Essays on Nonconceptual Content

Edited by York Gunther

According to the widespread conceptualist view, all mental contents are governed by concepts an individual possesses. In recent years, however, an increasing number of philosophers have argued for the indispensability of nonconceptual content based on perceptual, emotional, and qualitative experiences; informational and computational states; memory; and practical knowledge. Writers from disciplines as varied as the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, epistemology, linguistics, religious psychology, and aesthetics have challenged conceptualism.

This book offers some of the most important work on nonconceptual content in the philosophy of mind and psychology. It is divided into four parts. Part 1 presents influential positions that have helped to shape the contemporary debate. Part 2 focuses on arguments informed specifically by the naturalization of intentionality or the characterization of computational structure. Part 3 offers various attempts at motivating the need for nonconceptual content based on experiential phenomena such as perception, emotion, and memory. Finally, part 4 considers whether nonconceptual content can be used to explain the behavior of entities lacking conceptual capacities in addition to the actions of individuals possessing concepts.

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Contributors
  3. General Introduction
  4. Preliminaries
  5. 1. Sensation and Perception (1981)

    Fred Dretske

  6. 2. Demonstrative Identification (1982)

    Gareth Evans

  7. 3. Nonconceptual Content (1994)

    John McDowell

  8. II. Naturalism and Computation
  9. 4. What Might Nonconceptual Content Be? (1998)

    Robert Stalnaker

  10. 5. Scenarios, Concepts, and Perception (1992)

    Christopher Peacocke

  11. 6. Content, Conceptual Content, and Nonconceptual Content (1990)

    Adrian Cussins

  12. 7. Connectionism and Cognitive Flexibility (1994)

    Andy Clark

  13. 8. Nonconceptual Content: From Perceptual Experience to Subpersonal Computational States (1995)

    José Luis Bermúdez

  14. The Nature of Experience
  15. 9. The Nonconceptual Content of Perceptual Experience: Situation Dependence and Fineness of Grain (2001)

    Sean Kelly

  16. 10. The Waterfall Illusion (1988)

    Tim Crane

  17. 11. Perception, Concepts, and Memory (1992)

    Michael Martin

  18. 12. Perception, Concepts, and Memory (1992)

    Michael Martin

  19. 13. A Representational Theory of Pains and Their Phenomenal Character (1997)

    Michael Tye

  20. 14. Emotion and Force (2003)

    York H. gunther

  21. Part IV The Autonomy Thesis
  22. 15. Peacocke's Argument against the Autonomy of Nonconceptual Representational Content (1994)

    José Luis Bermúdez

  23. 16. Nonconceptual Content: Kinds, Rationales, and Relations (1994)

    Christopher Peacocke

  24. References
  25. Index