Places Phenomenal and Real

Austen Clark

in A Theory of Sentience

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198238515
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679650 | DOI:
Places Phenomenal and Real

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Spatial discrimination, like space itself, has a curious invisibility. There is a division in the organization of sentience between features and the placing of those features. The former are at least relatively familiar; they are our old friends the sensory qualities. But the latter capacities, although just as important for the success of the scheme as a whole, are relatively unexplored. Their work is vital. Matte red next to glossy green can be distinguished from glossy red next to matte green only if the scene is represented in something of the form: ( (glossy red) (here) ) ( (matte green) (there) ), where ‘here’ and ‘there’ serve as spatial identifiers, picking out place-times, focusing the attribution of features. The achievement is not feature conjunction, but rather joint predication: not just a listing of qualities, but an identification of that which they qualify. But the work of these identifiers can seem invisible; it is, almost by definition, featureless. Some philosophers are likely to consider incoherent the suggestion that sensory processes ‘pick out’ or ‘identify’ anything. This chapter presents an initial scouting and defence of the very notion of sensory reference.

Keywords: sentience; sensory reference; spatial discrimination; space-time

Chapter.  24383 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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