Phenomenal immediacy and the doors of sensation

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Abstract:

[opening paragraph]: Nicholas Humphrey (2000) offers a refreshingly progressive recipe for laying wide the doors of sensation: for understanding the peculiar features of qualitative or sensational experience in terms of the physical or functional facts about brains, bodies and environments. The key move in the treatment is the promotion of a kind of co- ordinated, double-sided tweaking: a careful restatement, with some amendments, of each side of the elusive identity statement ‘sensational property x = brain state y'. Only after such restatements herd the two kinds of facts into a roughly common arena, Humphrey believes, can some kind of identity story be revealed as coherent, plausible, and explanatorily potent (as an aside, I think everything Nick says is compatible with the claim being pitched at a functional, rather than a brute physical, level, but nothing in the present treatment will hang on whether or not that is so).

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Dept of Philosophy, Washington University, Campus 1073, St Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 2000

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