Spatial phenomena in material places. Reflections on sensory substitution, shape perception, and the external nature of the senses

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (5):833-854 (2019)
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From the outside, our senses are spatially integrated in our body in manifestly different ways. This paper starts from the suggestion that the philosophical formulation of the problem of spatial perception, as it flows from the modern opposition of mind and world, is partly responsible for the fact that philosophers have often explicitly disregarded the spatial nature of the senses themselves. An indirect consequence is that much philosophical work focuses on how the senses can – or cannot – perceive the same spatial features of objects in the same way, while disregarding the massive differences in performance among the senses. This paper explores the ways in which the spatial integration of our senses determines what each of our senses excels in, and hence what they contribute to our spatial relation to a physical environment. By juxtaposing descriptive analyses of a variety of selected cases, the paper gives priority to how various aspects of the world appear to us in order to obtain insight into the meaning of spatiality for different senses.



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Anthropology from a pragmatic point of view.Immanuel Kant - 2006 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Robert B. Louden.
An Inquiry Into the Human Mind, on the Principles of Common Sense.Thomas Reid - 1997 - Cambridge University Press. Edited by Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya.
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Sight and touch.Michael Martin - 1992 - In Tim Crane (ed.), The Contents of Experience. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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