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Sensory Substitution and Augmentation$
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Fiona Macpherson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266441

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266441.001.0001

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Sensory Substitution and the Challenge of Acclimatization

Sensory Substitution and the Challenge of Acclimatization

(p.73) 5 Sensory Substitution and the Challenge of Acclimatization
Sensory Substitution and Augmentation

Paul Noordhof

, Fiona Macpherson
British Academy

I defend a refined characterization of sensory substitution that allows for its existence while denying that the substituting sense plus sensory substitution device is always appropriately classified as the substituted sense. Accepting that there are genuine cases of sensory substitution of this kind implies that acclimatization to a sensory substitution device may provide presentations of properties. Externalist accounts of experience together with objectivist characterizations of such properties have the upshot that properties putatively proprietary to a sense modality can be presented in another modality in cases of substitution. I consider three objections to this argument. I close by explaining how reflection on the phenomena of sensory substitution and, in particular, acclimatization is important for the development of any kind of representationalist or relationist theory of phenomenal properties or, at the very least, suggests we need to refine the idea of certain properties—rather than particular ways in which their presentation is bundled together—being proprietary to the particular senses.

Keywords:   sensory substitution, acclimatization, representationalism, senses, proprietary properties, objectivism

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