What Unilateral Visual Neglect Teaches us About Perceptual Phenomenology
Google Scholar check
MetadataShow full item record
Studies on the syndrome called ‘unilateral visual or spatial neglect’ have been used by philosophers in discussions concerning perceptual phenomenology. Nanay (Philos Perspect 26:235–246, 2012), based on spatial neglects studies, argued that the property of being suitable for action (an action-property) is part of the perceptual phenomenology of neglect patients. In this paper, I argue that the studies on visual neglect conducted thus far do not support Nanay’s thesis that when patients succeed in detecting the neglected object, it’s action properties are part of their perceptual phenomenology; instead, the support the view that the patients consciously see low-level properties such as color and shape. In the first section, I discuss unilateral neglect and extinction. In the second section, I analyze Nanay’s argument. In the third section, I explain why Nanay’s thesis does not follow from the studies on visual neglect. Nanay argues that when neglect patients are cued with an action-property of an object and succeed in perceiving the object in the contralesional side they are phenomenally aware of an action-property of it but they are not phenomenally aware of its low-level properties. Since the patients detect the object, they must be phenomenally aware of some of its properties. Failing to see the low-level properties, the patients should be phenomenally aware is the action-property. Against this, I argue that research on spatial neglect shows that the patients come to see the low-level properties. I also explain why my discussion also supports the more general claim that the studies on neglect and extinction conducted thus far do not establish that the action-properties are part of the patients’ phenomenology. Finally, in section four, I examine a possible objection against my account. My arguments do not entail that the action properties are not part of perceptual phenomenology; only that the neglect studies do not establish this. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.