Is Vision for Action Unconscious?

Journal of Philosophy 117 (8):413-433 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Empirical work and philosophical analysis have led to widespread acceptance that vision for action, served by the cortical dorsal stream, is unconscious. I argue that the empirical argument for this claim is unsound. That argument relies on subjects’ introspective reports. Yet on biological grounds, in light of the theory of primate cortical vision, introspection has no access to dorsal stream mediated visual states. It is thus wrongly assumed that introspective reports speak to absent phenomenology in the dorsal stream. In light of this, I consider a different conception of consciousness’s relation to agency in terms of access. While theoretical reasons suggest that the inaccessibility of the dorsal stream to conceptual report is evidence that it is unconscious, this position begs important questions. I propose a broader notion of access in respect of the guidance of intentional agency and not, narrowly, conceptual report (Note: this paper contradicts my earlier paper, "The Case for Zombie Agency").

Author's Profile

Wayne Wu
Carnegie Mellon University


Added to PP

843 (#12,479)

6 months
138 (#12,689)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?