Skip to main content
Log in

Restrictions on Representationalism

  • Published:
Philosophical Studies Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

Strong representationalism claims that the qualitative character of our phenomenal mental states consists in the intentional content of such states. Although strong representationalism has greatly increased in popularity over the last decade, I find the view deeply implausible. In this paper, I attempt to argue against strong representationalism by a two-step argument. First, I suggest that strong representationalism must be unrestricted in order to serve as an adequate theory of qualia, i.e., it must apply to all qualitative mental states. Second, I present considerations – deriving largely from nonperceptual states – to show that an unrestricted form of strong representationalism is problematic.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Block N. (1996). Mental Paint and Mental Latex. In: Enrique Villaneuva, (eds) Philosophical Issues 7, Perception, pp 19–49. Ridgeview, Atascadero, CA

    Google Scholar 

  • Byrne A. (2001). Intentionalism Defended. Philosophical Review 110: 199–240

    Google Scholar 

  • Chalmers D. (1996). The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Dretske F. (1995). Naturalizing the Mind. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Dretske F. (1996). Phenomenal Externalism. In: Enrique Villaneuva, (eds) Philosophical Issues 7, Perception, pp 143–158. Ridgeview, Atascadero, CA

    Google Scholar 

  • Griffiths, P. (2004). ‘Is Emotion a Natural Kind?’ in Robert C. Solomon (ed.), Thinking About Feeling: Contemporary Philosophers on Emotion (pp. 233–249), Oxford: Oxford University Press

  • Heil J. (1998). Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Harman, G. (1990). ‘The Intrinsic Quality of Experience’, in Ned Block et␣al. (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (pp. 663–675)

  • Harman G. (1996). Explaining Objective Color in Terms of Subjective Experience. In: Villaneuva, Enrique (eds) Philosophical Issues 7, Perception, pp 1–18. Ridgeview, Atascadero, CA

    Google Scholar 

  • Horgan T. and Tienson J. (2002). The Intentionality of Phenomenology and the Phenomenology of Intentionality. In: Chalmers David, (eds) Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, pp 520–533. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Kim J. (1996). Philosophy of Mind. Westview Press, Boulder, CO

    Google Scholar 

  • Kind A. (2003). What’s So Transparent About Transparency?. Philosophical Studies 115: 225–244

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lycan W.G. (1996). Consciousness and Experience. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • McGinn C. (1997). The Character of Mind (Second Edition). Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • McGinn, C. (1991): ‘Consciousness and Content’, in Ned Block et al. (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press (pp. 295–307)

  • Pitt, D. (2004). ‘The Phenomenology of Cognition, or What is it Like to Think That P?’ Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69, 1–36

    Google Scholar 

  • Rey G. (1993). Sensational Sentences. In: Martin Davies, and Humphreys, Glyn (eds) Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays, pp 240–257. Blackwell, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Tye M. (1992). Visual Qualia and Visual Content. In: Crane, Tim (eds) The Contents of Experience, pp 158–176. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  • Tye M. (1995). Ten Problems of Consciousness. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Tye M. (2000). Consciousness, Color and Content. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Gulick, R. (1992). ‘Understanding the Phenomenal Mind, Part II’, in Ned Block et al. (eds.), The Nature of Consciousness (pp. 435–442), Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amy Kind.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kind, A. Restrictions on Representationalism. Philos Stud 134, 405–427 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-007-9079-y

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-007-9079-y

Keywords

Navigation