Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Continuing Commentary
Commentary on O'Regan & Noë (2001). A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness. BBS 24(5):939–1031.

Virtual action: O'Regan & Noë meet Bergson


Stephen E. Robbins a1
a1 Center for Advanced Product Engineering, Metavante Corporation, Milwaukee, WI 53224 Stephen.Robbins@metavante.com

Abstract

Bergson, writing in 1896, anticipated “sensorimotor contingencies” under the concept that perception is “virtual action.” But to explain the external image, he embedded this concept in a holographic framework where time-motion is an indivisible and the relation of subject/object is in terms of time. The target article's account of qualitative visual experience falls short for lack of this larger framework.

[Objects] send back, then, to my body, as would a mirror, their eventual influence; they take rank in an order corresponding to the growing or decreasing powers of my body. The objects which surround my body reflect its possible action upon them.

– Henri Bergson (1896/1912, pp. 6–7)