Sensory Concepts

Mohan Matthen

in Seeing, Doing, and Knowing

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

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A number of influential positions in the philosophy of perception are grounded in the idea that the sensory image is raw and unprocessed. Dretske holds that sensation is analogue: he neglects neurophysiological evidence for data extraction and overlooks the role of attention. Goodman=s inference from the ‘density‘ of sensation to its unprocessed character ignores the process of analogue conversion, or supplementation, as he calls it. Some philosophers argue that sensation has no structure: in fact, it possesses something parallel to syntactic structure. Other philosophers argue, on the contrary, that sensation must be conceptually articulated, but insist that such articulation must be ‘spontaneous‘: it is shown that some level of spontaneity is indeed found in sub-personally generated sensory concepts. Finally, it is argued that, pace Richard Heck, sensation provides us with a means by which to construct a descriptive vocabulary for sense features.

Keywords: analogue; digital; Fred Dretske; Gareth Evans; intensive variation; John McDowell; Nelson Goodman; Richard Heck; sensory concepts; Wilfrid Sellars

Chapter.  15227 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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