© 2015

Modest Nonconceptualism

Epistemology, Phenomenology, and Content


  • Contains new and original support for nonconceptualism

  • Offers clear explication of nonconceptual content and nonconceptualism

  • Provides the first systematic book-length presentation of the conceptualism-nonconceptualism debate


Part of the Studies in Brain and Mind book series (SIBM, volume 8)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 1-5
  3. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 7-30
  4. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 31-72
  5. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 73-104
  6. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 105-123
  7. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 125-166
  8. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 167-231
  9. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 233-255
  10. Eva Schmidt
    Pages 257-261
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 263-268

About this book


The author defends nonconceptualism, the claim that perceptual experience is nonconceptual and has nonconceptual content. Continuing the heated and complex debate surrounding this topic over the past two decades, she offers a sustained defense of a novel version of the view, Modest Nonconceptualism, and provides a systematic overview of some of the central controversies in the debate.

The volume starts off with an explication of the notion of nonconceptual content and a distinction between nonconceptualist views of different strengths, then the author goes on to defend participants in the debate over nonconceptual content against the allegation that their failure to distinguish between a state view and a content view of (non)conceptualism leads to fatal problems for their views. Next, she makes a case for nonconceptualism by refining some of the central arguments for the view, such as the arguments from fineness of grain, from contradictory contents, from animal and infant perception, and from concept acquisition. Then, two central objections against nonconceptualism are rebutted in a novel way: the epistemological objection and the objection from objectivity.

Modest Nonconceptualism allows for perceptual experiences to involve some conceptual elements. It emphasizes the relevance of concept employment for an understanding of conceptual and nonconceptual mental states and identifies the nonconceptual content of experience with scenario content. It insists on the possibility of genuine content-bearing perceptual experience without concept possession and is thus in line with the Autonomy Thesis. Finally, it includes an account of perceptual justification that relies on the external contents of experience and belief, yet is compatible with epistemological internalism.


Animal minds Mental content Nonconceptual content Perceptual experience Perceptual objectivity Perceptual reasons Philosophy of perception Scenario content

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy Department Saarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

About the authors

Eva Schmidt is a Research Assistant at the Department of Philosophy at Saarland University, Germany, and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Luxembourg. Her areas of specialization include philosophy of mind, epistemology, and philosophy of perception. She has published several papers on nonconceptual content and other issues in the philosophy of perception.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Modest Nonconceptualism
  • Book Subtitle Epistemology, Phenomenology, and Content
  • Authors Eva Schmidt
  • Series Title Studies in Brain and Mind
  • Series Abbreviated Title Studies in Brain,Mind
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-18901-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-37139-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-18902-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XI, 268
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Mind
  • Buy this book on publisher's site