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.

Key words

qualia consciousness sensorimotor skill sensation action 

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

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