David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):329-351 (2000)
In this paper I offer an explanation of the ineffability (linguistic inexpressibility) of sensory experiences. My explanation is put in terms of computational functionalism and standard externalist theories of representational content. As I will argue, many or most sensory experiences are representational states without constituent structure. This property determines both the representational function these states can serve and the information that can be extracted from them when they are processed. Sensory experiences can indicate the presence of certain external states of affairs but they cannot convey any more information about them than that. So, format- or code-conversion mechanisms that link different systems of representation (linguistic and perceptual) to each other will fail to extract any relevant information from sensory experiences that could be coded in language. They only way to establish specific roles for sensory experiences in communication and the organization of behavior is to attach to them, by associative links, words, or other behavioral responses. If a sensory experience has no linguistic label associated to it in a particular subject, then no linguistic description can token, or activate, that state in the subject. In other words, no linguistic description can cause a subject to undergo an unlabeled perceptual state. On the contrary, complex, or syntactically structured perceptual states can be built up, on the basis of descriptions, by mechanisms of constructive imagination (conceived here as one sort of format conversion). It is this difference between complex and unstructured representational states that gives us an understanding of the phenomenon we call the ineffability of qualia
|Keywords||*Linguistics *Perception *Psychological Theories Auditory Perception Functionalism Visual Perception|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Pete Mandik (2005). Action-Oriented Representation. In Andrew Brook & Kathleen Akins (eds.), Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement. Cambridge University Press. 284--305.
John Dilworth (2006). A Reflexive Dispositional Analysis of Mechanistic Perception. Minds and Machines 16 (4):479-493.
Uriah Kriegel (2003). Consciousness as Sensory Quality and as Implicit Self-Awareness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (1):1-26.
Casey O'Callaghan (2008). Object Perception: Vision and Audition. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):803-829.
Gary C. Hatfield (2009). Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.
Dan Ryder, Explaining the "Inhereness" of Qualia Representationally: Why We Seem to Have a Visual Field.
Edward Averill (2012). The Phenomenological Character of Color Perception. Philosophical Studies 157 (1):27-45.
L. Deouell (2002). Pre-Requisites for Conscious Awareness: Clues From Electrophysiological and Behavioral Studies of Unilateral Neglect Patients. Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):546-567.
Austen Clark (1985). Qualia and the Psychophysical Explanation of Color Perception. Synthese 65 (December):377-405.
Thomas Metzinger (2000). Commentary on Jakab's Ineffability of Qualia. Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):352-362.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #79,863 of 1,410,540 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #178,988 of 1,410,540 )
How can I increase my downloads?