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Transparency, representationalism, and visual noise

  • Joshua GertEmail author


Those who endorse the twin theses of transparency and representationalism with regard to visual experience hold that the qualities we are aware of in such experience are, all of them, apparently possessed by external objects. They hold, therefore, that we are not introspectively aware of any qualities of visual experience itself. In this paper I argue that attention to visual noise—also known as ‘eigenlicht’ or ‘eigengrau’—puts pressure on both of these theses, though in different ways. Phenomenally, visual noise does not even seem to belong to any external objects, which is a challenge to transparency. Moreover, visual noise is not the normal visual response to any distinctive external property, such as external graininess. Nor is it treated by our visual system as the perception of any such property. Given extant views of visual representation, it is therefore implausible to claim that it is the transparent representation of any such property.


Transparency Representationalism Vision Perception 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe College of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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