Visual perception and self-movement

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In this chapter, I argue for two claims. First, creatures that cannot understand themselves as potentially moving or being moved cannot have visual experiences of three-dimensional, spatial objects “out there” in the world beyond their skin. Whilst we might be unable to detect an outright contradiction in the notion of creatures without such understanding enjoying perceptual experiences indiscriminable from ours, it is, as I will attempt to show in the first part of the chapter, highly doubtful whether we can make full sense of their experience as an experience of three-dimensional objects “out there” in space. Second, we should nevertheless not endorse what Noë terms an “enactive” account of perception. In other words, the idea that a creature cannot have visual experiences of three-dimensional objects without experiencing itself (or having experienced itself) as actively moving does not stand up to closer scrutiny. Keywords: perception; movement; perceptual presence; enactivism; Noë; Husserl


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