Cognitive penetration and nonconceptual content

Macpherson, F. (2015) Cognitive penetration and nonconceptual content. In: Zeimbekis, J. and Raftopoulos, A. (eds.) The Cognitive Penetrability of Perception: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198738916 (doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198738916.003.0014)

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This paper seeks to establish whether the cognitive penetration of experience is compatible with experience having nonconceptual content. Cognitive penetration occurs when one’s beliefs or desires affect one’s perceptual experience in a particular way. I examine two different models of cognitive penetration and four different accounts of the distinction between conceptual and nonconceptual content. I argue that one model of cognitive penetration—“classic” cognitive penetration—is compatible with only one of the accounts of nonconceptual content that I identify. I then consider the other model of cognitive penetration—cognitive penetration “lite”. I provide reasons to think that this is compatible with three accounts of nonconceptual content. Moreover, I argue that the account of nonconceptual content that it is not compatible with is a spurious notion of nonconceptual content that ought to be abandoned. Thus, I claim that cognitive penetration lite is compatible with all reasonable specifications of nonconceptual content.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Fiona
Authors: Macpherson, F.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Oxford University Press
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
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