The Senses: Classical and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives (Philosophy of Mind)
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* This volume is the first on the philosophy of the non-visual senses
* It combines older, hard-to-find essays on the non-visual senses with contemporary essays by well-known philosophers in the field
* Macpherson's introduction to the volume traces the philosophy of the senses throughout history and points towards new directions in its future
The senses, or sensory modalities, constitute the different ways we have of perceiving the world, such as seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. But how many senses are there? How many could there be? What makes the senses different? What interaction takes place between the senses? This book is a guide to thinking about these questions. Together with an extensive introduction to the topic, the book contains the key classic papers on this subject together with nine newly commissioned essays.
One reason that these questions are important is that we are receiving a huge influx of new information from the sciences that challenges some traditional philosophical views about the senses. This information needs to be incorporated into our view of the senses and perception. Can we do this whilst retaining our pre-existing concepts of the senses and of perception or do we need to revise our concepts? If they need to be revised, then in what way should that be done? Research in diverse areas, such as the nature of human perception, varieties of non-human animal perception, the interaction between different sensory modalities, perceptual disorders, and possible treatments for them, calls into question the platitude that there are five senses, as well as the pre-supposition that we know what we are counting when we count them as five (or more).
This book will serve as an inspiring introduction to the topic and as a basis from which further new research will grow.
of proximal stimulus; and the evolutionary or developmental importance of the sense to the creature. 4. THE NEW WORKS Gray contrasts a scientiﬁc picture of the senses as natural kinds, which would be individuated in the manner that Keeley suggests in his work, with what he takes to be the antirealist position of Nudds (2004). He claims that Nudds holds that the way we individuate the senses is, largely, a conventional matter. Thus, Nudds merely seeks to elucidate the folk 40 The Senses:
to thyme, and so on. In the same sense in which hearing has for its object both the audible and the inaudible, sight both the visible and the invisible, smell has for its object both the odorous and the inodorous. Inodorous may be either what has no smell at all, or what has a small or feeble smell. The same holds of the tasteless. Smelling too takes place through a medium, i.e. through air or water— for water-animals too (both sanguineous and non-sanguineous) seem to smell just as much as
double? (2) Any shape-divergent object would be tolerated tactually but not visually (or vice versa) by normal holes (if available) of more than one speciﬁcally different size. Consequently, since we are ruling out a general breakdown of the correlation between sight and touch as regards the shapes in question, there must be at least some normal holes which will tolerate tactually but not visually (or vice versa) at least some divergent objects: and this is enough for my purpose. I owe this
them as employing senses merely extended relative to our own. Spot responds to a whistle that we cannot hear. It is not that Spot has a special sense that we lack, but that he can hear more (or better) than we can. What of bats, dolphins, and other creatures said to be capable of using sounds to discover things about their environments in ways analogous to our use of sight? Do we want to say that such creatures possess a sense different from any of ours? Perhaps not. A human being may be taught
distinctive proprioceptive sensations. This was hinted at above when it was noted that the proprioceptive use of “feeling” differs from its use in haptic contexts. I have suggested, however, that it is wise to distinguish sensation and perception. It is not altogether clear, for example, that there are distinctive visual or auditory sensations, yet vision and audition are paradigmatically perceptual modes (see Gibson, 1966). The fact, then, if it is a fact, that there are no simply identiﬁable