Attempts to account for the phenomenal character of perceptual experiences have so far largely focused on their sensory aspects. The first aim of this article is to support the claim that (perceptual) phenomenal character has another, significant, aspect—the phenomenal realm is suffused with valence. What it’s like to undergo perceptual experiences—from pains to supposedly “neutral” visual experiences—standardly feels good or bad to some degree. The second aim is to argue, by appealing to theoretical and empirical considerations pertaining to the phenomenon of (perceptual) valence-variance, that perceptual valence cannot be accounted for by extending the prevalent representationalist account of phenomenal character. Thus, a revision in the understanding of phenomenal character is called for. Finally, the phenomenon of valence-variance serves to make some headway toward defending a new Attitudinal-Representational Theory of perceptual valence, according to which perceptual valence is constituted by first-order conative attitudes directed toward the representational objects of experiences.
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- Affective perception
- Attitudinal-representational theory
- Phenomenal character
- Valenced perception