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3.3. Science of Perception (Science of Perception on PhilPapers)

See also:
Millar, Boyd (2006). The conflicted character of picture perception. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 64 (4):471–477.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: It is often assumed that there is a perceptual conflict in looking at a picture since one sees both a two-dimensional surface and a three-dimensional scene simultaneously. In this paper, I argue that it is a mistake to think that looking at pictures requires the visual system to perform the special task of reconciling inconsistent impressions of space, or competing information from different depth cues. To the contrary, I suggest that there are good reasons to think that the perception of depth in pictures is achieved in much the same way as is the perception of depth in any ordinary case.

3.3a Modularity and Cognitive Penetrability

Brewer, William F. & Lambert, Bruce L. (2001). The theory-ladenness of observation and the theory-ladenness of the rest of the scientific process. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S176-S186.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Bruner, Jerome S. (1957). On perceptual readiness. Psychological Review 64:123-52.   (Cited by 766 | Google | More links)
Cam, Philip (1990). Insularity and the persistence of perceptual illusion. Analysis 50 (October):231-5.   (Google)
Churchland, Paul M. (1988). Perceptual plasticity and theoretical neutrality: A reply to Jerry Fodor. Philosophy of Science 55 (June):167-87.   (Cited by 86 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Churchland, Paul M. (1979). Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 312 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: The present essay is addressed simultaneously to two distinct audiences.
Cornwell, William (2004). Dr. In Marek, Johann Christian & Maria Elisabeth Reicher (eds.), Experience and Analysis: Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium: August 8-14, 2004, Kirchberg am Wechsel, Vol. XII. niederosterreichkultur.   (Google)
DesAutels, P. (1995). Two types of theories: The impact of Churchland's perceptual plasticity. Philosophical Psychology 8 (1):25-33.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that because Churchland does not adequately address the distinction between high-level cognitive theories and low-level embodied theories, Churchland's claims for theory-laden perception lose their epistemological significance. I propose that Churchland and others debating the theory-ladenness of perception should distinguish carefully between two main ways in which perception is plastic: through modifying our high-level theories directly and through modifying our low-level theories using training experiences. This will require them to attend to two very different types of constraints on the modification of our perceptions
Estany, Anna (2001). The thesis of theory-Laden observation in the light of cognitive psychology. Philosophy of Science 68 (2):203-217.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Fodor, Jerry A. (1988). A reply to Churchland's `perceptual plasticity and theoretical neutrality'. Philosophy of Science 55 (June):188-98.   (Cited by 27 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Fodor, Jerry A. (1984). Observation reconsidered. Philosophy of Science 51 (March):23-43.   (Cited by 58 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Gilman, Daniel J. (1991). The neurobiology of observation. Philosophy of Science (September) 496 (September):496-502.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Good, I. J. (1968). Creativity and duality in perception and recall. In Proceedings of the IEE/NPL Conference on Pattern Recognition No. 42. Inst Elec Eng NPL.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Greenwood, John D. (1999). Simulation, theory-theory and cognitive penetration: No 'instance of the fingerpost'. Mind and Language 14 (1):32-56.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Grunewald, Alexander (1999). Neurophysiology indicates cognitive penetration of the visual system. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):379-380.   (Google)
Abstract: Short-term memory, nonattentional task effects and nonspatial extraretinal representations in the visual system are signs of cognitive penetration. All of these have been found physiologically, arguing against the cognitive impenetrability of vision as a whole. Instead, parallel subcircuits in the brain, each subserving a different competency including sensory and cognitive (and in some cases motor) aspects, may have cognitively impenetrable components
Heal, Jane (1996). Simulation and cognitive penetrability. Mind and Language 11 (1):44-67.   (Cited by 24 | Google | More links)
Lockhart, Robert S. (2000). Modularity, cognitive penetrability and the Turing test. Psycoloquy.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Turing Test blurs the distinction between a model and irrelevant) instantiation details. Modeling only functional modules is problematic if these are interconnected and cognitively penetrable
Macpherson, Fiona (forthcoming). 'Cognitive penetration of colour experience: Rethinking the issue in light of an indirect mechanism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.   (Google)
Abstract: Can the phenomenal character of perceptual experience be altered by the states of one’s cognitive system, for example, one’s thoughts or beliefs? Ifone thinks that this can happen [at least in certain ways that are identWed in the paper] then one thinks that there can be cognitive penetration of perceptual experience; otherwise, one thinks that perceptual experience is cognitivelv impenetrable. I claim that there is one alleged case ofcognitive penetration that cannot be explained away by the standard strategies one can typicallv use to explain away alleged cases. The case is one in which it seems subjects’ beliefs about the typical colour of objects ajfects their colour experience. I propose a two-step mechanism of indirect cognitive penetration that explains how cognitive penetration may occur. I show that there is independent evidence that each step in this process can occur. I suspect that people who are opposed to the idea that perceptual experience is cognitivelv penetrable will be less opposed to the idea when they come to consider this indirect mechanism and that those who are generallv sympathetic to the idea ofcognitive penetrability will welcome the elucidation ofthis plausible mechanism
McCauley, Robert N. & Henrich, J. (2006). Susceptibility to the Muller-lyer illusion, theory-neutral observation, and the diachronic penetrability of the visual input system. Philosophical Psychology 19 (1):79-101.   (Google)
Abstract: Jerry Fodor has consistently cited the persistence of illusions--especially the M
Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (1999). Is vision continuous with cognition? The case for cognitive impenetrability of visual perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):341-365.   (Cited by 130 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Although the study of visual perception has made more progress in the past 40 years than any other area of cognitive science, there remain major disagreements as to how closely vision is tied to general cognition. This paper sets out some of the arguments for both sides (arguments from computer vision, neuroscience, Psychophysics, perceptual learning and other areas of vision science) and defends the position that an important part of visual perception, which may be called early vision or just vision, is prohibited from accessing relevant expectations, knowledge and utilities - in other words it is cognitively impenetrable. That part of vision is complex and articulated and provides a representation of the 3-D surfaces of objects sufficient to serve as an index into memory, with somewhat different outputs being made available to other systems such as those dealing with motor control. The paper also addresses certain conceptual and methodological issues, including the use of signal detection theory and event-related potentials to assess cognitive penetration of vision. A distinction is made among several stages in visual processing. These include, in addition to the inflexible early-vision stage, a pre-perceptual attention allocation stage and a post-perceptual evaluation, memory-accessing, and inference stage which provide several different highly constrained ways in which cognition can affect the outcome of visual perception. The paper discusses arguments that have been presented in both computer vision and psychology showing that vision is "intelligent" and involves elements of problem solving". It is suggested that these cases do not show cognitive penetration, but rather they show that certain natural constraints on interpretation, concerned primarily with optical and geometrical properties of the world, have been compiled into the visual system. The paper also examines a number of examples where instructions and "hints" are alleged to affect
Raftopoulos, Athanassios (2001). Reentrant neural pathways and the theory-ladenness of perception. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S187-S199.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Rhodes, Gillian & Kalish, Michael L. (1999). Cognitive penetration: Would we know it if we saw it? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):390-391.   (Google)
Abstract: How can the impenetrability hypothesis be empirically tested? We comment on the role of signal detection measures, suggesting that context effects on discriminations for which post-perceptual cues are irrelevant, or on neural activity associated with early vision, would challenge impenetrability. We also note the great computational power of the proposed pre-perceptual attention processes and consider the implications for testability of the theory
Rock, Irvin (1983). The Logic Of Perception. Cambridge: Mit Press.   (Cited by 380 | Google | More links)
Rollins, Mark (1994). Deep plasticity: The encoding approach to perceptual change. Philosophy of Science 61 (1):39-54.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Schyns, Philippe G. (1999). The case for cognitive penetrability. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (3):394-395.   (Google)
Abstract: Pylyshyn acknowledges that cognition intervenes in determining the nature of perception when attention is allocated to locations or properties prior to the operation of early vision. I present evidence that scale perception (one function of early vision) is cognitively penetrable and argue that Pylyshyn's criterion covers not a few, but many situations of recognition. Cognitive penetrability could be their modus operandi
Siegel, Susanna, Cognitive penetrability and perceptual justification.   (Google)
Abstract: It is sometimes said that in depression, everything looks grey. If this is true, then mood can influence the character of perceptual experience: depending only on whether a viewer is depressed or not, how a scene looks to that viewer can differ even if all other conditions stay the same. This would be an example of cognitive penetrability of visual experience by other mental states. Here the influential cognitive state is a mood. Other putative examples of cognitive penetrability involve beliefs: to the reader of Russian, the sheet of Cyrillic script looks different than it looked to her before she could read it. When you know that bananas are yellow, this knowledge affects what color you see bananas to be (an achromatic banana will [2] appear yellowish). To the vain performer, the faces in the audience range in their expression from neutral to pleased, but remarkably no one ever looks disapproving. To the underconfident performer, the faces in the audience range in their expression from neutral to displeased, but remarkably no one ever looks approving. And in cases of suggestibility, the mere salience of a hypothesis seems to have an effect on how a given stimulus is experienced. Potential cognitive penetrators thus include moods, beliefs, hypotheses, knowledge, desires, and traits. In some cases, cognitively penetration can be epistemically beneficial. If an x ray looks different to a radiologist from the way it looks to someone lacking radiological expertise, then the radiologist gets more information about the world from her experience (such as whether there’s a tumor) than the non expert does from looking at the same x ray. If Iris Murdoch and John McDowell are right that having the right sort of character lets you see more moral facts than someone lacking that character sees when faced with the same situation, then there too your perceptual experience becomes epistemically better thanks to its being penetrated by your [3] character. In other cases, however, cognitive penetration seems to make experience epistemically worse..
Smith, Barry (1995). Common sense. In The Cambridge Companion to Husserl. New York: Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 13 | Google)
Stich, Stephen P. & Nichols, Shaun (1997). Cognitive penetrability, rationality, and restricted simulation. Mind and Language 12 (3-4):297-326.   (Cited by 23 | Google | More links)
Stillings, Neil (1987). Modularity and naturalism in theories of vision. In Modularity In Knowledge Representation. Cambridge: Mit Press.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Stokes, Dustin (ms). Perceiving and Desiring: A New Look at the Cognitive Penetrability of Experience.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper considers an orectic perception hypothesis which says that desires and desire-like states may influence perceptual experience in a non-externally mediated way. This hypothesis is clarified with a definition, which serves further to distinguish the interesting target phenomenon from trivial instances of desire-influenced perception. Orectic perception is an interesting possible case of the cognitive penetrability of perceptual experience. The orectic perception hypothesis is thus incompatible with the more common thesis that perception is cognitively impenetrable. It is of importance to issues in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, epistemology, and general philosophy of science. The plausibility of orectic perception can be motivated by some hypothetical cases, some classic experimental studies, and some new experimental research inspired by those same studies. The general suggestion is that orectic perception thus defined, and evidenced by the relevant studies, cannot be deflected by the standard strategies of the cognitive impenetrability theorist.
Vaina, L. M. (1990). What and where in the human visual system: Two hierarchies of visual modules. Synthese 83 (1):49-91.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Wright, Richard D. & Dawson, Michael R. W. (1994). To what extent do beliefs affect apparent motion? Philosophical Psychology 7 (4):471-491.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: A number of studies in the apparent motion literature were examined using the cognitive penetrability criterion to determine the extent to which beliefs affect the perception of apparent motion. It was found that the interaction between the perceptual processes mediating apparent motion and higher order processes appears to be limited. In addition, perceptual and inferential beliefs appear to have different effects on perceived motion optimality and direction. Our findings suggest that the system underlying apparent motion perception has more than one stage and is informationally encapsulated from cognitive factors

3.3b Ecological Approaches to Perception

Alm, Jan (2008). Affordances and the nature of perceptual content. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 16 (2):161 – 177.   (Google)
Abstract: According to John McDowell, representational perceptual content is conceptual through and through. This paper criticizes this view by claiming that there is a certain kind of representational and non-conceptual perceptual content that is sensitive to bodily skills. After a brief introduction to McDowell's position, Merleau-Ponty's notion of body schema and Gibson's notion of affordance are presented. It is argued that affordances are constitutive of representational perceptual content, and that at least some affordances, the so-called 'conditional affordances', are essentially related to the body schema. This means that the perceptual content depends upon the nature of the body schema. Since the body schema does not pertain to the domain that our conceptual faculties operate upon, it is argued that this kind of perceptual content cannot be conceptual. At least some of that content is representational, yet it cannot feature as non-demonstrative conceptual content. It is argued that if it features as demonstrative conceptual content, it has to be captured by private concepts. Since McDowell's theory does not allow for the existence of a private language, it is concluded that at least some representational perceptual content is non-conceptual
Berm, (1998). Ecological perception and the notion of a nonconceptual point of view. In The Body and the Self. Cambridge: MIT Press.   (Cited by 21 | Google)
Bickhard, Mark H. & Richie, D. Michael (1983). On The Nature Of Representation: A Case Study Of James Gibson's Theory Of Perception. Ny: Praeger.   (Cited by 66 | Google)
Boynton, David M. (1993). Relativism in Gibson's theory of picture perception. Journal of Mind and Behavior 14 (1):51-69.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Bruce, Vicki & Green, Patrick (1985). Visual Perception: Physiology, Psychology, and Ecology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.   (Google)
Chemero, Anthony (2003). An outline of a theory of affordances. Ecological Psychology 15 (2):181-195.   (Cited by 44 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The primary difference between direct and inferential theories of perception concerns the location of perceptual content, the meaning of our perceptions. In inferential theories of perception, these meanings arise inside animals, based upon their interactions with the physical environment. Light, for example, bumps into receptors causing a sensation. The animal (or its brain) performs inferences on the sensation, yielding a meaningful perception. In direct theories of perception, on the other hand, meaning is in the environment, and perception does not depend upon meaning- conferring inferences. Instead the animal simply gathers information from a meaning- laden environment. But if the environment contains meanings, then it cannot be merely physical. This places a heavy theoretical burden on direct theories of perception, a burden so severe that it may outweigh all the advantages to conceiving perception as
Chemero, Anthony & Turvey, Michael T., Gibsonian affordances for roboticists.   (Google)
Abstract: Using hypersets as an analytic tool, we compare traditionally Gibsonian (Chemero 2003; Turvey 1992) and representationalist (Sahin et al. this issue) understandings of the notion ‘affordance’. We show that representationalist understandings are incompatible with direct perception and erect barriers between animal and environment. They are, therefore, scarcely recognizable as understandings of ‘affordance’. In contrast, Gibsonian understandings are shown to treat animal-environment systems as unified complex systems and to be compatible with direct perception. We discuss the fruitful connections between Gibsonian affordances and dynamical systems explanation in the behavioral sciences and point to prior fruitful application of Gibsonian affordances in robotics. We conclude that it is unnecessary to re-imagine affordances as representations in order to make them useful for researchers in robotics
Chemero, Tony (forthcoming). Information and direct perception: A new approach. In Priscila Farias & Jo (eds.), Advanced Issues in Cognitive Science and Semiotics.   (Google)
Abstract: Since the 1970s, Michael Turvey, Robert Shaw, and William Mace have worked on the formulation of a philosophically-sound and empirically-tractable version of James Gibson
Chemero, Tony (2003). Review of ecological psychology in context: James Gibson, Roger Barker, and the legacy of William James' radical empiricism. Contemporary Psychology.   (Google | More links)
Chemero, Tony (2001). What we perceive when we perceive affordances: Commentary on Michaels (2000), Information, Perception and Action. Ecological Psychology 13 (2):111-116.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In her essay --?Information, Perception and Action--, Claire Michaels reaches two conclusions that run very much against the grain of ecological psychology. First, she claims that affordances are not perceived, but simply acted upon; second, because of this, perception and action ought to be conceived separately. These conclusions are based upon a misinterpretation of empirical evidence which is, in turn, based upon a conflation of two proper objects of perception: objectively with properties and affordances
Fodor, Jerry A. & Pylyshyn, Zenon W. (1981). How direct is visual perception? Some reflections on Gibson's 'ecological approach'. Cognition 9:139-96.   (Cited by 197 | Google)
Gibson, James J. (1976). The myth of passive perception: A reply to Richards. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 37 (December):234-238.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Gibson, James J. (1950). The Perception Of The Visual World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.   (Cited by 10 | Google)
Gibson, James J. (1968). The Senses Considered As Perceptual Systems. Allen & Unwin.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Givner, David A. (1982). Concepts, percepts and perceptal systems: The relevance of psychology to epistemology. Metaphilosophy 13 (July-October):209-216.   (Google)
Givner, David A. (1982). Direct perception, misperception and perceptual systems: J. J. Gibson and the problem of illusion. Nature and System 4 (September):131-142.   (Google)
Glotzbach, Philip A. (1992). Determining the primary problem of visual perception: A Gibsonian response to the correlation' objection. Philosophical Psychology 5 (1):69-94.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Abstract: Fodor & Pylyshyn (1981) criticize J. J. Gibson's ecological account of perception for failing to address what I call the 'correlation problem' in visual perception. That is, they charge that Gibson cannot explain how perceivers learn to correlate detectable properties of the light with perceptible properties of the environment. Furthermore, they identify the correlation problem as a crucial issue for any theory of visual perception, what I call a 'primary problem'—i.e. a problem which plays a definitive role in establishing the concerns of a particular scientific research program. If they are correct, Gibson's failure to resolve this problem would cast considerable doubt upon his ecological approach to perception. In response, I argue that both Fodor & Pylyshyn's problem itself and their proposed inferential solution embody a significant mistake which needs to be eliminated from our thinking about visual perception. As part of my response, I also suggest a Gibsonian alternative to Fodor & Pylyshyn's primary problem formulation
Glotzbach, Philip A. & Heff, Harry (1982). Ecological and phenomenological contributions to the psychology of perception. Noûs 16 (March):108-121.   (Google | More links)
Hatfield, Gary (1990). Gibsonian representations and connectionist symbol-processing: Prospects for unification. Psychological Research 52:243-52.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google)
Heil, John (1981). Gibsonian sins of omission. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 11 (3):307–311.   (Google | More links)
Heil, John (1979). What Gibson's missing. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 9 (3):265–269.   (Google | More links)
Klaassen, Pim; Rietveld, Erik & Topal, Julien (2010). Inviting complementary perspectives on situated normativity in everyday life. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):53-73.   (Google)
Abstract: In everyday life, situations in which we act adequately yet entirely without deliberation are ubiquitous. We use the term “situated normativity” for the normative aspect of embodied cognition in skillful action. Wittgenstein’s notion of “directed discontent” refers to a context-sensitive reaction of appreciation in skillful action. Extending this notion from the domain of expertise to that of adequate everyday action, we examine phenomenologically the question of what happens when skilled individuals act correctly with instinctive ease. This question invites exploratory contributions from a variety of perspectives complementary to the philosophical/ phenomenological one, including cognitive neuroscience, neurodynamics and psychology. Along such lines we try to make the normative aspect of adequate immediate action better accessible to empirical research. After introducing the idea that “valence” is a forerunner of directed discontent, we propose to make progress on this by first pursuing a more restricted exploratory question, namely, ‘what happens in the first few hundred milliseconds of the development of directed discontent?’
Manfredi, Pat A. (1986). Processing or pickup: Conflicting approaches to perception. Mind and Language 1:181-200.   (Google)
Natsoulas, Thomas (2004). To see things is to perceive what they afford: James J. Gibson's concept of affordance. Journal of Mind and Behavior 25 (4):323-347.   (Google)
Natsoulas, Thomas (1984). Towards the improvement of Gibsonian perception theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 14 (2):231–258.   (Google | More links)
Natsoulas, Thomas (1999). Virtual objects. Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (4):357-377.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Natsoulas, Thomas (1991). Why do things look as they do? Some Gibsonian answers to koffka's question. Philosophical Psychology 4 (2):183-202.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Abstract: This article contributes to understanding the relation within Gibson's perception theory between two questions that Gibson raised in the introductory paragraph of his final book, The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception: (a) how we see how to do things and (b) why things look to us as they do (Koffka's question). Although Gibson considered Koffka's question to be a crucial test for any psychological theory of visual perceiving, Gibson did not explicitly defend his ecological approach with reference to Koffka's question. Gibson's entire final book is not, as some Gibsonians would suggest, Gibson's answer to Koffka's question. However, certain subsidiary parts of the book implicitly and almost explicitly suggest a place in Gibsonian perception theory for the phenomenal looks of things that we visually perceive. The present article considers some Gibsonian answers and reactions to Koffka's question, and argues that the phenomenal looks of things play a crucial role in Gibson's account of the visual control of locomotion
Noble, Wiliam G. (1981). Gibsonian theory and the pragmatist perspective. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 11 (1):65–85.   (Google | More links)
Pind, Jörgen (1998). Merits of a Gibsonian approach to speech perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (2):279-280.   (Google)
Abstract: Neurobiologically inspired theories of speech perception such as that proposed by Sussman et al. are useful to the extent that they are able to constrain such theories. If they are simply intended as suggestive analogies, their usefulness is questionable. In such cases it is better to stick with the Gibsonian approach of attempting to isolate invariants in speech and to demonstrate their role for the perceiver in perceptual experiments
Reed, Edward S. (1988). James J. Gibson And The Psychology Of Perception. New Haven: Yale University Press.   (Cited by 78 | Google)
Richards, Robert J. (1976). James Gibson's passive theory of perception: A rejection of the doctrine of specific nerve energies. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 37 (December):218-233.   (Google | More links)
Rietveld, Erik (2010). McDowell and Dreyfus on Unreflective Action. Inquiry 53 (2):183-207.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Within philosophy there is not yet an integrative account of unreflective skillful action. As a starting point, contributions would be required from philosophers from both the analytic and continental traditions. Starting from the McDowell-Dreyfus debate, shared Aristotelian-Wittgensteinian common ground is identified. McDowell and Dreyfus agree about the importance of embodied skills, situation-specific discernment and responsiveness to relevant affordances. This sheds light on the embodied and situated nature of adequate unreflective action and provides a starting point for the development of an account that does justice to insights from both philosophical traditions.
Rietveld, Erik (2008). Situated normativity: The normative aspect of embodied cognition in unreflective action. Mind 117 (468):973-1001.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In everyday life we often act adequately, yet without deliberation. For instance, we immediately obtain and maintain an appropriate distance from others in an elevator. The notion of normativity implied here is a very basic one, namely distinguishing adequate from inadequate, correct from incorrect, or better from worse in the context of a particular situation. In the first part of this paper I investigate such ‘situated normativity’ by focusing on unreflective expert action. More particularly, I use Wittgenstein’s examples of craftsmen (tailors and architects) absorbed in action to introduce situated normativity. Situated normativity can be understood as the normative aspect of embodied cognition in unreflective skillful action. I develop Wittgenstein’s insight that a peculiar type of affective behaviour, ‘directed discontent’, is essential for getting things right without reflection. Directed discontent is a reaction of appreciation in action and is introduced as a paradigmatic expression of situated normativity. In the second part I discuss Wittgenstein’s ideas on the normativity of what he calls ‘blind’ rule-following and the ‘bedrock’ of immediate action. What matters for understanding the normativity of (even ‘blind’) rule-following, is not that one has the capacity for linguistic articulation or reflection but that one is reliably participating in a communal custom. In the third part I further investigate the complex relationships between unreflective skillful action, perception, emotion, and normativity. Part of this entails an account of the link between normativity at the level of the expert’s socio-cultural practice and the individual’s situated and lived normativity.
Rietveld, Erik (2008). The Skillful Body as a Concernful System of Possible Actions: Phenomena and Neurodynamics. Theory & Psychology 18 (3):341-361.   (Google)
Abstract: For Merleau-Ponty,consciousness in skillful coping is a matter of prereflective ‘I can’ and not explicit ‘I think that.’ The body unifies many domain-specific capacities. There exists a direct link between the perceived possibilities for action in the situation (‘affordances’) and the organism’s capacities. From Merleau-Ponty’s descriptions it is clear that in a flow of skillful actions, the leading ‘I can’ may change from moment to moment without explicit deliberation. How these transitions occur, however, is less clear. Given that Merleau-Ponty suggested that a better understanding of the self-organization of brain and behavior is important, I will re-read his descriptions of skillful coping in the light of recent ideas on neurodynamics. Affective processes play a crucial role in evaluating the motivational significance of objects and contribute to the individual’s prereflective responsiveness to relevant affordances.
Scarantino, Andrea (2003). Affordances explained. Philosophy of Science 70 (5):949-961.   (Cited by 15 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I examine the central theoretical construct of ecological psychology, the concept of an affordance. In the first part of the paper, I illustrate the role affordances play in Gibson's theory of perception. In the second part, I argue that affordances are to be understood as dispositional properties, and explain what I take to be their characteristic background circumstances, triggering circumstances and manifestations. The main purpose of my analysis is to give affordances a theoretical identity enriched by Gibson's visionary insight, but independent of the most controversial claims of the Gibsonian movement
Stroll, Avrum (1986). The role of surfaces in an ecological theory of perception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46 (March):437-453.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Thomas, Nigel (1999). Are theories of imagery theories of imagination? Cognitive Science 23:207--45.   (Google)
Abstract: Can theories of mental imagery, conscious mental contents, developed within cognitive science throw light on the obscure (but culturally very significant) concept of imagination? Three extant views of mental imagery are considered: quasi-pictorial, description, and perceptual activity theories. The first two face serious theoretical and empirical difficulties. The third is (for historically contingent reasons) little known, theoretically underdeveloped, and empirically untried, but has real explanatory potential. It rejects the "traditional" symbolic computational view of mental contents, but is compatible with recent situated cognition and active vision approaches in robotics. This theory is developed and elucidated. Three related key aspects of imagination (non-discursiveness, creativity, and seeing as) raise difficulties for the other theories. Perceptual activity theory presents imagery as non-discursive and relates it closely to seeing as. It is thus well placed to be the basis for a general theory of imagination and its role in creative thought.
Thomas, Nigel J. T. (2001). Perceptual systems: Five+, one, or many? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (2):241-242.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Commentary on "On Specification and the Senses," by Thomas A. Stoffregen and Benoît G. Bardy: Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 195-261 (2001).
The target article's value lies not in its defence of specification, or the "global array" concept, but in its challenge to the paradigm of 5+ senses, and its examples of multiple receptor types cooperatively participating in specific information pick-up tasks. Rather than analysing our perceptual endowment into 5+ senses, it is more revealing to type perceptual systems according to task.
Turvey, Michael T.; Shaw, R. E.; Reed, Edward S. & Mace, William M. (1981). Ecological laws of perceiving and acting: In reply to Fodor and Pylyshyn. Cognition 9:237-304.   (Cited by 62 | Google)
Ullman, S. (1980). Against direct perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3:333-81.   (Cited by 114 | Google)
van Leeuwen, Cees & Stins, John (1994). Perceivable information or: The happy marriage between ecological psychology and gestalt. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):267-285.   (Google)
Abstract: The ecological realist concept of information as environmental specification is discussed. It is argued that affordances in ecological realism could, in principle, rest on a notion of partial specification of environmental circumstances. For this aim, a notion of Gestalt quality as a hierarchical structure of affordances would have to be adopted. It is claimed that such an account could provide a promising way to deal with problems of intentionality in perception and action, awareness and problem solving
Young, Garry (2005). Ecological perception affords an explanation of object permanence. Philosophical Explorations 8 (2):189-208.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I aim to present an explanation of object permanence that is derived from an ecological account of perceptually based action. In understanding why children below a certain age do not search for occluded objects, one must first understand the process by which these children perform certain intentional actions on non-occluded items; and to do this one must understand the role affordances play in eliciting retrieval behaviour. My affordance-based explanation is contrasted with Shinskey and Munakata's graded representation account; and although I do not reject totally the role representations play in initiating intentional action I nevertheless maintain that only by incorporating direct perception into an account of object permanence can a fuller understanding of this phenomenon be achieved

3.3c Construction and Inference in Perception

Allik, Jüri & Konstabel, Kenn (2005). G. F. Parrot and the theory of unconscious inferences. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 41 (4):317-330.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Anderson, Joseph & Anderson, Barbara (1993). The myth of persistence of vision revisited. Journal of Film and Video 45:3--12.   (Google)
Ben-Zeev, Aaron (1988). Can non-pure perception be direct? Philosophical Quarterly 38 (July):315-325.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Bruce, Vicki & Green, Patrick (1985). Visual Perception: Physiology, Psychology, and Ecology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.   (Google)
Clark, Romane L. (1993). Seeing and inferring. Philosophical Papers 22 (2).   (Google)
Crawford, Dan D. (1982). Are there mental inferences in direct perceptions? American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (January):83-92.   (Google)
Cutting, James E. (2003). Reconceiving perceptual space. In Heiko Hecht, Robert Schwartz & Margaret Atherton (eds.), Looking Into Pictures. The Mit Press.   (Google)
Gregory, Richard L. (1974). Perceptions as hypotheses. In Philosophy Of Psychology. London,: Macmillan.   (Cited by 67 | Google | More links)
Hatfield, Gary C. (2009). Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Representation and content in some (actual) theories of perception -- Representation in perception and cognition : task analysis, psychological functions, and rule instantiation -- Perception as unconscious inference -- Representation and constraints : the inverse problem and the structure of visual space -- On perceptual constancy -- Getting objects for free (or not) : the philosophy and psychology of object perception -- Color perception and neural encoding : does metameric matching entail a loss of information? -- Objectivity and subjectivity revisited : color as a psychobiological property -- Sense data and the mind body problem -- The reality of qualia -- The sensory core and the medieval foundations of early modern perceptual theory -- Postscript (2008) on Ibn al-Haytham's (Alhacen's) theory of vision -- Attention in early scientific psychology -- Psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science : reflections on the history and philosophy of experimental psychology -- What can the mind tell us about the brain? : psychology, neurophysiology, and constraint -- Introspective evidence in psychology.
Hatfield, Gary (2002). Perception As Unconscious Inference. In D. Heyer (ed.), Perception and the Physical World: Psychological and Philosophical Issues in Perception. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Consider for a moment the spatial and chromatic dimensions of your visual expe- rience. Suppose that as you gaze about the room you see a table, some books, and papers. Ignore for now the fact that you immediately recognize these objects to be a table with books and papers on it. Concentrate on how the table looks to you: its top spreads out in front of you, stopping at edges beyond which lies un?lled space, leading to more or less distant chairs, shelves, or expanses of ?oor. The books and paper on the table top create shaped visual boundaries between areas of different color, within which there may be further variation of color or visual texture. Propelled by a slight breeze, a sheet of paper slides across the table, and you experience its smooth motion before it ?oats out of sight
Joske, W. D. (1963). Inferring and perceiving. Philosophical Review 72 (October):433-445.   (Google | More links)
Kline, A. David (1979). Constructivism and the objects of perception. Nature and System 1 (March):37-45.   (Google)
Ludwig, Kirk A. (1996). Explaining why things look the way they do. In Kathleen Akins (ed.), Perception. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: How are we able to perceive the world veridically? If we ask this question as a part of the scientific investigation of perception, then we are not asking for a transcendental guarantee that our perceptions are by and large veridical; we presuppose that they are. Unless we assumed that we perceived the world for the most part veridically, we would not be in a position to investigate our perceptual abilities empirically. We are interested, then, not in how it is possible in general for us to perceive the world veridically, but instead in what the relation is between our environment and its properties, of which we have knowledge, on the one hand, and our perceptual mechanisms, on the other, that results in very many, even most of our perceptions being veridical in everyday life
Raftopoulos, Athanassios (2006). Defending realism on the proper ground. Philosophical Psychology 19 (1):47-77.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: 'Epistemological constructivism' holds that vision is mediated by background preconceptions and is theory-laden. Hence, two persons with differing theoretical commitments see the world differently and they could agree on what they see only if they both espoused the same conceptual framework. This, in its turn, undermines the possibility of theory testing and choice on a common theory-neutral empirical basis. In this paper, I claim that the cognitive sciences suggest that a part of vision may be only indirectly penetrated by cognition in a way that does not threaten retrieval of information from a visual scene in a bottom-up way. That blocks the constructivist epistemological thesis. However, since spatial attention, which can be cognitively driven, seems to permeate all stages of visual processes, one is led to conclude that there is no part of vision immune to direct cognitive interference. Against this, I elaborate on the role of spatial attention and argue that it does influence vision in a top-down manner, but it does so only in an indirect way. I then argue that the existence of visual processes that are only indirectly penetrated by cognition undermines the epistemological conclusions of constructivism
Spruit, Leen (1994). Species Intelligibilis: From Perception to Knowledge. Brill.   (Google)
Abstract: v. 1. Classical roots and medieval discussions -- v. 2. Renaissance controversis, later scholasticism, and the elimination of the intelligible species in modern philosophy.
ten Hoor, Marten (1936). Awareness and inference: An approach to realism. Journal of Philosophy 33 (22):589-596.   (Google | More links)
Veer, Vander & Garrett, L. (1964). Austin on perception. Review of Metaphysics 17 (June):557-567.   (Google)
Vishwanath, Dhanraj (2005). The epistemological status of vision and its implications for design. Axiomathes 15 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Computational theories of vision typically rely on the analysis of two aspects of human visual function: (1) object and shape recognition (2) co-calibration of sensory measurements. Both these approaches are usually based on an inverse-optics model, where visual perception is viewed as a process of inference from a 2D retinal projection to a 3D percept within a Euclidean space schema. This paradigm has had great success in certain areas of vision science, but has been relatively less successful in understanding perceptual representation, namely, the nature of the perceptual encoding. One of the drawbacks of inverse-optics approaches has been the difficulty in defining the constraints needed to make the inference computationally tractable (e.g. regularity assumptions, Bayesian priors, etc.). These constraints, thought to be learned assumptions about the nature of the physical and optical structures of the external world, have to be incorporated into any workable computational model in the inverse-optics paradigm. But inference models that employ an inverse optics plus structural assumptions approach inevitably result in a na
Walton, Kendall (1963). The dispensability of perceptual inferences. Mind 72 (July):357-368.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Williamson, John (1966). Realization and unconscious inference. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 27 (September):11-26.   (Google | More links)

3.3d Perception and Neuroscience

Alroy, Daniel (1995). Inner light. Synthese 104 (1):147-160.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Bach-y-Rita, Paul & Hasse, Steven J. (2001). The role of the brain in perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):975-975.   (Google)
Abstract: The recent interest of cognitive- and neuro-scientists in the topic of consciousness (and the dissatisfaction with the present state of knowledge) has revealed deep conceptual differences with Humanists, who have dealt with issues of consciousness for centuries. O'Regan & Noë have attempted (unsuccessfully) to bridge those differences
Brain, W. Russell (1946). The neurological approach to the problem of perception. Philosophy 21 (July):133-146.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Bridgeman, Bruce (2000). Neuroanatomy and function in two visual systems. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 23 (4):535-536.   (Google)
Abstract: Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology are insufficient to specify function. Modeling is essential to elucidate function, but psychophysics is also required. An example is the cognitive and sensorimotor branches of the visual system: anatomy shows direct cross talk between the branches. Psychophysics in normal humans shows links from cognitive to sensorimotor, but the reverse link is excluded by visual illusions affecting the cognitive system but not the sensorimotor system
Chaminade, Thierry & Decety, Jean (2001). A common framework for perception and action: Neuroimaging evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):879-882.   (Google)
Abstract: In recent years, neurophysiological evidence has accumulated in favor of a common coding between perception and execution of action. We review findings from recent neuroimaging experiments in the action domain with three complementary perspectives: perception of action, covert action triggered by perception, and reproduction of perceived action (imitation). All studies point to the parietal cortex as a key region for body movement representation, both observed and performed
Chirimuuta, Mazviita (2008). Reflectance realism and colour constancy: What would count as scientific evidence for Hilbert's ontology of colour? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):563 – 582.   (Google)
Abstract: Reflectance realism is an important position in the philosophy of colour. This paper is an examination of David R. Hilbert’s case for there being scientific support for the theory. The specific point in question is whether colour science has shown that reflectance is recovered by the human visual system. Following a discussion of possible counter-evidence in the recent scientific literature, I make the argument that conflicting interpretations of the data on reflectance recovery are informed by different theoretical assumptions about the nature of
colour, and of perception. If this is so, there cannot be neutral empirical
evidence on this point, and this does seem to undermine Hilbert’s claim for
empirical support. In the end, I suggest alternative ways of thinking about the relationship between colour ontology and empirical work on colour.
Chirimuuta, M. & Gold, I. (2009). The Embedded Neuron, the Enactive Field? In John Bickle (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: The concept of the receptive field, first articulated by Hartline, is central to visual neuroscience. The receptive field of a neuron encompasses the spatial and temporal properties of stimuli that activate the neuron, and, as Hubel and Wiesel conceived of it, a neuron’s receptive field is static. This makes it possible to build models of neural circuits and to build up more complex receptive fields out of simpler ones. Recent work in visual neurophysiology is providing evidence that the classical receptive field is an inaccurate picture. The receptive field seems to be a dynamic feature of the neuron. In particular, the receptive field of neurons in V1 seems to be dependent on the properties of the stimulus. In this paper, we review the history of the concept of the receptive field and the problematic data. We then consider a number of possible theoretical responses to these data.
Churchland, Paul M. (2005). Chimerical colors: Some phenomenological predictions from cognitive neuroscience. Philosophical Psychology 18 (5):527-560.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Hurvich-Jameson (H-J) opponent-process network offers a familiar account of the empirical structure of the phenomenological color space for humans, an account with a number of predictive and explanatory virtues. Its successes form the bulk of the existing reasons for suggesting a strict identity between our various color sensations on the one hand, and our various coding vectors across the color-opponent neurons in our primary visual pathways on the other. But anti-reductionists standardly complain that the systematic parallels discovered by the H-J network are just empirical correspondences, constructed post facto, with no predictive or explanatory purchase on the intrinsic characters of qualia proper. The present paper disputes that complaint, by illustrating that the H-J model yields some novel and unappreciated predictions, and some novel and unappreciated explanations, concerning the qualitative characters of a considerable variety of color sensations possible for human experience, color sensations that normal people have almost certainly never had before, color sensations whose accurate descriptions in ordinary language appear semantically ill-formed or even self-contradictory. Specifically, these "impossible" color sensations are activation-vectors (across our opponent-process neurons) that lie inside the space of neuronally possible activation-vectors, but outside the central 'color spindle' that confines the familiar range of sensations for possible objective colors. These extra-spindle chimerical-color sensations correspond to no reflective color that you will ever see objectively displayed on a physical object. But the H-J model both predicts their existence and explains their highly anomalous qualitative characters in some detail. It also suggests how to produce these rogue sensations by a simple procedure made available in the latter half of this paper. The relevant color plates will allow you to savor these sensations for yourself
Ehrenstein, Walter H.; Spillmann, Lothar & Sarris, Viktor (2003). Gestalt issues in modern neuroscience. Axiomathes 13 (3-4).   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: We present select examples of how visual phenomena can serve as tools to uncoverbrain mechanisms. Specifically, receptive field organization is proposed as a Gestalt-like neural mechanism of perceptual organization. Appropriate phenomena, such as brightness and orientation contrast, subjective contours, filling-in, and aperture-viewed motion, allow for a quantitative comparison between receptive fields and their psychophysical counterparts, perceptive fields. Phenomenology might thus be extended from the study of perceptual qualities to their transphenomenal substrates, including memory functions. In conclusion, classic issues of Gestalt psychology can now be related to modern
Foss, Jeffrey E. (1988). The percept and vector function theories of the brain. Philosophy of Science 55 (December):511-537.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Gillett, Grant R. (1989). Perception and neuroscience. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (March) 83 (March):83-103.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Perception is often analysed as a process in which causal events from the environment act on a subject to produce states in the mind or brain. The role of the subject is an increasing feature of neuroscientific and cognitive literature. This feature is linked to the need for an account of the normative aspects of perceptual competence. A holographic model is offered in which objects are presented to the subject classified according to rules governing concepts and encoded in brain function in that form. This implies that the analysis of perception must consider not only the fact that there is an interaction between the perceiving subject and the perceived object but also that the interaction is shaped by a system of concepts which the subject uses in thought and action
Gilman, Daniel J. (1991). The neurobiology of observation. Philosophy of Science (September) 496 (September):496-502.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Gold, Ian (2002). Interpreting the neuroscience of imagery. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):190-191.   (Google)
Abstract: Pylyshyn rightly argues that the neuroscientific data supporting the involvement of the visual system in mental imagery is largely irrelevant to the question of the format of imagistic representation. The purpose of this commentary is to support this claim with a further argument
Hahn, L. W. (1998). Revising locus of the bridge between neuroscience and perception. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (6):759-760.   (Google)
Abstract: This commentary proposes keeping the bridge locus construct with a revised definition which requires the bridge locus to be dynamic, representation-independent and influenced by top-down processes. The denial of the uniformity of content thesis is equivalent to dualism. The active perception perspective is a valuable one
Hall, Everett W. (1959). The adequacy of a neurological theory of perception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 20 (September):75-84.   (Google | More links)
Hatfield, Gary (1999). Mental functions as constraints on neurophysiology: Biology and psychology of vision. In V. Harcastle (ed.), Where Biology Meets Psychology.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Hintikka, Jaakko & Symons, John (2003). Systems of visual identification in neuroscience: Lessons from epistemic logic. Philosophy of Science 70 (1):89-104.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The following analysis shows how developments in epistemic logic can play a nontrivial role in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that the striking correspondence between two modes of identification, as distinguished in the epistemic context, and two cognitive systems distinguished by neuroscientific investigation of the visual system (the "where" and "what" systems) is not coincidental, and that it can play a clarificatory role at the most fundamental levels of neuroscientific theory
McKee, P. L. (1971). Perception and physiology. Mind 80 (October):594-596.   (Google | More links)
Mogi, Ken (1997). Response selectivity, neuron doctrine, and Mach's principle in perception. Austrian Soc. For Cognitive Science Tech Report.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: manner. The construction of the space-time structure that describes the dynamics of the neural network in a causal manner is a non-trivial problem. I critically review the idea of response selectivity as is applied to
Reiser, Oliver L. (1928). Light, wave-mechanics, and consciousness. Journal of Philosophy 25 (12):309-317.   (Google | More links)
Smythies, J. R. (1993). The impact of contemporary neuroscience and introspection psychology on the philosophy of perception. In Edmond Leo Wright (ed.), New Representationalisms: Essays in the Philosophy of Perception. Brookfield: Avebury.   (Google)
Trehub, Arnold (1991). The Cognitive Brain. MIT Press.   (Google)

3.3e Psychophysics

Albertazzi, Liliana (2002). Phenomenologists and analytics: A question of psychophysics? Southern Journal of Philosophy (Suppl.) 40:27-48.   (Google)
Blomberg, Jaakko (1971). Psychophysics, sensation and information. Ajatus 33:106-137.   (Google)
Boring, Edwin G. (1935). The relation of the attributes of sensation to the dimensions of the stimulus. Philosophy of Science 2 (2):236-245.   (Cited by 12 | Google | More links)
Bradley, Francis H. (1895). What do we mean by the intensity of psychical states. Mind 4 (13):1-27.   (Google | More links)
Butterfield, Jeremy (1998). Quantum curiosities of psychophysics. In J. Cornwell (ed.), Consciousness and Human Identity. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I survey some of the connections between the metaphysics of the relation between mind and matter, and quantum theory’s measurement problem. After discussing the metaphysics, especially the correct formulation of physicalism, I argue that two state-reduction approaches to quantum theory’s measurement problem hold some surprises for philosophers’ discussions of physicalism. Though both approaches are compatible with physicalism, they involve a very different conception of the physical, and of how the physical underpins the mental, from what most philosophers expect. And one approach exemplifies a a problem in the definition of physicalism which the metaphysical literature has discussed only in the abstract. A version of the paper has appeared in Consciousness and Human Identity, ed. John Cornwell, OUP 1998
Cattell, James McKeen & Fullerton, George Stuart (1892). The psychophysics of movement. Mind 1 (3):447-452.   (Google | More links)
di Lollo, V.; Enns, James T. & Rensink, R. (2000). Competition for consciousness among visual events: The psychophysics of reentrant visual processes. Journal Of Experimental Psychology-General 129 (4):481-507.   (Google)
Eisler, H. (1975). Subjective duration and psychophysics. Psychological Review 82:429-50.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Enns, J. T.; Rensink, R. A. & Di Lollo, V. (2000). Competition for consciousness among visual events: The psychophysics of reentrant visual processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology 129 (4):481-507.   (Google)
Abstract: Advances in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology have called attention to reentrant signalling as the predominant form of communication between brain areas. We propose that explicit use be made of reentrant processing in theories of perception. To show that this can be done effectively in one domain, we report on a series of psychophysical experiments involving a new form of masking, which defies explanation by current feed-forward theories. This masking occurs when a brief display of target plus mask is continued with the mask alone. We report evidence of two masking processes: an early process affected by physical factors such as adapting luminance and contour proximity, and a later process affected by attentional factors such as set size, target pop-out, and spatial pre-cuing. We call this later process masking by
Findlay, J. N. (1950). Linguistic approach to psychophysics. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 50:43-64.   (Google)
Francis, Gregory & Hermens, Frouke (2002). Comment on Competition for Consciousness Among Visual Events: The Psychophysics of Reentrant Visual Processes (di lollo, Enns & Rensink, 2000). Journal of Experimental Psychology 131 (4):590-593.   (Google)
Horst, Steven (2005). Phenomenology and psychophysics. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (1):1-21.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Recent philosophy of mind has tended to treat
Kietzmann, Tim Christian, Philosophical accounts of causal explanation and the scientific practice of psychophysics.   (Google)
Abstract: Philosophical accounts of causality and causal explanation can provide important guidelines for the experimental sciences and valid experimental setups. In addition to the obvious requirement of logic validity, however, the approaches must account for the generally accepted experimental practice to be truly useful. To investigate this important interconnection, the current paper evaluates different philosophical accounts of causation and causal explanation in the light of typical psychophysical experiments. In particular, eye-tracking setups will be used to evaluate Granger Causality, Probabilistic Accounts and Woodwardʼs manipulationist approach. Upon coarse reading, the manipulationist perspective seems most suitable for a practical application, but there are manifold problems hidden in the details of the definitions. However, with some adjustments via standard tools of experimental design, these problems can be overcome and leave Woodwardʼs account as the method of choice
Klein, S. A. (1998). Double-judgment psychophysics for research on cosnciousness: Application to blindsight. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Google)
Nijhawan, Romi (2008). Visual prediction: Psychophysics and neurophysiology of compensation for time delays. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (2):179-198.   (Google)
Petrusic, William M. & Baranski, Joseph V. (2002). Mental imagery in memory psychophysics. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):206-207.   (Google)
Abstract: Imagery has played an important, albeit controversial, role in the study of memory psychophysics. In this commentary we critically examine the available data bearing on whether pictorial based depictions of remembered perceptual events are activated and scanned in each of a number of different psychophysical tasks
Rosen, Steven M. (1976). Toward Relativization of Psychophysical "Relativity". Perceptual and Motor Skills 42:843-850.   (Google)
Abstract: A paradoxical feature of Weber's law is considered. The law presumably states a principle of psychophysical relativity, yet a pre-relativistic physical measurement model has been traditionally employed. Classical physics, Einsteinian relativity, and a newer interpretation of the relativity concept are discussed. Their relation to psychophysics is examined. The domain wherein Weber's law breaks down is noted as suggestively similar to that in which physicists report relativistic effects. A tentative hypothesis is offered to stimulate further thought about a more meaningful integration of psychophysics with modern physical science.
Sarris, Viktor (2010). Relational psychophysics: Messages from Ebbinghaus' and Wertheimer's work. Philosophical Psychology 23 (2):207 – 216.   (Google)
Abstract: In past and modern psychophysics there are several unresolved methodological and philosophical problems of human and animal perception, including the outstanding question of the relational basis of whole psychophysics. Here the main issue is discussed: if, and to what extent, there are viable bridges between the traditional “gestalt” oriented approaches and the modern perceptual-cognitive perspectives in psychophysics. Thereby the key concept of psychological “frame of reference” is presented by pointing to Hermann Ebbinghaus' geometric-optical illusions, on the one hand, and Max Wertheimer's treatment of the traditional transposition phenomenon, on the other hand. A much-needed theoretical reorientation of future research may help to overcome the philosophical narrowness of present-day human and comparative psychophysics
Strother, Lars; Van Valkenburg, David & Kubovy, Michael (2003). Toward a psychophysics of perceptual organization using multistable stimuli and phenomenal reports. Axiomathes 13 (3-4).   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: We explore experimental methods used to study the phenomena of perceptual organization, first studied by the Gestalt psychologists. We describe an application of traditional psychophysics to perceptual organization and offer alternative methods. Among these, we distinguish two approaches that use multistable stimuli: (1) phenomenological psychophysics, in which the observer's response is assumed to accurately and directly reflect perceptual experience; and (2) the interference paradigm, in which an observer's response is evaluated as correct or incorrect because it pertains to a corrigible task, but does not directly reflect the observer's experience. We show that phenomenological psychophysics can yield valuable information about perceptual organization and lends itself to the development of quantitative theory. We discuss some criticisms of the method and argue that the two approaches that use multistable stimuli are complementary. We also compare each of the approaches with traditional psychophysics. We conclude that the several methods are convergent
Titchener, E. B. (1920). Prize in psychophysics. Mind 29 (114):256.   (Google | More links)
Wackermann, J. (2008). Measure of time: A meeting point of psychophysics and fundamental physics. Mind and Matter 6 (1):9-50.   (Google)
Abstract: In the present paper the relation between objective and subjective time is studied from a neutral non-dualist perspective Adoption of the relational concept of time leads to fundamental problems of time measurement of the uniformity of time measures, and of a native measure of duration in subjective experience. Experimental data on discrimination and reproduction of time intervals are reviewed and relevant models of internal time representations are discussed. Special attention is given to the 'dual klepsydra model' (DKM)and to the outstanding properties of the reproduction func- tion yielded by the DKM Time scales generated by a DKM-based reproduction mechanisms are studied It is shown that such 'klepsydraic clocks' generate time measures which are non-uniform with respect to objective time yet internally consistent within an ensemble of such clocks and in this sense 'quasi-uniform' . Competing concepts of subjective time and modeling principles of internal time representation are briefly discussed Some interesting parallels be- tween our psychophysical approach and E.A. Milne's treatment of the problem of uniform time are drawn in the Appendix
Wackermann, Jiří (2010). Psychophysics as a science of primary experience. Philosophical Psychology 23 (2):189 – 206.   (Google)
Abstract: In Fechner's psychophysics, the 'mental' and the 'physical' were conceived as two phenomenal domains, connected by functional relations, not as two ontologically different realms. We follow the path from Fechner's foundational ideas and Mach's radical programme of a unitary science to later approaches to primary, psychophysically neutral experience (phenomenology, protophysics). We propose an 'integral psychophysics' as a mathematical study of law-like, invariant structures of primary experience. This approach is illustrated by a reinterpretation of psychophysical experiments in terms of perceptual situations involving a constructed apparatus and an instructed subject. The problematic notion of 'measurement of sensation' is thus eliminated: 'sensations' are merely indices for classes of perceptually equivalent configurations (states of the apparatus) specified by the instruction. The locus of the measured is in the inter-subjectively shared, communicable world—not inside the subject's mind. Finally we discuss the role of integral psychophysics as a scientia prima , logically and methodically preceding physics and psychology
Ward, James (1876). An attempt to interpret fechner's law. Mind 1 (4):452-466.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Wertheimer, Max (1923). Laws of organization in perceptual forms. Psycologische Forschung 4:301-350.   (Cited by 355 | Google)

3.3f Gestalt Theory

Ayob, Gloria (2009). The aspect-perception passages: A critical investigation of Köhler's isomorphism principle. Philosophical Investigations 32 (3):264-280.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that Wittgenstein's aim in the aspect-perception passages is to critically evaluate a specific hypothesis. The target hypothesis in these passages is the Gestalt psychologist Köhler's "isomorphism principle." According to this principle, there are neural correlates of conscious perceptual experience, and these neural correlates determine the content of our perceptual experiences. Wittgenstein's argument against the isomorphism principle comprises two steps. First, he diffuses the substantiveness of the principle by undermining an important assumption that underpins this principle, namely, that there is a unitary concept of seeing. Next, Wittgenstein argues that some forms of aspect-perception involve recognitional capacities, the exercise of which is normatively constrained. The normative nature of aspect-perceiving plays a pivotal role in Wittgenstein's rejection of the isomorphism principle. Aside from the clear exegetical benefits gained from identifying the target hypothesis in the aspect-perception passages as the isomorphism principle, construing the remarks in the way suggested here is also philosophically interesting in its own right: it shows Wittgenstein engaging directly in the mind–body problem, construed as the problem of intentionality
Dillon, M. C. (1971). Gestalt theory and Merleau-ponty's concept of intentionality. Man and World 4:436-459.   (Google)
Abstract: The intent of the article is to define merleau-ponty's place in the phenomenological tradition and, at the same time, to defend his standpoint, especially on those issues where his thought represents a departure from the tradition. although merleau-ponty espouses a form of the husserlian doctrine of the intentionality of consciousness, his understanding of intentionality differs in several fundamental respects from husserl's. the article attempts to show specifically where merleau-ponty's gestalt- theoretical orientation leads him to modify such basic aspects of husserl's concept of intentionality as the noesis-noema distinction and the claim for atemporality of meaning. a critical comparison is drawn between merleau- ponty's concept of intentionality and that of aron gurwitsch. in a more positive vein, the article provides an extended exegesis of merleau-ponty's position on this central concept in phenomenology, and it also tries to relate the exposition of intentionality to merleau-ponty's thesis of the primacy of perception. finally, an attempt is made to reveal the ontological ramifications implicit in merleau-ponty's revisions to the doctrine of intentionality. (edited)
Ehrenstein, Walter H.; Spillmann, Lothar & Sarris, Viktor (2003). Gestalt issues in modern neuroscience. Axiomathes 13 (3-4).   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: We present select examples of how visual phenomena can serve as tools to uncoverbrain mechanisms. Specifically, receptive field organization is proposed as a Gestalt-like neural mechanism of perceptual organization. Appropriate phenomena, such as brightness and orientation contrast, subjective contours, filling-in, and aperture-viewed motion, allow for a quantitative comparison between receptive fields and their psychophysical counterparts, perceptive fields. Phenomenology might thus be extended from the study of perceptual qualities to their transphenomenal substrates, including memory functions. In conclusion, classic issues of Gestalt psychology can now be related to modern
Epstein, William M. & Hatfield, Gary (1994). Gestalt psychology and the philosophy of mind. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):163-181.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Abstract: The Gestalt psychologists adopted a set of positions on mind-body issues that seem like an odd mix. They sought to combine a version of naturalism and physiological reductionism with an insistence on the reality of the phenomenal and the attribution of meanings to objects as natural characteristics. After reviewing basic positions in contemporary philosophy of mind, we examine the Gestalt position, characterizing it m terms of phenomenal realism and programmatic reductionism. We then distinguish Gestalt philosophy of mind from instrumentalism and computational functionalism, and examine Gestalt attributions of meaning and value to perceived objects. Finally, we consider a metatheoretical moral from Gestalt theory, which commends the search for commensurate description of mental phenomena and their physiological counterparts
Gobar, Ash (1968). Philosophic Foundations Of Genetic Psychology And Gestalt Psychology. Martinus Nilboff.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Grossman, Reinhardt S. (1977). Structures versus sets: The philosophical background of gestalt psychology. Critica 9 (December):3-21.   (Google)
Gurwitsch, Aron (1964). Field Of Consciousness. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.   (Cited by 208 | Google)
Hamlyn, D. W. (1951). Psychological explanation and the gestalt hypothesis. Mind 60 (240):506-520.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Hamlyn, David W. (1957). The Psychology Of Perception: A Philosophical Examination Of Gestalt Theory And Derivative Theories Of Perception. The Humanities Press.   (Cited by 49 | Google | More links)
Hunt, Eugene H. & Bullis, Ronald K. (1991). Applying the principles of gestalt theory to teaching ethics. Journal of Business Ethics 10 (5).   (Google)
Abstract: Teaching ethics poses a dilemma for professors of business. First, they have little or no formal training in ethics. Second, they have established ethical values that they may not want to impose upon their students. What is needed is a well-recognized, yet non-sectarian model to facilitate the clarification of ethical questions. Gestalt theory offers such a framework. Four Gestalt principles facilitate ethical clarification and another four Gestalt principles anesthetize ethical clarification. This article examines each principle, illustrates that principle through current business examples, and offers exercises for developing each principle
Kanizsa, Gaetano (1994). Gestalt theory has been misinterpreted, but has had some real conceptual difficulties. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):149-162.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Abstract: In the present article, the role of Gestalt concepts in clarifying the issues of perception is evaluated. Grounded in anti-atomism, Gestalt assumed organizing forces intrinsic to perception. Insofar these were identified with singularity preference, Gestalt is criticized for having failed to distinguish between perception and thought
Kantor, Jacob Robert (1925). The significance of the gestalt conception in psychology. Journal of Philosophy 22 (9):234-241.   (Google | More links)
Kockelmans, Joseph J. (1972). Gestalt psychology and phenomenology in Gurwitsch's conception of thematics. In Life-World And Consciousness. Evanston Il: Northwestern University Press.   (Google)
Koffka, Kurt (1922). Perception: An introduction to the gestalt theory. Psychological Bulletin 19:531-585.   (Cited by 27 | Google)
Lajos, Szekely (1959). The problem of experience in the gestalt psychology. Theoria 25:179-186.   (Google)
Leahey, Thomas H. (2003). Gestalt psychology. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy 1870-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Lehar, Steven (online). Computational implications of gestalt theory: The role of feedback in visual processing.   (Google)
Abstract: Neurophysiological investigations of the visual system by way of single-cell recordings have revealed a hierarchical architecture in which lower level areas, such as the primary visual cortex, contain cells that respond to simple features, while higher level areas contain cells that respond to higher order features apparently composed of combinations of lower level features. This architecture seems to suggest a feed-forward processing strategy in which visual information progresses from lower to higher visual areas. However there is other evidence, both neurophysiological and phenomenal, that suggests a more parallel processing strategy in biological vision, in which top-down feedback plays a significant role. In fact Gestalt theory suggests that visual perception involves a process of emergence, i.e. a dynamic relaxation of multiple constraints throughout the system simultaneously, so that the final percept represents a stable state, or energy minimum of the dynamic system as a whole. A Multi-Level Reciprocal Feedback (MLRF) model is proposed to resolve the apparently contradictory concepts, by proposing a hierarchical visual architecture whose different levels are connected by bi-directional feed-forward and feedback pathways, where the computational transformation performed by the feedback pathway between levels in the hiararchy is a kind of inverse of the transformation performed by the corresponding feed-forward processing stream. This alternative paradigm of perceptual computation accounts in general terms for a number of visual illusory effects, and offers a computational specification for the generative, or constructive aspect of perceptual processing revealed by Gestalt theory
Lehar, Steven (2003). Gestalt isomorphism and the primacy of subjective conscious experience: A gestalt bubble model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (4):357-408.   (Cited by 26 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A serious crisis is identified in theories of neurocomputation, marked by a persistent disparity between the phenomenological or experiential account of visual perception and the neurophysiological level of description of the visual system. In particular, conventional concepts of neural processing offer no explanation for the holistic global aspects of perception identified by Gestalt theory. The problem is paradigmatic and can be traced to contemporary concepts of the functional role of the neural cell, known as the Neuron Doctrine. In the absence of an alternative neurophysiologically plausible model, I propose a perceptual modeling approach, to model the percept as experienced subjectively, rather than modeling the objective neurophysiological state of the visual system that supposedly subserves that experience. A Gestalt Bubble model is presented to demonstrate how the elusive Gestalt principles of emergence, reification, and invariance can be expressed in a quantitative model of the subjective experience of visual consciousness. That model in turn reveals a unique computational strategy underlying visual processing, which is unlike any algorithm devised by man, and certainly unlike the atomistic feed-forward model of neurocomputation offered by the Neuron Doctrine paradigm. The perceptual modeling approach reveals the primary function of perception as that of generating a fully spatial virtual-reality replica of the external world in an internal representation. The common objections to this picture-in-the-head concept of perceptual representation are shown to be ill founded. Key Words: brain-anchored; Cartesian theatre; consciousness; emergence; extrinsic constraints; filling-in; Gestalt; homunculus; indirect realism; intrinsic constraints; invariance; isomorphism; multistability; objective phenomenology; perceptual modeling; perspective; phenomenology; psychophysical parallelism; psychophysical postulate; qualia; reification; representationalism; structural coherence
Madden, Edward H. (1953). Science, philosophy, and gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 20 (4):329-331.   (Google | More links)
Madden, Edward H. (1952). The philosophy of science in gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 19 (3):228-238.   (Google | More links)
Parovel, Giulia (1999). Gestalt qualities and artistic experience. Axiomathes 10 (1-3).   (Google | More links)
Perkins, Moreland (1953). Intersubjectivity and gestalt psychology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 13 (June):437-451.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Reiser, Oliver L. (1930). Gestalt psychology and the philosophy of nature. Philosophical Review 39 (6):556-572.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Rescher, Nicholas & Oppenheim, Paul (1955). Logical analysis of gestalt concepts. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 6 (August):89-106.   (Cited by 20 | Google | More links)
Rescher, Nicholas (1953). Mr Madden on gestalt theory. Philosophy of Science 20 (October):327-328.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Rosen, Steven M. (1999). Evolution of Attentional Processes in the Human Organism. Group Analysis 32 (2):243-253.   (Google)
Abstract: This article explores the evolution of human attention, focusing particularly on the phylogenetic and ontogenetic implications of the work of the American social psychiatrist Trigant Burrow. Attentional development is linked to the emergence of visual perspective, and this, in turn, is related to Burrow's notion of `ditention' (divided or partitive attention). Burrow's distinction between `ditention' and `cotention' (total organismic awareness) is examined, and, expanding on this, a threefold pattern of perceptual change is identified: prototention-->ditention-->cotention. Next, ditentive visual perspective is related to binocular convergence, and the author makes use of the perspectivally ambiguous, `non-convergent' Gestalt figure known as the Necker Cube to illustrate cotention. The paper concludes by proposing that the shift from the currently pervasive ditentive pattern of awareness to a cotentive mode could have a salutary effect on human society.
Smith, Frederick V. (1941). An interpretation of the theory of gestalt. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 19 (December):193-215.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In seeking an interpretation of the theory of Gestalt, the analysis revealed that the concept of Gestalt applies to processes and particularly to the way in which events or processes take place. The essential condition for the emergence of Gestalten or configurational properties was found to be—the ability of the parts or factors in the process to influence each other. In considering first, the more dynamic or formative phase of processes, the significant factors which influence the reciprocity of influence between the parts or factors of the process were found to be (i) the properties of the individual parts or factors, (ii) the properties of the intervening medium, (iii) the 'distance' between the parts or factors, (vi) 'factors of rigidity or constraint'. It was emphasised that these factors operate relatively to one another. The concept of 'wholeness' was found to apply to both the dynamic and the more static phase of the process. The resultant or equilibrium position of the process derives some contribution from the whole matrix of interacting factors or influences which are responsible for the resultant being precisely what it is. The recognition of the causal significance of even small contributions to an event or process is consistent with the concept of 'wholeness' and with the 'matrix' view of causal explanation. This view of causal explanation is the consistent implication of the theory of Gestalt and the many experimental results associated with this school
Stadler, Michael A. & Kruse, Peter (1994). Gestalt theory and synergetics: From psychophysical isomorphism to holistic emergentism. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):211-226.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: Gestalt theory is discussed as one main precursor of synergetics, one of the most elaborated theories of self-organization. It is a precursor for two reasons: the Gestalt theoretical view of cognitive order-formation comes dose to the central ideas of self-organization. Furthermore both approaches have stressed the significance of non-linear perceptual processes (such as multistability) for the solution of the mind-brain problem. The question of whether Gestalt theory preferred a dualistic or a monistic view of the mind-body relation is answered in that there was a preference for dualism in epistemological questions and for monism in the mind-brain relation. The latter was attained by the concept of psychophysical isomorphism. This concept, although widely misunderstood in many respects, was criticized on the basis of neurobiological findings. One main objection was the neglect of the importance of the elementary neurophysiological processes. A distinction between macroscopic and microscopic brain processes seemed to be required. This idea was taken up in synergetics which postulates a bottom-up and top-down interaction between these two levels. Macroscopic order emerges from elementary brain processes and, at the same time, has a backward slaving effect to the microscopic level In the light of such holistic emergentism, the question whether macroscopic order states might be attractors for psychological meanings is discussed
Sundqvist, Fredrik (2003). Perceptual Dynamics: Theoretical Foundations and Philosophical Implications of Gestalt Psychology (Acta Philosophica Gothoburgensia 16). Göteborg: Acta Philosophica Gothoburgensia.   (Google)
Warner, D. H. J. (1964). Resemblance and gestalt psychology. Analysis 24 (June):196-200.   (Google)
Wertheimer, Max (1944). Gestalt theory. In Willis D. Ellis (ed.), Source Book of Gestalt Psychology. Harcourt, Brace and Co.   (Cited by 77 | Google)
Woody, William D. (1999). William James and gestalt psychology. Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (1):79-92.   (Google)
Wright, Edmond L. (1992). Gestalt-switching: Hanson, Aronson and Harre. Philosophy of Science 59 (3):480-86.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Zimmer, Alf C. & Korndle, Hermann (1994). A gestalt theoretic account for the coordination of perception and action in motor learning. Philosophical Psychology 7 (2):249-265.   (Google)
Abstract: A review of the scanty Gestaltist literature on motor behaviour indicates that a genuine Gestalt theoretic approach to motor behaviour can be characterized by three research questions: (1) What are the natural units of motor behaviour? (2) What characterizes the self-organization in motor behaviour? (3) What are the conditions for invariance in motor behaviour? Tentative answers to these questions can be found by analysing the parallels between Gestalt theory and Bernstein's theory of motor actions and by showing that Gestalt theory can be regarded as a specific approach to non-linear dynamics as exemplified by synergetics (Haken, 1991). The congruence between the Gestalt theoretic approach and synergetics becomes apparent in the analysis of how a complex motor task is learned [1]

3.3g Science of Perception, Misc

Hatfield, Gary C. (2009). Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: Representation and content in some (actual) theories of perception -- Representation in perception and cognition : task analysis, psychological functions, and rule instantiation -- Perception as unconscious inference -- Representation and constraints : the inverse problem and the structure of visual space -- On perceptual constancy -- Getting objects for free (or not) : the philosophy and psychology of object perception -- Color perception and neural encoding : does metameric matching entail a loss of information? -- Objectivity and subjectivity revisited : color as a psychobiological property -- Sense data and the mind body problem -- The reality of qualia -- The sensory core and the medieval foundations of early modern perceptual theory -- Postscript (2008) on Ibn al-Haytham's (Alhacen's) theory of vision -- Attention in early scientific psychology -- Psychology, philosophy, and cognitive science : reflections on the history and philosophy of experimental psychology -- What can the mind tell us about the brain? : psychology, neurophysiology, and constraint -- Introspective evidence in psychology.
Hummel, John E. & Kellman, Philip J. (1998). Finding the Pope in the pizza: Abstract invariants and cognitive constraints on perceptual learning. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):30-30.   (Google)
Abstract: Schyns, Goldstone & Thibaut argue that categorization experience results in the learning of new perceptual features that are not derivable from the learner's existing feature set. We explore the meaning and implications of this “nonderivability” claim and relate it to the question of whether perceptual invariants are learnable, and if so, what might be entailed in learning them
Raffman, Diana (ms). Nontransitivity, Indiscriminability, and Looking the Same.   (Google)
Rosen, Steven M. (1999). Evolution of Attentional Processes in the Human Organism. Group Analysis 32 (2):243-253.   (Google)
Abstract: This article explores the evolution of human attention, focusing particularly on the phylogenetic and ontogenetic implications of the work of the American social psychiatrist Trigant Burrow. Attentional development is linked to the emergence of visual perspective, and this, in turn, is related to Burrow's notion of `ditention' (divided or partitive attention). Burrow's distinction between `ditention' and `cotention' (total organismic awareness) is examined, and, expanding on this, a threefold pattern of perceptual change is identified: prototention-->ditention-->cotention. Next, ditentive visual perspective is related to binocular convergence, and the author makes use of the perspectivally ambiguous, `non-convergent' Gestalt figure known as the Necker Cube to illustrate cotention. The paper concludes by proposing that the shift from the currently pervasive ditentive pattern of awareness to a cotentive mode could have a salutary effect on human society.