Wittgenstein’s challenge to enactivism

Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):391-404 (2019)
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Abstract

Many authors have identified a link between later Wittgenstein and enactivism. But few have also recognised how Wittgenstein may in fact challenge enactivist approaches. In this paper, I consider one such challenge. For example, Wittgenstein is well known for his discussion of seeing-as, most famously through his use of Jastrow’s ambiguous duck-rabbit picture. Seen one way, the picture looks like a duck. Seen another way, the picture looks like a rabbit. Drawing on some of Wittgenstein’s remarks about seeing-as, I show how Wittgenstein poses a challenge for proponents of Sensorimotor Enactivism, like O’Regan and Noë, namely to provide a sensorimotor framework within which seeing-as can be explained. I claim that if these proponents want to address this challenge, then they should endorse what I call Sensorimotor Identification, according to which visual experiences can be identified with what agents do.

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Victor Loughlin
University of Antwerp

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