Sensorimotor enactivism and temporal experience

Adaptive Behavior 21 (3):151-158 (2013)
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O’Regan and Noë’s sensorimotor approach rejects the old-fashioned view that perceptual experience in humans depends solely on the activation of internal representations. Reflecting a wealth of empirical work, for example active vision, the approach suggests that perceiving is, instead, a matter of bodily exploration of the outside environment. To this end, the approach says the perceiver must deploy knowledge of sensorimotor contingencies, the ways sense input changes with movement by the perceiver or object perceived. Clark has observed that the approach faces a challenge accounting for the experience of temporal duration, since event-like properties cannot be characterised by reference to the sensory consequences of possible movements. This paper argues that the account can best be shored up by emphasising, more than Noë does, the dependence of perceptual experience, in general, on temporally extended, organismic interaction with the outside environment. The paper argues, moreover, that an ‘extensionalist’ account of temporal experience could help make sense of object experience, which is itself, plausibly, an experience of temporal duration.
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