David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917 (2001)
Many current neurophysiological, psychophysical, and psychological approaches to vision rest on the idea that when we see, the brain produces an internal representation of the world. The activation of this internal representation is assumed to give rise to the experience of seeing. The problem with this kind of approach is that it leaves unexplained how the existence of such a detailed internal representation might produce visual consciousness. An alternative proposal is made here. We propose that seeing is a way of acting. It is a particular way of exploring the environment. Activity in internal representations does not generate the experience of seeing. The out- side world serves as its own, external, representation. The experience of seeing occurs when the organism masters what we call the gov- erning laws of sensorimotor contingency. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a natural and principled way of accounting for visual consciousness, and for the differences in the perceived quality of sensory experience in the different sensory modalities. Sev- eral lines of empirical evidence are brought forward in support of the theory, in particular: evidence from experiments in sensorimotor adaptation, visual “filling in,” visual stability despite eye movements, change blindness, sensory substitution, and color perception.
|Keywords||action change blindness consciousness experience perception qualia sensation sensorimotor|
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Ned Block (2007). Consciousness, Accessibility, and the Mesh Between Psychology and Neuroscience. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (5):481--548.
Ned Block (2011). Perceptual Consciousness Overflows Cognitive Access. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (12):567-575.
Stanislas Dehaene, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Lionel Naccache, Jérôme Sackur & Claire Sergent (2006). Conscious, Preconscious, and Subliminal Processing: A Testable Taxonomy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (5):204-211.
Christof Koch & Naotsugu Tsuchiya (2007). Attention and Consciousness: Two Distinct Brain Processes. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (1):16-22.
Michael A. Cohen & Daniel C. Dennett (2011). Consciousness Cannot Be Separated From Function. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (8):358--364.
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