Remember these colors?
The recent dialectic has gone something like this. A crucial aspect of the Transcending Zombies argument is the identification of phenomenal character with a kind of conceptual content. I interpret Raffman’s (1995) argument as attacking such conceptualism on the grounds that there are perceptual discriminations that can be made but not across a memory delay. I have countered that such an argument makes the unwarranted assumption that a color is perceived the same way when presented in distinct contexts. It is open to the conceptualist, then, to maintain that the differences in the concepts applicable in the distinct contexts determine experiential differences. One way of describing this kind of conceptualism is as saying that experience is only as determinate as we have determinate concepts to bring to bear in experience.
Raffman (1995) presents an argument designed to block the sort of move I am here trying to make. She argues that it won’t do to say that our experience is only as determinate as we have determinate concepts for (we do have determinate concepts of the unique hues green, blue, red, and yellow), and merely determinable otherwise (we have only determinable concepts for non-unique hues like dark-reddish-orange). Raffman points out that there’s no introspectible difference between the ways in which unique and non-unique hues appear with respect to their ‘determinateness’ despite the radically different ways we have to conceptualize them. (Raffman 1995 pp. 301-302).
Raffman’s argument concerning determinateness seems to overlook a powerful resource available to the conceptualist. Raffman overlooks the possibility that the failure of seeming differences with respect to determinateness may simply be due to a failure to apply a concept of determinateness. Just as the conceptualist will model differences in apparent darkness in terms of the application of a relational concept of one color being darker than another, so may the conceptualist model differences in apparent determinateness in terms of the application of a relational concept of one hue or one experience of hue as being more determinate than another. Thus, the failures of appearance with respect to determinateness that Raffman refers to may be regarded by the conceptualist as due to normal perceivers simply failing to apply any such concept of determinateness to their experiences.
1. Introducing Transcending Zombies
2. Anti-Skeptical Maneuvers
3. I Know I’m Not a Zombie
4. Some Remarks on Phenomenal Knowledge
5. The Egocentricity of Phenomenal Knowledge
6. The Knowing and the Known
7. My Physical Properties Fix My Conceptualized Contents
8. My Physical Properties Fix My Egocentric Contents
9. TZ & AEI
10. Raffman’s Rainbow Unraveled