Books of Interest

For all you philosophy of mind nerds out there: Action in Perception by Alva Noe. I recently read this for a seminar. The basic argument is that perception can only be understood as an action, as a way we interact with the world, as opposed to something that happens in our minds, with us passively taking in sense data/qualia/whathaveyou In particular it’s suggested that the act of seeing has more similarities to the act of touching than we normally think.

Although Noe doesn’t explicitly state as much, this is a bit of a vindication of the Ancient/Medieval understanding of consciousness, as opposed to the enlightenment one. For Aristotle and Aquinas, our conscious ‘access’ to the world is an immediate bodily one, sensing and knowing are the actualization of potentialities in the world and ourselves. The sense data that Hume and Locke took as the starting point of our knowledge are really the media by which we engage with the objects of our experience, and indeed only become basic for pathological cases.

Anyway, this is a surprisingly perspicuous and fun read. For those with a more continental yen, I recommend Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, which covers some of the same ground in a hazy, rambling French phenomenological manner.

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in Assigned Reading, Qualia. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s