Public defence: On the rich structure of visual experience. New frontiers in the philosophy of perception

Master Max Johannes Kippersund at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas will defend his dissertation Representational Riches – Papers on the Nature of Visual Experience for the degree of philosophiae doctor (PhD).

Doctoral candidate Max Johannes Kippersund, wall with text "det humanistiske fakultet"

Perceptual experience is a central and perplexing aspect of our conscious lives. It is where mind meets world. In this thesis, Kippersund draws out novel connections between insights from perceptual psychology and philosophical discussions on perception, and uses this to motivate several bold conclusions about the properties of visual experience. One central theme of the thesis is that the structure and subject matter of experience is richer than commonly assumed, and that this has consequences for theoretical debates on the nature of experience.

Kippersund shows that visual experience is richer than commonly assumed in three different ways. First, visual experience is not only a matter of being related to objects and properties. Experience also attributes properties to objects. Second, visual experience is not only concerned with what perceived objects are actually like. We also experience unrealized possibilities. For instance, we can experience where moving objects will be in the immediate future, or how parts fit together so that they can make new objects. Third, visual experience is not only about objects individually. We also experience statistical generalizations ranging over groups of similar objects. For instance, we can experience what the average orientation is for a group of lines.

The thesis is made up of several standing papers that together contribute to one overarching argument. The overarching argument motivates Representationalism about experience over Naïve Realism.

The defence is open to the public and will also stream live.


Read the dissertation.

Trial lecture

Designated topic: "The Problem of Perception"

Time and place: 2 June, 4:15 p.m., Georg Morgenstiernes hus, Arne Næss auditorium. The trial lecture will also stream live.


Evaluation committee

Professor Adam Pautz, Brown University (first opponent)

Associate Professor Craig French, University of Nottingham (second opponent)

Dr. Joey Pollock, University of Oslo (committee administrator)

Chair of the defence

Head of Department Tor Egil Førland


Associate Professor Sebastian Watzl, University of Oslo

Published May 23, 2022 12:55 PM - Last modified May 31, 2022 3:12 PM