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The visual presence of determinable properties

Stazicker, J. (2018) The visual presence of determinable properties. In: Dorsch, F. and Macpherson, F. (eds.) Phenomenal Presence. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780199666416

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Abstract/Summary

Several essays in this volume exploit the idea that in visual experience, and in other forms of consciousness, something is present to consciousness, or phenomenally present to the experiencing subject. This is a venerable idea. Hume, for example, understood conscious experience in terms of the various items ‘present to the mind’. However, it is not obvious how the idea should be understood (‘present to’ is not a standard English modification of the adjective ‘present’) and there are grounds for worrying that there is no good way of making it precise. Here I explore a way of making precise the idea that properties of things, such as their shapes and colours, are present to us in visual experience. I argue that this important idea is coherent, well motivated and empirically plausible, provided that we reject two traditional assumptions: (i) that maximally determinate properties, rather than just determinable properties, are visually present; (ii) that we can tell through introspection exactly which properties are visually present to us.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:66597
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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