The Dennes Room

Philosophy 290-2

Fall 2019

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-2 Graduate Seminar: Images, Memory & Perception: Dependence & Relations Martin Tu 4-6 Moses 234

Some representations embed or include in their content other representations.

One aspect of the seminar this semester is to look at two kinds of examples of this: photographs of photographs, and episodic memories which involve earlier recollections of past events.

An ulterior motive for this examination is a concern with the debate in the philosophy of perception between so-called relational and representational approaches to perceptual experience. It is common to take there to be an opposition between these, but are the approaches really exclusive? The most salient disagreements are over the dependence or independence of mental phenomena on environmental factors. Embedded representations offer us examples of representations which are dependent on other representations, potentially distant in space and time. If there are such dependent representations, then dependence is not a distinctive mark of relationalism as opposed to representationalism.

There will be four broad topics to be covered over the semester: first, the notion of object-dependent thought, its relation to notions of acquaintance, and the commonest objections to the existence of object-dependence; second, embedded images and photographs of photographs; third, episodic memory, and recollections of recollections; fourth, John Foster’s arguments against representationalism, focusing on the case of imagery and memory.

Useful preparatory reading would be Gareth Evans, The Varieties of Reference, Chs 1 – 3 and Ch. 5.