Ambiguous figures and representationalism
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Macpherson (Nous 40(1):82-117, 2006) argues that the square/regular diamond figure threatens representationalism, construed as the theory which holds that the phenomenal character is explained by the nonconceptual content of experience. Her argument is the claim that representationalism is committed to the thesis that differences in the experience of ambiguous figures, the gestalt switch, should be explained by differences in the NCC of perception of these figures. However, with respect to the square/regular diamond and some other ambiguous figure representationalism fails to offer a unified account of how representational content makes them ambiguous. In this paper, I aim, first, to offer a representationalist account of ambiguous figures and, second, to examine and rebut Macpherson's arguments. My main point is that in each ambiguous figure Macpherson discusses there are differences in representational content that can explain differences in phenomenal character or content. The representational differences are due to the ways the Cartesian frame of reference in which perceptual content is always cast cuts the figure, underlying different properties of the figure with respect to the axes of the Cartesian frame of reference. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.