of qualitative states as having nonconceptual content since they can be experienced by indi- viduals independently of their possession of the requisite concepts, e.g. someone could experience pains, itches or tingles without possessing the concept pain, itch or tingle. But on such a view, one would have to assume that qualitative states are representational since mental states cannot be candidates for nonconceptuality unless they have intentional properties.2
Gunther, York H. (ed.) (2003). Essays on Nonconceptual Content. MIT Press.   (Cited by 28 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Recent work by philosophers of mind and psychology on nonconceptual content.
Hamlyn, David W. (1994). Perception, sensation, and non-conceptual content. Philosophical Quarterly 44 (175):139-53.   (Google | More links)
Hanna, Robert (2005). Kant and nonconceptual content. European Journal Of Philosophy 13 (2):247-290.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Hanna, Robert (2008). Kantian non-conceptualism. Philosophical Studies 137 (1).   (Google)
Abstract: There are perceptual states whose representational content cannot even in principle be conceptual. If that claim is true, then at least some perceptual states have content whose semantic structure and psychological function are essentially distinct from the structure and function of conceptual content. Furthermore the intrinsically “orientable” spatial character of essentially non-conceptual content entails not only that all perceptual states contain non-conceptual content in this essentially distinct sense, but also that consciousness goes all the way down into so-called unconscious or subpersonal mental states. Both my argument for the existence of essentially non-conceptual content and my theory of its structure and function have a Kantian provenance
Heck, Richard G. (2007). Are there different kinds of content? In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.   (Google)
Abstract: In an earlier paper, "Non-conceptual Content and the 'Space of Reasons'", I distinguished two forms of the view that perceptual content is non-conceptual, which I called the 'state view' and the 'content view'. On the latter, but not the former, perceptual states have a different kind of content than do cognitive states. Many have found it puzzling why anyone would want to make this claim and, indeed, what it might mean. This paper attempts to address these questions
Heil, John (1991). Perceptual experience. In Dretske and His Critics. Cambridge: Blackwell.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Hopp, Walter (2009). Conceptualism and the myth of the given. European Journal of Philosophy 17 (3):363-385.   (Google | More links)
Hutto, Daniel D. (1998). Nonconceptual content and objectivity. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Aristotle once developed the difference between man and animal in the following way: animals can understand each other by indicating to each other what excites their desire so they can seek it, and what injures them, so they can flee from it. To men alone is logos given as well, so that they can make manifest to each other what is useful and harmful, and therefore what is right and wrong. A profound thesis. -- Gadamer, "Man and Language"
Heck Jr, Richard G. (2000). Nonconceptual content and the "space of reasons". Philosophical Review 109 (4):483-523.   (Google | More links)
Kelly, Sean D., Articles.   (Google)
Abstract: I begin by examining a recent debate between John McDowell and Christopher Peacocke over whether the content of perceptual experience is non-conceptual. Although I am sympathetic to Peacocke’s claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual, I suggest a number of ways in which his arguments fail to make that case. This failure stems from an over-emphasis on the “fine-grainedness” of perceptual content – a feature that is relatively unimportant to its non-conceptual structure. I go on to describe two other features of perceptual experience that are more likely to be relevant to the claim that perceptual content is non-conceptual. These features are 1) the dependence of a perceived object on the perceptual context in which it is perceived and 2) the dependence of a perceived property on the object it is perceived to be a property of
Kelly, Sean D. (2001). Demonstrative concepts and experience. Philosophical Review 110 (3):397-420.   (Cited by 21 | Google | More links)
Kelly, Sean D. (2001). The non-conceptual content of perceptual experience: Situation dependence and fineness of grain. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):601-608.   (Cited by 29 | Google | More links)
Kelly, Sean D. (2002). What makes perceptual content non-conceptual? Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Abstract: the world. 1 Whereas the content of our beliefs, thoughts, and judgements necessarily involves "conceptualization" or "concept application", the content of our perceptual experiences is, according to Evans, "non-conceptual". Because Evans takes it for granted that we are often able to entertain thoughts about an object in virtue of having perceived it, a central problem in
Kjosavik, Frode (2003). Perceptual intimacy and conceptual inadequacy: A Husserlian critique of McDowell's internalism. In Metaphysics, Facticity, Interpretation: Phenomenology in the Nordic Countries. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Pub.   (Google | More links)
Bengson, John; Grube, Enrico & Korman, Daniel Z. (forthcoming). A New Framework for Conceptualism. Noûs.   (Google)
Abstract: Conceptualism is the thesis that, for any perceptual experience E, (i) E has a Fregean proposition as its content and (ii) a subject of E must possess a concept for each item represented by E. We advance a framework within which conceptualism may be defended against its most serious objections (e.g., Richard Heck's argument from nonveridical experience). The framework is of independent interest for the philosophy of mind and epistemology given its implications for debates regarding transparency, relationalism and representationalism, demonstrative thought, phenomenal character, and the speckled hen objection to modest foundationalism.
Kovacs, David Mark (2009). Memory and Imagery in Russell's The Analysis of Mind. Prolegomena 8 (2):193-206.   (Google)
Abstract: According to the theory Russell defends in The Analysis of Mind, ‘true memories’ (roughly, memories that are not remembering-hows) are recollections of past events accompanied by a feeling of familiarity. While memory images play a vital role in this account, Russell does not pay much attention to the fact that imagery plays different roles in different sorts of memory. In most cases that Russell considers, memory is based on an image that serves as a datum (imagebased memories), but there are other cases in which memory judgment requires an image without being based on it (answer-memories). A good example for the former is when a person, asked what the colour of the sea was last afternoon, recalls an image and forms a judgment on this basis. In the second case she may recognize the sea and entertain a memory image of it without ‘reading off’ the memory judgment from this picture. That is, the image does not prompt but itself is part of the propositional content of answer memories. Since in this latter case the feeling of familiarity is constitutive of the recollection but cannot serve as its explanans, answer memories do not conform to Russell’s account. According to Lindsay Judson this is not a vice of the theory, since Russell never meant to extend it to answer memories. Despite having a certain appeal of benevolence, Judson’s interpretation is not supported by textual evidence. Taking side with David Pears, I will argue that Russell did not properly differentiate between image-based memory and answer memory, and illegitimately extended his theory to the latter.
Kriegel, Uriah (2004). Perceptual experience, conscious content, and nonconceptual content. Essays in Philosophy 5 (1):1-14.   (Google)
Kulvicki, John (2007). Perceptual Content is Vertically Articulate. American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (4):357-369.   (Google)
Laurier, Daniel (2004). Nonconceptual contents vs nonconceptual states. Grazer Philosophische Studien 68 (1):23-43.   (Google)
Abstract: The question to be discussed is whether the distinction between the conceptual and the nonconceptual is best understood as pertaining primarily to intentional contents or to intentional states or attitudes. Some authors have suggested that it must be understood in the second way, in order to make the claim that experiences are nonconceptual compatible with the idea that one can also believe what one experiences. I argue that there is no need to do so, and that a conceptual content can be understood as being simply one which is composed of concepts, without compromising this intuitive view of the relation between beliefs and experiences
Lerman, Hemdat (2010). Non-conceptual experiential content and reason-giving. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1):1-23.   (Google)
Abstract: According to John McDowell and Bill Brewer, our experiences have the type of content which can be the content of judgements - content which is the result of the actualization of specific conceptual abilities. They defend this view by arguing that our experiences must have such content in order for us to be able to think about our environment. In this paper I show that they do not provide a conclusive argument for this view. Focusing on Brewer's version of the argument, I show that it rests on a questionable assumption - namely, that if a subject can recognize the normative bearing of a mental content upon what she should think and do, then this content must be the result of the actualization of conceptual capacities (and in this sense conceptual). I argue that considerations regarding the roles played by experience and concepts in our mental lives may require us to reject this assumption
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Mandik, Pete (ms). Color-Consciousness Conceptualism.   (Google)
Abstract: The goal of the present paper is to defend against a certain line of attack the view that conscious experience of color is no more fine-grained that the repertoire of non- demonstrative concepts that a perceiver is able to bring to bear in perception. The line of attack in question is an alleged empirical argument - the Diachronic Indistinguishability Argument (DIA) - based on pairs of colors so similar that they can be discriminated when simultaneously presented but not when presented across a memory delay. My aim here is to show that this argument fails.
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McDowell, John (1994). Lecture III: Non-conceptual content. In Mind and World. Harvard University Press.   (Google)
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Abstract: lt is widely held that entertaining a belief or forming a judgement involves the exercise of conceptual capacities; and to this extent the representational content of a belief or judgement is said to be "con— ceptual". According to Gareth Evans (1980), not all psychological states have conceptual content in this sense. In particular, perceptual states have non—conceptual content; it is not until one forms a judgement on the basis of a perceptual experience that one touches the realm of conceptual content
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Nes, Anders (2006). Content in thought and perception. Dissertation, Oxford University   (Google)
Abstract: The dissertation addresses a debate in the philosophy of perception between conceptualists and nonconceptualists. Its principal thesis is that the intentional content of a perceptual experience is the content of a thought that a reflective subject is in a position to think if she has the experience. I call this claim, endorsed by conceptualists, the thesis of content congruence. Two principal lines of argument are put forward for it. The first, ‘simple’ argument contends that a perceptual experience is a state in which it perceptually appears to the subject that things are thus and so; that a reflective subject who has an experience is in a position to think that things are thus and so; and that the subject in question, in doing so, thinks a thought with the same content as her experience. The second line of argument appeals to the role of perceptual experience in intentional explanation of observational beliefs. It makes the case that such explanation presumes that there is a non-trivial, non-vacuous law linking perceptual experiences with observational beliefs, and argues that an adherent of content congruence is significantly better placed to formulate such a law (consistently with her view) than her ‘content nonconceptualist’ opponent. The thesis of content congruence has often been associated in the literature with the thesis of state conceptualism, i.e. the claim that the representational capacities in virtue of the activation of which a perceptual experience has the content it has are conceptual. I reject the latter, and explain why we should not expect the denial of that claim, i.e. state nonconceptualism, to be incompatible with content congruence. I defend moreover the thesis of content congruence against the objection that it confuses sense and reference, and the objection that it leads to a viciously circular or otherwise inadequate account of observational or demonstrative concepts.
Noe, Alva (ms). Perception, action, and nonconceptual content.   (Google)
Abstract: profile deforms as we move about it. As perceivers we are masters of the patterns of sensorimotor contingency that shape our perceptual interaction with the world. We expect changes in such things as apparent size, shape and color to occur as we actively explore the environment. In encountering perspective-dependent changes of this sort, we learn how things are quite apart form our particular perspective. Our possession of these skills is constitutive of our ability to see (and generally to perceive). This is confirmed by the fact that we can disrupt a person
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Peacocke, Christopher (2001). Does perception have a nonconceptual content? Journal of Philosophy 98 (5):239-264.   (Cited by 51 | Google | More links)
Peacocke, Christopher (1998). Nonconceptual content defended. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):381-388.   (Cited by 36 | Google | More links)
Peacocke, Christopher (1994). Nonconceptual content: Kinds, rationales, and relations. Mind and Language 4 (4):419-29.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Peacocke, Christopher (2001). Phenomenology and nonconceptual content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):609-615.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Phillips, Ian (2005). Experience and Intentional Content. Dissertation, Oxford University   (Google)
Abstract: Strong or Pure Intentionalism is the claim that the phenomenal character of any perceptual experience can be exhaustively characterized solely by reference to its Intentional content. Strong or Pure Anti -Intentionalism is the claim that the phenomenal character of any perceptual experience can be exhaustively characterized solely by reference to its non-Intentional properties
Poellner, Peter (2003). Non-conceptual content, experience and the self. Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (2):32-57.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Poston, Ted (online). Cognitive abilities and the conceptualist/nonconceptualist debate (long version).   (Google)
Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (ms). Visual indexes and nonconceptual reference.   (Google)
Raftopoulos, Athanassios & Müller, Vincent C. (2006). Nonconceptual demonstrative reference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 72 (2):251-285.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper argues that the reference of perceptual demonstratives is fixed in a causal nondescriptive way through the nonconceptual content of perception. That content consists first in spatiotemporal information establishing the existence of a separate persistent object retrieved from a visual scene by the perceptual object segmentation processes that open an object-file for that object. Nonconceptual content also consists in other transducable information, that is, information that is retrieved directly in a bottom-up way from the scene (motion, shape, etc). The nonconceptual content of the mental states induced when one uses a perceptual demonstrative constitutes the mode of presentation of the perceptual demonstrative that individuates but does not identify the object of perceptual awareness and allows reference to it. On that account, perceptual demonstratives put us in a de re relationship with objects in the world through the non-conceptual information retrieved directly from the objects in the environment.
Raftopoulos, Athanasios (2008). Perceptual systems and realism. Synthese 164 (1).   (Google)
Abstract:  Constructivism undermines realism by arguing that experience is mediated by concepts, and that there is no direct way to examine those aspects of objects that belong to them independently of our conceptualizations; perception is theory-laden. To defend realism one has to show first that perception relates us directly with the world without any intermediary conceptual framework. The result of this direct link is the nonconceptual content of experience. Second, one has to show that part of the nonconceptual content extracted from the environment correctly represents features of mind independent objects. With regard to the first condition, I have argued elsewhere that a part of visual processing, which I call “perception,” is theory-neutral and nonconceptual. In this paper, facing the second demand, I argue that a part of the nonconceptual content of perception presents properties that are the properties of mind independent objects. I claim first that nonconceptual content is the appropriate level of analysis of the issue of realism since it avoids the main problems besetting various types of analysis of the issue at the level of beliefs about the world. Then I claim that a subset of the nonconceptual content presents features of objects in the environment as they really are
Roskies, Adina L. (2008). A new argument for nonconceptual content. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (3):633–659.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper provides a novel argument against conceptualism, the claim that the content of human experience, including perceptual experience, is entirely conceptual. Conceptualism entails that the content of experience is limited by the concepts that we possess and deploy. I present an argument to show that such a view is exceedingly costly—if the nature of our experience is entirely conceptual, then we cannot account for concept learning: all perceptual concepts must be innate. The version of nativism that results is incompatible with naturalistic accounts of concept learning. This cost can be avoided, and concept learning accounted for if nonconceptual content of experience is admitted
Runzo, Joseph (1982). The radical conceptualization of perceptual experience. American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (July):205-218.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Schellenberg, Susanna (2006). Sellarsian perspectives on perception and non-conceptual content. In Mark Lance & Michael P. Wolf (eds.), The Self-Correcting Enterprise: Essays on Wilfrid Sellars. Rodopi.   (Google | More links)
Sedivy, Sonia (1996). Must conceptually informed perceptual experience involve nonconceptual content? Canadian Journal of Philosophy 26 (3):413-31.   (Cited by 15 | Google)
Shieber, Joseph (forthcoming). On the Possibility of Conceptually Structured Experience: Demonstrative Concepts and Fineness of Grain. Inquiry.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I consider one of the influential challenges to the notion that perceptual experience might be completely conceptually structured, a challenge that rests on the idea that conceptual structure cannot do justice to the fineness of grain of perceptual experience. In so doing, I canvass John McDowell’s attempt to meet this challenge by appeal to the notion of demonstrative concepts and review some criticisms recently leveled at McDowell’s deployment of demonstrative concepts for this purpose by Sean D. Kelly. Finally, I suggest that, though Kelly’s criticisms might challenge McDowell’s original presentation of demonstrative concepts, a modified notion of demonstrative concept is available to the conceptualist that is proof against Kelly’s criticisms.
Shim, Michael K. (2005). The duality of non-conceptual content in Husserl's phenomenology of perception. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (2):209-229.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Recently, a number of epistemologists have argued that there are no non-conceptual elements in representational content. On their view, the only sort of non-conceptual elements are components of sub-personal organic hardware that, because they enjoy no veridical role, must be construed epistemologically irrelevant. By reviewing a 35-year-old debate initiated by Dagfinn F
Speaks, Jeff (2005). Is there a problem about nonconceptual content? Philosophical Review 114 (3):359-98.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In the past twenty years, issues about the relationship between perception and thought have largely been framed in terms of the question of whether the contents of perception are nonconceptual. I argue that this debate has rested on an ambiguity in `nonconceptual content' and some false presuppositions about what is required for concept possession. Once these are cleared away, I argue that none of the arguments which have been advanced about nonconceptual content do much to threaten the natural view that perception and thought are relations to the same kind of content.
Stalnaker, Robert (2003). What might nonconceptual content be? In York H. Gunther (ed.), Essays on Nonconceptual Content. MIT Press.   (Cited by 31 | Google | More links)
Stalnaker, Robert (1998). What might nonconceptual content be? Philosophical Issues 9:339-352.   (Google | More links)
Stoltz, Jonathan (2006). Sakya pandita and the status of concepts. Philosophy East and West 56 (4).   (Google)
Abstract: : The thirteenth-century Tibetan thinker Sakya Pandita was a diehard supporter of nominalism with respect to abstract entities. Here, two arguments given by Sakya Pandita against the robust existence of concepts (don spyi) are analyzed and elucidated. The first argument is rooted in the Buddhist idea that conceptual thought is unsound, whereas the second argument arises from considerations of intersubjectivity and verification. By presenting these arguments we gain both a fuller picture of the central role played by concepts within the Tibetan tradition of philosophy of mind and a better appreciation of the philosophical acuity of the Tibetan polymath Sakya Pandita
Toribio, Josefa (2007). Nonconceptual content. Philosophy Compass 2 (3):445–460.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Toribio, Josefa (2002). Perceptual experience and its contents. Journal Of Mind And Behavior 23 (4):375-392.   (Google | More links)
Toribio Matea, Josefa (2002). Perceptual experience and its contents. Journal of Mind and Behavior 23 (4):375-392.   (Google)
Toribio, Josefa (2008). State versus content: The unfair trial of perceptual nonconceptualism. Erkenntnis 69 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: It has recently been pointed out that perceptual nonconceptualism admits of two different and logically independent interpretations. On the first (content) view, perceptual nonconceptualism is a thesis about the kind of content perceptual experiences have. On the second (state) view, perceptual nonconceptualism is a thesis about the relation that holds between a subject undergoing a perceptual experience and its content. For the state nonconceptualist, it thus seems consistent to hold that both perceptual experiences and beliefs share the same (conceptual) content, but that for a subject to undergo a perceptual experience, the subject need not possess the concepts involved in a correct characterization of such content. I argue that the consistency of this position requires a non-Fregean notion of content that fails to capture the way the subject grasps the world as being. Hence state nonconceptualism leaves perceptual content attribution unsupported. Yet, on a characterization of content along the relevant (neo-Fregean) lines, this position would become incoherent, as it would entail that a subject could exercise cognitive abilities she doesn’t possess. I conclude that, given the notion of content demanded by the debate, the state view does entail the content view after all
Tye, Michael (1995). A representational theory of pains and their phenomenal character. Philosophical Perspectives 9:223-39.   (Cited by 30 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Tye, Michael (2006). Nonconceptual content and fineness of grain. In Tamar Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Tye, Michael (2006). Nonconceptual content, richness, and fineness of grain. In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 13 | Google)
Tye, Michael (2005). On the nonconceptual content of experience. Schriftenreihe-Wittgenstein Gesellschaft.   (Google)
Abstract: I suppose that substantive philosophical theses are much like second marriages. The philo- sophical thesis I wish to discuss in this paper is the thesis that experiences have nonconceptual content. I shall not attempt to argue that _all_ experiences have nonconceptual content nor that the only contents experiences have are nonconceptual. Instead, I want to ? esh out the thesis of nonconceptual content for experience in more detail than has been offered hithertofore and to provide a variety of motivations for the view
Wolff, Franklin F. (1939). Concept, percept, and reality. Philosophical Review 48 (4):398-414.   (Google | More links)
Wrathall, Mark A. (2005). Non-rational grounds and non-conceptual content. Synthesis Philosophica 2 (40):265-278.   (Google | More links)
Wright, Wayne (2003). McDowell, demonstrative concepts, and nonconceptual representational content. Disputation.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In giving an account of the content of perceptual experience, several authors, including Fred Dretske, Gareth Evans, Christopher Peacocke, and Michael Tye, have employed the notion of nonconceptual representational content.[1]
Wu, Wayne (2008). Visual attention, conceptual content, and doing it right. Mind 117 (468).   (Google)
Abstract: Reflection on the fine-grained information required for visual guidance of action has suggested that visual content is non-conceptual. I argue that in a common type of visually guided action, namely the use of manipulable artefacts, vision has conceptual content. Specifically, I show that these actions require visual attention and that concepts are involved in directing attention. In acting with artefacts, there is a way of doing it right as determined by the artefact’s conventional use. Attention must reflect our understanding of the function and appropriate ways to use these artefacts, understanding that requires possession of the relevant concept. As a result, we attend to the artefact’s relevant functional properties. In these cases, attention is structured by concepts. This discussion has a bearing on the dual visual stream hypothesis. While it is often held that the two visual streams are functionally independent, the argument of this essay is that the constraints on attention suggest a functional interaction between them.