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Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind$
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David Woodruff Smith and Amie L. Thomasson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199272457

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199272457.001.0001

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On the Inescapability of Phenomenology

On the Inescapability of Phenomenology

(p.67) 3 On the Inescapability of Phenomenology
Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind

Taylor Carman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Dennett's intellectualist theory of consciousness trades on an equivocation between weaker and stronger claims that might be leveled against traditional psychology and epistemology. Only the weaker claims find support in the empirical evidence to which he appeals. Merleau–Ponty, by contrast, while also dismissive of pure qualia, argues that intellectualism takes for granted the constancy hypothesis by making sensory qualities dependent in principle on sensory stimuli. O'Regan and Noë advance an alternative ‘sensorimotor’ approach to perception that remains behavioristic, like Dennett's theory, by describing perceptual experience as constituted by a knowledge of causal contingencies between sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. But perception is not just what we do, it's what we are. Phenomenology is inescapable, since it is what allows us to specify at the outset what any theory of perception or consciousness must be a theory of.

Keywords:   change blindness, constancy hypothesis, Dennett, Daniel, eliminativism, intentionality, Merleau–Ponty, motivation, Noë, Alva

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