Formal structures of sensory/perceptual experience
This thesis deals primarily with metaphysical issues concerning human sensory/ perceptual experiences, and with questions about the formal representation of these experiences. In this respect it is similar to N. Goodman's The Structure of Appearance, which is discussed at some length. I establish a way of des- cribing and formally representing certain structures which must occur in sensory/ perceptual experiences, regardless of how the features of these experiences are categorized in terms of being physical or being mental. A special ("ontological- ly neutral") conceptual scheme which reflects the neutrality with respect to these categorizations, and which is particularistic in the sense of admitting sensory/per- ceptual individuals (sensations), is introduced for this purpose. The choice of a particularistic conceptual scheme in this context is supported by an argument which shows that the so-called adverbial approach is insufficient for describing sensory/perceptual experiences. To achieve the desired formal representation, I introduce an original generalization of the standard formalism for semantic 1st -order predicate theories which involves incomplete models, and a type of structured primitive predicates. Based on a Kantian view of the function of concepts in experience, I then give an account of experiential colour-predicates (like x looks red) in ontologi- cally neutral terms. This account, involving a special class of sensory/perceptual individuals (colour-tokens), has the particular advantage of avoiding the short- comings of both sense-datum theories and the views held by C. Peacocke in Sense and Content. This is followed by an account of experiential intentionality (in ontologically neutral terms) which shows how intentionality, as occurring in the context of sensory/perceptual experiences, can have a relational nature, des- pite the well-known problems of substitutivity and intentional inexistence which are traditionally associated with intentional relations.