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A Theory of Sentience$
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Austen Clark

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198238515

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198238515.001.0001

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Sensing and Reference

Sensing and Reference

(p.130) 4 Sensing and Reference
A Theory of Sentience

Austen Clark

Oxford University Press

The claim that sensation refers to space-time regions is made less than trivial by the less than trivial character of the claims that it is a system of representation and that those representations are semantically evaluable. The various considerations up to this point have yielded one strand of argument to the effect that sensory processes represent features of place-times identified in or round the body of the sentient organism. This chapter presents a second and entirely independent line of argument to the same conclusion. It argues that this conclusion follows from other claims we accept already, or at least it does if we accept any sort of causal theory of the phenomena of ‘direct reference’ — most centrally the reference of demonstratives, but perhaps including proper names and natural kind terms as well. Causal theories of direct reference require that sensory processes be endowed with specific capacities of identification. Those capacities are akin to the ones granted to a user of a simple language. In the course of the proceedings that language will be described.

Keywords:   sensory processes, direct reference, sensation, demonstratives, divided reference, divided space, sentience

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