Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917 (2001)

Authors
Alva Noë
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
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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DOI 10.1017/s0140525x01000115
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References found in this work BETA

The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
Image and Mind.Stephen M. Kosslyn - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

How the Body Shapes the Mind.Shaun Gallagher - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
Perceptual Consciousness Overflows Cognitive Access.Ned Block - 2011 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (12):567-575.

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