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Not What it's Like but Where it's Like: Phenomenal Consciousness, Sensory Substitution, and the Extended Mind

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According to the hypothesis of extended phenomenal consciousness (ExPC), although the material vehicles that realize phenomenal consciousness include neural elements, they are not restricted to such elements. There will be cases in which those material vehicles additionally include not only non-neural bodily elements, but also elements located beyond the skull and skin. In this paper, I examine two arguments for ExPC, one due to Noë and the other due to Kiverstein and Farina. Both of these arguments conclude that ExPC is true on the basis of an analysis of sensory substitution, the phenomenon in which technological augmentation enables one sensory modality, for instance touch, to support the kind of environmental access and interaction ordinarily supported by a different sensory modality, for instance vision. I develop considerations which reveal that, as they stand, both of these arguments fall short. If the phenomenon of sensory substitution provides evidence for the truth of ExPC, it is not because of the specific arguments offered by these authors.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology and Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Turku, Finland; School of Bioscience, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy, University of Skövde, Sweden, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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