Intro to SMT

updated 2021-04-16

Where to start with the sensorimotor approach to phenomenal consciousness

The best introduction to SMT is my 2011 book, that you can download for free and is easy to read. Note that compared to my 2001 Behavioral and Brain Sciences paper with Alva Noë that is usually cited, my book explains better how the sensorimotor approach applies to phenomenal consciousness in general. It also clears up issues about action, representation, cognition, and the Self, that were not so clear in that paper.

The most recent attempt I made to summarize my theory is a short book section in preparation. In it I think I’ve nailed down the profound metaphysical difference between sensorimotor theory and other theories, which explains why people have such a hard time understanding the approach.

Another introduction to the theory is this short and simple illustrated, fairly up-to-date, and very easy to read transcript of my talk on “How to make a robot that feels” that I gave in Zurich at CogSys 2010 in January 2010. It summarizes the essence of my approach to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, and includes material on the sense of self.

An older text about mainly visual consciousness is this slideshow, which is an expanded version of a talk I gave at the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness in Brussels, June 29-July 2, 2000, and at Bressanone, Jan 21-26, 2001. It is based on my 1992 paper about the “World as an outside memory”, and so doesn’t cover the more recent aspects of my theory.

There are also video recordings of talks and classes that I have given that overview the theory.

For more up-to-date and detailed accounts of SMT see the core SMT papers or for even more, see the Roadmap & Bibliography.