Against the Explanatory Argument for Enactivism

Journal of Consciousness Studies 29 (7-8):57-68 (2022)
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Sensorimotor enactivism is the view that the content and the sensory modality of perceptual experience are determined by implicit knowledge of lawful regularities between bodily movements and patterns of sensory stimulation. A proponent of the explanatory argument for sensorimotor enactivism holds that this view is able to provide an intelligible explanation for why certain material realizers give rise to certain perceptual experiences, while rival accounts cannot close this “explanatory gap”. However, I argue that the notion of the “material realizer” of perceptual experience is ambiguous. On a narrow construal, the explanatory gap cannot be bridged, not even by enactivism. On a wide construal, enactivism gets a grip on the explanatory gap, but to the same extent do established theories of consciousness. Thus, on both horns of the dilemma, the explanatory power of enactivism is not superior to more traditional theories of conscious experience.

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Leonard Dung
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


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