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Seeing, Doing, and KnowingA Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception$
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Mohan Matthen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199268509.001.0001

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Sensory Concepts

Sensory Concepts

Chapter:
(p.61) 3 Sensory Concepts
Source:
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing
Author(s):

Mohan Matthen (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199268509.003.0004

A number of influential positions in the philosophy of perception are grounded in the idea that the sensory image is raw and unprocessed. Dretske holds that sensation is analogue: he neglects neurophysiological evidence for data extraction and overlooks the role of attention. Goodman=s inference from the ‘density‘ of sensation to its unprocessed character ignores the process of analogue conversion, or supplementation, as he calls it. Some philosophers argue that sensation has no structure: in fact, it possesses something parallel to syntactic structure. Other philosophers argue, on the contrary, that sensation must be conceptually articulated, but insist that such articulation must be ‘spontaneous‘: it is shown that some level of spontaneity is indeed found in sub-personally generated sensory concepts. Finally, it is argued that, pace Richard Heck, sensation provides us with a means by which to construct a descriptive vocabulary for sense features.

Keywords:   analogue, digital, Fred Dretske, Gareth Evans, intensive variation, John McDowell, Nelson Goodman, Richard Heck, sensory concepts, Wilfrid Sellars

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