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Presence by Degrees

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In this paper, I argue for two claims. First, Alva Noe's discussions of perceptual presence contain an ambiguity between what I refer to as 'presence as absence' (PA) and 'virtual presence' (VP). This ambiguity emerges in Noe's solution to 'the problem of perceptual presence', or the problem of how to account for our perceptual experience of that which we 'strictly speaking' are not seeing. Second, his account of presence by degrees, i.e. his radical claim that many distant, out-of-view objects are (quasi-perceptually) present to us by various degrees, will not be tenable whether unpacked in terms of PA or VP: e.g. Noe argues that the presence of the tomato in front of him, and the presence of his friend Dominic in a distant country, are different not in kind but in degree only. Neither of the two conceptions of presence renders this plausible.
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Keywords: Alva Noe; Edmund Husserl; actionism; perceptual experience; phenomenology; presence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Zhejiang University, 148 TianMuShan Rd, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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