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THE PROBLEM OF PERCEPTUAL PRESENCE IN ENACTIVE AND TRANSCENDENTAL PHENOMENOLOGY

Phenomenologists generally agree that the body’s mobility participates actively in the constitution of perceptual reality. The body is not only our point of view on the world, but it also constitutes our point of departure to explore it in its various aspects. By analysing the body’s skillful coping with its environment, Edmund Husserl and more recently Alva Noë have tried to provide an answer to the problem of perceptual presence. This problem refers to the fact that there is a gap between our perceptual experience of objects and what we actually perceive, or, say, between the sensed content (which is always limited) and our awareness of objects. That is, perception furnishes us with a full object-consciousness, even though only part of the perceived object is intuitively given. In this paper, I argue that whereas Noë is absolutely right to insist on the fundamental importance of understanding the varying patterns of sensorimotor dependence holding between the perceiver and the world, his account nevertheless falls too short, as the more passive features of our perceptual experience also need to be accounted for. I will make my point by drawing on Husserl’s phenomenology.

 

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