No watershed for overflow: Recent work on the richness of consciousness

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No watershed for overflow: Recent work on the richness of consciousness. / Phillips, Ian.

In: Philosophical Psychology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 17.02.2016, p. 236-249.

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@article{3ecf7075e1a24f009cf4eaf770b347f9,
title = "No watershed for overflow:: Recent work on the richness of consciousness",
abstract = "A familiar and enduring controversy surrounds the question of whether our phenomenal experience “overflows” availability to cognition: do we consciously see more than we can remember and report? Both sides to this debate have long sought to move beyond na{\"i}ve appeals to introspection by providing empirical evidence for or against overflow. Recently, two notable studies—Bronfman, Brezis, Jacobson, and Usher (2014) and Vandenbroucke, Sligte, Fahrenfort, Ambroziak, and Lamme (2012)—have purported to provide compelling evidence in favor of overflow. Here I explain why the data from both studies are wholly consistent with a “no overflow” interpretation. Importantly, when framed purely in representational or informational terms, this “no overflow” interpretation agrees with the interpretations respectively offered by both Bronfman et al. (2014) and Vandenbroucke et al. (2012). The difference only emerges when additional assumptions are made concerning which representations correspond to elements in conscious experience. The assumptions made by overflow theorists are contentious and poorly motivated. However, challenging them simply reopens the original controversy. The upshot is a sobering moral: we still do not know how to move beyond appeals to na{\"i}ve introspection in establishing the nature and limits of our ordinary experience.",
keywords = "Consciousness, Generic Experience, Perceptual Representation, Phenomenal Overflow, Unconscious Perception",
author = "Ian Phillips",
year = "2016",
month = feb,
day = "17",
doi = "10.1080/09515089.2015.1079604",
language = "English",
volume = "29",
pages = "236--249",
journal = "Philosophical Psychology",
issn = "0951-5089",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",
number = "2",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - No watershed for overflow:

T2 - Recent work on the richness of consciousness

AU - Phillips, Ian

PY - 2016/2/17

Y1 - 2016/2/17

N2 - A familiar and enduring controversy surrounds the question of whether our phenomenal experience “overflows” availability to cognition: do we consciously see more than we can remember and report? Both sides to this debate have long sought to move beyond naïve appeals to introspection by providing empirical evidence for or against overflow. Recently, two notable studies—Bronfman, Brezis, Jacobson, and Usher (2014) and Vandenbroucke, Sligte, Fahrenfort, Ambroziak, and Lamme (2012)—have purported to provide compelling evidence in favor of overflow. Here I explain why the data from both studies are wholly consistent with a “no overflow” interpretation. Importantly, when framed purely in representational or informational terms, this “no overflow” interpretation agrees with the interpretations respectively offered by both Bronfman et al. (2014) and Vandenbroucke et al. (2012). The difference only emerges when additional assumptions are made concerning which representations correspond to elements in conscious experience. The assumptions made by overflow theorists are contentious and poorly motivated. However, challenging them simply reopens the original controversy. The upshot is a sobering moral: we still do not know how to move beyond appeals to naïve introspection in establishing the nature and limits of our ordinary experience.

AB - A familiar and enduring controversy surrounds the question of whether our phenomenal experience “overflows” availability to cognition: do we consciously see more than we can remember and report? Both sides to this debate have long sought to move beyond naïve appeals to introspection by providing empirical evidence for or against overflow. Recently, two notable studies—Bronfman, Brezis, Jacobson, and Usher (2014) and Vandenbroucke, Sligte, Fahrenfort, Ambroziak, and Lamme (2012)—have purported to provide compelling evidence in favor of overflow. Here I explain why the data from both studies are wholly consistent with a “no overflow” interpretation. Importantly, when framed purely in representational or informational terms, this “no overflow” interpretation agrees with the interpretations respectively offered by both Bronfman et al. (2014) and Vandenbroucke et al. (2012). The difference only emerges when additional assumptions are made concerning which representations correspond to elements in conscious experience. The assumptions made by overflow theorists are contentious and poorly motivated. However, challenging them simply reopens the original controversy. The upshot is a sobering moral: we still do not know how to move beyond appeals to naïve introspection in establishing the nature and limits of our ordinary experience.

KW - Consciousness

KW - Generic Experience

KW - Perceptual Representation

KW - Phenomenal Overflow

KW - Unconscious Perception

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84957848336&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/09515089.2015.1079604

DO - 10.1080/09515089.2015.1079604

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84957848336

VL - 29

SP - 236

EP - 249

JO - Philosophical Psychology

JF - Philosophical Psychology

SN - 0951-5089

IS - 2

ER -