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If it itches, scratch!

Australasian Journal of Philosophy , Volume 86 (4): 525-535 – Dec 1, 2008

Details

Publisher
Routledge
Copyright
© 2008 Informa plc
ISSN
0004-8402
D.O.I.
10.1080/00048400802346813
Publisher site
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If it itches, scratch!

Abstract

Many bodily sensations are connected quite closely with specific actions: itches with scratching, for example, and hunger with eating. Indeed, these connections have the feel of conceptual connections. With the exception of D. M. Armstrong, philosophers have largely neglected this aspect of bodily sensations. In this paper, I propose a theory of bodily sensations that explains these connections. The theory ascribes intentional content to bodily sensations but not, strictly speaking, representational content. Rather, the content of these sensations is an imperative: in the case of itches, 'Scratch!' The view avoids non-intentional qualia and hence accords with what could be called, generalizing Lycan slightly, the 'hegemony of intentionality'.
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