HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 41 no. 1 (2012)

Nonconceptualism and the Cognitive Process of Perception

Emmanuel Ola Akintona

Discipline: Psychology, Philosophy



Gareth Evans was first to express the idea that our perceptual experience is more detailed than what our concepts possess and this brings in the idea of nonconceptualism. The nonconceptualist claims that creatures without conceptual ability can be in a content-bearing state (nonconceptual state) since they do not possess concept, memory or linguistic ability. Concepts are the constituents of those intentional contents that are the complete truth-evaluable contents of judgment and belief. This paper examines the possibility of nonconceptual content in human perception and considers the complementarism of conceptualism and nonconceptualism as a more viable basis for explaining human perception. This synthesis, the paper suggests, overcomes the epistemological deficiencies inherent in any unilateral approach to understanding the nature, character, and process of cognition thereby providing a more comprehensive understanding of the human cognitive process.