Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 369–387

Sensory consciousness explained (better) in terms of ‘corporality’ and ‘alerting capacity’


DOI: 10.1007/s11097-005-9000-0

Cite this article as:
O’regan, J.K., Myin, E. & NOë, A. Phenom Cogn Sci (2005) 4: 369. doi:10.1007/s11097-005-9000-0


How could neural processes be associated with phenomenal consciousness? We present a way to answer this question by taking the counterintuitive stance that the sensory feel of an experience is not a thing that happens to us, but a thing we do: a skill we exercise. By additionally noting that sensory systems possess two important, objectively measurable properties, corporality and alerting capacity, we are able to explain why sensory experience possesses a sensory feel, but thinking and other mental processes do not. We are additionally able to explain why different sensory feels differ in the way they do.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Centre National de Recherche ScientifiqueUniversité Paris 5 René DescartesParisFrance
  2. 2.Centre for Philosophical Psychology, Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpenBelgium
  3. 3.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Department of PhilosophyVUBBrusselBelgium
  4. 4.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyCA