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Department of Philosophy Colloquium

Wednesday, October 19 , 2:00 pm 3:30 pm

Novel Features in Sensory Perception: An Embodied Account

Lana Kuhle, Ph.D.

Illinois State University 

The embodied mind position states that our body plays a constitutive role in our conscious mental lives. The body is far more than merely the vehicle that houses the brain, rather it is part and parcel of our consciousness. In this talk, I defend such a view by showing how this constitutive role is played, in large part, by interoception. Interoception is the sensory system responsible for the inner, visceral elements of the body. I argue that interoception is a key contributor to the generation of novel phenomenal feature in our perceptual experience. More precisely, interoception is an all too often overlooked element in the multisensory integration process involving all our perceptual senses. Via emotions and bodily states, interoception contributes to multisensory integration in a way that brings about qualitative changes in our perceptual experiences of the world — it creates a unique tone to our experiences that reflects their intrinsic embodiment. In short, interoception is the mechanism by which the perceiver becomes an embodied perceiver and all her perceptual experiences reflect this fact. As a result, I show how our body plays a constitutive role in consciousness, thereby further defending the view that the mind is truly embodied.

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