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Call For Papers: Perception Without Representation [updated]

posted 22 Jul 2013, 01:52 by Keith Wilson   [ updated 28 Oct 2013, 15:59 ]

Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy
Special Issue – Perception Without Representation
Deadline for Submission: 15 September 15 November 2013

Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy, will publish a special issue on the topic of Perception without Representation. The final deadline for submitted papers is 15 November 2013.

Guest Editors:
Keith A. Wilson, University of Sussex
Roberta Locatelli, University Paris 1/University of Warwick

Invited Contributors:
Bill Brewer, King’s College, London
Berit Brogaard, University of Missouri, St. Louis
John Campbell, University of California, Berkeley
Jérôme Dokic, Institut Jean-Nicod, Paris
Naomi Eilan, University of Warwick
Matthew Soteriou, University of Warwick
M.G.F. Martin (TBC), UCL
Charles Travis (TBC), King’s College, London


According to current orthodoxy, common to philosophers, psychologists and cognitive scientists, perceptual states have representational content, i.e. they represent the world as being a certain way. The representational content of perceptual experience (which need not be conceptual) can be accurate or inaccurate, i.e. its representing that an object has certain properties can be veridical or not. An increasingly influential trend, however, has begun to criticise this view, instead claiming that perception has no content. On this view, to perceptually experience an object is not to represent it to be some particular way, but for the perceiving agent to stand in a particular relation to the object perceived—the so-called relational view.

Too often such debates have been dominated by mutual incomprehension, stigmatisation or mischaracterisation of the opponent’s position whilst failing to recognise its merits or even to take the alternative option seriously. This journal issue aims to clarify some different problems that are at stake within the current debate, highlighting various points of agreement and contention, and developing them in an original and constructive way.


The aim of the volume will be to set out the debate in a way that stimulates and encourages genuine engagement and progress on these important issues. We welcome contribution from both sides of the debate on (though not limited to) the following topics:
  • Is it true, as sometimes claimed, that the content view better explains perceptual phenomenology or phenomenal character?
  • What accounts of perceptual phenomenology are available to proponents of a relational view? Are these any more or less plausible than those of the content view?
  • Could perceptual appearances ever provide compelling evidence for or against the existence of representational content?
  • What is the explanatory role (or roles) of perceptual content in relation to phenomenal character, perceptual awareness and consciousness?
  • How does perceptual content (or the lack of it) bear upon the epistemic role of perception?
  • The relational view is sometimes taken to be the best, or most straightforward, way to make sense of the intuition that we have direct, unmediated access to objects and their properties. But in what sense does representational content constitute an intermediary? Conversely, how are we to make sense of such direct access in a content view?
  • To what extent are content and relational views incompatible, and are hybrid ‘compatibilist’ views of experience equally coherent or plausible?
  • Is the existence or absence of perceptual content compatible with empirical research into the underlying physiological mechanisms of perception?

Submission Details

All papers will be subject to double-blind peer review, following international standard practices. Submissions for this issue should be made through Topoi Editorial Manager, selecting ‘S.I.: Perception without representation (Locatelli/Wilson)’ as the article type.

Please save your manuscript in one of the formats supported by the system (Word, WordPerfect, RTF, TXT, LaTeX2E, TeX, Postscript, etc.), which does not include PDF. Formatting instructions for submissions can be found here (click ‘Information for Guest Editors and Authors’ on the right).

Papers must be in English and should not exceed 8,000 words, though there is no minimum length. Each submission should also include a title page containing contact details, a brief abstract and list of keywords for indexing purposes.

For further information, please email

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