The Sensory Classification Thesis

Mohan Matthen

in Seeing, Doing, and Knowing

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780199268504
Published online April 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602283 | DOI:
The Sensory Classification Thesis

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Sensory systems are automatic sorting machines which assign external sensed objects (distal stimuli) to classes on the basis of useful commonalities found in them. The results of a system=s sorting activities are made available to the perceiver in the form of a sensation, which can be held in memory or later recalled. Appearance thus follows classification as the record thereof. It follows (a) that sensory qualities are prior to experience and hence cannot be defined in terms of it, and (b) that all variations in the appearance of the stimulus are representationally significant (but not that all phenomenal variation is representationally significant).

Keywords: blindsight; dispositionalism; distal objects; F. A. Hayek; inverted spectrum; nominalism; realism; response-dependence; sensation; sensory classification; sensory qualia

Chapter.  10602 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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