[SydPhil] UOW Philosophy Seminar Series

michael kirchhoff michael.david.kirchhoff at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 14:11:00 AEDT 2016

UOW Philosophy Seminar Series. All welcome.

Speaker: Dr. Katsunori Miyahara (JSPS, Japan Society for the Promotion of
Science, Research Fellow, Rikkyo University)

Title: Thing-perception and the Cartesian anxiety: An
enactive-phenomenological account of seeing things

Abstract: The aim of this talk is to explore an enactive account of a type
of perceptual experience I call thing-perception with a special focus on
the problem of the Cartesian anxiety. Enactivists generally conceive of
cognition including perception as embodied action (Varela, Thompson and
Rosch 1991, 172-3). One of the central motivations underlying this view is
the problem of the Cartesian anxiety, a philosophical worry concerning the
notion of a mind-independent world (ibid., 140-5). While the original
enactive account of perception almost exclusively focused on
action-oriented forms of perceptual experience, at times, our perceptual
experience allows us to encounter things in their own terms and to form
judgments about them. I call this cognition-oriented type of perceptual
experience thing-perception. Then can we also think of thing-perception as
a form of embodied action? The enactive/sensorimotor approach to
perception, proposed by theorists such as Alva Noë, can be read as
containing an enactive account of thing-perception, but in fact it is in
danger of reintroducing the Cartesian anxiety. This suggests that we are
lacking a truly enactive account of thing-perception. I will attempt to
cure this situation by sketching an alternative account, taking inspiration
from the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of
perception, and calling it the enactive-phenomenological account of

When: Monday 7 March
Time: 3:30 – 5:00pm
Where: 19.2072 (Research Hub )
Contact: Michael Kirchhoff (kirchhof at uow.edu.au)


*Dr. Michael D. Kirchhoff *
Lecturer in Philosophy
School of Humanities and Social Enquiry
Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts
University of Wollongong NSW 2522
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