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3.8b. Transparency (Transparency on PhilPapers)

See also:
Crane, Tim (2002). Introspection, intentionality, and the transparency of experience. Philosophical Topics 28:49-67.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Ducasse, C. J. (1942). Moore's refutation of idealism. In Paul Arthur Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Open Court.   (Google)
Edwards, J. (1998). The simple theory of colour and the transparency of sense experience. In C. Wright, B. Smith, C. Macdonald & the transparency of sense experience. The simple theory of colour (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press.   (Google | More links)
Gennaro, Rocco J. (2007). Representationalism, peripheral awareness, and the transparency of experience. Philosophical Studies 139 (1):39-56.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It is often said that some kind of peripheral (or inattentional) conscious awareness accompanies our focal (attentional) consciousness. I agree that this is often the case, but clarity is needed on several fronts. In this paper, I lay out four distinct theses on peripheral awareness and show that three of them are true. However, I then argue that a fourth thesis, commonly associated with the so-called "self-representational approach to consciousness," is false. The claim here is that we have outer focal consciousness accompanied often (or even always) by inner peripheral (self-)awareness. My criticisms stem from both methodological and phenomenological considerations. In doing so, I offer a diagnosis as to why the fourth thesis has seemed true to so many and also show how the so-called "transparency of experience," frequently invoked by representationalists, is importantly relevant to my diagnosis. Finally, I respond to several objections and to further attempts to show that thesis four is true. What emerges is that if one wishes to hold that some form of self-awareness accompanies all outer-directed conscious states, one is better off holding that such self-awareness is itself unconscious, as is held for example by standard higher-order theories of consciousness.
Haddock, Adrian & Macpherson, Fiona (eds.) (2008). Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press.   (Google | More links)
Hardin, Larry (2006). Perceptual transparency. Dialectica 60 (3):341-345.   (Google)
Hellie, Benj (2010). An externalist's guide to inner experience. In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!

Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /reflective indiscriminability/. I build a "displaced perception" account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems from shared "qualia". Qualia are compatible with direct realism: while they generate an explanatory gap (and colors do not), so does /seeing/; qualia are excluded from perceptual consciousness by its "transparency"; instead, qualia are aspects of thought about the perceived environment.

The asymmetry between my treatments of color and seeing is grounded in the asymmetry between ignorance and error: while inversion shows that normal subjects are ignorant of the natures of the colors, hallucination shows not that perceivers are ignorant of the nature of seeing but that hallucinators are prone to error about their condition. Past literature has treated inversion and hallucination as on a par: externalists see error in both cases, while internalists see mutual ignorance. My account is so complicated because plausible results require mixing it up.
Hellie, Benj (2007). That which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact: Moore on phenomenal relationism. European Journal of Philosophy 15 (3):334-66.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I interpret the anti-idealist manoeuverings of the second half of Moore's 'The refutation of idealism', material as widely cited for its discussion of 'transparency' and 'diaphanousness' as it is deeply obscure. The centerpiece of these manoeuverings is a phenomenological argument for a relational view of perceptual phenomenal character, on which, roughly, 'that which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact' is a non-intentional relation of conscious awareness, a view close to the opposite of the most characteristic contemporary view going under the transparency rubric. The discussion of transparency and diaphanousness is a sidelight, its principal purpose to shore up the main line of argumentation against criticism; in those passages all Moore argues is that the relation of conscious awareness is not transparent, while acknowledging that it can seem to be.
Jackson, Frank (2006). The knowledge argument, diaphanousness, representationalism. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Kennedy, Matthew (2009). Heirs of nothing: The implications of transparency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3):574-604.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Recently representationalists have cited a phenomenon known as the transparency of experience in arguments against the qualia theory. Representationalists take transparency to support their theory and to work against the qualia theory. In this paper I argue that representationalist assessment of the philosophical importance of transparency is incorrect. The true beneficiary of transparency is another theory, naïve realism. Transparency militates against qualia and the representationalist theory of experience. I describe the transparency phenomenon, and I use my description to argue for naïve realism and against representationalism and the qualia theory. I also examine the relationship between phenomenological study and phenomenal character, and discuss the results in connection with the argument from hallucination
Kind, Amy (2003). What's so transparent about transparency? Philosophical Studies 115 (3):225-244.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Intuitions about the transparency of experience have recently begun to play a key role in the debate about qualia. Specifically, such intuitions have been used by representationalists to support their view that the phenomenal character of our experience can be wholly explained in terms of its intentional content.[i] But what exactly does it mean to say that experience is transparent? In my view, recent discussions of transparency leave matters considerably murkier than one would like. As I will suggest, there is reason to believe that experience is not transparent in the way that representationalism requires. Although there is a sense in which experience can be said to be transparent, transparency in this sense does not give us any particular motivation for representationalism—or at least, not the pure or strong representationalism that it is usually invoked to support
Kind, Amy (2003). What's so transparent about transparency? (Representationalism, ambiguities). Philosophical Studies 115 (3):225-244.   (Google)
Leeds, Stephen (2002). Perception, transparency, and the language of thought. Noûs 36 (1):104-129.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Levine, Joseph (2006). Color and color experience: Colors as ways of appearing. Dialectica 60 (3):269-282.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that color is a relational feature of the distal objects of perception, a way of appearing. I begin by outlining three constraints any theory of color should satisfy: (i) physicalism about the non-mental world, (ii) consistency with what is known from color science, and (iii) transparency about color experience. Traditional positions on the ontological status of color, such as physicalist reduction of color to spectral re?ectance, subjectivism, dispositional- ism, and primitivism, fail, I claim, to meet all three constraints. By treating color as a relational property, a way of appearing, the three constraints can be met. However, serious problems for this view emerge when considering the relation between illusory color experiences (particularly hallucinations) and veridical color experiences. I do not propose a solution to these problems
Livet, Pierre (2005). What is transparency? Psyche 11 (5).   (Google)
Abstract: Opacity, in Metzinger’s sense, is access to processed information _as_ processed, while transparency is only access to the _content _of our phenomenal states. I suspect that transparency conflates different notions. First I show that every conscious experience has a “transparent” core (involving intentionality, directedness and assumption of existence, insensitivity to some unconscious process). Anyway, to be sensitive to earlier processing steps does not imply to take the representation “as modeled by our simulator”. There are other ways of being sensitive to this processing experience: experience of gaps in perceptive synthesis, experience of incompleteness, queerness of experience, phenomenal incoherence, searching consciousness. Many of them implies only to put in abeyance incoherence or incompleteness (to be laterally aware of a conflict without dealing with it), or even to put this abeyance into abeyance (not to take into account the absence of solution). But if the conflict becomes serious, we revise our assumption, and this requires the assumption that the conflict is about existing things. The self has a peculiar property here. Even when I revise one aspect of my self, I have to presuppose a self, in the sense that I put in abeyance other revisions of this presupposed self. Self is not a simulation, even if we have only this peculiar access to it.
Loar, Brian (2003). Transparent experience and the availability of qualia. In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 17 | Google)
Lormand, Eric (2005). Phenomenal impressions. In T.S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Perceptual Experience. Oup.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Haddock, Adrian & Macpherson, Fiona (2008). Introduction: Varieties of disjunctivism. In Adrian Haddock & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Inspired by the writings of J. M. Hinton (1967a, 1967b, 1973), but ushered into the mainstream by Paul Snowdon (1980–1, 1990–1), John McDowell (1982, 1986), and M. G. F. Martin (2002, 2004, 2006), disjunctivism is currently discussed, advocated, and opposed in the philosophy of perception, the theory of knowledge, the theory of practical reason, and the philosophy of action. But what is disjunctivism?
Mandik, Pete (2006). The introspectibility of brain states as such. In Brian Keeley (ed.), Paul Churchland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Is the Introspection Thesis true? It certainly isn’t obvious. Introspection is the faculty by which each of us has access to his or her own mental states. Even if we were to suppose that mental states are identical to brain states, it doesn’t follow immediately from this supposition that we can introspect our mental states as brain states. This point is analogous to the following. It doesn’t follow immediately from the mere fact that some distant object is identical to a horse that we can perceive it as a horse. Further, it isn’t obvious that any amount of education would suffice to make some distant speck on the horizon seem like a horse. It may very well be the case that no matter how well we know that some distant speck is a horse; as long as we are sufficiently distant from it we will only be able to see it as a speck. Analogously then, it may very well be the case that no matter how well we know that our mental states are brain states, we will only be able to introspect them as irreducibly mental
Martin, Michael G. F. (2002). The transparency of experience. Mind and Language 4 (4):376-425.   (Cited by 45 | Google | More links)
Metzinger, Thomas (2003). Phenomenal transparency and cognitive self-reference. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (4):353-393.   (Cited by 17 | Google | More links)
Molyneux, Bernard (2009). Why experience told me nothing about transparency. Noûs 43 (1):116-136.   (Google)
Abstract: The transparency argument concludes that we're directly aware of external properties and not directly aware of the properties of experience. Focusing on the presentation used by Michael Tye (2002) I contend that the argument requires experience to have content that it cannot plausibly have. I attribute the failure to a faulty account of the transparency phenomenon and conclude by suggesting an alternative understanding that is independently plausible, is not an error-theory and yet renders the transparency of experience compatible with mental-paint style views
Moore, G. E. (1993). Selected Writings. Routledge.   (Google)
Abstract: G. E. Moore was one of the most interesting and influential philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century. This selection of his writings makes the best of his work once again available, and also includes previously unpublished writings. Moore's first published writings, represented in this collection by his papers "The Nature of Judgment" and "The Refutation of Idealism," contributed decisively to the break with idealism which led to the development of analytic philosophy. Moore went on to develop his own style, which combined a defense of the common sense view of the world with a controversial analysis of the content of this view. Also included is Moore's famous "Proof of an External World," which marked a return late in his career to the critique of idealism. Other papers address perception and important issues in logical theory. The collection ends with three new pieces which illustrate Moore's relationship with Wittgenstein. In these pieces Moore discusses his "paradox" whichso fascinated Wittgenstein; the nature of our knowledge of our own sensations; and Malcolm's views about doubt and knowledge which were themselves inspired by Wittgenstein
Nida-Rümelin, Martine (2006). A puzzle about colors. Dialectica 60 (3):321–336.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Nida-Rümelin, Martine (2008). Phenomenal character and the transparency of experience. In Edmond Wright (ed.), The Case for Qualia. The Mit Press.   (Google)
Nida-Rümelin, Martine (2007). Transparency of experience and the perceptual model of phenomenal awareness. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):429–455.   (Google | More links)
O'Dea, John (2008). Transparency and the unity of experience. In E. Wright (ed.), The Case for Qualia. MIT Press.   (Google)
Abstract: If we assume that the operation of each sense modality constitutes a different experience – a visual experience, an auditory experience, etc – we are faced with the problem of how those distinct experiences come together to form a unified perceptual encounter with the world. Michael Tye has recently argued that the best way to get around this problem is to deny altogether that there are such things as purely visual (and so forth) experiences. Here I aim to show not simply that Tye’s proposed solution fails, but that its failure is highly instructive because it allows us to see that the transparency thesis, which lies at the heart of the case against qualia, and of most representationalist theories of experience, is more problematic than is often supposed
Pace, Michael (2007). Blurred vision and the transparency of experience. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (3):328–354.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper considers an objection to intentionalism (the view that the phenomenal character of experience supervenes on intentional content) based on the phenomenology of blurred vision. Several intentionalists, including Michael Tye, Fred Dretske, and Timothy Crane, have proposed intentionalist explanations of blurred vision phenomenology. I argue that their proposals fail and propose a solution of my own that, I contend, is the only promising explanation consistent with intentionalism. The solution, however, comes at a cost for intentionalists; it involves rejecting the "transparency of experience", a doctrine that has been the basis for the central argument in favor of intentionalism
Raymont, Paul (online). Some experienced qualities belong to the experience.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper, a criticism of representationalist views of consciousness is developed. These views are often supported by an appeal to a transparency thesis about conscious states, according to which an experience does not itself possess the qualities of which it makes one conscious. The experience makes one conscious of these qualities by representing them, not by instantiating them. Against this, it is argued that some of the properties of which one is conscious are had by the conscious state itself. Only by adopting this view can we account for certain perceptual incompatibilities, such as the fact that one cannot see a stick as being both bent and not bent. This sort of experience is impossible because it would require that an experience have, and not just represent, incompatible features
Schroer, Robert (2007). Reticence of phenomenal character: A spatial interpretation of transparency. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):393.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It is often claimed that the phenomenal character of visual experience is 'transparent' in that the phenomenal features of visual experience do not seem 'mental'. It is then claimed that this transparency speaks in favour of some theories of experience while speaking against others. In this paper, I advance both a negative and a positive thesis about transparency. My negative thesis is that visual phenomenal character is reticent in that it does not reveal whether it is mental or non-mental in nature. This, in turn, means that, by itself, transparency does not speak in favour of (and against) the theories it is often thought to speak in favour of (and against). My positive thesis is that the phenomenon referred to as the 'transparency' of visual phenomenal character is best characterized in spatial, not mental, terms
Siewert, Charles (2004). Is experience transparent? Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):15-41.   (Cited by 13 | Google | More links)
Smith, A. D. (2008). Translucent experiences. Philosophical Studies 140 (2):197--212.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper considers the claim that perceptual experience is “transparent”, in the sense that nothing other than the apparent public objects of perception are available to introspection by the subject of such experience. I revive and strengthen the objection that blurred vision constitutes an insuperable objection to the claim, and counter recent responses to the general objection. Finally the bearing of this issue on representationalist accounts of the mind is considered
Smith, Renée (2005). The transparency of qualia and the nature of introspection. Philosophical Writings 29:21-44.   (Google)
Stoljar, Daniel (2004). The argument from diaphanousness. In M. Escurdia, Robert J. Stainton & Christopher D. Viger (eds.), Language, Mind and World: Special Issue of the Canadian Journal of Philosophy. University of Alberta Press.   (Cited by 13 | Google)
Abstract: 1. Introduction In ‘The Refutation of Idealism’, G.E.Moore observed that, "when we try to introspect the sensation of blue, all we can see is the blue: the other element is as if it were diaphanous" (1922; p.25). Many philosophers, but Gilbert Harman (1990, 1996) in particular, have suggested that this observation forms the basis of an argument against qualia, usually called the argument from diaphanousness or transparency.1 But even its friends concede that it is none too clear what the argument from diaphanousness—as I will call it—is (Tye 2000; p.45).2 The purpose of this paper is to formulate the argument, and to assess its merits. My conclusion will be that qualia realists have little to fear from the argument—provided both qualia and diaphanousness are properly understood
Tye, Michael (2002). Representationalism and the transparency of experience. Noûs 36 (1):137-51.   (Cited by 21 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Representationalism is a thesis about the phenomenal character of experiences, about their immediate subjective ‘feel’.1 At a minimum, the thesis is one of supervenience: necessarily, experiences that are alike in their representational contents are alike in their phenomenal character. So understood, the thesis is silent on the nature of phenomenal character. Strong or pure representationalism goes further. It aims to tell us what phenomenal character is. According to the theory developed in Tye 1995, phenomenal character is one and the same as representational content that meets certain further conditions. One very important motivation for this theory is the so-called ? transparency of experience.? The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the appeal to transparency more carefully than has been done hithertofore, to make some remarks about the introspective awareness of experience in light of this appeal, and to consider one problem case for transparency at some length, that of blurry vision. Along the way, I shall also address some of the remarks Stephen Leeds makes in his essay on transparency
Weisberg, Josh (2006). Consciousness constrained: A commentary on being no one. Psyche 12 (1):***.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: ABSTRCT: In this commentary, I criticize Metzinger's interdisciplinary approach to fixing the explanandum of a theory of consciousness and I offer a commonsense alternative in its place. I then re-evaluate Metzinger's multi-faceted working concept of consciousness, and argue for a shift away from the notion of "global availability" and towards the notio ns of "perspectivalness" and "transparency." This serves to highlight the role of Metzinger's "phenomenal model of the intentionality relation" (PMIR) in explaining consciousness, and it helps to locate Metzinger's theory in relation to other naturalistic theories of
Weisberg, Josh (2005). Consciousness constrained: Commentary on Metzinger. Psyche 11 (5).   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: ABSTRCT: In this commentary, I criticize Metzinger's interdisciplinary approach to fixing the explanandum of a theory of consciousness and I offer a commonsense alternative in its place. I then re-evaluate Metzinger's multi-faceted working concept of consciousness, and argue for a shift away from the notion of "global availability" and towards the notio ns of "perspectivalness" and "transparency." This serves to highlight the role of Metzinger's "phenomenal model of the intentionality relation" (PMIR) in explaining consciousness, and it helps to locate Metzinger's theory in relation to other naturalistic theories of
Williford, Kenneth (2004). Moore, the diaphanousness of consciousness, and physicalism. Metaphysica 5 (2):133-50.   (Google)
Williford, Kenneth (ms). The logic of phenomenal transparency.   (Google)
Wright, Wayne (online). Transparency and aspects.   (Google)
Abstract: Strong Representationalism (SR) claims that the phenomenal character of experience is a certain kind of representational content. Furthermore, SR theorists often maintain that the phenomenal qualities of experience just are properties of the objects of experience, represented in experience.1 Another claim held by SR theorists, often cited as a reason for embracing their view, is that experience is transparent. Transparency is the phenomenon of introspection of your experience revealing nothing but the objects, properties, and relations that your experience is an experience of. In this note, I will raise a problem for SR based on its apparent difficulty in accounting for representation under an aspect at the level of phenomenal appearances. I will then discuss and briefly criticize Michael Tye’s proposed response to this sort of concern. I conclude by offering my own reply to the problem. What follows focuses on pain experience, but there is no barrier to extending these comments to certain other forms of experience, both sensory and perceptual