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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