Perception, Cognitive Penetration, and High-Level Contents

by Susanna C. Siegel

Do cognitive states influence the contents of visual experience? If so, we can say the visual experiences are cognitively penetrated. What is the extent of this cognitive penetration? Does it ever happen? I will distinguish various forms cognitive penetration could take, consider possible sources of evidence for it, and discuss the relationship between the thesis that visual experiences can be cognitively penetrated and the thesis that visual experiences sometimes have high-level contents, such as causation (one ball hitting another), kinds (a tree looking like a pine tree), emotions (people looking happy), and other high-level properties (cars looking expensive, clouds looking threatening).

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