Against Perceptual Conceptualism

Hilla Jacobson, Hilary Putnam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper is concerned with the question of whether mature human experience is thoroughly conceptual, or whether it involves non-conceptual elements or layers. It has two central goals. The first goal is methodological. It aims to establish that that question is, to a large extent, an empirical question. The question cannot be answered by appealing to purely a priori and transcendental considerations. The second goal is to argue, inter alia by relying on empirical findings, that the view known as state-conceptualism is false. We will argue that our experiences do involve non-conceptual elements. That is, a subject may enjoy an experience with a particular phenomenal aspect, without possessing the concept needed for the specification of the content of that aspect, and moreover, without being able to acquire that concept upon having that experience.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophical Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Perceptual experience
  • attention
  • conceptual content
  • overflow arguments
  • perceptual conceptualism
  • phenomenal consciousness


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