Thoughts on sensory representation: A commentary on S a theory of sentience Joseph Levine

1. Clark’s book is a detailed study of the nature of sensory representation. It is highly informed by empirical results in the psychology of perception, and philosophically rich and significant. I admire the book and learned a great deal from reading it. As it covers a wide range of topics, and as I have no overarching critique to present, in this commentary I will briefly address three issues that come up in the book: Clark’s relational type-identity thesis for sensory qualities, his theory that sensory representations involve proto-singular terms referring to spatio-temporal regions in the subject’s environment, and his interesting proposal concerning color to treat it as “difference coding”. Some of my remarks will be critical, but others will just explore some of the implications of his view. 2. Clark distinguishes “phenomenal properties” from “qualitative properties”, the former being appearance properties of things in the world (their colors, shapes, tastes, odors, etc.) and the latter being the properties of sensations by virtue of which they are sensations of their corresponding phenomenal properties. So when I see a red ball I am “directly” aware of the ball’s redness and roundness - it appears red and round to me. This awareness of the ball’s redness and roundness is accomplished, however, by my having a visual experience with certain qualitative properties; those that are of the sort one has when seeing something as red and round. It is these latter qualitative properties that are the subject of his relational type-identity thesis. Before addressing that thesis, however, I want to quickly note and respond to another point Clark makes concerning the qualitative properties of sensory states. He..
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