Institut Jean Nicod

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Alberto Voltolini (Université de Turin)

Vendredi 4 mai 2018 de 11h30 à 13h

Institut Jean-Nicod, Pavillon Jardin, ENS, 29, rue d'Ulm 75005. Salle de réunion, RDC

Fusion Experiences

Both a meaning experience, an experience of as of understanding a certain expression (Strawson 1994), and the experience of seeing-in, the pictorially relevant twofold experience of discerning a certain subject in another object, typically a picture’s vehicle (Wollheim 1980 2 ), can be taken to be fusion experiences (Husserl 1913 2 , Briscoe 2017), in the sense that although they are constituted by parts, they amount to a sensory whole (Husserl 1913, Wollheim 1987).
Thus, one may take them to structurally be the same kind of experience: just as one sees a subject in a picture’s vehicle, one hears (sees) a meaning, or a thought, in the expression one hears (sees) (McDowell 1998). Yet their similarity notwithstanding, they are not the same kind of experience. Granted, in both experiences the higher-level components depend on their lower-level components: one could not see a subject in a picture’s vehicle if one did not already see that vehicle; one could not hear a meaning in an expression if one did not hear that very expression. Moreover, such a dependence is generic: one can hear the same meaning in hearing different (synonymous) expressions; one can see the same subject even if one has a different experience of the vehicle, for the vehicle has changed its colours and shapes.
Nevertheless, the relationship between the folds of the seeing-in experience is more intimate than that between the parts of the meaning experience. One can hear an expression, not only in its lower-level auditory qualities but also in its morphosyntactic qualities, and yet hear no meaning in it; moreover, when one also hears its meaning, the previous auditory experience of the expression is not modified. Granted, one can also see a picture’s vehicle without also seeing a subject in it. Yet when one sees a subject in it, the experience of the vehicle is modified, for it comes to have an enriched content. This has to do with the fact that, unlike the meaning experience, qua pictorial experience the seeing-in experience is a recognitional experience (Schier 1986, Lopes 1996): in order to recognize a certain subject in a picture, one must experience that picture’s vehicle in such a way that grounds that recognition. In this respect, only the seeing-in experience amounts to a proper fusion experience, an experience of a sensory whole that does not coincide with the experiences of its parts.

(Stumpf 1890).