Volume 13 · Number 1 · Pages 117–125
Missing Colors: The Enactivist Approach to Perception

Adrián G. Palacios, María-José Escobar & Esteban Céspedes

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Context: Part of Varela’s work focused on the study of visual perception, particularly on the grounds of an enactivist theory of vision. Problem: Varela held that the problem of misrepresentation and the comparability of visual experience were crucial. We live with other creatures in sensory worlds that are not tractable, so could we share color-similar experiences? We are still missing an integrative enactive framework to tackle the problems of misrepresentation and comparability related to animal color experience. Method: We carried out a literature survey to draw attention to the status of the enactivist theory of vision and to explore how the problems of misrepresentation and comparability may be tackled. Results: As shown, philosophy and computational science have recently incorporated concepts from neurobiology that close gaps between disciplines and support aspects of the enactivist approach of vision. Implications: Epistemological problems related to perception are here tackled, considering some controversial assumptions related to vision. We argue that an enactivist theory of visual perception may not only clarify the problematic consequences of those assumptions, but also fruitfully guide future philosophical and empirical research on this topic. Constructivist content: The presence of singular “visual channels”, as well as physical, sensorimotor and evolutionary factors, constrains our own perceptual experience as proposed by enactivism.

Key words: Enaction, perception, misrepresentation, comparability, high color space dimensionality, objectivism, subjectivism, computational science


Palacios A. G., Escobar M.-J. & Céspedes E. (2017) Missing colors: The enactivist approach to perception. Constructivist Foundations 13(1): 117–125. http://constructivist.info/13/1/117

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