Casey O'Callaghan

Casey O'Callaghan will present "Our senses as sources of value."



What is the purpose of our senses? The traditional answer is: “To find out”—to learn how things are in one’s surroundings. Our senses are information channels. Gleaning information about the environment enables effective action, which promotes survival. This answer takes us only so far. This paper points to another answer: “To care”—to become invested in things that matter. Our senses are evaluative tools. Sense perception motivates and rewards certain activities, which shapes one’s interests. Beyond their familiar role in conveying information, our senses play an underappreciated axiological role. This lesson is brought into relief by considering the evaluative and normative consequences of sensory plasticity and diversity, which stems from a variety of sources, including typical development, perceptual learning, expertise, and aging, as well as congenital and acquired sensory disabilities.