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Abstract: Keeley has recently argued that the philosophical issue of how to analyse the concept of a sense can usefully be addressed by considering how scientists, and more specifically neuroethologists, classify the senses. After briefly outlining his proposal, which is based on the application of an ordered set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for modality differentiation, I argue, by way of two complementary counterexamples, that it fails to account fully for the way the senses are in fact individuated in neuroethology and other relevant sciences. I suggest substantial modifications to Keeley
Abstract: In this paper I am going to argue that two commonly held views about perceptual experience are incompatible and that one must be given up. The first is the view that the five senses are to be distinguished by appeal to the kind of experiences involved in perception; the second is the view
Abstract: The distinction we make between five different senses is a universal one.1 Rather than speaking of generically perceiving something, we talk of perceiving in one of five determinate ways: we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste things. In distinguishing determinate ways of perceiving things what are we distinguishing between? What, in other words, is a sense modality?2 An answer to this question must tell us what constitutes a sense modality and so needs to do more than simply describe differences in virtue of which we can distinguish the perceptions of different senses. There are many such differences
Abstract: Standard accounts of the senses attempt to answer the question how and why we count ?ve senses (the counting question); none of the standard accounts is satisfactory. Any adequate account of the senses must explain the signi?cance of the senses, that is, why distinguishing different senses matters. I provide such an explanation, and then use it as the basis for providing an account of the senses and answering the counting question
Abstract: Representationalist theories of sensory experience are often thought to be vulnerable to the existence of apparently non-representational differences between experiences in different sensory modalities. Seeing and hearing seem to differ in their qualia, quite apart from what they represent. The origin of this idea is perhaps Grice’s argument, in “Some Remarks on the Senses,” that the senses are distinguished by “introspectible character.” In this chapter I take the Representationalist side by putting forward an account of sense modalities which is consistent with that view and yet pays due regard to the intuition behind Grice’s argument. Employing J.J. Gibson’s distinction between exploratory and performatory behaviour, I point to a proprioceptive element in perceptual experience, and identify this as crucial in any account of what makes a particular way of perceiving a sense modality.
Abstract: There has been some recent optimism that addressing the question of how we distinguish sensory modalities will help us consider whether there are limits on a scientific understanding of perceptual states. For example, Block has suggested that the way we distinguish sensory modalities indicates that perceptual states have qualia which at least resist scientific characterization. At another extreme, Keeley argues that our common-sense way of distinguishing the senses in terms of qualitative properties is misguided, and offers a scientific eliminativism about common-sense modalities which avoids appeal to qualitative properties altogether. I’ll argue contrary to Keeley that qualitative properties are necessary for distinguishing senses, and contrary to Block that our common-sense distinction doesn’t indicate that perceptual states have qualia. A non-qualitative characterization of perceptual states isn’t needed to avoid the potential limit on scientific understanding imposed by qualia
Abstract: The goal of this paper is to challenge the rather insouciant attitude that many investigators seem to adopt when they go about describing the items and events in their "visual fields". There are at least three distinct categories of interpretation of what these reports might mean, and only under one of those categories do those reports have anything resembling an observational character. The others demand substantive revisions in one's beliefs about what one sees. The ur-concept of a "visual field" is that of the "sum of things seen", but one can interpret the latter in very different ways. The first is the "field of view", or the sum of physical things seen. The second is an array of visual impressions, whose spatial relations are distinct from those of physical phenomena in front of the eyes. The third is an intentional object: the world as it is represented visually. These three categories are described, and various locutions of vision science--such as "optic array", "retinocentric space", "visual geometry", "virtual object" and others--are analyzed and variously located within them. Finally, a recent argument purporting to necessitate the existence of a version two visual field is examined and shown wanting
Abstract: Pictorial representation is one species of visual representation--but not the only one, I argue. There are three additional varieties or species of visual representation--namely 'structural', 'aspect' and 'integrative' representation--which together comprise a category of 'delineative' rather than depictive visual representation. I arrive at this result via consideration of previously neglected orientational factors that serve to distinguish the two categories. I conclude by arguing that pictures (unlike 'delineations') are not physical objects, and that their multiplicity and modal narrowness motivates a view of them as instead being (one kind of) 'delineatively' represented content or subject matter, as represented by those objects that are (commonly but wrongly, in my view) assumed to be pictures
Abstract: To experience is to undergo a process, to be in a state of receiving input which affords information about our environment. For highly developed beings like ourselves, the inputs determining states of conscious sensory perception are among the most important for our survival. At first glance, these states seem relational, each being a situation wherein a percipient X is passively conscious of something Y--its object, subject-matter, or content--without any apparent effort. Of course, the briefest reflection convinces us that despite a seemingly passive reception of data from without, a good deal of interpretation goes into the making of perceptual judgments, as evidenced by their wide variance in the face of like sensory stimulation. One person looking at the slope of a mountain notices a patch of whitish stones; another sees a flock of sheep grazing. They are distinguished by their different reactions to similar input, whether or not these are best construed as inferences, interpretations, or, simply, differing degrees of attentiveness
Abstract: The specialization of visual function within biological function is reason for introducing “homology thinking” into explanations of the visual system. It is argued that such specialization arises when organisms evolve by differentiation from their predecessors. Thus, it is essentially historical, and visual function should be regarded as a lineage property. The colour vision of birds and mammals do not function the same way as one another, on this account, because each is an adaptation to special needs of the visual functions of predecessors—very different kinds of predecessors in each case. Thus, history underlies function. We also see how homology thinking figures in the hierarchical classification of visual systems, and how it supports the explanation of visual function by functional role analysis
Abstract: Abstract The paper uses the tools of mereotopology (the theory of parts, wholes and boundaries) to work out the implications of certain analogies between the 'ecological psychology' of J. J Gibson and the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl. It presents an ontological theory of spatial boundaries and of spatially extended entities. By reference to examples from the geographical sphere it is shown that both boundaries and extended entities fall into two broad categories: those which exist independently of our cognitive acts (for example, the planet Earth, its exterior surface); and those which exist only in virtue of such acts (for example: the equator, the North Sea). The visual field, too, can be conceived as an example of an extended entity that is dependent in the sense at issue. The paper suggests extending this analogy by postulating entities which would stand to true judgments as the visual field stands to acts of visual perception. The judgment field is defined more precisely as that complex extended entity which comprehends all entities which are relevant to the truth of a given (true) judgment. The work of cognitive linguists such as Talmy and Langacker, when properly interpreted, can be shown to yield a detailed account of the structures of the judgment fields corresponding to sentences of different sorts. A new sort of correspondence-theoretic definition of truth for sentences of natural language can then be formulated on this basis
Abstract: This paper defends two theses about sensory objects. The more general thesis is that directly sensed objects are those delivered by sub-personal processes. It is shown how this thesis runs counter to perceptual atomism, the view that wholes are always sensed indirectly, through their parts. The more specific thesis is that while the direct objects of audition are all composed of sounds, these direct objects are not all sounds—here, a composite auditory object is a temporal sequence of sounds (whereas a composite visual object is a spatial composite). Many composite objects are directly heard in the sense just mentioned. There is a great variety of such composite auditory objects—melodies, harmonies, sequences of phonemes, individual voices, meaning-carrying sounds, and so on. This diversity of auditory objects has an important application to aesthetics. Perceivers do not naturally or easily attend simultaneously to auditory objects that overlap in time. Yet, aesthetic appreciation depends on such an allocation of attention to overlapping objects
Abstract: Provides the theoretical and psychological framework to the philosophy of sounds and audition. I address auditory scene analysis, spatial hearing, the audible qualities, and cross-modal interactions.
Abstract: Some sounds have pitch, some do not. A tuba’s notes are lower pitched than a ﬂute’s, but the fuzz from an untuned radio has no discernible pitch. Pitch is an attribute in virtue of which sounds that possess it can be ordered from “low” to “high”. Given how audition works, physics has taught us that frequency determines what pitch a sound auditorily appears to have
Abstract: Ordinary common sense suggests that we have just one set of shape concepts that we apply indifferently on the bases of sight and touch. Yet we understand the shape concepts, we know what shape properties are, only because we have experience of shapes. And phenomenal experience of shape in vision and phenomenal experience of shape in touch seem to be quite different. So how can the shape concepts we grasp and use on the basis of vision be the same as the shape concepts we grasp and use on the basis of touch? I think this is the intuitive puzzle that underlies the question sent by the Dublin lawyer Molyneux to John Locke. This concerns a man born blind, who learns by the use of his touch to discriminate cubes from spheres. Suppose him now to gain the use of his sight. And suppose him to be presented with a cube and a sphere, of nighly the same bigness. Quaere, will he be able to tell, by the use of his vision alone, which is the sphere, and which the cube? (Locke 1975, II/ix/8.)
Abstract: Cross-modal perceptual illusions occur when a stimulus to one modality impacts perceptual experience associated with another modality. Unlike synaesthesia, cross-modal illusions are intelligible as results of perceptual strategies for dealing with sensory stimulation to multiple modalities, rather than as mere quirks. I argue that understanding cross-modal illusions reveals an important flaw in a widespread conception of the senses, and of their role in perceptual experience, according to which understanding perception and perceptual experience is a matter of assembling independently viable stories about vision, audition, olfaction, and the rest.