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What's so Transparent about Transparency?

Amy Kind
Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition
Vol. 115, No. 3 (Sep., 2003), pp. 225-244
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4321404
Page Count: 20
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What's so Transparent about Transparency?
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Abstract

Representationalists often use intuitions about the transparency of experience to defend their view that qualitative content is representational content. According to these intuitions, we cannot attend to our experience except by attending to the object of that experience. Although the transparency intuition appears to be widely shared, even among non-representationalists, in this paper I suggest that there are two ambiguities inherent in discussions of transparency. One concerns the strength of the transparency intuition, while the other concerns its scope. Once we bring these two ambiguities to the surface, we can see that the representationalists' claim that experience is transparent turns out to be considerably more controversial than ordinarily supposed. While the phenomenological data may support some kind of experiential transparency, I argue that it does not support the kind of transparency needed for representationalism.

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