Consciousness and the Origins of Thought by Norton Nelkin

By Norton Nelkin

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For instance, our judgment that a certain color is before us is correlated with our believing that our eyes are open and that we would not have made this judgment if they were not; and these judgments, in turn, correlate with given kinds of phenomena that occur most often in just these situations. 9. So which of the three accounts correctly explains how we originate our conceiving of five senses? I don't know. But any of them would work. And that fact perhaps explains the diversity of the criteria reviewed previously, the truth contained in them, and their inadequacy when taken alone.

1) Suppose there are organisms quite different-looking from ourselves. If we accept the organ criterion as the defining criterion, how could we decide whether they see or not? Obviously, in order to do so, we would have to decide whether they had eyes. But it seems as if our only criterion for making this decision would be whether a part of the organisms body looks like a human eye. Surely such a criterion is inadequate, both in principle and in practice. The "ears" of eared owls, for instance, are not ears at all.

Sensing seems to have a different psychological import from hallucinating. Perhaps for explaining some behaviors either sensing or hallucinating does equally well. But for explaining other behaviors, surely the difference in origin matters. Contemporary psychology contains lots of "transducer" talk. It is hard to believe that it is all a waste of time. Moreover, is it true that hallucinatory experiences and behaviors are just like perceptual ones? A closer reading of the relevant literature makes these identifications appear glib and hasty.

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