Blurryvision.doc - SEEING IT ALL CLEARLY THE REAL STORY ON...

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SEEING IT ALL CLEARLY: THE REAL STORY ON BLURRY VISION Robert Schroer The phenomenal features of a perceptual experience are the features that constitute "what-it's-like" to have that experience. 1 The phenomenal character of a perceptual experience is the sum total of its phenomenal features. Representationalism is the position that phenomenal character supervenes upon representational content. 2 According to this position, introspective awareness of a perceptual experience consists of an immediate awareness of what that experience is about — an immediate awareness of represented features of the surrounding environment — without an immediate awareness of any of the intrinsic features of the experience itself. As evidence for this position, representationalists point to the apparent transparency of perceptual experiences: in attending to the phenomenal features of one's own experiences it often seems that one is simply attending to represented features of the surrounding environment and not to any intrinsic features of the experiences themselves. Opponents of representationalism argue against this transparency by pointing to so-called "phenomenal counter-examples". In these cases, one is purported to have an introspective awareness of a phenomenal feature of perceptual experience that is not a represented feature of the surrounding environment. This paper investigates one such phenomenal counter-example: the case of blurry vision. 3 Within the published work on the challenge blurry vision presents to representationalism, it is assumed that there is (or can be) a phenomenal feature of the experience of edges that differentiates clearly seen indistinct edges from blurrily seen distinct ones. 4 (For 1
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simplicity, this discussion focuses only on the edges of objects and not their textures.) A representationalist can maintain that the blurriness of a clearly seen indistinct edge is simply represented indistinctness; this blurriness is the veridical representation of the actual indistinctness of the edge in question. The blurriness of a blurrily seen distinct edge, however, cannot simply be represented indistinctness, since, by assumption, there is (or can be) a phenomenal difference between blurrily seen distinct edges and clearly seen indistinct edges. Hence, to avoid the challenge of blurry vision the representationalist must either: 1) maintain that there is more than one way of visually representing the distinctness of an edge, or 2) reject the assumption there is (or can be) a phenomenal feature of an experience of an edge that indicates whether it is a clearly seen indistinct edge or a blurrily seen distinct one. This paper will argue that the second strategy is the most defensible option for the representationalist.
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  • Spring '14
  • Murphy,Colette
  • Book of Optics, visual field, optic nerve

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