Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement


The Representational vs. the Relational View of Visual Experience

Brian P. McLaughlina1

a1 Rutgers University


In Reference and Consciousness, John Campbell attempts to a make a case that what he calls ‘the Relational View’ of visual experience, a view that he champions, is superior to what he calls ‘the Representational View’. I argue that his attempt fails. In section 1, I spell out the two views. In section 2, I outline Campbell's case that the Relational View is superior to the Representational View and offer a diagnosis of where Campbell goes wrong. In section 3, I examine the case in detail and argue that it fails. Finally, in section 4, I mention two very well-known problems for the Relational View that are unresolved in the book.


Brian P. McLaughlin is Professor II in the Philosophy Department at Rutgers University and a member of the Executive Council of the Rutgers University Cognitive Science Center. He has published numerous articles in a wide range of fields in philosophy. Recently, he was a co-editor of Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Mind (2007) and a co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind (2009).