The Distinction Between Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content

José Luis Bermúdez

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199262618
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

The Distinction Between Conceptual and Nonconceptual Content


The terminology of the conceptual/nonconceptual distinction was originally introduced by Gareth Evans to clarify the relation between perceptual states and what Evans termed the ‘reasoning and concept-applying system’. Evans's basic idea that perceptual experiences represent the environment in a manner independent of the perceiver's conceptual repertoire has antecedents in Dretske's distinction between analogue content and digital content. This way of using the conceptual/nonconceptual distinction has been developed most systematically by Christopher Peacocke, who has argued that we need a notion of nonconceptual content in order adequately to explain the epistemological dimension of concept possession — an argument that, in turn, has attracted spirited critical discussion.

Keywords: conceptual/nonconceptual distinction; Gareth Evans; perceptual states; perceptual experiences; analogue content; digital content

Article.  7339 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind

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