Spatial Experience

September 18, 2017 - September 19, 2017
Tilden Room (5th floor), MLK Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way, University of California, Berkeley

Tilden Room (5th floor), MLK Student Union, 2495 Bancroft Way
United States

All speakers:

John Campbell
University of California, Berkeley
Tony Cheng
University College London
Rick Grush
University of California, San Diego
Geoff Lee
University of California, Berkeley
Stephen Palmer
University of California, Berkeley
Alison Springle
University of Pittsburgh
Barry Stroud
University of California, Berkeley
Benjamin D. Young
University of Nevada, Reno


Tony Cheng
University College London
Alex Kerr
University of California, Berkeley

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We perceptually experience spatial features of, and relations between, things - their shape, size, distance, and orientation, for example. When we do, we enjoy spatial experiences. Our project aims to bring together philosophers and scientists for a conference on the central philosophical questions about spatial experience. We hope it will give an overview of the state of the art in the field.

Some of the big-picture issues here are: Why do things appear the way they do in spatial experience? How does spatial experience relate to spatial cognition? And how is spatial experience important for ordinary and scientific empirical knowledge?

More specific issues include: Do we see the same spatial features we feel? If we do, how should we explain the (seemingly big) differences in how things appear when seen and felt? Do we experience space itself, or only the spatial relations between ordinary objects? (Maybe we should first ask: Are these genuine alternatives, or mere notational variants?) Must space have a specific structure - for example, a specific topological or metric structure - in order for things to be how they appear?

The debates over these issues may seem well worn. But we think they are fruitful ones to revisit right now. For the science and philosophy of spatial experience is flourishing, and recent advances may well shed light on old problems. We hope the conference can clarify how they do.

Tentative Program:

9/18 (Monday)

09:45-10:00 Alex Kerr: Opening Remarks

10:00-11:30 John Campbell

11:30-11:45 Short Break

11:45-1:00 Tony Cheng: Spatial Self-Experience

1:00-2:00 Break for lunch

2:00-3:15 Benjamin Young: Perceiving Smellscapes

3:15-3:30 Short Break

3:30-5:00 Rick Grush & Alison Springle: Agency, Perception, Space, and Subjectivity

9/19 (Tuesday)

1:00-2:30 Geoffrey Lee

2:45-4:15 Stephen Palmer: Aesthetic Aspects of Spatial Experience

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