Enactivism, the Mind-Body Problem and Perceptual Consciousness
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What is it like not to see? Can the body compensate for lack of vision in experience? The work by Miroslaw Balka, a Polish artist, takes the form of a windowless room 50ft high and 40ft long that is designed to create pitch dark inside. In the turbine hall of the TATE Modern, you walk up a ramp into the container-like room. The further inside you get, the darker it gets, until it is virtually impossible to see the person beside you. You momentarily experience what it is like not to see. The experience of being inside Balka's black box demonstrates not only that we rely on bodily interactions, on "Sensoriomotor Contingencies" with the world, but that with failure of vision our body becomes extra sensitive to its environment. We adapt and behave accordingly. We learn how to navigate through the darkness with the tools for perception that we have left. This thesis talks about what these experiences can show for a philosophy of mind that takes the body seriously. I will present a case for the use of bodily "sensoriomotor knowledge" against internalism. We discuss whether or not the sensorimotor theory can make any progress with the mind-body problem by explaining phenomenal consciousness in terms of a perceivers interaction without the environment.
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