SENSE DATUM QUERIES

SDT is not easily reconciled with Intentionalism (contra Alex Byrne)

Alex Byrne has argued that sense datum theory is compatible with intentionalist representationalism ("Intentionalism Defended", ... ). This is because his version of Intentionalism is expansive. (more)

SDT does not imply a homunculus fallacy

Sense datum theory does not commit the ‘homunculus fallacy’. What I mean by this is that of the numerous theories which fall under the rubric ‘sense datum theory’ there is at least one which is not committed to the fallacy. There are more than one SDT’s which are free of the problem, but one is enough to make the logical point. Admittedly, some SDT’s seem designed to fall prey to the fault. However, simply being a sense datum theory does not incur the fallacy.

(more)

Sense data are not images

It is tempting to think that SDT should take (visual) sense data to be (visual) images of some kind, but it is not a good idea. It might sometimes be useful to use the concept of image metaphorically to explain something about sense data and their functions. For example, John Locke's appeal to the camera obscura in the Essay might serve to explain something about ideation. Antonio Damasio's appeal to a sort of movie theater might, too. It is more likely that they are invitations to disaster. (more)

SDT is not an error theory

An error theory, for our purposes, is a theory of perception according to which competent human perceivers make global errors and not just local ones. It seems plausible enough to suppose that well-functioning perceptual systems have a certain error rate. Systems that don't work perfectly might well be expected to deliver results which are infelicitous. (more)

Diaphaneity does not refute SDT (contra M.G.F. Martin)

Moore On Diaphaneity: In his "Refutation of Idealism", G.E. Moore offered a sustained attack on Idealism. In the course of his exposition, the main argument of which I'll set aside for now, Moore inserted a digression which was intended to explain to the reader, not so much the logic of the Idealist position, but why it might be easy for the Idealist to come to believe it. The explanation was at once both psychological and metaphysical. It reflected the contingencies of our mental lives, and a fundamental division in our world. (more)

The phenomenal array may well be just two-dimensional

(To be continued)

One kind of attention is just degree or scope of awareness

(To be continued)

Opponency curves assign energy flow measures to "what it's like"

In introducing their Opponent-Colors Theory, Jameson and Hurvich wrote that a basic assumption was "the antagonism or the opponent nature of the two components within the paired yellow-blue and red-green visual processes", noting that

[b]y relating the stimulus energy of a spectral wavelength evoking one hue to the stimulus energy of a wavelength that excites an opponent hue of exactly equivalent magnitude, the spectral distributions of the four primary hue responses can be directly determined. (J.Opt.Soc.Am. 45:7(1955), 546-552, p. 548)

Remarkably, the core assumptions of Opponency Theory appear to use the humanly usable part of the relevant radiant wattage as a measure of the degree of a unique hue in a binary hue. It achieves this by appeal to a cancellation or "null" method, and puts constraints on the internal relations of visual 'what it's like' in terms of energy flux.

(To be continued)