Sensory Experience

Alan Millar

in Reasons and Experience

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198242703
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680540 | DOI:
Sensory Experience

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This chapter presents a fairly detailed treatment of sensory experience, focusing on issues falling within what may be called the theory of the content of psychological states. It is a commonplace among many philosophers that sensory experiences have propositional contents. This way of thinking is made natural, among other things, by the fact that experiences may readily be described in terms of propositional clauses spelling out how things seem to the subject. It may seem to you that thunder is rumbling in the distance, that a coffee-stain is on the tablecloth, that the lamb you are eating is flavoured with rosemary, and so forth. In the light of this it is tempting to regard experiences as a kind of propositional attitude, to be regarded as having propositional content in the way that beliefs and desires do. This implies that the content of an experience is intrinsic to the type of the experience, in the sense that any experience of the same type would have to have the same content. The chapter argues that such a view is mistaken.

Keywords: how things seem; sensations; perception; belief; psychological states

Chapter.  18641 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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