Publications

Monographs & Dissertations

  1. Imagination, London: Routledge, forthcoming, about 250 pages.

     
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    The imagination poses fascinating philosophical questions across a range of subjects including philosophy of mind, aesthetics and epistemology. However, until now it has been a relatively neglected topic. How do acts of imagining differ from other mental episodes, such as perceptions or judgements? What kind of awareness is involved in imagining? Can imagining ground knowledge and if so, how reliable is it? Is there some unity to the various forms of imagining? In this book, I consider these questions, introducing and assessing all the main issues and arguments concerning imagination, including episodic imagining, imagining objects, propositional imagining, imagination and epistemology, imagination and aesthetics, and the unity of imagining.

  2. The Unity of Imagining, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, 485 pages.

     
    Introduction & Conclusion | Published Version | Single Page View

    ‘In this highly ambitious, wide ranging, immensely impressive and ground-breaking work, Fabian Dorsch surveys just about every account of the imagination that has ever been proposed. He identifies five central types of imagining that any unifying theory must accommodate and sets himself the task of determining whether any theory of what imagining consists in covers these five paradigms. Focussing on what he takes to be the three main theories, and giving them each equal consideration, he faults the first two and embraces the third. The scholarship is immaculate, the writing crystal clear and the argumentation always powerful.’ (Malcolm Budd, FBA, Emeritus Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic, University College London)

  3. Experience and Reason, Lausanne: Rero Doc, 2011, 408 pages.

     
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    This collection of essays, which served as my Habilitation thesis, brings together a selection of my recently published articles. What unites them is their common concern with one of the central ambitions of philosophy, namely to get clearer about our first-personal perspective onto the world and our minds. Three aspects of that perspective are of particular importance: consciousness, intentionality, and rationality. The collected essays address metaphysical and epistemological questions both concerning the nature of each of these aspects and concerning the various connections among them. More generally, given that intentionality and rationality are both normative phenomena, the main theme of the articles is the relationship between consciousness and normativity and the centrality of this relationship to our first-personal perspective.

  4. Die Natur der Farben (The Nature of Colours), Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, 485 pages.

     
    Introduction & Conclusion | Published Version | Single Page View

    Farben sind für uns sowohl objektive, als auch phänomenale Eigenschaften. In diesem Buch argumentiere ich, daß keine ontologische Theorie der Farben diesen beiden Seiten unseres Farbbegriffes gerecht werden kann. Stattdessen sollten wir akzeptieren, daß letzterer sich auf zwei verschiedene Arten von Eigenschaften bezieht: die repräsentierten Reflektanzeigenschaften von Gegenständen und die qualitativen Eigenschaften unserer Farbwahrnehmungen, die als sinnliche Gegebenheitsweisen ersterer fungieren. Das Buch gibt zudem einen detaillierten Überblick über die zeitgenössischen philosophischen und naturwissenschaftlichen Theorien der Farben und bietet sich aufgrund seines systematischen und umfassenden Charakters auch als ein seminar- oder vorlesungsbegleitendes Textbuch an.

  5. Imagination and the Will, London: UCL Discovery, 2005, 223 pages.

     
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    The principal aim of my PhD thesis is to provide a unified theory of imagining, that is, a theory which aspires to capture the common nature of all central forms of imagining and to distinguish them from all paradigm instances of non-imaginative phenomena. The theory which I intend to put forward is a version of what I call the Agency Account of imagining and, accordingly, treats imaginings as mental actions of a certain kind. More precisely, it maintains that imaginings are mental actions that aim at the formation of episodic representations, the content of which is directly determined by what we want them to represent.My defence of this version of the Agency Account happens in two stages. On the one hand, I try to show that it is both extensionally adequate and explanatorily illuminating with respect to those mental states or projects which are clear instances of either imaginative or nonimaginative phenomena. And on the other hand, I seek to demonstrate that the most plausible alternative to the Agency Account – namely the Cognitive Account according to which it is distinctive of imaginings that they are non-cognitive phenomena and thus to be contrasted with perceptions, judgements, and so on – is bound to fail as a unified theory of imagining.

    The dissertation contains five main parts. In the first, I specify in more detail what a unified account of imagining has to achieve and, in particular, which phenomena it is supposed to capture. The second part presents the Cognitive Account, thereby focussing on Brian O’Shaughnessy’s sophisticated version of it; while the third part is reserved for the evaluation and rejection of the Cognitive Account. In the fourth part, I develop my version of the Agency Account of imagining. And the fifth and last part is concerned with the accommodation of potential counterexamples to it.

  6. The Nature of Aesthetic Experiences, London: UCL Discovery, 2000, 61 pages.

     
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    This MPhil dissertation provides a theory of the nature of aesthetic experiences on the basis of a theory of aesthetic values. It results in the formulation of the following necessary conditions for an experience to be aesthetic: (i) it must consist of a (complex) representation of an object and an accompanying feeling; (ii) the representation must instantiate an intrinsic value; and (iii) the feeling must be the recognition of that value and bestow it on the object. Since representations are of intrinsic value for different reasons, there are different kinds of aesthetic experiences (such as sensual or meta-cognitive ones).By means of certain conceptual links, it is possible to extend this account to other aesthetic entities thus enabling the formulation of a general theory of the aesthetic in non-aesthetic terms. In particular, aesthetic values are identical with subjective dispositions to elicit aesthetic experiences under normal conditions. Accordingly, I endorse anti-realism about aesthetic values: their existence, nature and exemplification are mind-dependent, while their ascriptions to objects have genuine truth-values. I back up this account by arguing against the alternative positions that either take aesthetic values to be objective or deny the truth-aptness of their attributions.

    Furthermore, I put forward a relativist variant of anti-realism according to which ascriptions of different (and seemingly incompatible) aesthetic values to a particular object are all correct, given that the aesthetic experiences involved are made under normal conditions and concern the same aesthetically non-evaluative features of that object. For there is no specifically aesthetic norm (e.g., a specification of “ideal critics”) by means of which one of the faultless aesthetic experiences can be picked out as the only appropriate one. That aesthetic values nevertheless show a normative dimension is ensured by their conformity to a general account of values as capacities to satisfy, or dissatisfy, rational desires.

Edited Collections

  1. The New Evil Demon, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. (Edited together with Julien Dutant.)
  2. Perceptual Memory and Perceptual Imagination, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. (Edited together with Fiona Macpherson.)

     
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    The topic of this volume is the nature of the perceptual imagination and its relation- ship to perceptual memory, perception and knowledge. It asks how the perceptual imagination resembles and differs from the other kinds of sensory experience, which role it plays in perception and the acquisition of knowledge, and what we can learn about its nature from the answers to the first two questions.

    The contributors to this volume include Paul Noordhof, Margaret E. Moore, Dorothea Debus, Dominic Gregory, Robert Hopkins, Derek H. Brown, Robert E. Briscoe, Gregory Currie, Magdalena Balcerak Jackson and Amy Kind.

  3. Phenomenal Presence, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming. (Edited together with Fiona Macpherson.)

     
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    The topic of this volume are the different ways in which things can be phenomenally present in perceptual experience. If something is phenomenally present in experience then it features consciously in our experience – that is to say that it makes a subjective difference to our experience. This volume will explore the issues surrounding phenomenal presence in depth. What objects and properties can be phenomenally present as present in our experience and what can be phenomenally present as absent in experience? Are there different ways of being phenomenally present as absent in experience? If so, what are the similarities and differences between them? The range of possible phenomena to consider include: apparent and objective colour, apparent and objective shape, volumes and backsides, amodal completion of figures, grouping phenomena, natural and artifactual kinds, absences, the existence and mind-independence of objects, and the presence of reasons.

    The contributors to this volume include John O’Dea, Keith Allen, Martine Nida-Rümelin, Thomas Crowther, Amy Kind, Jerome Dokic, James Stazicker, Craig French, Derek H. Brown and Fabian Dorsch.

  4. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 7, 2015, 638 pages. (Edited together with Dan-Eugen Ratiu.)
  5. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 6, 2014, 469 pages. (Edited together with Dan-Eugen Ratiu.)
  6. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 5, 2013, 612 pages. (Edited together with Dan-Eugen Ratiu.)
  7. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 4, 2013, 613 pages. (Edited together with Dan-Eugen Ratiu.)
  8. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 3, 2011, 315 pages. (Edited together with Jakub Stejskal and John Zeimbekis.)
  9. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 2, 2010, 543 pages. (Edited together with Alessandro Bertinetto and Cain Todd.)
  10. Proceedings of the European Society for Aesthetics, vol. 1, 2009, 122 pages.

Articles In Peer-Reviewed Journals

  1. 'Knowledge by Imagination – How Imaginative Experiences Can Ground Factual Knowledge', Teorema, vol. XXXV, pp. 87-116, 2016.

     
    Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    In this article, I defend the view that we can acquire factual knowledge – that is, contingent propositional knowledge about certain (perceivable) aspects of reality – on the basis of imaginative experience. More specifically, I argue that, under suitable circumstances, imaginative experiences can rationally determine the propositional content of knowledge-constituting beliefs – though not their attitude of belief – in roughly the same way as perceptual experiences do in the case of perceptual knowledge. I also highlight some philosophical consequences of this conclusion, especially for the issue of whether imagination can help us to learn something from fictions.

  2. 'The Phenomenology of Attitudes and the Salience of Rational Role and Determination', Philosophical Explorations, vol. 19, pp. 114-137, 2016.
  3. 'Perceptual Acquaintance and the Seeming Relationality of Hallucinations', Journal of Consciousness Studies, vol. 23, pp. 23-64, 2016.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    Relationalism about perception minimally claims that instances of perception – in contrast to instances of hallucination – are constituted by the external objects perceived. Most variants of relationalism furthermore maintain that this difference in constitution is due to a difference in mental kind. One prominent example is acquaintance relationalism, which argues that perceptions are relational in virtue of acquainting us with external objects. I distinguish three variants of acquaintance relationalism – which differ in their answers to the question of which kind(s) of awareness (if any) hallucinations involve – and object to all of them on two main grounds. First, none of the variants can explain how hallucinations can be introspectively indistinguishable from perceptions, despite their essential difference in awareness. Second, all three variants are unable to identify the feature(s) of hallucinations that ensure that these experiences possess the same motivational power as corresponding perceptions. Since aquaintance relationalism can satisfy neither of these two desiderata on relationalist views, it should be rejected. Hence, if we want to be relationalists about perception, we should endorse a form of relationalism that treats perceptions – as well as hallucinations – as representational.

  4. 'Focused Daydreaming and Mind-Wandering', The Review of Philosophy and Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, pp. 791-813.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    In this paper, I describe and discuss two mental phenomena which are somewhat neglected in the philosophy of mind: focused daydreaming and mind-wandering. My aim is to show that their natures are rather distinct, despite the fact that we tend to classify both as instances of daydreaming. The first difference between the two, I argue, is that, while focused daydreaming is an instance of imaginative mental agency (i.e. mental agency with the purpose to voluntarily produce certain mental representations), mind-wandering is not – though this does not mean that mind-wandering cannot involve mental agency at all. This personal-level difference in agency and purposiveness has, furthermore, the consequence that instances of mind-wandering do not constitute unified and self-contained segments of the stream of consciousness – in stark contrast to focused daydreams. Besides, the two kinds of mental phenomena differ in whether they pos­sess a narrative structure, and in how we may make sense of the succession of mental episodes involved.

  5. 'Non-Inferentialism about Justification -- the Case of Aesthetic Judgements', The Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 63, 2013, pp. 660-682.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    (This paper has been selected by an international committee of renown experts as one of the five best English language publications in 2013 in aesthetics.)

    In this article, I present two objections against the view that aesthetic judgements – that is, judgemental ascriptions of aesthetic qualities like elegance or harmony – are justified non-inferentially. The first is that this view cannot make sense of our practice to support our aesthetic judgements by reference to lower-level features of the objects concerned. The second objection maintains that non-inferentialism about the justification of aesthetic judgements cannot explain why our aesthetic interest in artworks and other objects is limited to only some of their lower-level features that realise their higher-level aesthetic qualities. Although my concern with the view that aesthetic judgements are subject to non-inferential justification is very general, my discussion is primarily structured around Sibley’s well-developed and influential version of this view.

  6. 'Hume e l'Immaginazione Ricreativa' ('Hume and the Recreative Imagination'), Rivista di Estetica, special issue on New Theories of the Imagination, vol. 53, 2013, pp. 25-54.

     
    Published Version | English Version | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    Two particular approaches to the imagination as a recreative capacity have recently gained prominence: neo-Humeanism and simulationatism. According to neo-Humeanism, imaginings have cognitions as a constitutive part of their representational contents; while simulationalists maintain that, in imagining, we essentially simulate the occurrence of certain cognitive states. Two other kinds of constitutive dependence, that figure regularly in the debate, concern the necessity of cognitions for, respectively, the causation and the semantic power of imaginings. In what follows, I discuss each of these kinds of dependence and assess how useful they are for spelling out the conception of imaginings as recreations of cognitions. A particular focus will thereby be on the details of Hume’s original conception of imaginings as causal reproductions (or “copies”) of cognitions, as well as on the influence of his view on contemporary approaches to the topic which replace Hume’s causal understanding of the representational link between imaginings and cognitions with either an intentional or a relational understanding. My conclusion will be that, if imaginings should be taken to be recreations at all, then they should be taken to be representational recreations. That is, neo-Humeanism turns out to be the most plausible way of understanding imaginings as recreations of cognitions.

  7. 'Die Grenzen des ästhetischen Empirismus (The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism)', Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 57 (2), 2012, pp. 269-281.


    Published Version | Final Draft | Longer Version | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    (This is **not** a translation of my paper ‘The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism’.)

    In recent years, it has become rather popular to rely on the results of empirical studies in trying to answer some of the traditional questions in philosophical aesthetics, such as the one concerning the nature and justification of aesthetic evaluation. In opposition to this very empiricist approach, I would like to put forward a more rationalist picture of the aesthetic experience and evaluation of artworks. More specifically, I aim to critically discuss the aesthetic relevance of three kinds of empirical studies: of those that examine particular artworks by means of scientific or historical investigations; of those that use the empirical methods of psychology and sociology in order to examine our aesthetic evaluations of single works or groups of work; and finally of those that scrutinize our general faculty for aesthetic judgement by means of the cognitive sciences.

    In den letzten Jahren ist es recht populär geworden, traditionelle Fragen der philosophischen Ästhetik – wie zum Beispiel die nach der Natur und Rechtfertigung ästhetischer Beurteilungen – mithilfe empirischer Forschungsergebnisse zu beantworten zu versuchen. Diesem empiristisch geprägten Ansatz möchte ich gerne eine rationalistisch orientierte Auffassung der ästhetischen Erfahrung und Bewertung von Kunstwerken entgegensetzen. Insbesondere werde ich die ästhetische Relevanz dreier verschiedener Arten empirischer Studien kritisch diskutieren: (i) solcher, die einzelne Kunstwerke unter Einsatz der Natur- oder Geschichtswissenschaften erforschen; (ii) solcher, die sich der empirischen Methoden der Psychologie und der Soziologie bedienen, um unsere ästhetischen Beurteilungen einzelner Werke oder Werkgruppen zu untersuchen; und schliesslich (iii) solcher, die unser allgemeines ästhetisches Urteilsvermögen einer kognitionswissenschaftlichen Überprüfung unterziehen.

  8. 'Emotional Imagining and Our Responses to Fiction', Enrahonar, special issue on Contemporary German Philosophy, vol. 46, 2011, pp. 153-176.


    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    The aim of this article is to present the disagreement between Moran and Walton on the nature of our affective responses to fiction and to defend a view on the issue which is opposed to Moran’s account and improves on Walton’s. Moran takes imagination-based affective responses to be instances of genuine emotion and treats them as episodes with an emotional attitude towards their contents. I argue against the existence of such attitudes, and that the affective element of such responses should rather be taken to be part of what is imagined. In this respect, I follow Walton; and I also agree with the latter that our affective responses to fiction are, as a consequence, not instances of real emotion. However, this gives rise to the challenge to be more specific about the nature of our responses and explain how they can still involve a phenomenologically salient affective element, given that propositionally imagining that one feels a certain emotion is ruled out because it maybe done in a dispassionate way. The answer —already suggested, but not properly spelled out by Walton— is that affectively responding to some fictional element consists in imaginatively representing an experience of emotional feeling towards it. The central thought is that the conscious and imaginative representation of the affective character of an instance of genuine emotion itself involves the respective phenomenologically salient affective element, despite not instantiating it.

  9. 'The Diversity of Disjunctivism -- Review Article', European Journal of Philosophy, vol. 19 (2), 2011, pp. 304-314.


    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    In this review article, I introduce a classification of metaphysical and epistemological forms of disjunctivism and critically discuss the essays on disjunctivism in the philosophy of perception, the philosophy of action and epistemology that are published in Fiona Macpherson and Adrian Haddock’s collection Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2008).

  10. 'Transparency and Imagining Seeing', Philosophical Explorations, vol. 13 (3), 2010, pp. 173-200.

     
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    In his paper The Transparency of Experience, M.G.F. Martin has put forward a wellknown – though not always equally well understood – argument for the disjunctivist, and against the intentional, approach to perceptual experiences. In this article, I intend to do four things: (i) to present the details of Martin’s complex argument; (ii) to defend its soundness against orthodox intentionalism; (iii) to show how Martin’s argument speaks as much in favour of experiential intentionalism as it speaks in favour of disjunctivism; and (iv) to argue that there is a related reason to prefer experiential intentionalism over Martin’s version of disjunctivism.

  11. 'The Unity of Hallucinations', Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, vol. 9 (2), 2010, pp. 171-191.


    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | UC Berkeley | Single Page View

    My primary aim in this article is to provide a philosophical account of the unity of hallucinations, which can capture both perceptual hallucinations (which are subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions) and non-perceptual hallucinations (all others). Besides, I also mean to clarify further the division of labour and the nature of the collaboration between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Assuming that the epistemic conception of hallucinations put forward by M. G. F. Martin and others is largely on the right track, I focus on two main tasks: (a) to provide a satisfactory phenomenology of the subjective character of perceptions and perceptual hallucinations and (b) to redress the philosophers’ neglect of non-perceptual hallucinations. More specifically, I intend to apply one of the central tenets of the epistemic conception — that hallucinations can and should be positively characterised in terms of their phenomenological connections to perceptions — to non-perceptual hallucinations as well. That is, I will try to show that we can positively specify the class of perceptual and non-perceptual hallucinations by reference to the distinctive ways in which we first-personally experience them and perceptions in consciousness. The task of saying more about their underlying third-personal nature may then be left to the cognitive sciences.

  12. 'Colour Resemblance and Colour Realism', Rivista di Estetica, special issue on The Ontology of Colours, vol. 43, 2010, pp. 85-108.


    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    One prominent ambition of theories of colour is to pay full justice to how colours are subjectively given to us; and another to reconcile this first-personal perspective on colours with the third-personal one of the natural sciences. The goal of this article is to question whether we can satisfy the second ambition on the assumption that the first should and can be met. I aim to defend a negative answer to this question by arguing that the various kinds of experienced colour resemblances – notably similarities in hue distance, sameness in superdeterminables, and colour resemblances between surfaces, volumes and illuminants – cannot be accounted for in terms of the mental representation of the scientifically studied properties, which colours are best identified with in response to the second ambition.

  13. 'Sentimentalism and the Intersubjectivity of Aesthetic Evaluations', dialectica, vol. 61, 2007, pp. 417-446.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    Within the debate on the epistemology of aesthetic appreciation, it has a long tradition, and is still very common, to endorse the sentimentalist view that our aesthetic evaluations are rationally grounded on, or even constituted by, certain of our emotional responses to the objects concerned. Such a view faces, however, the serious challenge to satisfactorily deal with the seeming possibility of faultless disagreement among emotionally based and epistemically appropriate verdicts. I argue that the sentimentalist approach to aesthetic epistemology cannot accept and accommodate this possibility without thereby undermining the assumed capacity of emotions to justify corresponding aesthetic evaluations — that is, without undermining the very sentimentalist idea at the core of its account. And I also try to show that sentimentalists can hope to deny the possibility of faultless disagreement only by giving up the further view that aesthetic assessments are intersubjective — a view which is almost as traditional and widely held in aesthetics as sentimentalism, and which is indeed often enough combined with the latter. My ultimate conclusion is therefore that this popular combination of views should better be avoided: either sentimentalism or intersubjectivism has to make way.

  14. 'Review of Hegel's Theory of Imagination by Jennifer Ann Bates', The British Journal of Aesthetics, vol. 45, 2005, pp. 309-311.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Books

  1. 'Seeing-In as Aspect Perception', Wollheim, Wittgenstein, and Pictorial Representation: Seeing-as and Seeing-in, edited by Gabriele Mras & Gary Kemp, London: Routledge, 2016, pp. 205-238.

     
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    In this chapter, I argue that seeing-in, the central element of pictorial experience, is a form of aspect perception. The argument thus connects Wollheim’s main contribution to the philosophy of depiction with one of the central themes in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology. This *Aspect View* of pictorial experience that I would like to put forward is designed to be a direct competitor to the *Experienced Resemblance View* and the *Imagination View*, and to improve on both of them by incorporating some important elements of either. More specifically, the Aspect View claims that seeing-in involves the imperfect illusion of the picture’s surface as possessing the aspect of having the visual appearance of a three-dimensional arrangement of objects (i.e. the depicted scene). And, as part of this aspect perception, we both experience the picture’s surface as resembling the depicted scene in two-dimensional shape and have a non-perceptual awareness of the depth and volume of that scene which is similar to, but not quite like imagining.

  2. 'Hume', The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination, edited by Amy Kind, London: Routledge, 2016, pp. 40-54.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | Longer Version | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    This chapter overviews Hume’s thoughts on the nature and the role of imagining, with an almost exclusive focus on the first book of his Treatise of Human Nature. Over the course of this text, Hume draws and discusses three important distinctions among our conscious mental episodes (or what he calls ‘perceptions’): (i) between impressions (including perceptual experiences) and ideas (including recollections, imaginings and occurrent beliefs); (ii) between ideas of the memory and ideas of the imagination; and (iii), among the ideas of the imagination, between ideas of the judgement (i.e. occurrent beliefs) and ideas of the fancy (i.e. imaginings). I discuss each distinction in turn, also in connection to contemporary views on imagining. In addition, I briefly consider Hume’s views on the imagination as a faculty aimed at the production of ideas, as well as on the role that imagining plays in the wider context of our mental lives, notably in the acquisition of modal knowledge and in the comprehension of stories and opinions that we take to be false or fictional.

  3. 'The Phenomenal Presence of Perceptual Reasons', Phenomenal Presence, edited by F. Macpherson, M. Nida-Rümelin & F. Dorsch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
  4. 'The Limits of Aesthetic Empiricism', Aesthetics and the Sciences of the Mind, edited by G. Currie, M. Kieran, A. Meskin & J. Robson, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    (This is **not** a translation of my paper ‘Die Grenzen des ästhetischen Empirismus’.)

    In this chapter, I argue against empiricist positions which claim that empirical evidence can be sufficient to defeasibly justify aesthetic judgements, or judgements about the adequacy of aesthetic judgements, or sceptical judgements about someone’s capacity to form adequate aesthetic judgements. First, empirical evidence provides neither inferential, nor non-inferential justification for aesthetic opinions. Second, while empirical evidence may tell us how we do respond aesthetically to artworks, it cannot tell us how we should respond to them. And, third, empirical insights into the irrationality of many of our aesthetic judgements do not warrant the sceptical conclusion that we ought to refrain from forming aesthetic opinions. As a consequence of these limitations to aesthetic empiricism, we should endorse the rationalist position that aesthetic criticism is largely a matter of reasoning and, moreover, a collective undertaking.

  5. 'Experience and Introspection', Hallucination, edited by F. Macpherson & D. Platchias, Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press, 2013, pp. 175-220.

     
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    One central fact about hallucinations is that they may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions. Indeed, it has been argued that the hallucinatory experiences concerned cannot – and need not – be characterised in any more positive general terms. This epistemic conception of hallucinations has been advocated as the best choice for proponents of *phenomenal* (or ‘naive realist’) *disjunctivism* – the view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their introspectible subjective characters. In this chapter, I aim to formulate and defend an intentionalist alternative to phenomenal disjunctivism called *experiential intentionalism*. This view does not only enjoy some advantages over its rival, but also can largely hold on to the epistemic conception of perception-like hallucinations.

    First of all, I try to spell out in a bit more detail in which sense hallucinations may be subjectively indistinguishable from perceptions, and why this leads us to erroneously judge them to be perceptions (cf. sections I–III and VIII). Then, I raise three challenges each for phenomenal disjunctivism and its orthodox intentionalist counterparts (cf. sections IV and V), notably in respect of the need to explicate why a perception-like hallucination still makes the same judgements reasonable for the subject as the corresponding perceptions. And, finally, I propose my alternative both to phenomenal disjunctivism and to orthodox intentionalism. Experiential intentionalism takes perceptions and perception-like hallucinations to share a common character partly to be spelled out in intentional – and, hence, normative – terms (cf. sections VI and VII). The central thought is that the hallucinations concerned are intentionally – and erroneously – presented to us as perceptual relations to the world. I aim to show that the resulting view can meet all six challenges (cf. sections VI–VIII). I end with some comments on the consequences for the nature of perceptual experiences (cf. section IX).

    Experiential intentionalism is compatible with the epistemic conception of hallucinations, as well as with the disjunctivist view that perceptions and hallucinations differ essentially in their third-personal structures (e.g., their causal, informational or reason-providing links to reality). It also maintains that there are actually two aspects to the subjective indistinguishability of mental episodes: (i) that we cannot distinguish their first-personal characters in *introspective (or reflective) judgement*; and (ii) that we cannot distinguish their third-personal structures in experiential (or phenomenal) awareness – that is, in how they are given to consciousness. While phenomenal disjunctivism makes the mistake of ignoring (ii) and reducing subjective indiscriminability to (i), experiential intentionalism correctly identifies (ii) as the primary source of the subjective indistinguishability of perception-like hallucinations. Accordingly, the intentional error involved in such hallucinations is due to the fact that we consciously experience them as possessing a relational structure.

  6. 'Transparency and Imagining Seeing (Reprint)', Disjunctivism: Disjunctive Accounts in Epistemology and in the Philosophy of Perception, edited by M. Willaschek, London: Routledge, 2012.

     
    Final Draft | Published Version | Single Page View

    (Reprint of my paper in Philosophical Explorations.)

    In his paper The Transparency of Experience, M.G.F. Martin has put forward a wellknown – though not always equally well understood – argument for the disjunctivist, and against the intentional, approach to perceptual experiences. In this article, I intend to do four things: (i) to present the details of Martin’s complex argument; (ii) to defend its soundness against orthodox intentionalism; (iii) to show how Martin’s argument speaks as much in favour of experiential intentionalism as it speaks in favour of disjunctivism; and (iv) to argue that there is a related reason to prefer experiential intentionalism over Martin’s version of disjunctivism.

  7. 'Judging and the Scope of Mental Agency', Mental Actions, edited by L. O'Brien & M. Soteriou, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 38-71.

     
    Published Version | Final Draft | PhilPapers | Single Page View

    What is the scope of our conscious mental agency, and how do we acquire self-knowledge of it? Both questions are addressed through an investigation of what best explains our inability to form judgemental thoughts in direct response to practical reasons. Contrary to what Williams and others have argued, it cannot be their subjection to a truth norm, given that our failure to adhere to such a norm need not undermine their status as judgemental. Instead, it is argued that we cannot form judgements at will because we subjectively experience them as responses to epistemic reasons, and because this is incompatible with our experiential awareness of direct mental actions, such as instances of imagining. However, this latter awareness does not extend to indirect agency, which relies on epistemic or causal processes as means. Judging may therefore still count as an indirect action – just like, say, breaking a window by throwing a stone.

Articles in Conference Proceedings and Digital Repositories

  1. 'Hume on the Imagination', Lausanne: Rero Doc Digital Library, 2015, pp. 1-28.

     
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    This is the original, longer draft for my entry on Hume in the ‘The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Imagination’, edited by Amy Kind and published by Routledge in 2016. Please always cite the Routledge version, unless there are passages concerned that did not make it into the Handbook for reasons of length.

    This article overviews Hume’s thoughts on the nature and the role of imagining, with an almost exclusive focus on the first book of his Treatise of Human Nature. Over the course of this text, Hume draws and discusses three important distinctions among our conscious mental episodes (or what he calls ‘perceptions’): (i) between impressions (including perceptual experiences) and ideas (including recollections, imaginings and occurrent beliefs); (ii) between ideas of the memory and ideas of the imagination; and (iii), among the ideas of the imagination, between ideas of the judgement (i.e. occurrent beliefs) and ideas of the fancy (i.e. imaginings). I discuss each distinction in turn, also in connection to contemporary views on imagining. In addition, I briefly consider Hume’s views on the imagination as a faculty aimed at the production of ideas, as well as on the role that imagining plays in the wider context of our mental lives, notably in the acquisition of modal knowledge and in the comprehension of stories and opinions that we take to be false or fictional.

  2. 'Visualising as Imagining Seeing', Proceedings of the XXII. Congress of the German Society for Philosophy, edited by J. Nida-Rümelin, 2011, pp. 1-16.

     
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    (This is a shortened version of my paper in *Philosophical Explorations*.)

    In this paper, I would like to put forward the claim that, at least in some central cases, visualising consists literally in imagining seeing. The first section of my paper is concerned with a defence of the specific argument for this claim that M. G. F. Martin presents in his paper ‘The Transparency of Experience’ (Martin 2002). This argument has been often misunderstood (or ignored), and it is worthwhile to discuss it in detail and to illus­trate what its precise nature is and why I take it to be sound. In the second section, I present a second and independent argument for the claim that visualising is imagining seeing, which is not to be found in Martin’s writings, despite some crucial similarities with his own argument ‒ notably in the focus on the subjective aspects of visual experience. The last section deals with a particular objection to the idea that imagining takes perception as its direct object and says a bit more about how best to understand this claim.

  3. 'The Aesthetic Relevance of Empirical Findings', Experimentelle Ästhetik -- Kongressakten der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ästhetik, edited by L. Schwarte, vol. 2., 2011, pp. 1-21.

     
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    Empirical findings may be relevant for aesthetic evaluation in at least two ways. First – within criticism – they may help us to identify the aesthetic value of objects. Second – whithin philosophy – they may help us to decide which theory of aesthetic value and evaluation to prefer. In this paper, I address both kinds of relevance. My focus is thereby on empirical evidence gathered, not by means of first-personal experiences, but by means of third-personal scientific investigations of individual artworks or, more generally, our interaction with art. The main thesis to be defended is that third-personal empirical findings are of limited significance for both critical and philosophical aesthetics. Indeed, they matter only to the extent to which they draw our attention to features or facts that we then identify, from our first-personal perspective, as aesthetically relevant – for instance, as reasons counting for or against certain ascriptions of aesthetic value, or as factors that causally influence our actual assessments and thus render them partly inadequate or irrational. This limited significance of empirical findings is in line with the rationalist approach to the formation and justification of aesthetic judgements, that I have already started to defend elsewhere.

  4. 'Conceptual Qualia and Communication', The Foundations of Interaction Design, edited by the Interaction Design Institute, Ivrea, 2005, pp. 1-14. (Written together with Gianfranco Soldati.)

     
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    The claim that consciousness is propositional has be widely debated in the past. For instance, it has been discussed whether consciousness is always propositional, whether all propositional consciousness is linguistic, whether propositional consciousness is always articulated, or whether there can be non-articulated propositions. In contrast, the question of whether propositions are conscious has not very often been the focus of attention.

    In this paper, we would like to render two ideas plausible and defend them against certain objections that have been raised against them. The first, perhaps less controversial idea is that at least certain propositional mental states – such as judgements, thoughts or felt desires – involve a particular kind of consciousness, which has often been called phenomenal or qualitative consciousness. The second and more important, since far more controversial, idea is that propositions – and concepts as their constituents – possess distinct and specific phenomenal characters, or qualia, in virtue of which they are experienced differently when entertained or held in thought.

    Both claims, we shall see, have immediate consequences on our conception of understanding and communication. Contrary to a widespread view, a view which has its roots in the linguistic turn, we maintain that phenomenal quality is constitutive of the understanding and grasping of meanings.