Tying the Knot: Why Representationalists should Endorse the Sensorimotor Theory of Conscious Feel

Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):pqv097 (2016)
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Abstract

The sensorimotor theory of perception and consciousness is frequently presented as a variety of anti-representationalist cognitive science, and there is thus a temptation to suppose that those who take representation as bedrock should reject the approach. This paper argues that the sensorimotor approach is compatible with representationalism, and moreover that representationalism about phenomenal qualities, such as that advocated by Tye, would be more complete and less vulnerable to criticism if it incorporated the sensorimotor account of conscious feel. The paper concludes by arguing that the project of naturalizing phenomenal qualities would nonetheless be better served by abandoning ‘representation’ talk altogether, a move that would require only a small modification of existing representationalist accounts.

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David Silverman
Université Paris Descartes

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