Sensorimotor expectations and the visual field

Synthese 198 (Suppl 17):3991-4006 (2018)
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Sensorimotor expectations concern how visual experience covaries with bodily movement. Sensorimotor theorists argue from such expectations to the conclusion that the phenomenology of vision is constitutively embodied: objects within the visual field are experienced as 3-D because sensorimotor expectations partially constitute our experience of such objects. Critics argue that there are two ways to block the above inference: to explain how we visually experience objects as 3-D, one may appeal to such non-bodily factors as expectations about movements of objects, not the perceiver, or to the role of mental imagery in visual experience. But instead of using sensorimotor expectations to explain how objects are experienced within the visual field, we can instead use them to explain our experience of the visual field itself and, in particular, our experience of its limits; that is, our ever-present visual sense of there being more to see, beyond what’s currently within the visual field. Crucially, this inference from sensorimotor expectations to the constitutive embodiment of visual phenomenology is not threatened by the above two challenges. I thus present here a sensorimotor theory of the phenomenology of the visual field, that is, our experience of our visual fields as such.

Author's Profile

Dan Cavedon-Taylor
Open University (UK)


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