Synesthesia as a challenge for representationalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Synesthesia is a condition in which features that ordinarily are processed by distinct perceptual or cognitive streams are bound together in a single stream, yielding an aberrant perceptual, image-like or thought-like experience. One of the most common forms of synesthesia is grapheme-color synesthesia. It is divided into two distinct forms: Projector synesthesia, which tends to be perception-like, and associator synesthesia, which tends to be more like imagery or thought. There has been an ongoing debate in philosophy about whether synesthesia can provide any insight into the philosophical question of the nature of perception. I argue here that at least some forms of projector synesthesia provide a challenge for reductive representationalism, the view that the phenomenal properties of perceptual experience is exhausted by an externalist, representational content. I conclude by arguing that a rejection of representationalism does not saddle us with a peculiar qualia view.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Experimental Philosophy
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781118661666
ISBN (Print)9781118661703
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Grapheme-color synesthesia
  • Perception
  • Projector synesthesia
  • Qualia freak
  • Representationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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