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By Austen Clark

ISBN-10: 0198238517

ISBN-13: 9780198238515

Austen Clark bargains a basic account of the kinds of psychological illustration that we name "sensory." Drawing at the findings of present neuroscience, Clark defends the speculation that many of the modalities of sensation proportion a frequent shape that he calls "feature-placing." Sensing proceeds via determining place-times in or round the physique of the sentient organism, and characterizing characteristics (features) that seem at these place-times. The speculation casts gentle on many different frustrating phenomena, together with the types of phantasm, the matter of projection, the proposal of a visible box, and the lifestyles of sense-data.

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We use distinct variables in these operators to pick out distinct places. Otto’s feat might be cast as There are regions x and y such that Otto senses redly squarely at-x-ly and greenly triangularly at-y-ly. Spatial differences are registered as adverbial differences: differences in manners of sensing, with discrete manners captured by discrete quantified variables. Can this apparatus solve the Many Properties problem? Can it represent a successful binding? I shall argue that it cannot. The problem can be demonstrated using an even simpler example.

2 Some brain-mind mysteries Some of the mysteries of spatial localization are best revealed from the brain’s point of view. I think of these as ‘brain-mind’ puzzles, since they start with the brain as a given and try to explain how a mind could 27 A THEORY OF SENTIENCE QUALITIES AND THEIR PLACES arise therein. They provide a respite from the philosopher’s preoccupation with the mind’s point of view. By no means will they all be solved by the end of this chapter, or even by the end of the book; but it is useful to post a list of them somewhere, both to define terms and to keep us humble.

Spatial qualitative properties, if they exist, have another disconcerting feature: they seem to have little if any qualitative character. Even though we can discriminate the locations of stimuli, differences that are merely differences in location yield scant difference in the quality of sensation. Upon inspection, in controlled conditions, those differences seem to vanish altogether. Here is a simple illustration. Suppose you agree to participate in an experiment by a latter-day Giovanni. You are blindfolded like the eighteenth century participants.

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A theory of sentience by Austen Clark


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