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Perception, Content and Conceptual Engagement: Is there any non-conceptual content?

KIM, TAE-KYUNG (2015) Perception, Content and Conceptual Engagement: Is there any non-conceptual content? PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to compensate for the defects in the forms of conceptualism which John McDowell (1994a) and Bill Brewer (1999) hold: it does this by analysing the conceptual structure of the content of experience using colour experience as the central case. First, the root of the debate between conceptualism and non-conceptualism, as I shall argue, is the different notions of concept and experience used by the two sides. The nonconceptualists’ notion of a concept, or conceptual capacity, has been defined very narrowly, satisfying very restricted conditions, whereas their notion of experience is much wider and more flexible, ranging from a subpersonal state to a personal level. By contrast, conceptualists are quite open to broad notions of a concept, or conceptual capacity, but seem to define the content of experience as belonging only to the personal level. Second, in order to build a bridge between these two different notions of both concept and experience respectively, I will argue that three major types of conceptual capacities can operate in experience. I call this ‘conceptual engagement’. I then suggest that we need to consider two perspectives on colour experience: namely, the functional and the expository. The former concerns ‘how experience physically works’, whereas the latter concerns “what experience has.” Both perspectives will prove useful for explaining perceptual content at the sub-personal and personal level. This distinction is required because what we call the ‘content’ of experience does not belong to just one particular stage of experience. Last, as a final supplementation of previous conceptualism, I will consider the discrimination abilities involved in perception as being themselves a type of conceptual capacity. At this point, I will adopt the notion of receptivity as used by McDowell (1994a), but deny that a conceptualist is committed to spontaneity being involved in receptivity. I will further propose that understanding discriminative abilities as perceptual receptivity could prepare the ground for taking over perceptual contents into the contents of thought. I will argue that perception could be passive and conceptual, hence separate from spontaneity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Conceptualism, Nonconceptualism, Philosophy of Perception
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: Mr TAE-KYUNG KIM
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 12:21
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2016 12:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15656

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