, Volume 146, Issue 3, pp 225–243 | Cite as

The Double Content of Perception

  • John DilworthEmail author


Clearly we can perceive both objects, and various aspects or appearances of those objects. But how should that complexity of perceptual content be explained or analyzed? I argue that perceptual representations normally have a double or two level nested structure of content, so as to adequately incorporate information both about contextual aspects Y(X) of an object X, and about the object X itself. On this double content (DC) view, perceptual processing starts with aspectual data Y′(X′) as a higher level of content, which data does not itself provide lower level X-related content, but only an aspectually encoded form of such data. Hence the relevant perceptual data Y′(X′) must be ’de-contextualized’ or decoded to arrive at the X-related content X′, resulting in a double content structure for perceptual data, that persists in higher-order conscious perceptual content. Some implications and applications of this DC view are also discussed.


Perceptual Processing Content Structure Nest Structure Perceptual Representation Perceptual Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Biederman, I. 1987‘Recognition-by-Components: A Theory of Human Image Understanding’Psychological Review94115147CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Biederman, I. 1995‘Visual object recognition’Kosslyn, S. F.Osherson, D. N. eds. An Invitation to Cognitive Science: Vol 2. Visual Cognition: Chap 4MIT PressCambridge, MA121165Google Scholar
  3. Byrne, A. 2001‘Intentionalism Defended’The Philosophical Review110199240Google Scholar
  4. Dilworth, J. 2001‘A Representational Theory of Artefacts and Artworks’The British Journal of Aesthetics41353370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dilworth, J. 2003‘Medium, Subject Matter and Representation’The Southern Journal of Philosophy414562Google Scholar
  6. Dretske, F. 1981Knowledge and the Flow of InformationMIT PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. Kuhn, T. 1962The Structure of Scientific RevolutionsUniversity of Chicago PressChicagoGoogle Scholar
  8. Lopes, D. M. M. 2000‘What Is It Like to See With Your Ears? The Representational Theory of Mind’Philosophy and Phenomenological Research60439453Google Scholar
  9. Nagel, T. 1974‘What Is It Like to Be a Bat?’The Philosophical ReviewLXXXIII435450Google Scholar
  10. Niedenthal, P. M.Kitayama, S. eds. 1994The Heart’s Eye: Emotional Influences in Perception and AttentionAcademic PressNew YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. O’Regan, J. K., Noë, A. 2001‘A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness’Behavioral and Brain Sciences24939973PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Sperber, D. eds. 2000MetarepresentationsOxford University PressOxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Tye, M. 1997‘A Representational Theory of Pains and Their Phenomenal Character’Block, N.Flanagan, OGüzeldere, G. eds. The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical DebatesMIT PressCambridge, MAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooU.S.A

Personalised recommendations