Oslo Mind Group Seminar: Keith Wilson, Meeting Travis’s Challenge: How We Recognize the Contents of Experience.

Talk by Keith Wilson, Meeting Travis’s Challenge: How We Recognize the Contents of Experience.

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In ‘The Silence of the Senses’, Charles Travis sets out an argument against the philosophical and scientific orthodoxy that perceptual experiences have representational content. Though widely discussed, few representationalists have directly engaged with the substance of Travis’s arguments, which concern the availability of perceptual content for first-personal thought and reasoning, rather than its individuation or structure. In this paper, I set out a novel response to Travis’s Challenge that posits the existence of recognitional capacities that are distinct from, though systematically linked to, perceptual representation and the conceptual capacities that are operative in judgement. Crucially, such capacities are themselves shaped by successive exposure to perceptual stimuli over time, which in turn explains why perception and judgement share common or systematically related contents without overly constraining the kinds of properties that can be represented in perception. This fills an important lacuna in existing representationalist accounts, offering a philosophically and empirically plausible response to Travis’s Challenge.

How to attend

This is a read-ahead seminar. The meetings have an hybrid format. We meet in person in GM 652 and digitally on Zoom (Zoom login required).

The meeting link, along with a copy of the paper to be discussed, will be made available in advance via the mailing list.


Mirela Fus and Francesca Secco
Published Oct. 19, 2021 10:52 PM - Last modified Sep. 13, 2022 4:40 PM