Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Jesse Prinz


Eric Mandelbaum

Committee Members

David Papineau

Tatiana Eloi Emmanouil

Ned Block

Subject Categories

Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Philosophy of Mind | Philosophy of Science | Theory and Philosophy


perception, cognition, representation, format, iconic, propositional


This dissertation is a defense of perceptual pluralism, the thesis that perceptual systems deliver multiple types of representations including those used in thought. In particular, it argues that perceptual systems output iconic (i.e., image-like, analog) representations as well as discursive (i.e., language-like, digital) states. A central thesis is that perceptual representations of objects are propositional and composed of concepts. It also develops a compositional syntax of iconic representation called the coordination model, according to which icons are sets of primitive parts, each of which determines values along multiple analog feature dimensions simultaneously. The dissertation supports the conclusion that perceptual processes are distinguished from cognition by encapsulation and stimulus control, not format.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.