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Visual Reference and Iconic Content

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

Evidence from cognitive science supports the claim that humans and other animals see the world as divided into objects. Although this claim is widely accepted, it remains unclear whether the mechanisms of visual reference have representational content or are directly instantiated in the functional architecture. I put forward a version of the former approach that construes object files as icons for objects. This view is consistent with the evidence that motivates the architectural account, can respond to the key arguments against representational accounts, and has explanatory advantages. I draw general lessons for the philosophy of perception and the naturalization of intentionality.

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Research Article
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Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

I presented an earlier version of this article at the 43rd Annual Philosophy of Science Conference in Dubrovnik (Croatia). I am grateful to the audience for their comments, especially to Mohan Matthen. I am also indebted to three anonymous referees for their constructive and challenging comments on earlier drafts of this article. This work was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (research grant 100012-150265/1).

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