Sensation and Observation

Anthony Kenny

in The Metaphysics of Mind

Published in print September 1992 | ISBN: 9780192830708
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670527 | DOI:
Sensation and Observation

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This chapter begins with a brief discussion of the ways in which the five resemble each other and the reasons for grouping them all together as senses. It then traces the history of the philosophy of sensation from its beginnings in the philosopher who was both the first systematic psychologist and the first systematic physiologist, namely Aristotle. It is argued that sensation is not the same thing as the acquisition of information about sensible objects; a sense is essentially a modality for acquiring information in a modality which admits of pleasure and pain. The distinction between the intellectual knowledge that p and the sensation that p is to be sought, as Aristotle said, in the different relationship of each mode of cognition to pain and pleasure understood in the widest sense.

Keywords: senses; sensation; observation; Aristotle

Chapter.  6531 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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