Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 325–346

Ambiguous figures and the spatial contents of perceptual experience: a defense of representationalism


    • Department of PhilosophyThe University of Georgia

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-011-9204-4

Cite this article as:
Jagnow, R. Phenom Cogn Sci (2011) 10: 325. doi:10.1007/s11097-011-9204-4


Representationalists hold that the phenomenal character of a perceptual experience is identical with, or supervenes on, an aspect of its representational content. As such, representationalism could be disproved by a counter-example consisting of two experiences that have the same representational content but differ in phenomenal character. In this paper, I discuss two recently proposed counter-examples to representationalism that involve ambiguous or reversible figures. I pursue two goals. My first, and most important, goal is to show that the representationalist can offer plausible responses to both counter-examples. My second goal is to show the implications of these responses for the nature of the spatial representational contents of perceptual experiences.


Perceptual experience Representationalism Spatial representational content Mach figure

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011