The Senses as Signalling Systems

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):519-531 (2018)
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Abstract

A central goal of philosophy of perception is to uncover the nature of sensory capacities. Ideally, we would like an account that specifies what conditions need to be met in order for an organism to count as having the capacity to sense or perceive its environment. And on the assumption that sensory states are the kinds of things that can be accurate or inaccurate, a further goal of philosophy of perception is to identify the accuracy conditions for sensory states. In this paper I recommend a novel approach to these core issues, one that draws heavily on game-theoretic treatments of signaling in nature. A benefit of the approach is that it helps us to understand why biologists attribute sensory powers to such a diverse range of organisms, including plants, fungi, and algae.

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Todd Ganson
Oberlin College

Citations of this work

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Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Convention: A Philosophical Study.David Kellogg Lewis - 1969 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Knowledge and the flow of information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.

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