Inverted Spectra without Illusion
Thompson (Brad)
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Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Most philosophers who have endorsed the idea that there is such a thing as phenomenal content – content that supervenes1 on phenomenal character – have also endorsed what I call Standard Russellianism.
  2. According to Standard Russellianism, phenomenal content is Russellian in nature, and the properties represented by perceptual experiences are mind-independent physical properties.
  3. In agreement with Sydney Shoemaker (1994), I argue that Standard Russellianism is incompatible with the possibility of spectrum inversion without illusion.
  4. I then consider two defenses of Standard Russellianism against this objection.
    1. One, offered by Byrne and Hilbert (1997), attempts to show that those who accept the possibility of spectrum inversion without illusion are forced to misdescribe a similar case.
    2. The other, offered by Tye (2000), accepts the conceivability of spectrum inversion without illusion but denies its possibility.
  5. I argue that both responses fail. As a consequence, either phenomenal content is not Russellian, or experiences do not represent mind-independent physical properties.


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