Visual Experience, Revelation, and the Three Rs

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Normal vision involves consciousness; and we often characterize the specific modification of consciousness involved in a particular case of visual experience by appeal to the way things look to the subject of that experience. My concern here is with the way in which such characterizations work. In my own case now, it looks to me as though there is a sheet of paper off to my left with many differently coloured lines on it forming a flattened loop with outwards radials that converge in a cross at the centre – it’s a London tube map centred on Oxford Circus. How exactly does this description serve to convey the character of my current conscious condition; and what might this tell us about the nature of visual consciousness itself? I begin in §1 with some important ideas about how we do and must specify the conscious character of vision. §2 aims to elucidate a further condition on the nature of visual experience, which I follow others in calling Revelation, by contrast with the Humility that Lewis argues governs our quite different mode of access to the imperceptible fundamental microscopic nature of the world around us. §§3&4 exploit Revelation in a series of objections to the first two of my three R’s: what I call respectively the Resemblance and Representational accounts of visual experience. I sketch the principles of my third R, the Relational account that I myself favour, in §5 and conclude in §6.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Essays on Acquaintance
EditorsJonathan Knowles, Thomas Raleigh
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198803461
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2019


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