The two-visual-systems hypothesis and the view from here. (In preparation). PDF
Flexible interaction as a criterion for consciousness. (In preparation).
With Robert L. Whitwell and Melvyn A. Goodale.
Some critics of the two-visual-systems hypothesis (TVSH) argue that it is incompatible with the fundamentally egocentric nature of visual experience (what we call the ‘perspectival account’). The TVSH proposes that the ventral stream, which delivers up our visual experience of the world, works in an allocentric frame of reference, whereas the dorsal stream, which mediates the visual control of action, uses egocentric frames of reference. Given that the TVSH is also committed to the claim that dorsal-stream processing does not contribute to the contents of visual experience, it has been argued that the TVSH cannot account for the egocentric features of our visual experience. This argument, however, rests on a misunderstanding about how the operations mediating action and the operations mediating perception are specified in the TVSH. In this article, we emphasize the importance of the ‘outputs’ of the two-systems to the specification of their respective operations. We argue that once this point is appreciated, it becomes evident that the TVSH is entirely compatible with a perspectival account of visual experience.
Type-2 blindsight is often characterised as involving a non-visual form of awareness that blindsight subjects experience under certain presentation conditions. This paper evaluates the claim that type-2 awareness is non-visual and the proposal that it is a cognitive form of awareness. It is argued that, contrary to the standard account, type-2 awareness is best characterised as visual both because it satisfies certain criteria for being visual and because it can accommodate facts about the phenomenon that the cognitive account cannot. The conclusion is made that type-2 blindsight is best characterised as involving a form of abnormal, degraded visual awareness.
An introduction to a special issue on type-2 blindsight. Co-edited with Robert W. Kentridge
Blindsight: a doorway to consciousness. Doctoral thesis (2013) Abstract
Type-2 blindsight, self-attribution and qualia: a problem for qualia based accounts of blindsight. Philosophical Writings In: Proceedings of the fifteenth annual British postgraduate philosophy conference (2011): 47–55 PDF
Type-2 blindsight is a phenomenon in which a patient with blindsight reports someawareness corresponding to the presentation of stimuli in their scotoma, without this awareness being a normal experience of those stimuli. Recent research into type-2 blindsight has raised many interesting questions for philosophical debates about consciousness. In this paper I argue that blindsight, as it is traditionally understood (e.g., Weiskrantz, 2008), cannot properly incorporate type-2 blindsight. This has resulted in type-2 blindsight often being treated as a peripheral phenomenon. I discuss a recent study in which a blindsight subject (GY) reported on his visual experiences in his scotoma under type-2 conditions. I argue that traditional accounts of blindsight cannot explain GY’s reports, and that his reports also raise serious issues for those who wish to defend a standard notion of qualia. In particular, the case puts pressure on two major tenets underlying the notion of qualia (the ‘constitutive claim’ and the ‘revelation thesis’). It is argued that those who wish to defend qualia must reject one or other of these tenets in the face of evidence from GY’s first-person reports.