Forthcoming in Mind & Language

There are three main positions regarding the relationship between phenomenality and intentionality: separatism, representationalism, and phenomenal intentionalism.  I defend a novel claim about the phenomenal-intentional relation that is incompatible with separatism, can enrich representationalism and phenomenal intentionalism, but can also be accepted without endorsing representationalism or phenomenal intentionalism.  I call this view phenomenal schematics: Phenomenal structure places formal and sometimes semantic constraints on the possible intentional contents of our experiences, and these constraints hold with apriori necessity.  According to phenomenal schematics, the phenomenal structure of our experiences is akin to the grammatical properties of words (or the rules of composition governing the representational elements in diagrams, maps, and models).  Unlike words, however, phenomenal characters possess their “grammatical properties” essentially.  This is a point that has not received clear expression in the literature to date, and it marks a new perspective on the connections that exist between phenomenality and intentionality.

 

Forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly

Liberals about perceptual contents claim that perceptual experiences can represent kinds and specific, familiar individuals as such; they also claim that the representation of an individual or kind as such by a perceptual experience will be reflected in the phenomenal character of that experience.  Conservatives always deny the latter and sometimes also the former claim.  I argue that neither liberals nor conservatives have adequately appreciated how the content internalism/externalism debate bears on their views.  I show that perceptual content internalism entails conservativism when conjoined with one other, extremely plausible premise.  Hence, liberals are committed to perceptual contents externalism, yet they have failed to fully address the consequences that this has for their view.  Moreover, the argument is easily adapted to perceptual experiences of Twin Earthable properties, like colour and shape.  I use this last result to show why existing conservative arguments that appeal to Twin Earth plausibly overgeneralize.

 

(with Lawrence Nelson) Hastings Center Report, 41 no. 3 (2011): 28-37

Though there are good arguments against physician participation in executions, physicians should be allowed to make their own decisions about whether they will participate, and professional medical organizations should not flatly destroy the careers of those who do.

 

©2019 Brandon Ashby.  Photographs by Caroline King.