Radical sensorimotor enactivism

Downey, Adrian (2017) Radical sensorimotor enactivism. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

In this thesis I develop a novel approach to conscious perception, which I label “radical sensorimotor enactivism” (RSE). In chapter one, I explain how the development of RSE is guided by the tenets of activity and knowledge-how. In chapter two, I outline and explain RSE. Throughout the thesis, I will pit RSE against cognitivist accounts of conscious perception and argue that RSE is to be preferred.

In chapters three and four, I highlight two problems facing cognitivist accounts of conscious perception which RSE avoids. I argue that cognitivist accounts of conscious perception face the ‘hard problem of perceptual consciousness’, whilst RSE can provide a phenomenologically plausible deflation of this problem. I next explain why cognitivist accounts are incapable of providing a satisfactory explanation of split-brain syndrome. Then, I argue that RSE can provide a parsimonious explanation of this syndrome.

Theories predicated on activity and knowledge-how are often rejected for being incapable of accounting for the brain’s role in conscious perception. In chapter five, I argue that RSE can account for the brain’s role by adopting a non-representational version of predictive processing (PP). Moreover, I argue that the resultant account improves upon cognitivist alternatives. Then, in chapter six, I argue that even representational explanations of PP can be subsumed within RSE by accepting fictionalism about their representational posits. Consequently, I conclude that RSE cannot be objected to for failing to account for the brain’s role in conscious perception.

Finally, in chapter seven, I discuss ‘non-veridical’ experiences. Accounts like RSE are often rejected because it is thought they are incapable of explaining the existence of these phenomena. I explain how the existence of such phenomena is wholly compatible with the truth of RSE. Thus, I conclude that RSE should not be rejected solely on the basis that non-veridical experiences exist.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0309 Consciousness. Cognition Including learning, attention, comprehension, memory, imagination, genius, intelligence, thought and thinking, psycholinguistics, mental fatigue
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2017 15:11
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2017 15:11
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67116

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