Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):243-261 (2021)

Michael Barkasi
Rice University (PhD)
Dreams provide a compelling problem for sensorimotor enactivists like Alva Noë: they seem to replicate our perceptual experiences without sensorimotor interaction with distal sensory stimuli. Noë has responded by saying that dreams actually fail to replicate perceptual experiences in virtue of their lack of detail and stability. Noë's opponents have replied by pointing out that some dreams are richly detailed and stable, and that instability and a lack of detail in dreams can anyway be explained in terms of the underlying neural activity. In this paper, I develop how the sensorimotor enactivist should respond: dreams fail to replicate perceptual experiences because they are exhausted by what shows up at a given moment in phenomenal consciousness, while perceptual experiences go beyond this to include everything accessible via sensorimotor exploration. This difference permeates all levels of experience, so that dreams can't even replicate perceptual experiences of simple shapes and colors. Further, unlike detail and stability, there are not obvious neural explanations of this phenomenal difference.
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2021.1908575
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References found in this work BETA

Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.
Reference and Consciousness.J. Campbell - 2002 - Oxford University Press.
Sense and Sensibilia.J. L. AUSTIN - 1962 - Oxford University Press.

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