Title

Sensory Malfunctions, Limitations, and Trade-offs

Abstract

Teleological accounts of sensory normativity treat normal functioning for a species as a standard: sensory error involves departure from normal functioning for the species, i.e. sensory malfunction. Straightforward reflection on sensory trade-offs reveals that normal functioning for a species can exhibit failures of accuracy. Acknowledging these failures of accuracy is central to understanding the adaptations of a species. To make room for these errors we have to go beyond the teleological framework and invoke the notion of an ideal observer from vision science. The notion of an ideal observer also sheds light on the important distinction between sensory malfunction and sensory limitation.

Publisher

Springer Verlag

Publication Date

4-1-2018

Publication Title

Synthese

Department

Philosophy

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1007/s11229-016-1298-3

Keywords

Sensory error, Representation, Visual illusion, Sensory malfunction, Dretske, Matthen, Sensory limitation, Sensory trade-off, Sensory ecology

Language

English

Format

text

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