The Phenomenality Plot

J. Kevin O’Regan

in Why Red Doesn’t Sound Like a Bell

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199775224
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919031 | DOI:
The Phenomenality Plot

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The sensorimotor approach to raw feel explains four mysteries: why there's something it's like to have a raw sensory feel (presence); why different raw feels feel different; why there is structure in the differences; and why raw feel is ineffable. Of these four mysteries, the one philosophers consider to be the most mysterious is the first one, namely the question of why there's “something it's like” to have an experience. If richness, bodiliness, insubordinateness, and grabbiness are the basis for the “what it's like” of sensory feels, then we can naturally ask whether these concepts can do more work for us. In particular we would like them to explain, in the case of other, nonsensory types of experiences, the extent to which people will claim these have a “something it's like.” This chapter shows how proprioception and the vestibular sense, despite being real sensory systems, possess little if any sensory presence. The chapter also considers the cases of emotions, hunger and thirst, and pain. It demonstrates that the low or intermediate values of richness, bodiliness, insubordinateness, and grabbiness possessed by such experiences explain why people will tend to say that these experiences only have intermediate values of sensory presence. The chapter focuses on bodiliness and grabbiness, which tend to be the critical factors. These are plotted on a “phenomenality plot.” This graph indicates on the x axis the amount of bodiliness a given type of mental or neural activity has, and on the y axis the amount of grabbiness that activity has.

Keywords: raw feel; sensory feel; richness; bodiliness; insubordinateness; grabbiness

Chapter.  8013 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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