•  68
    On The Content and Character of Pain Experience
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (1): 47-68. 2019.
    Tracking representationalism explains the negative affective character of pain, and its capacity to motivate action, by reference to the representation of the badness for us of bodily damage. I argue that there is a more fitting instantiation of the tracking relation – the badness for us of extremely intense stimuli – and use this to motivate a non-reductive approach to the negative affective character of pain. The view of pain proposed here is supported by consideration of three related topics:…Read more
  •  771
    Is There a Space of Sensory Modalities?
    Erkenntnis 78 (6): 1259-1273. 2013.
    Two proposals have recently, and independently, been made about a space of possible sensory modalities. In this paper I examine these different proposals, and offer one of my own. I suggest that there are several spaces associated with distinct kinds of sensory modality.
  •  597
    Pain, Perception and the Sensory Modalities: Revisiting the Intensive Theory
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 5 (1): 87-101. 2014.
    Pain is commonly explained in terms of the perceptual activity of a distinct sensory modality, the function of which is to enable us to perceive actual or potential damage to the body. However, the characterization of pain experience in terms of a distinct sensory modality with such content is problematic. I argue that pain is better explained as occupying a different role in relation to perception: to indicate when the stimuli that are sensed in perceiving anything by means of a sensory modalit…Read more
  •  190
    Perception and action: The taste test
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241): 718-734. 2010.
    Traditional accounts of perception endorse an input–output model: perception is the input from world to mind and action is the output from mind to world. In contrast, enactive accounts propose action to be constitutive of perception. We focus on Noë's sensorimotor version of enactivism, with the aim of clarifying the proper limits of enactivism more generally. Having explained Noë's particular version of enactivism, which accounts for the contents of perceptual experience in terms of sensorimoto…Read more
  •  393
    Natural phenomenon terms
    Analysis 66 (2). 2006.
    In lecture III of Naming and Necessity, Kripke extends his claim that names are non-descriptive to natural kind terms, and in so doing includes a brief supporting discussion of terms for natural phenomena, in particular the terms ‘light’ and ‘heat’. Whilst natural kind terms continue to feature centrally in the recent literature, natural phenomenon terms have barely figured. The purpose of the present paper is to show how the apparent similarities between natural kind terms and the natural pheno…Read more
  •  29
    Synaesthesia: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology
    Dissertation, University of Edinburgh. 2001.
    We are sometimes led to a different picture of things when something unexpected occurs which needs explaining. The aim of this thesis is to examine a series of related issues in the philosophy of mind in the light of the unusual condition known to psychologists as ‘synaesthesia’. Although the emphasis will be on the philosophical issues a view of synaesthesia itself will also emerge. Synaesthesia is a distinct type of cross-modal association: stimulation of one sensory modality automatically tri…Read more
  •  63
    Synaesthesia and misrepresentation: A reply to Wager
    Philosophical Psychology 14 (3): 339-46. 2001.
    Wager has argued that synaesthesia provides material for a counterexample to representational theories of the phenomenal character of experience. He gives a series of three cases based on synaesthesia; he requires the second and third cases to bolster the doubtfulness of the first. Here I further endorse the problematic nature of the first case and then show why the other two cases do not save his argument. I claim that whenever synaesthesia is a credible possibility its phenomenal character can…Read more
  •  460
    Beyond reduction • by S. Horst (review)
    Analysis 69 (1): 182-184. 2009.
    Towards the end of Beyond Reduction Horst hypothesizes that ‘it is a general design principle of the cognitive architecture of humans that the mind possesses multiple models for understanding and interacting practically with different aspects of the world’ . The suggestion is made following a discussion of recent research in cognitive science. According to Horst, the hypothesis is also consistent with what recent non-reductionist tendencies in the philosophy of science teach us. Taken together, …Read more
  •  589
    On the concept of a sense
    Synthese 147 (3): 461-475. 2005.
    Keeley has recently argued that the philosophical issue of how to analyse the concept of a sense can usefully be addressed by considering how scientists, and more specifically neuroethologists, classify the senses. After briefly outlining his proposal, which is based on the application of an ordered set of individually necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for modality differentiation, I argue, by way of two complementary counterexamples, that it fails to account fully for the way the sens…Read more
  •  459
    Tye’s Representationalism: Feeling the Heat?
    Philosophical Studies 115 (3): 245-256. 2003.
    According to Tye's PANIC theory of consciousness, perceptual states of creatures which are related to a disjunction of external contents will fail to represent sensorily, and thereby fail to be conscious states. In this paper I argue that heat perception, a form of perception neglected in the recent literature, serves as a counterexample to Tye's radical externalist claim. Having laid out Tye's absent qualia scenario, the PANIC theory from which it derives and the case of heat perception as a co…Read more
  •  603
    What do our experiences of heat and cold represent?
    Philosophical Studies 166 (S1): 131-151. 2013.
    Our experiences of heat and cold are usually thought to represent states of things: their hotness and coldness. I propose a novel account according to which their contents are not states of things but processes, more specifically, the opposite processes of thermal energy being transmitted to and from the body, respectively. I call this account the Heat Exchange Model of heat perception. Having set out the evidence in support of the proposal, I conclude by showing how it provides a new perspectiv…Read more
  •  791
    Fodor claims that cognitive modules can be thought of as constituting a psychological natural kind in virtue of their possession of most or all of nine specified properties. The challenge to this considered here comes from synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a type of cross-modal association: input to one sensory modality reliably generates an additional sensory output that is usually generated by the input to a distinct sensory modality. The most common form of synaesthesia manifests Fodor's nine spe…Read more
  •  587
    On the Nature of the Senses
    In Fiona Macpherson (ed.), The Senses: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Oxford University Press. 2011.
    The failure to resolve satisfactorily epistemological issues surrounding the identification of different senses has led to questions being asked of the nature of the senses. This issue has been thrown into sharp focus by two starkly contrasting positions. The first is a realist position that draws on science and is based on the application of criteria. The second is an anti-realist position that adheres to commonsense conceptions and is partly motivated by the apparent failure of criterial appro…Read more
  •  142
    An Argument for Nonreductive Representationalism
    American Philosophical Quarterly 47 (4): 365-376. 2010.
    Reductive externalist versions of representationalism hold that there is an externalist theory of content which is adequate for underwriting their claim that the character of experience can be reductively explained by the external physical properties represented by experience. In this paper such theories of content are shown to be inadequate, thus undermining the reductive explanation of the character of experience by the content of experience. It is argued that the character of experience is be…Read more
  •  156
    What synaesthesia really tells us about functionalism
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (9): 64-69. 2004.
    J. A. Gray et al. have recently argued that synaesthesia can be used as a counterexample to functionalism. They provide empirical evidence which they hold supports two anti-functionalist claims: disparate functions share the same types of qualia and the effects of synaesthetic qualia are, contrary to what one would expect from evolutionary considerations, adverse to those functions with which those types of qualia are normally linked. I argue that the empirical evidence they cite does not rule o…Read more