Sensations and brain processes

Philosophical Review 68 (April):141-56 (1959)
Abstract
SUPPOSE that I report that I have at this moment a roundish, blurry-edged after-image which is yellowish towards its edge and is orange towards its centre. What is it that I am reporting?l One answer to this question might be that I am not reporting anything, that when I say that it looks to me as though there is a roundish yellowy orange patch of light On the wall I am expressing some sort of temptation, the temptation to say that there is a roundish yellowy orange patch on the wall. This is perhaps Wittgenstein's view in the Philosophical Investigations. Similarly, when I "report" a pain, I am not really reporting anything, but am doing a sophisticated sort of wince. 2 I prefer most of the time to discuss an afterimage rather than a pain, because the word "pain" brings in something which is irrelevant to my purpose: the notion of "distress." I think that "he is in pain" entails "he is in distress," that is, that he is in a certain agitation-condition.3 Similarly, to say "I am in pain" may be to do more than "replace pain behavior": it may be partly to report something, though this something is quite nonmysterious, being an agitation-condition, and so susceptible of behavioristic analysis. The suggestion I wish if possible to avoid is a different one, namely that "I am in pain" is a genuine report, and that what it reports is an irreducibly psychical something. And similarly the suggestion I wish to resist is also that to say "I have a yellowish orange after-image" is to report something irreducibly psychical
Keywords Brain  Consciousness  Process  Sensation
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DOI 10.2307/2182164
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