Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Noë's Activism versus The Movement View

I've just started Noë's recent "Vision without Representation".  In it, he draws a distinction between Activism and The Movement View:
1. Actionism

This is the view that seeing requires the possession and exercise of knowledge of the sensory effects of movement (sensorimotor understanding, in other words).

2. The Movement View

On this view, actual physical movement is necessary for seeing. (Noë, 2010, p. 250).

This is, in essential respects, the distinction I marked in "Consciousness: Don't Give up on the Brain", in terms of Strong and Weak Enactivism:
what we might call Noë’s “strong enactivism”.  This is the view that bodily movement is necessary for perception or perceptual consciousness.  Contra Noë’s strong enactivism, there is solid empirical evidence against the view that consciousness requires the joint operation of the brain, body, and world or that seeing is an activity of exploring the world.  This evidence consists of certain experiments and clinical observations involving neuromuscular blockade that reveal perception without bodily movement.  Section 3 will challenge what we might call Noë’s “weak enactivism”.  Noë claims that “For mere stimulation to constitute perceptual experience—that is, for it to have genuine world-presenting content—the perceiver must possess and make use of sensorimotor knowledge.”   Perhaps we can drop the idea that a perceiver must make use of sensorimotor knowledge in the form of bodily movement in order to perceive.  Perhaps instead, in the absence of the joint operation of the brain, body, and world, tacit knowledge of sensorimotor contingencies has the role in perception that Noë attributes to it.  (Aizawa, 2010, p. 264)

Aizawa, K. (2010) "Consciousness: Don't Give up on the Brain".  In Pierfrancesco, B., Kiverstein, J., & Phemister, (Eds.) The Metaphysics of Consciousness: Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 67.  (pp. 263-284).

Noë, A. (2010).  "Vision without Representation" In Gangopadhyay, N., Madary, M., and Spicer, F. (eds.) Perception, Action, and Consciousness: Sensorimotor Dynamics and Two Visual Systems.  (pp. 245-256).

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