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Journal Article

What Is It Like to See with Your Ears? The Representational Theory of Mind

Dominic M. McIver Lopes
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Vol. 60, No. 2 (Mar., 2000), pp. 439-453
DOI: 10.2307/2653494
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2653494
Page Count: 15
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What Is It Like to See with Your Ears? The Representational Theory of Mind
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Abstract

Representational theories of mind cannot individuate the sense modalities in a principled manner. According to representationalism, the phenomenal character of experiences is determined by their contents. The usual objection is that inverted qualia are possible, so the phenomenal character of experiences may vary independently of their contents. But the objection is inconclusive. It raises difficult questions about the metaphysics of secondary qualities and it is difficult to see whether or not inverted qualia are possible. This paper proposes an alternative test of representationalism. Do experiences in different sense modalities have the same phenomenal character when they share content? Psychological work on the perception of shape through vision and spatial hearing is discussed. This work shows that visual and auditory experiences differ in phenomenal character even in so far as they represent similar properties. This objection to representationalism does not invite questions about secondary qualities or depend on establishing metaphysical possibilities.

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