Advertisement

Synthese

pp 1–15 | Cite as

Transparency, representationalism, and visual noise

  • Joshua GertEmail author
Article
  • 15 Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Transparency Representationalism Vision Perception 

Notes

References

  1. Allen, K. (2011). Revelation and the nature of colour. Dialectica,65(2), 153–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, K. (2013). Blur. Philosophical Studies,162(2), 257–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen, K. (2016). A naïve realist theory of colour. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourget, D. (2015). Representationalism, perceptual distortion and the limits of phenomenal concepts. Canadian Journal of Philosophy,45(1), 16–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bourget, D., & Mendelovici, A. (2014). Tracking representationalism: Lycan, Dretske, and Tye. In A. Bailey (Ed.), Philosophy of mind: The key thinkers (pp. 209–238). New York: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  6. Crane, T. (2000). Introspection, intentionality, and the transparency of experience. Philosophical Topics,28(2), 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dretske, F. (1988). Explaining behavior. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dretske, F. (2003). Experience as representation. Philosophical Issues,13, 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fechner, G. T. (1860/1966). In D. Howes & E. Boring (Eds.), Elements of psychophysics (Vol. 1) (H. Adler, Trans.). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  10. Freud, S. (1913). The interpretation of dreams (A. Brill, Trans.). New York: MacMillan Co.Google Scholar
  11. Harman, G. (1990). The intrinsic quality of experience. In J. Tomberlin (Ed.), Philosophical perspectives 4: Action theory and philosophy of mind (pp. 31–52). Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview.Google Scholar
  12. Helmholtz, H. (1856/1909/1962). In J. Southhall (Ed.), Helmholtz’s treatise on physiological optics. Mineola, NY: Dover.Google Scholar
  13. Horgan, T., & Tienson, J. (2002). The intentionality of phenomenology and the phenomenology of intentionality. In D. Chalmers (Ed.), Philosophy of mind: Classical and contemporary readings (pp. 520–533). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kennedy, M. (2009). Heirs of nothing: The implications of transparency. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research,79(3), 574–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kind, A. (2003). What’s so transparent about transparency? Philosophical Studies, 115(3), 225–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ladd, G. T. (1903). Direct control of the ‘retinal field’: Report on three cases. Psychological Review,10(2), 139–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Loar, B. (2003). Phenomenal intentionality as the basis for mental content. In M. Hahn & B. Ramberg (Eds.), Reflections and replies: Essays on the philosophy of Tyler burge (pp. 229–258). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Martin, M. (2004). The limits of self-awareness. Philosophical Studies,120(1), 37–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Millikan, R. (1989). Biosemantics. Journal of Philosophy,86(6), 281–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Neander, K. (2017). A mark of the mental: In defense of informational teleosemantics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pace, M. (2007). Blurred vision and the transparency of experience. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly,88(3), 328–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pautz, A. (2013). Does phenomenology ground mental content? In U. Kriegel (Ed.), Phenomenal intentionality (pp. 194–234). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pelli, D. (1990). The quantum efficiency of vision. In C. Blakemore (Ed.), Vision: Coding and efficiency (pp. 3–24). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Schroer, R. (2002). Seeing it all clearly: The real story on blurry vision. American Philosophical Quarterly,39(3), 297–301.Google Scholar
  25. Schwitzgebel, E. (2011). Perplexities of consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Siewert, C. (2004). Is experience transparent? Philosophical Studies,117(1), 15–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Smith, A. (2008). Translucent experiences. Philosophical Studies,140(2), 197–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tye, M. (2000). Consciousness, color, and content. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tye, M. (2003). Blurry images, double vision, and other oddities: New problems for representationalism?’. In Q. Smith & A. Josic (Eds.), Consciousness: New philosophical perspectives (pp. 7–32). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Tye, M. (2014). Transparency, qualia realism and representationalism. Philosophical Studies,170(1), 39–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Volkmann, A. (1846). Sehen. In R. Wagner (Ed.), Handworterbuch der physiologie (Vol. 3, pp. 265–341). Braunschweig: Vieweg.Google Scholar
  32. Wundt, W. (1880). Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie (Vol. 2). Leipzig: Engelmann.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations