Experience and Consciousness: Concepts from the outside in
The ‘feel’ of driving a Porsche is unlike that of seeing red (O’Regan, J. Noë, A., 2000). Sensorimotor theory and enactivism hold that looking for mechanisms or something ‘inside the head’ is a mistake in accounting for this. Consciousness does not ‘lie behind’ experience and action, but rather that it is in experience and action. Studying the actions organisms undertake in environments can provide insight into their consciousness and experience. Taking such actions as the locus of study, moreover, can provide greater insight than can studies of mechanisms that drive such interactions. Studying organism-environment interaction in fact provides insight into mechanisms. However, it seems at least phenomenologically plausible that actions are caused and controlled by consciousness: that consciousness precedes action in significant ways. Phenomenology, whilst not irrelevant to a discussion of how things ‘feel’ needn’t form the central focus of a discussion here. In fact, this paper will discuss linguistic and epistemological aspects to the nature of experience (broadly construed) so as to provide input to the field of enquiry opened in sensorimotor and enactivist studies.
Citation : Rainey, S. (2014) Experience and Consciousness: Concepts from the outside in. In: Bishop, M., Martin, A. (eds) Contemporary Sensorimotor Theory, Spinger, pp. 83-103
ISBN : 9783319051062
Research Group : Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility
Peer Reviewed : Yes