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Object Files, Properties, and Perceptual Content

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Echeverri Santiago,
Project Sensing as Activity: Its Impact on the Structure of Perceptual and Emotional Experience
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Review of Philosophy and Psychology
Volume (Issue) 7(2)
Page(s) 283 - 307
Title of proceedings Review of Philosophy and Psychology
DOI 10.1007/s13164-015-0275-y


Object files are mental representations that enable perceptual systems to keep track of objects as numerically the same. How is their reference fixed? A prominent approach, championed by Zenon Pylyshyn and John Campbell, makes room for a non-satisfactional use of properties to fix reference. This maneuver has enabled them to reconcile a singularist view of reference with the intuition that properties must play a role in reference fixing. This paper examines Campbell’s influential defense of this strategy. After criticizing it, a new approach is sketched. The alternative view introduces representational contents to explain perceptual individuation. After arguing that those contents are not satisfactional, it is concluded that there is room for a third view of reference fixing that does not fit into the singularist/descriptivist dichotomy.