Blindsight Is Unconscious Perception

In Michal Polák, Tomáš Marvan & Juraj Hvorecký (eds.), Conscious and Unconscious Mentality: Examining Their Nature, Similarities and Differences. Routledge. pp. 31–54 (2023)
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Abstract

The question of whether blindsight is a form of unconscious perception continues to spark fierce debate in philosophy and psychology. One side of the debate holds that while the visual information categorized in blindsight is not access-conscious, it is nonetheless a form of perception, albeit a form of unconscious perception. The opposition, by contrast, holds that blindsight is just a form of degraded conscious perception that makes the categorized information harder to access because it is degraded. In this chapter, we address the opposition’s arguments for thinking that blindsight is a form of degraded conscious vision and then argue that the residual awareness found in blindsight is a form of non-perceptual awareness. To back this claim, we examine the residual visual abilities to detect and discriminate colour found in some blindsight patients and show that residual consciousness in blindsight is indirect and lacks the phenomenal character characteristic of conscious vision.

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Author Profiles

Dimitria Gatzia
University of Akron
Berit Brogaard
University of Miami

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References found in this work

On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
The representational character of experience.David J. Chalmers - 2004 - In Brian Leiter (ed.), The Future for Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 153--181.
Blindsight is qualitatively degraded conscious vision.Ian Phillips - 2021 - Psychological Review 128 (3):558-584.

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