Princeton University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2001
Areas of Specialization
Areas of Interest
 Epistemology Philosophy of Probability 20th Century Philosophy Philosophy of Mathematics Logic and Philosophy of Logic Meta-Ethics Philosophy of Mind Philosophy of Language Metaphysics Metaphilosophy Metaphysics and Epistemology
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PhilPapers Editorships
 Perception The Nature of Perceptual Experience Sense-Datum Theories Adverbialism and Qualia Theories Intentionalist Theories of Perception Belief Theories of Perception Naive and Direct Realism The Nature of Perceptual Experience, Misc The Given Discriminability Aspects of Perception Illusion and Hallucination Transparency Perceptual Reports Sensation and Perception Aspects of Perception, Misc
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•  156
##### Relativized metaphysical modality: Index and context with Adam Russell Murray and Jessica Wilson In Otávio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality, Routledge. forthcoming.
Relativized Metaphysical Modality (RMM: Murray and Wilson, 'Relativized metaphysical modality', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 2012; Murray, Perspectives on Modal Metaphysics, 2017) exploits 'two-dimensionalist' resources to metaphysical, rather than epistemological, ends: the second dimension offers perspective-dependence without contingency, diverting attacks on 'Classical' analyses of modals (in effect, analyses validating S5 and the Barcan Formulae). Here, we extend the RMM program in two di…Read more
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##### Justin Fisher's 'color representations as hash values'
Justin makes a novel case, based on reflection on the “telos” of color vision, for a dispositional theory of colors. Justin’s case is highly suggestive, and comes tantalizingly close to resolving the debate in the metaphysics of color. But I have a few questions which I would like to see answered before I am converted
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##### Jenann Ismael's 'probability and physics'
Jenann’s central metaphysical thesis is that there is an objective conditional probability function PrG(A/B), the domain of which includes a great many, perhaps all, pairs of contingent propositions. This pair can be synchronic or diachronic: both can concern how things are at the same time, or not. Jenann’s central epistemological thesis is antiskepticism about PrG, in the following sense: prima facie, the subjective credence functions of epistemically reasonable agents converge on PrG: roughly…Read more
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##### Semantic gaps and protosemantics In Acacio de Barros & Carlos Montemayor (eds.), Mind and Quanta, Springer. 2019.
Semantic gaps between physical and mental discourse include the 'explanatory', 'epistemic' (Black-and-White Mary), and 'suppositional' (zombies) gaps; protosemantics is concerned with what is fundamental to meaning. Our tradition presupposes a truth-based protosemantics, with disastrous consequences for interpreting the semantic gaps: nonphysicalism, epiphenomenalism, separatism. Fortunately, an endorsement-based protosemantics, recentering meaning from the world to the mind, is technically viab…Read more
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##### If-clauses as postsemantic context-shifters
A mainstay assumption in natural-language semantics is that \emph{if}-clauses bind indexical argument-places in \emph{then}-clauses. Unfortunately, recent work (compare \citealt{santorio12}) suggests that \emph{if}-clauses can somehow act to shift the context'. On the framework of Kaplan's Demonstratives' \citep{kaplan77}, that would be monstrous' and somehow impossible in English'. The superseding framework of Lewis's `Index, context, and content' \citep{lewis80icc} instead maintains that a…Read more
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##### Consciousness and representationalism In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Macmillan. 2002.
The representationalist theory of consciousness is the view that consciousness reduces to mental representation. This view comes in several variants which must explain introspective awareness of conscious mental states
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##### An analytic-hermeneutic history of Consciousness In Kelly Michael Becker & Iain Thompson (eds.), Cambridge Companion to History of Philosophy 1945-2015, Cambridge University Press. 2019.
The hermeneutic tradition divides /physical/ discourse, which takes an 'exterior' point of view in /describing/ its subject-matter, from /mental/ discourse, which takes an 'interior' point of view in /expressing/ its subject-matter: a 'metapsychological dualist' or 'metadualist' approach. The analytic tradition, in its attachment to truth-logic and consequently the 'unity of science', is 'metamonist', and thinks all discourse takes the 'exterior' viewpoint: the 'bump in the rug' moves to the dis…Read more
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##### Representationalism In Patrick Wilken, Tim Bayne & Axel Cleeremans (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness, Oxford University Press. 2009.
Jane’s fleeting glimpse of a mockingbird conscious is Jane’s taking a perspective on, or representing, that glimpse; or one might say that the specific feel of that fleeting glimpse can be understood by saying how things are from Jane’s perspective, or how Jane represented things to be (it was to Jane as if a mockingbird flashed by)
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##### Higher-order intentionalism and higher-order acquaintance Philosophical Studies 134 (3): 289--324. 2007.
I argue against such "Relation Intentionalist" theories of consciousness as the higher-order thought and inner sense views on the grounds that they understand a subject's awareness of his or her phenomenal characters to be intentional, like seeming-seeing, rather than "direct", like seeing. The trouble with such views is that they reverse the order of explanation between phenomenal character and intentional awareness. A superior theory of consciousness, based on views expressed by Russell and Pr…Read more
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##### Acquaintance In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans & Patrick Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness, Oxford University Press. 2009.
In every familiar case, a conscious subject has a perspective on the world. From time to time, various things are brought within this perspective: when one sees a mockingbird, or entertains a thought about Tony Blair, the mockingbird---or Blair---comes within one’s perspective. Upon reflection, it seems that not all entries into a subject’s perspective are on a par: the mockingbird when seen seems to be in some sense more intimately within one’s perspective than is Blair when merely thought abou…Read more
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##### 'There's something it's like' and the structure of consciousness Philosophical Review 116 (3): 441--63. 2007.
I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', in the context of a reply to Eric Lormand's 'The explanatory stopgap'. I argue that Lormand is wrong to think it has a specially perceptual meaning. Rather, it has one of at least four candidate meanings: e is some way as regards its subject; e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; e is some way in the awareness of its subject; e's subject is the "experiencer" of e. I provide additional argumentation for th…Read more
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##### Obligation and Aspect Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4): 398-449. 2016.
‘Fred must open the door’ concerns Fred’s obligations. This obligative meaning is turned off by adding aspect: ‘Fred must have opened/be opening/have been opening the door’ are one and all epistemic. Why? In a nutshell: obligative ’must’ operates on procedural contents of imperative sentences, epistemic ‘must’ on propositional contents of declarative sentences; and adding aspect converts procedural into propositional content.
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##### Against Egalitarianism Analysis 73 (2): 304-320. 2013.
‘Egalitarian' views of consciousness treat my stream of consciousness and yours as on a par ontologically. A range of worries about Chalmers's philosophical system are traced to a background presupposition of egalitarianism: Chalmers is apparently committed to ‘soul pellets'; the ‘phenomenal properties' at the core of the system are obscure; a ‘vertiginous question' about my identity is raised but not adequately answered; the theory of phenomenal concepts conflicts with the ‘transparency of expe…Read more
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##### David Lewis and the Kangaroo: Graphing philosophical progress In Russell Blackford & Damien Broderick (eds.), Philosophy's Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress, Blackwell. 2017.
Data-driven historiography of philosophy looks to objective modeling tools for illumination of the propagation of influence. While the system of David Lewis, the most influential philosopher of our time, raises historiographic puzzles to stymie conventional analytic methods, it proves amenable to data-driven analysis. A striking result is that Lewis only becomes the metaphysician of current legend following the midpoint of his career: his initial project is to frame a descriptive science of mind…Read more
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##### Sentences, strings, and truth
The liar paradox can be shown semantically defective if we distinguish the /sentence/ ''snow is white' is true' from the /string/ that constitutes it. This paper develops the String-to-Sentence Theory of Truth---for short, String Theory---according to which, while the /string/ contains the string 'true', the /sentence/ is merely 'snow is white', which contains no such occurrence: more generally, a string like 'S is true' constitutes, relative to an assessor, the sentence which, to the assessor, …Read more
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##### It's still there! In Richard Brown (ed.), Consciousness Inside and Out, Springer. 2013.
The view concerning perception developed in ‘There it is’ (Hellie 2011) involves, most centrally, the following theses: I. A. One brings a within the scope of attention only if a is an aspect of one’s perceptual (or sense-perceptual) condition; B. If one sees veridically, one ordinarily brings within the scope of attention such an a partly constituted by the condition of the bodies surrounding one; C. The perceptual condition of a dreaming subject is never partly constituted by the bodies surrou…Read more
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##### An externalist's guide to inner experience In Bence Nanay (ed.), Perceiving the World, Oxford University Press. 2010.
Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes /seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors/. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be "phenomenally" the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!<br><br>Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) /r…Read more
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##### That which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact: Moore on phenomenal relationism European Journal of Philosophy 15 (3): 334-66. 2007.
I interpret the anti-idealist manoeuverings of the second half of Moore's 'The refutation of idealism', material as widely cited for its discussion of 'transparency' and 'diaphanousness' as it is deeply obscure. The centerpiece of these manoeuverings is a phenomenological argument for a relational view of perceptual phenomenal character, on which, roughly, 'that which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact' is a non-intentional relation of conscious awareness, a view close to the opposite of …Read more
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##### Love in the time of cholera In Berit Brogaard (ed.), Does Perception Have Content?, Oxford University Press. 2014.
We begin with a theory of the structure of sensory consciousness; a target phenomenon of 'presentation' can be clearly located within this structure. We then defend the rational-psychological necessity of presentation. We conclude with discussion of these philosophical challenges to the possibility of presentation. One crucial aspect of the discussion is recognition of the <cite>nonobjectivity</cite> of consciousness (a technical appendix explains what I mean by that). The other is a full-faced …Read more
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##### Peacocke's 'Concepts of conscious states'
Comment at Peacocke-fest, 2007
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##### Praxeology, imperatives, and shifts of view In Rowland Stout (ed.), Process, action, and experience, Oxford University Press. pp. 185--209. 2018.
Recent neo-Anscombean work in praxeology (aka ‘philosophy of practical reason’), salutarily, shifts focus from an alienated 'third-person' viewpoint on practical reason to an embedded 'first-person' view: for example, the 'naive rationalizations' of Michael Thompson, of form 'I am A-ing because I am B-ing', take up the agent's view, in the thick of action. Less salutary, in its premature abandonment of the first-person view, is an interpretation of these naive rationalizations as asserting expla…Read more
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##### There it is Philosophical Issues 21 (1): 110-164. 2011.
A direct realist theory of perceptual justification. I take a ground-up approach, beginning with a theory of subjective rationality understood in terms of first-person rational explicability of the stream of consciousness. I mathematize this picture via a Tractarian spin on a semantical framework developed by Rayo. Perceptual states justify by being 'receptive': rationally inexplicable intentional states encoded in sentences that are analytic. Direct realists working within this framework should…Read more
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##### Inexpressible truths and the allure of the knowledge argument In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary, Mit Press. pp. 333. 2004.
I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledge argument. The reason the Knowledge Argument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent
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##### Beyond phenomenal naivete Philosophers' Imprint 6 1-24. 2006.
The naive realist takes a veridical visual experience to be an immediate relation to external entities. Is this how such an experience is phenomenally, by its phenomenal character? Only if there can be phenomenal error, since a hallucinatory experience phenomenally matching such a veridical experience would then be phenomenally but not in fact such a relation. Fortunately, such phenomenal error can be avoided: the phenomenal character of a visual experience involves immediate awareness of a sort…Read more
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##### Visual form, attention, and binocularity
This somewhat odd paper argues against a representational view of visual experience using an intricate "inversion" type thought experiment involving double vision: two subjects could represent external space in the same way while differing phenomenally due to different "spread" in their double images. The spatial structure of the visual field is explained not by representation of external space but functionally, in terms of the possible locations of an attentional spotlight. I'm fond of the ide…Read more
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##### Factive phenomenal characters Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1): 259--306. 2007.
This paper expands on the discussion in the first section of 'Beyond phenomenal naivete'. Let Phenomenal Naivete be understood as the doctrine that some phenomenal characters of veridical experiences are factive properties concerning the external world. Here I present in detail a phenomenological case for Phenomenal Naivete and an argument from hallucination against it. I believe that these arguments show the concept of phenomenal character to be defective, overdetermined by its metaphysical and…Read more
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##### Rationalization and the Ross Paradox In Nate Charlow & Matthew Chrisman (eds.), Deontic Modality, Oxford University Press. pp. 283--323. 2016.
'Post this letter!' does not entail 'Post this letter or drink up my wine!' (the Ross Paradox) because one can be in a state with the content of the former without being in a state with the content of the latter; in turn, because the latter can rationalize drinking up my wine but the former cannot; in turn, because practical rationalization flows toward one's present situation, in contrast with the flow of theoretical rationalization from one's present situation. Formally, this is implemented wi…Read more
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##### The multidisjunctive conception of hallucination In Fiona Mapherson (ed.), Hallucination, Mit Press. 2013.
Direct realists think that we can't get a clear view the nature of /hallucinating a white picket fence/: is it /representing a white picket fence/? is it /sensing white-picket-fencily/? is it /being acquainted with a white' picketed' sense-datum/? These are all epistemic possibilities for a single experience; hence they are all metaphysical possibilities for various experiences. Hallucination itself is a disjunctive or "multidisjunctive" category. I rebut MGF Martin's argument from statistical e…Read more
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##### Noise and perceptual indiscriminability Mind 114 (455): 481-508. 2005.
Perception represents colours inexactly. This inexactness results from phenomenally manifest noise, and results in apparent violations of the transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability. Whether these violations are genuine depends on what is meant by 'transitivity of perceptual indiscriminability'