Explaining the "inhereness" of qualia representationally: Why we seem to have a visual field

Dan Ryder (UNC Chapel Hill)


This paper is intended to further the project of explaining features of qualitative sensory experience representationally. The feature I try to explain representationally is "inhereness," that which makes it seem to us as though sensations and after-images are qualities in the mind rather than (possibly false) representations of qualities in the world. I introduce my idea as a response to a certain anti-representationalist argument which claims that features of the "visual field" cannot be representational. Appealing to current empirical results, I counter that the visual field is something we invent to serve as object for some "2-D representations" in the visual system. Since 2-D representations are silent about the dimension of depth, when accessing them introspectively we naturally, but mistakenly, locate their objects "in here." I conclude that the presence of 2-D representations helps to dispel the mystery of qualia.

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