Perceptual Information

Robert Kirk

in Raw Feeling

Published in print October 1996 | ISBN: 9780198236795
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679353 | DOI:
Perceptual Information

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Raw feeling is heterogeneous. It is involved not only in all varieties of sensation and conscious perceptual experience but in dreaming, after-imaging, hallucinating, and such oddities as phosphenes. Still, there is a unifying principle. Raw feeling is unified by the fact that it requires a subject: if it exists at all there is something which has it. But what does it take to be such a subject? That remains the fundamental question — and it remains daunting. Two considerations help to make it tractable. One is that the most pervasive variety of raw feeling is associated with perception. So the focus can be on the slightly less general question of what it takes for something to be a subject of conscious perceptual experience. The other is that the terms in which the question is to be answered don't have to be the most basic or detailed that could be conceived. As with the example of ‘gnarled’, there needs to be only enough explanation to remove the philosophical perplexities. In particular, there needs only to be enough to enable us to understand how the Strict Implication thesis could hold. For this purpose the notion of information is crucial. Conscious perception at any rate involves acquiring information about the surrounding world, even if it also involves something else. This chapter's aim is to make the appropriate conception of information clear enough for these purposes, and also to convey some idea of how it helps towards the solution of these problems.

Keywords: after-imaging; stimulus-response; perceptual information; consciousness; dreaming; hallucinating

Chapter.  12263 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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