On representing objects with a language of sentience

Philosophical Psychology 21 (1):113 – 127 (2008)
In his book A Theory of Sentience, Austen Clark argues that the content of sensory representations can be expressed as sentences constructed from a language of sentience. Such sentences specify that a determinate feature obtains in a particular space-time region, but the language's limited vocabulary prohibits the sentences from referring or attributing features to objects. In this paper, I show that this view is flawed in at least two ways. First, if sensation has the capacities that Clark and others attribute to it, then the vocabulary of sense extends further than he supposes, and a limited language of sentience cannot justify a prohibition of object representation within sentience. Second, even if the language of sentience is as impoverished as he claims, and thus even if the representational capacity of sentience is correspondingly limited, object individuation can plausibly occur at the level of sensation. In the course of defusing Clark's major argument for an “object-less” theory of sentience, I offer reasons to believe both that sensory representations can be impressively sophisticated in what they say about the world, and that object representations can be surprisingly basic.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080701850084
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
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
Austen Clark (2000). A Theory of Sentience. New York: Oxford University Press.
Austen Clark (2004). Feature-Placing and Proto-Objects. Philosophical Psychology 17 (4):443-469.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

7 ( #291,913 of 1,725,417 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,420 of 1,725,417 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.