Faculty Advisor

Liao, Sam

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2021


Sensorimotor enactivism (SSM) was first introduced by O’Regan and Noë in their 2001 paper, ‘A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness.’ Consistent with the initial enactivist theory laid out by Varela, Thompson, and Rosch in their 1991 book, ‘the Embodied Mind,’ SSM posits that perceptual experience is enacted iteratively through an agent’s embodied interactions with their environment. The theory rejects the popular view that cognition is constituted by the existence of internal re-presentations of a predefined external world. Instead, it argues that the apparent richness of our phenomenal experience is illusory, and that perceptual detail, although limited in a given moment, is accessible through the active exploration or our surroundings. In this project, I offer a detailed discussion around the role of reflection from a sensorimotor perspective. I argue that thought is motivated by unfulfilled expectations regarding sensorimotor contingencies, and that it ultimately serves to refine our implicit mastery of these contingencies. I then consider this position in the context of temporal experience, offering a novel response to one of the most fundamental objections to sensorimotor theory.


Richard Bangs Collier Scholarship


University of Puget Sound