Bernhard Nickel, “Against Intentionalism,” forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.
Today, at the NEH seminar in Mind and Metaphysics, we discussed Nickel’s forthcoming paper. Nickel proposes a counterexample to representationalism, i.e., the view that the phenomenal aspects of experience are represented features of what is represented by the experience.
The counterexample is a tic-tac-toe board in which all squares are blank. If you look at it, at different times it looks as though different sets of squares in the board are more “prominent” than others. In other words, you see different patterns of squares on the board (though the actual board doesn’t change). Sometimes the prominent squares form a cross, sometimes an X, sometimes a T, etc. Alleged upshot: the phenomenal aspects of experience are different but what is represented is the same, hence, representationalism is false.
Undoubtedly, more alleged counterexamples to representationalism will be proposed, and more replies will be given. How fruitful is this enterprise?