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Authors: Mroczko-Wąsowicz, Aleksandra
Title: What can sensorimotor enactivism learn from studies on phenomenal adaptation in atypical perceptual conditions? : A commentary on Rick Grush and colleagues
Online publication date: 29-Nov-2016
Language: english
Abstract: Grush et al. present a pilot study on visual adaptation to a remapped color spectrum. Their preliminary results, being far from conclusive, only partially support the hypothesis that there might exist a form of adaptation to color rotation and color constancy. Proving such flexibility in color vision would substantiate the investigators’ attempt to localize their research outcomes in the context of philosophical theories of enactive perception. In spite of some limitations, the study exhibits a worthy and novel approach to the old question of color inverted experience, intended to provide an interdisciplinary account that is both empirically sensitive and philosophically potent. For the progress of the current investigation it would be constructive not only to conduct empirical follow-up studies, but also to conceptually refine the notion of “phenomenal adaptation”, which is the central phenomenon studied here. based upon a distinction between phenomenal conservatism that accepts only perceptual phenomenology with sensory contents and phenomenal liberalism that acknowledges higher-level contents of perception and cognitive phenomenology, i differentiate between adaptation of the sensory sort and adaptation in the cognitive aspects of experience. this distinction is used to highlight two different ways of understanding the notion of “phenomenal adaptation”, exhibited by the target article and this commentary. grush et al. seem to suggest that phenomenal and (non-phenomenal) semantic adaptation are different forms of a more general phenomenon of adaptation. however, they do not give any explicit example of the genus of adaptation of which these types are a species. i contend, in turn, that there is no need to produce such subclasses of the notion; semantic adaptation involving higher-level non-sensory states may also be understood as phenomenal. this follows from phenomenal liberalism. i argue that what is being processed in the course of phenomenal adaptation is phenomenal character understood in an expansive way that includes high-level contents. the claim may have an important effect on related empirical work. as a result, enactive sensorimotor adaptation does not have to be seen as adaptation of the sensory sort, but as adaptation in the cognitive aspects of experience, such as altered expectations, or beliefs about or sensitivity to kinds of objects encountered in perceptual experience. this phenomenally liberal reading would provide an appropriately more capacious notion than the adaptation of the sort offered by grush et al. finally, i claim that the lessons for enactive theories of color perception may be expanded beyond the implications of the color rotation study. this is demonstrated by turning to confirmatory and challenging cases of atypical perceptual conditions and color modifications, such as synesthetic color experiences.
DDC: 100 Philosophie
100 Philosophy
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 05 Philosophie und Philologie
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-552967
Version: Published version
Publication type: Buchbeitrag
License: in Copyright
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Citation: Open MIND
Metzinger, Thomas
Pages or article number: Kap. 16(C)
Publisher: MIND Group
Publisher place: Frankfurt am Main
Issue date: 2015
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.15502/9783958570603
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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