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Sensory Substitution and Augmentation$
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Fiona Macpherson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266441

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266441.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 19 October 2021

The Role of Noetic Feelings in Sensory Substitution

The Role of Noetic Feelings in Sensory Substitution

(p.278) 17 The Role of Noetic Feelings in Sensory Substitution1
Sensory Substitution and Augmentation

Jérôme Dokic

, Fiona Macpherson
British Academy

A central issue in the study of sensory substitution devices is whether and to what extent the original source of knowledge about the world that they seem to enable substitutes for ordinary perception. I argue that this issue divides into two sub-issues, which concern respectively the sensory and the affective aspects of the phenomenology of perception. The sensory aspect determines the representational contents of experience, while the affective aspect is constituted by noetic feelings such as familiarity and presence. A pessimistic view may be formulated according to which neither familiarity nor presence can be reproduced in sensory substitution. There are important phenomenological differences between ordinary perception and sensory substitution due to the massively parallel architecture of the former. However, drawing on a discussion of Capgras syndrome and derealization disorder, I show that we also enjoy higher-level, post-perceptual feelings of familiarity and presence. In the last part of the essay, I draw on the psychological literature on metacognition and sketch a fluency-based account of both these feelings, which leads to a more optimistic view about whether they can be enjoyed by trained users of sensory substitution devices.

Keywords:   sensory substitution, noetic feelings, metacognition, familiarity, presence, Capgras syndrome, derealization disorder

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