•  910
    Aesthetic attention
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (5-6): 96-118. 2015.
    The aim of this paper is to give a new account of the way we exercise our attention in some paradigmatic cases of aesthetic experience. I treat aesthetic experience as a specific kind of experience and like in the case of other kinds of experiences, attention plays an important role in determining its phenomenal character. I argue that an important feature of at least some of our aesthetic experiences is that we exercise our attention in a specific, distributed, manner: our attention is focused …Read more
  •  833
    Perception and imagination: amodal perception as mental imagery
    Philosophical Studies 150 (2): 239-254. 2010.
    When we see an object, we also represent those parts of it that are not visible. The question is how we represent them: this is the problem of amodal perception. I will consider three possible accounts: (a) we see them, (b) we have non-perceptual beliefs about them and (c) we have immediate perceptual access to them, and point out that all of these views face both empirical and conceptual objections. I suggest and defend a fourth account, according to which we represent the occluded parts of per…Read more
  •  655
    The role of imagination in decision-making
    Mind and Language 31 (1): 126-142. 2016.
    The psychological mechanism of decision-making has traditionally been modeled with the help of belief-desire psychology: the agent has some desires (or other pro-attitudes) and some background beliefs and deciding between two possible actions is a matter of comparing the probability of the satisfaction of these desires given the background beliefs in the case of the performance of each action. There is a wealth of recent empirical findings about how we actually make decisions that seems to be in…Read more
  •  583
    Perceptual content and the content of mental imagery
    Philosophical Studies 172 (7): 1723-1736. 2015.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that the phenomenal similarity between perceiving and visualizing can be explained by the similarity between the structure of the content of these two different mental states. And this puts important constraints on how we should think about perceptual content and the content of mental imagery
  •  571
    Internal History versus External History
    Philosophy 92 (2): 207-230. 2017.
    The aim of this paper is to generalize a pair of concepts that are widely used in the history of science, in art history and in historical linguistics – the concept of internal and external history – and to replace the often very vague talk of ‘historical narratives’ with this conceptual framework of internal versus external history. I argue that this way of framing the problem allows us to see the possible alternatives more clearly – as a limited number of possible relations between internal an…Read more
  •  462
    Hallucination as Mental Imagery
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (7-8): 65-81. 2016.
    Hallucination is a big deal in contemporary philosophy of perception. The main reason for this is that the way hallucination is treated marks an important stance in one of the most hotly contested debates in this subdiscipline: the debate between 'relationalists' and 'representationalists'. I argue that if we take hallucinations to be a form of mental imagery, then we have a very straightforward way of arguing against disjunctivism: if hallucination is a form of mental imagery and if mental imag…Read more
  •  461
    What if reality has no architecture?
    The Monist 94 (2): 181-197. 2011.
    The aim of this paper is to show that we can deny that reality is neatly segmented into natural kinds and still give a plausible view about what science is supposed to do – and the way science in fact works does not rely on the dubious metaphysical assumption that reality is segmented into natural kinds. The score is simple: either there are natural kinds or there aren’t. The former view has been the default position in mainstream analytic metaphysics and philosophy of science. I want to put the…Read more
  •  453
    Amodal completion and knowledge
    Analysis 79 (3): 415-423. 2019.
    Amodal completion is the representation of occluded parts of perceived objects. We argue for the following three claims: First, at least some amodal completion-involved experiences can ground knowledge about the occluded portions of perceived objects. Second, at least some instances of amodal completion-grounded knowledge are not sensitive, that is, it is not the case that in the nearest worlds in which the relevant claim is false, that claim is not believed true. Third, at least some instances …Read more
  •  436
    Attention and perceptual content
    Analysis 70 (2): 263-270. 2010.
    I argue that perceptual content is always affected by the allocation of one’s attention. Perception attributes determinable and determinate properties to the perceived scene. Attention makes (or tries to make) our perceptual attribution of properties more determinate. Hence, a change in our attention changes the determinacy of the properties attributed to the perceived scene.
  •  416
    Zhongguo Meixue Yanjiu 10 311-331. 2018.
  •  407
    Essentialism about natural kinds has three tenets. The first tenet is that all and only members of a natural kind has some essential properties. The second tenet is that these essential properties play a causal role. The third tenet is that they are explanatorily relevant. I examine the prospects of questioning these tenets and point out that arguing against the first and the second tenets of kind-essentialism would involve taking parts in some of the grand debates of philosophy. But, at least i…Read more
  •  392
    Singularist Semirealism
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2): 371-394. 2013.
    This paper proposes to carve out a new position in the scientific realism/antirealism debate and argue that it captures some of the most important realist and some of the most important antirealist considerations. The view, briefly stated, is that there is always a fact of the matter about whether the singular statements science gives us are literally true, but there is no fact of the matter about whether the non-singular statements science gives us are literally true. I call this view singulari…Read more
  •  386
    The Multimodal Experience of Art
    British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (4): 353-363. 2012.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that our experience of artworks is normally multimodal. It is the result of perceptual processing in more than one sense modality. In other words, multimodal experience of art is not the exception; it is the rule. I use the example of music in order to demonstrate the various ways in which the visual sense modality influences the auditory processing of music and conclude that this should make us look more closely at our practices of engaging with artworks.
  •  382
    Adam Smith’s account of sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ has recently become exceedingly popular. It has been used as an antecedent of the concept of simulation: understanding, or attributing mental states to, other people by means of simulating them. It has also been singled out as the first correct account of empathy. Finally, to make things even more complicated, some of Smith’s examples for sympathy or ‘fellow feeling’ have been used as the earliest expression of emotional contagion. The aim of …Read more
  •  374
    A Modal Theory of Function
    Journal of Philosophy 107 (8): 412-431. 2010.
    The function of a trait token is usually defined in terms of some properties of other (past, present, future) tokens of the same trait type. I argue that this strategy is problematic, as trait types are (at least partly) individuated by their functional properties, which would lead to circularity. In order to avoid this problem, I suggest a way to define the function of a trait token in terms of the properties of the very same trait token. To able to allow for the possibility of malfunctioning, …Read more
  •  367
    Perceiving pictures
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4): 461-480. 2011.
    I aim to give a new account of picture perception: of the way our visual system functions when we see something in a picture. My argument relies on the functional distinction between the ventral and dorsal visual subsystems. I propose that it is constitutive of picture perception that our ventral subsystem attributes properties to the depicted scene, whereas our dorsal subsystem attributes properties to the picture surface. This duality elucidates Richard Wollheim’s concept of the “twofoldness” …Read more
  •  366
    Perceiving tropes
    Erkenntnis 77 (1): 1-14. 2012.
    There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to the first one, perception is representational: it represents the world as being a certain way. According to the second, perception is a genuine relation between the perceiver and a token object. These two views are thought to be incompatible. My aim is to work out the least problematic version of the representational view of perception that preserves the most important considerations in favor of the relational view. Acc…Read more
  •  354
    Philosophy of perception as a guide to aesthetics
    In Greg Currie, Aaron Meskin, Matthew Kieran & Jon Robson (eds.), Aesthetics and the Sciences of the Mind, . 2014.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that it is a promising avenue of research to consider philosophy of perception to be a guide to aesthetics. More precisely, my claim is that many, maybe even most, traditional problems in aesthetics are in fact about philosophy of perception that can, as a result, be fruitfully addressed with the help of the conceptual apparatus of philosophy of perception. This claim may sound provocative, but after qualifying what I mean by aesthetics (to be contrasted with ph…Read more
  •  348
    Motor imagery and action execution
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy. 2020.
    What triggers the execution of actions? What happens in that moment when an action is triggered? What mental state is there at the moment of action-execution that was not there a second before? My aim is to highlight the importance of a thus far largely ignored kind of mental state in the discussion of these old and much-debated questions: motor imagery. While there have been a fair amount of research in psychology and neuroscience on motor imagery in the last 30 years or so, it is only recently…Read more
  •  335
    Popper's Darwinian analogy
    Perspectives on Science 19 (3): 337-354. 2011.
    One of the most deeply entrenched ideas in Popper's philosophy is the analogy between the growth of scientific knowledge and the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection. Popper gave his first exposition of these ideas very early on. In a letter to Donald Campbell, 1 Popper says that the idea goes back at least to the early thirties. 2 And he had a fairly detailed account of it in his "What is dialectic?", a talk given in 1937 and published in 1940: 3 If we want to explain why human thought tend…Read more
  •  334
    Imagining, Recognizing and Discriminating: Reconsidering the Ability Hypothesis
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (3): 699-717. 2009.
    According to the Ability Hypothesis, knowing what it is like to have experience E is just having the ability to imagine or recognize or remember having experience E. I examine various versions of the Ability Hypothesis and point out that they all face serious objections. Then I propose a new version that is not vulnerable to these objections: knowing what it is like to experience E is having the ability todiscriminate imagining or having experience E from imagining or having any other experience…Read more
  •  325
    Perceptual phenomenology
    Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1): 235-246. 2012.
    I am looking at an apple. The apple has a lot of properties and some, but not all, of these are part of my phenomenology at this moment: I am aware of these properties. And some, but not all, of these properties that I am aware of are part of my perceptual (or sensory) phenomenology. If I am attending to the apple’s color, this property will be part of my perceptual phenomenology. The property of being a granny smith apple from Chile is unlikely to be part of my perceptual phenomenology. Here ar…Read more
  •  323
    Do we sense modalities with our sense modalities?1
    Ratio 24 (3): 299-310. 2011.
    It has been widely assumed that we do not perceive dispositional properties. I argue that there are two ways of interpreting this assumption. On the first, extensional, interpretation whether we perceive dispositions depends on a complex set of metaphysical commitments. But if we interpret the claim in the second, intensional, way, then we have no reason to suppose that we do not perceive dispositional properties. The two most important and influential arguments to the contrary fail
  •  316
    There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to representationalism, perceptual states are representations: they represent the world as being a certain way. They have content, which may or may not be different from the content of beliefs. They represent objects as having properties, sometimes veridically, sometimes not. According to relationalism, perception is a relation between the agent and the perceived object. Perceived objects are literally constituents of our …Read more
  •  310
    Imaginative resistance and conversational implicature
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240): 586-600. 2010.
    We experience resistance when we are engaging with fictional works which present certain (for example, morally objectionable) claims. But in virtue of what properties do sentences trigger this ‘imaginative resistance’? I argue that while most accounts of imaginative resistance have looked for semantic properties in virtue of which sentences trigger it, this is unlikely to give us a coherent account, because imaginative resistance is a pragmatic phenomenon. It works in a way very similar to Paul …Read more
  •  303
    Action-oriented Perception
    European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3): 430-446. 2012.
    Abstract: When I throw a ball at you, do you see it as catch-able? Do we perceive objects as edible, climbable or Q-able in general? One could argue that it is just a manner of speaking to say so: we do not really see an object as edible, we only infer on the basis of its other properties that it is. I argue that whether or not an object is edible or climbable is indeed represented perceptually: we see objects as edible, and do not just believe that they are. My argument proceeds in two steps. F…Read more
  •  288
    Teleosemantics without etiology
    Philosophy of Science 81 (5): 798-810. 2014.
    The aim of teleosemantics is to give a scientifically respectable, or ‘naturalistic’ theory of mental content. In the debates surrounding the scope and merits of teleosemantics a lot has been said about the concept of indication (or carrying information). The aim of this paper is to focus on the other key concept of teleosemantics: biological function. It has been universally accepted in the teleosemantics literature that the account of biological function one should use to flesh out teleosemant…Read more
  •  287
    How to (and how not to) think about top-down influences on visual perception
    with Christoph Teufel
    Consciousness and Cognition 47 17-25. 2017.
    The question of whether cognition can influence perception has a long history in neuroscience and philosophy. Here, we outline a novel approach to this issue, arguing that it should be viewed within the framework of top-down information-processing. This approach leads to a reversal of the standard explanatory order of the cognitive penetration debate: we suggest studying top-down processing at various levels without preconceptions of perception or cognition. Once a clear picture has emerged abou…Read more
  •  286
    Success semantics: the sequel
    Philosophical Studies 165 (1): 151-165. 2013.
    The aim of this paper is to reinterpret success semantics, a theory of mental content, according to which the content of a belief is fixed by the success conditions of some actions based on this belief. After arguing that in its present form, success semantics is vulnerable to decisive objections, I examine the possibilities of salvaging the core of this proposal. More specifically, I propose that the content of some very simple, but very important, mental states, the immediate mental antecedent…Read more
  •  284
    Action without attention
    Analysis 76 (1): 29-36. 2016.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so doe…Read more