Modest Nonconceptualism

Epistemology, Phenomenology, and Content

  • Eva Schmidt

Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 1-5
  3. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 7-30
  4. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 31-72
  5. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 73-104
  6. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 105-123
  7. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 125-166
  8. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 167-231
  9. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 233-255
  10. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 257-261
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 263-268

About this book


The author defends nonconceptualism, the claim that perceptual experience is nonconceptual and has nonconceptual content. Continuing the heated and complex debate surrounding this topic over the past two decades, she offers a sustained defense of a novel version of the view, Modest Nonconceptualism, and provides a systematic overview of some of the central controversies in the debate.

The volume starts off with an explication of the notion of nonconceptual content and a distinction between nonconceptualist views of different strengths, then the author goes on to defend participants in the debate over nonconceptual content against the allegation that their failure to distinguish between a state view and a content view of (non)conceptualism leads to fatal problems for their views. Next, she makes a case for nonconceptualism by refining some of the central arguments for the view, such as the arguments from fineness of grain, from contradictory contents, from animal and infant perception, and from concept acquisition. Then, two central objections against nonconceptualism are rebutted in a novel way: the epistemological objection and the objection from objectivity.

Modest Nonconceptualism allows for perceptual experiences to involve some conceptual elements. It emphasizes the relevance of concept employment for an understanding of conceptual and nonconceptual mental states and identifies the nonconceptual content of experience with scenario content. It insists on the possibility of genuine content-bearing perceptual experience without concept possession and is thus in line with the Autonomy Thesis. Finally, it includes an account of perceptual justification that relies on the external contents of experience and belief, yet is compatible with epistemological internalism.


Animal minds Mental content Nonconceptual content Perceptual experience Perceptual objectivity Perceptual reasons Philosophy of perception Scenario content

Authors and affiliations

  • Eva Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy Department Saarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

Bibliographic information