Alva Noe: Evaluation and Other Approaches (Essay Sample)
Explain and critically discuss Alva Noe's inactive approach to perception in chapters 1,3 and 6 of ACTION IN PERCEPTION (Alva Noe). Please argue for a critical thesis that assesses this approach on its own merits as well as in comparison to some of the other approaches we have studied.
Please include a pen-ultimate. So I need a pen ultimate of how the paper was improved, and show the before and after paper. The professor needs both for proof.
Alva Noeâ€™s "Action in Perception" offers a proportionately vigilant discussion to the subject of perception from viewpoints of psychology and neuroscience altogether. In chapters one, three and six, the author focuses on static visual perception forms of representation; and how this relates with cognitive capabilities of the perceiver and his or her immediate environment. He outlines that perception involves a number of aspects of human sensory systems save for the eyes and that vision is hardly passive.
In simple terms, Noe (2004) establishes that perception is a voluntary and practiced bodily activity of human beings and not something that occurs as an instinctive brain or intelligence function. He states, "Perception is something we doâ€¦ not something that happens to us" (Noe, 2004). As for Action in Perception, the author maintains that the instance of perception per se is fully contingent on ability to think and act altogether. As such, people validate their own perceptions in accordance to physical feelings or experiences that they gain from the environment or surroundings with comprehension.
Noe further examines different forms of comprehension that people gather from the environment via empirical sensations. This, he believes, occurs both transitorily and gradually; people interact with elements in their environment via forms of lively exploration and inquiry. This further implies the acquisition and exercise of knowledge of matter occupying space in different shapes, forms and color. Intrinsically, bodily activity comes into place as a function of reasoning or perception for that matter.
For purposes of realizing an enhanced description of the content of perception, Noeâ€™s thinking points out that the world is not open to consciousness concomitantly, hence the need for steady exploration and inquiry for purposes of gaining familiarity and or comprehension of sensory impressions. In this context, he explains different forms of comprehension- namely, sensorimotor understanding and conceptual understanding. He further maintains that perpetual experiences in a personâ€™s environment are responsible for content enactment. This he attributes to the existence and practice of bodily knowledge in accordance to prevailing spatial content; it also encompasses use of skill or knowledge for physical exploration like head movements accompanied by vision. In this regard, Noe offers a clear analogy of the elements involved in skillful probing of the environment by a person. His analysis of enactive perception of content involves human anatomy sensory organs including the nervous system, muscles, skin, and limbs and the numerous physical pragmatic conditions involved. One can however argue that Noe fails to consider for a moment, intersubjective social interactions of persons, which forms a major part of perception in general. Even so, he is keen to give a relatively credible account of enactive approach to action in perception in relation to sensory capabilities or rather internal cognitive representations of the environment by motor functions of individuals. In light of this, Noe seems to agree with the philosophy of John Dewey as portrayed in his essay "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology" of 1896.
Noe also states, "the key to [the enactive theory] is the idea that perception depends on the possession and exercise of a certain kind of practical knowledge" (Noe, 2004. p. 33). He believes that human cognitive capacity is for the most part "shaped by a complicated hierarchy of practical skills" (Noe, 2004. p. 31). Indeed, there exists a seemingly reasonable assurance in the ideology that human perception in action elaborates itself within the margins of vision science in general. All the same, Noeâ€™s ideas of perception bear little regard to standard principles of conventional mainstream vision science, approaches propagated by psychologists like Stephen Palmer, wittgenstein and J.J. Gibson.
Noe (2004) is also of the idea that the assumption of Cartesian Neuroscience in regards to thought in experience being a neural phenomenon lacks sufficient empirical evidence. This is most likely the reason why he insists on a traditional philosophical argument, which posits that voluntary brain activity alone, is not only adequate but also responsible for perception in action because of sheer consciousness and stimulation by environmental factors. He even terms this as the basis of his argument.
In a manner of speaking, Noe provides a justifiable illustration of the relationship between causation of perception and enacting content. Without a doubt, perceptual experiences are for the most part, a result of externalism, owing to the fact that they are a product of the interaction of bodily activity and the environment. It is upon this reasoning that Noe establishes causation or substrate for perceptual experience. He writes, "per-haps the only way - or the only biological way - to produce just the flavor sensations one enjoys when one sips wine is by rolling a liquid across one's tongue (Noe, 2004). Therefore, the claim that defining features of perceptual experience are external remains a valid one.
Cognitive science, per se, upholds that enacting content relies on information presented to a lively individual via visual perception. This, Noe believes to be nothing short of truth in reality. He sees it as the major conception of action in perception with substantial concern. Nevertheless, one cannot argue against the fact that persons get to gather details of their environment by movements of the bodyâ€™s sensory organs. These details, as Noe (2204) concurs, result in internal representations used to develop and or process information by the brain. To further elaborate on this argument, Noe goes ahead to challenge thought of the situation wherein the world (as it is) would not be present (virtual reality), for instance, in utter darkness, or blindness for that matter, the world would still be represented in thought but with totally different perception and so action. As is always the case, we only need to move our bodiesâ€™ sensory organs (eyes, head and body in general) to gather information about the environment and achieve perception in action-n this can be termed as successful correlation of internalism and externalism. As such, Noe (2004) is arguably veracious in indicating that perception, in its original sense, is not a meditated act of internal representation to fill the gap between brain activity and the real-life environment. However, and reasonably, it is the result of interaction between the two (Noe, 2004).
Noeâ€™s arguments indicated above form his Sensorimotor Contingency Theory of perceptual consciousness. This ideology is nothing short of rational since gaining sensorimotor knowledge in the first place requires both neural activity and lively bodily movements as described earlier.
Evaluation and Other Approaches
In reviewing Noeâ€™s arguments however, Block (2005) is keen to argue that the former holds an exaggerated and radical externalist view in place of internalism. Block (2005), categorically argues for a heightened role of internalism, he maintains, "Sensorimotor know-how and perceptual experience are causally related, but that is no reason to think that they are constitutively related. He continues to point out that "the issue of the constitutive supervenience base for experience is the issue of what isâ€”and is notâ€”a metaphysically necessary part of a metaphysically sufficient condition of perceptual experience." In particular, Block believes that Noe is wrong to combine into one the elements of causation and constitution, and to claim validity of constitutive relations using casual relations. This paper however finds the claims of Block (2005) to be somewhat misleading on the basis that he lacks sufficient evidence to support his claims. More so, Noe (2004) does not maintain or claim that perception in action must occur in the consequence of bodily activity or movement as a necessity. This is in consideration of the fact that, for instance a person with spinal cord damage, unable to move, can still achieve action in perception (exploration), so long as his or her sensorimotor or neuropsychological functions are intact. Therefore, claiming that sensory and motor functions rely on bodily movements, as block (2005) seemingly claims is nothing short of counterfactual.
In a factual sense, Noe (2004) explains that perception in action is reliant on constitutive exercise of sensorimotor knowledge. Nonetheless, he oughtâ€™s to consider the challenges and counterarguments against his externalism claims, for even his own arguments borrow a lot and or favor internalism since they involve abstract reasoning that indicate it is possible for one to explore his or her environment within the confines of brain activity and without apparent bodily movements.
A keen look however reveals a gap in Noeâ€™s explanations, as to whether neural stimulation varies with different levels of bodily movements, and whether any metaphysical factors play a part in this concept; considering the claim that brain activity is enough to realize action in perception. In light of this, one might be compelled to think that Noe (2004) misplaces his arguments when he states that perception (in all ways possible) is "touch-like" owing to body skills- enactment (externalism).
It is important to acknowledge that perceptual experience is fundamentally difficult to understand if not equivocal. Noe (2004) establishes the difference between how objects in the environment actually are and "how they appear to beâ€. This ambiguity, which the author explains, is true in every aspect, forming long standing psychological "puzzlesâ...
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