Mette Kristine Hansen
Published online: 14 October 2017
Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017
Abstract Visual Associative agnosia is a rare perceptual impairment generally
resulting from lesions in the infero temporal cortex. Patients suffering from associative
agnosia are able to make accurate copies of line drawings, but they are unable to
visually recognize objects - including those represented in line drawings - as belonging
to familiar high-level kinds. The Rich Content View claims that visual experience can
represent high-level kind properties. The phenomenon of associative agnosia appears to
present us with a strong case for the Rich Content View. There are reasons for thinking
that the experiences of an agnosic patient differ from those of a healthy subject. Given
that there is a phenomenal contrast between the experiences of an associative agnosic
and those of a healthy perceiver, one may argue that this contrast is due to differences in
abilities to represent high-level kinds. I claim that there is indeed a phenomenal contrast
between the visual experiences of an agnosic and those of a healthy perceiver.
However, the explanation of this contrast that best fits the empirical data is compatible
with the view that visual experience does not represent high-level kinds.
Does visual experience sometimes represent high-level kind properties such as ´dog´ and ´
chair´? The Rich Content view claims that visual experience can represent such properties
(Bayne 2009;Siegel2010), while the Thin Content View (Tye 2000; Carruthers and Veillet
2011;Prinz2012) denies this claim. Visual associative agnosia is a rare perceptual
impairment generally resulting from lesions in the infero temporal cortex (Wolfe et al.
2006). Patients suffering from this condition have difficulties recognizing familiar objects
(such as keys and rats). They also find it challenging to group such objects into categories.
Strikingly, however, they are able to copy line-drawings of such objects and also to match
a stimulus with identical stimuli. The phenomenon of associative agnosia appears to
Rev.Phil.Psych. (2018) 9:301–312
* Mette Kristine Hansen
Universitetet i Bergen, Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier, Det Humanistiske Fakultet,
Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Perception of High-Level Content and the Argument
from Associative Agnosia