On the Demonstration of Blindsight in Monkeys


Christopher Mole, Philosophy Department, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, Campus Box 1073, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA.
Email: cmole@artsci.wustl.edu; sdkelly@fas.harvard.edu


Abstract:  The work of Alan Cowey and Petra Stoerig is often taken to have shown that, following lesions analogous to those that cause blindsight in humans, there is blindsight in monkeys. The present paper reveals a problem in Cowey and Stoerig’s case for blindsight in monkeys. The problem is that Cowey and Stoerig’s results would only provide good evidence for blindsight if there is no difference between their two experimental paradigms with regard to the sorts of stimuli that are likely to come to consciousness. We show that the paradigms could differ in this respect, given the connections that have been shown to exist between working memory, perceptual load, attention, and consciousness.