Three papers on phenomenal sorites




Chen, Zhengzhi, Ph. D.

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The first paper argues that a contextualist strategy cannot save the popular thesis that two objects are perceptually indiscriminable (in terms of discriminatory response or introspection) given a certain subject and a certain context if and only if they look the same to that subject in that context from every version of phenomenal sorites paradox. It presents an explicitly valid phenomenal soritical argument, and argues that, given the limited sensitivity of human color vision, that popular thesis is committed to its apparent soundness with a false conclusion, and a contextualist strategy cannot undermine its apparent soundness. The second paper argues that the popular philosophical idealization that whether two objects look the same or different does not vary from occasion to occasion given the same subject and the same context as controlled in a real experiment leads to a dilemma concerning the limited sensitivity of human color vision. In particular, it argues that, assuming that idealization, both a rejection and an endorsement of the maximally plausible version (in terms of the standard fine color discrimination test in psychology) of the popular thesis featured in the first paper imply unlimited sensitivity of human color vision. The third paper proposes a statistical-physiological resolution to the phenomenal sorites paradox in two steps. In the first step, it argues that there is no solid justification for any account of the condition of two objects looking the same/different in terms of overt response or introspection, following the on-going statistical criticism in psychology of mapping overt response onto internal state. In the second step, it proposes an account of what makes two objects look the same/different in terms of the relevant physiological mechanisms, which is informed by a characteristic empirical project of approaching mechanical models of color appearances, and argues that that proposal would not make it appear empirically plausible for any phenomenal soritical argument to have all true premises with a false conclusion



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