The Philosophical Review 130 (2):263-209 (2021)
AbstractConscious experiences are characterized by mental qualities, such as those involved in seeing red, feeling pain, or smelling cinnamon. The standard framework for modeling mental qualities represents them via points in geometrical spaces, where distances between points inversely correspond to degrees of phenomenal similarity. This paper argues that the standard framework is structurally inadequate and develops a new framework that is more powerful and flexible. The core problem for the standard framework is that it cannot capture precision structure: for example, consider the phenomenal contrast between seeing an object as crimson in foveal vision versus merely as red in peripheral vision. The solution I favor is to model mental qualities using regions, rather than points. I explain how this seemingly simple formal innovation not only provides a natural way of modeling precision, but also yields a variety of further theoretical fruits: it enables us to formulate novel hypotheses about the space and structures of mental qualities, formally differentiate two dimensions of phenomenal similarity, generate a quantitative model of the phenomenal sorites, and define a measure of discriminatory grain. A noteworthy consequence is that the structure of the mental qualities of conscious experiences is fundamentally different from the structure of the perceptible qualities of external objects.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Similar books and articles
Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception, and Consciousness.Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.) - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
Unsensed Phenomenal Qualities: A Defence.Michael Lockwood - 1998 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (4):415-418.
Where's the Beef? Phenomenal Concepts as Both Demonstrative and Substantial.Robert Schroer - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (3):505-522.
Beyond Transparency: The Spatial Argument for Experiential Externalism.Neil Mehta - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
Phenomenal Concepts as Mental Files.Roberto De Sá Pereira - 2013 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 88 (1):73-100.
Blindsight and the Role of the Phenomenal Qualities of Visual Perceptions.Ralph Schumacher - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 35:205-209.
Is the Experience of Pain Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities.Murat Aydede - 2019 - Synthese 196 (2):677-708.
Quality-Space Theory in Olfaction.Benjamin D. Young, Andreas Keller & David Rosenthal - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5.
Enactivism and the Problem of Consciousness.Dmitry Ivanov - 2016 - Epistemology and Philosophy of Science 49 (3):88-104.
Making Sense: The Problem of Phenomenal Qualities in Late Scholastic Aristotelianism and Descartes.Alison J. Simmons - 1994 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
Phenomenal Space and the Unity of Conscious Experience.Douglas B. Meehan - 2003 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 9.
References found in this work
The Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces.Peter Gärdenfors - 2014 - MIT Press.