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This chapter provides an overview of the structure and purpose of the book. It introduces the philosophical context and motivations of the debate between conceptualism and nonconceptualism. The book is a defense of the nonconceptualist claim that experience is nonconceptual and has nonconceptual content. In particular, it defends what I call ‘Modest Nonconceptualism,’ which is briefly introduced in this chapter. On this view, all perceptual experiences are at least partly nonconceptual, i.e., involve the exercise of at least some concepts. It involves an argument that enables the Modest Nonconceptualist to bridge the gap between the state view and the content view of nonconceptualism. ‘Concept’ talk is taken to be anchored in conceptual abilities that the subject possesses and exercises. Nonconceptual perceptual content is taken to consist in scenario content (see Peacocke, A study of concepts. MIT, Cambridge, 1992), which is both nonconceptual and non-propositional; externally conceived, the content of an experience consists in the worldly states of affairs it represents. The latter content is needed for the Modest Nonconceptualist’s account of perceptual justification. The view claims that the Autonomy Thesis is correct: A perceiver’s experiences may have nonconceptual content even if she possesses no concepts whatsoever. The Modest Nonconceptualist account of the representational content of perceptual experience is based on the subpersonal-level organization of the underlying representational states.
KeywordsPerceptual Experience Phenomenal Character Representational Content Conceptual Content Perceptual Justification
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