, Volume 165, Issue 2, pp 335-347

Anticipation and variation in visual content

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Abstract

This article is composed of three parts. In the first part of the article I take up a question raised by Susanna Siegel (Philosophical Review 115: 355–388, 2006a). Siegel has argued that subjects have the following anticipation: (PC) If S substantially changes her perspective on o, her visual phenomenology will change as a result of this change. She has left it an open question as to whether subjects anticipate a specific kind of change. I take up this question and answer it in the affirmative. By appealing to a widely held view of perceptual content, the view that we represent ‘factual’ properties in perception, I argue that (PC) can be refined as follows: (PC’) If S substantially changes her perspective on o, her visual phenomenology will present different views of o’s factual properties. In the second part of the article I argue that (PC’) implies that there are cases in which normal perceivers have different perceptual content under identical viewing conditions. The differences in perceptual content are due to differences in the determinacy of visual anticipation. I draw the conclusion that perceptual content is rich in the sense that it includes a unique contribution from individual perceivers. In the final part of the article, I discuss some open issues regarding the way in which (PC’) relates to the personal/sub-personal distinction, empirical models, and the distinction between perception and cognition.