Bishop, Mark (J. M.). 2016. Phenomenal Promiscuity. Constructivist Foundations, 11(2), pp. 421-422. [Article]No full text available
Abstract or Description
Response to Michael Beaton, 'Sensorimotor Direct Realism: how we enact our world". Direct realism is a non-reductive, anti-representationalist theory of perception lying at the heart of mainstream analytic philosophy, where it is currently generating a lot of interest. For all that, it is widely held to be both controversial and anti-scientific. On the other hand, the sensorimotor theory of perception (which is a specific development of Gibsonian approaches to perception) initially generated a lot of interest within enactive philosophy of cognitive science, but has arguably not yet delivered on its initial promise. Although i am broadly sympathetic to the sensorimotor direct realism (sdr) approach Beaton outlines, it seems to me that at least one of the challenges that has been levelled at sensorimotor theory (st) also appears unresolved in sdr: the challenge of, what i term, “phenomenological determinism", whereby our phenomenal experience of the world is uniquely determined by our sensorimotor coupling to it: “perceiving is the same thing as engaging in (or being poised to engage in) meaning-filled, physical action in the world” (§14); and with respect to colour, “to perceive a colour is to perceive (to pick out, to master the existence of) the constancy in all this change (change in actual and available interactions” (§13).