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#21 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 22 August 2009 - 08:48 PM

This is a little historical follow-on to #2 concerning some ideas of Rand’s concerning perception. I had mentioned in that post that “Rand thought higher animals are guided by percepts. The actions of such an animal ‘are not single, discrete responses to single, separate stimuli, but are directed by an integrated awareness of the perceptual reality confronting it’ [Obj Ethics (1961) 19].”

Somewhat more fully, her conception was:

The lower of the conscious species possess only the faculty of sensation . . . . A sensation is produced by the automatic reaction of a sense organ to a stimulus from the outside world; it lasts for the duration of the immediate moment, as long as the stimulus lasts and no longer.

The higher organisms possess a much more potent form of consciousness: they possess the faculty of retaining sensations, which is the faculty of perception. . . . which gives it the ability to be aware, not of single stimuli, but of entities, of things. An animal [of this level] is guided, not merely by immediate sensations, but by percepts.(OE 18–19)

The terminology is somewhat different, but Aristotle had a similar conception of the crucial role of memory for the character of perception. To all animals, there belongs

a connate discriminatory capacity, which is called perception. And if perception is present in them, in some animals retention of the percept comes about, but in others it does not come about. Now for those in which it does not come about, there is no knowledge outside perceiving (either none at all, or none with regard to that of which there is no retention); but for some perceivers, it is possible to grasp it with their minds. (APo 99b35–40)

By nature animals are born with the faculty of sensation, and from sensation memory is produced in some of them though not in others. And therefore the former are more intelligent and apt at learning than those which cannot remember. (Metaph. 980a28–30)


Edited by Stephen Boydstun, 23 August 2009 - 09:40 AM.


#22 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:24 AM

For anyone (i) interested in Roger’s thesis (A, a) that there is some concept of objectivity applicable to perception and (ii) having access to a university library that has the philosophy journal Noûs, the following 2009 paper (in volume 43, number 4) should be of considerable interest:

“Epistemic Norms without Voluntary Control”
Philippe Chuard & Nicholas Southwood

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Related:
The Particularity and Phenomenology of Perceptual Experience
Susanna Schellenberg (2009 – forthcoming in Philosophical Studies)

Edited by Stephen Boydstun, 28 November 2009 - 08:39 AM.


#23 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:06 AM

Color Ontology and Color Science
J. Cohen and M. Matthen, editors
(MIT 2010)

From the publisher:

"In this volume, leading scientists and philosophers examine new problems with new analytic tools, considering such topics as the psychophysical measurement of color and its implications, the nature of color experience in both normal color-perceivers and the color blind, and questions that arise from what we now know about the neural processing of color information, color consciousness, and color language. Taken together, these papers point toward a complete restructuring of current orthodoxy concerning color experience and how it relates to objective reality. Kuehni, Jameson, Mausfeld, and Niederee discuss how the traditional framework of a three-dimensional color space and basic color terms is far too simple to capture the complexities of color experience. Clark and MacLeod discuss the difficulties of a materialist account of color experience. Churchland, Cohen, Matthen, and Westphal offer competing accounts of color ontology. Finally, Broackes and Byrne and Hilbert discuss the phenomenology of color blindness."

#24 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:47 AM

Augustine and Trinity of Perception

I have noted Descartes’ concept of the objective in perception here. I have noted the “middle” status awarded perception by Tourtual here.

To that history of tripartition in perception, we should add Augustine. In The Trinity he wrote:

When we see some particular body, there are three things which we can very easily remark and distinguish from each other. First of all there is the thing we see, a stone or a flame or anything else the eyes can see, which of course could exist even before it was seen. Next there is the actual sight or vision, which did not exist before we sensed that object presented to the sense. Thirdly there is what holds the sense of the eyes on the thing being seen as long as it is being seen, namely the conscious intention. These three are not only manifestly distinct, but also of different natures.
. . .
We cannot tell the form of the body we see apart from the form which it produces in the sense of the seer—not at least by the same sense, because the two coincide so exactly that there is no overlap to tell them apart by. It is by reason that we gather we could not possibly sense unless there were produced in our sense some likeness of the body observed. When a signet ring is imprinted in wax, it does not mean that there is no image of it just because it cannot be made out until the wax is removed. But when the wax is removed, what took place in it remains and can be seen, and so one is easily persuaded that the form impressed by the ring was in the wax even before it was removed from it. If the ring however is put to the surface of a liquid, no image of it appears when it is taken away. Still, that does not mean one cannot infer by reason that before the ring was taken away its form was in the liquid and there derived from the ring; and that this form is to be distinguished from the form which is in the ring, from which this one is derived that will cease to be when the ring is taken away, even though that one which produced this one will remain in the ring. In the same way it does not mean that the sense of the image does not remain when the body is taken away.
. . .
Let us remember that although these three differ in nature they are compounded into a kind of unity, that is to say that form of the body which is seen, and its image imprinted on the sense which is sight or formed sense, and the conscious will which applies the sense to the sensible thing and holds the sight on it. The first of these, that is the visible thing itself, does not pertain to the nature of the living being except when we look at our own body. The next pertains to it in that it happens in the body, and through the body in the soul; it happens in the sense which is neither without body nor without soul. The third belongs only to the soul, because it is will. While then the substances of these three differ so widely, they nonetheless come together in so close a unity that the first two can scarcely be told apart even when reason intervenes as judge—that is, the form of the body which is seen and the image of it which is produced in the sense, namely sight. And the will exerts such force in coupling the two together that it applies the sense to be formed to the thing that is being looked at and holds it there once it is formed. (XI.1)



#25 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:35 AM

The link to Prof. Schellenberg’s paper in #22 is obsolete. Check here and, for more papers, this list.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Objectivity author,* psychologist Jay Friedenberg has coauthored the following two papers:

 

“Efficient Visual System Processing of Spatial and Luminance Statistics in Representational and Non-Representational Art”

here

 

“Mapping the Similarity Space of Paintings: Image Statistics and Visual Perception”

here



#26 Aristocrates

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:45 PM

It's coincidental that I came across this thread as just last night I was talking to my brother about what goes on inside the brains of our furry little friends, specifically, our cat.  We humans are introduced to language at such an early age it's hard to imagine sensing the world without assigning words to it, but then it's hard to imagine a cat somehow describing an object or a situation to another cat.  

 

Also, I wonder if we humans first communicated with our hands.  It's evident, as can be seen with sign language, our species' ability to create a complex language through the use of our hands and arms, or more definitively, the use of gestures.  This also makes me think of something my high school teacher taught me: verbs are vital to language.  After all, communicating is itself an action whether we do it through gesture or word.  

 

Edit:  Cat's do gesture.....



#27 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:59 AM

It's coincidental that I came across this thread as just last night I was talking to my brother about what goes on inside the brains of our furry little friends, specifically, our cat.  We humans are introduced to language at such an early age it's hard to imagine sensing the world without assigning words to it, but then it's hard to imagine a cat somehow describing an object or a situation to another cat.  

 

Also, I wonder if we humans first communicated with our hands.  It's evident, as can be seen with sign language, our species' ability to create a complex language through the use of our hands and arms, or more definitively, the use of gestures.  This also makes me think of something my high school teacher taught me: verbs are vital to language.  After all, communicating is itself an action whether we do it through gesture or word.  

 

As for wordless thought, humans often think (imagine, recall) using imagery. Other species, probably much more so. Some other species also communicate different things to one another with different vocalizations.



#28 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

Bobby, related to your second paragraph of #26, I thought you might like to know that Maria Montessori called the hand “the instrument of the mind,” considered that the hand operating with the brain creates the child’s intellect, and put this conception into the structure of her educational system. Also, this coming April, MIT Press is coming out with The Hand, An Organ of the Mind, edited by Zdravko Radman.



#29 BaalChatzaf

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:59 PM

Bobby, related to your second paragraph of #26, I thought you might like to know that Maria Montessori called the hand “the instrument of the mind,” considered that the hand operating with the brain creates the child’s intellect, and put this conception into the structure of her educational system. Also, this coming April, MIT Press is coming out with The Hand, An Organ of the Mind, edited by Zdravko Radman.

That explains why I cannot do mathematics well unless I have a paper and writing instrument.  Just the -act- of writing seems to focus my analytical processing.   Just the right  scribble (which involves both hand and eye) and buzz-click  the pieces fall into place.   

 

I will my mind on getting this book to hand  when it comes out.

 

Ba'al Chatzaf 


אויב מיין באָבע האט בייצים זי וואָלט זיין מיין זיידע

#30 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 01:42 PM

Perceiving a straight rod partially immersed in water is perceiving the rod as bent. It is not perceiving an appearance of the rod as bent, but perceiving the rod as bent. One can realize that the rod is truly straight from other, weightier experience of the rod as straight and say truly that the partially immersed rod only appears to be a bent one. But from that saying about its appearance, one should not slide to disavowing that one genuinely perceives the rod as bent. We perceive firstly, cogitate about appearances secondly.

 

Perceptions deliver things as true. They do not wait on our thought about them to present themselves as true. The partially immersed straight rod is presented as continuous and as bent. Both its continuity and its bend are presented as true in the perception, notwithstanding our knowledge external to the perception that the rod is truly continuous, but straight.

 

Delivering themselves as truth, perceptions have degrees of it. Having degrees of veridicality, perceptions are assessable for fidelity in presenting the way their objects are. The only ones I recall as totally false are one’s that come from defects in sensory apparatus. Such are floaters, due to faults in the retina; there is no such speck out there where it is seen (or anywhere else). Perceptions with fully intact sensory systems of sight and touch are always partly correct in their presentations as true. Please correct me with a counterexample if you think of one.

 

Having degrees of truth in their expressions of truth, it would seem perceptions have degrees of objectivity in their presentations. My floaters are not objective at all. They are not subjective in the sense of being causeless or fanciful, but they are completely lacking in the objectivity of other items presented in the visual field. Most perception is highly objective. Here, then, is a sense in which objectivity is rightly applicable to perception.

 

The lack of objectivity in the floaters, I notice, is a case of poorness in the engineering-performance sense, which I spoke of in #2. That is not so with the type of deficiency of objectivity at hand in the case of the straight rod seen partially immersed in water or in the case of Mach bands enhancing grayness difference at their joins all around us.

 

Related References

Tyler Burge’s Origins of Objectivity (2010, 396–404).

John Haugeland’s “Objective Perception” in Having Thought (1998).

David Kelley’s The Evidence of the Senses (1986, 81–95).



#31 Stephen Boydstun

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 11:51 AM

Hallucination: Philosophy and Psychology

Fiona Macpherson and Dimitris Platchias, editors (MIT 2013)

 






What about hallucinations.  Sometimes they cannot be distinguished from perceiving something that exists.

 

You can search for hallicination here using the Look Inside feature.

 

 



See also page 27 of Kathleen Touchstone’s “Attentional and Perceptual Disorders and the Nature of Consciousness.”*

 

Arguments against perceptual realism from hallucinations are countered by David Kelley on pages 133–38 of The Evidence of the Senses.*

 

The argument from hallucination is the subject of Part II of The Problem of Perception (2002), by A. D. Smith, the preeminent direct realist in philosophy of perception today. There is extensive discussion of the relation of perception and hallucination, as well as leads to the current literature, in Bill Brewer’s Perception and Its Objects (2011, 108–117).

 

Those realists include refutations of philosophic arguments based on total hallucination against realist perception, that is, based on hallucinations in which there is no object at all triggering the hallucination. I have not yet found cases of such hallucinations outside philosophical hypotheticals. I think the realist counters in the literature are good against arguments from total hallucinations, whether they be real phenomena or only hypothetical. However, in the analysis and positive account by Smith, I was particularly left with a sense that such treatments really ought to include treatment of the relation of hallucinations, total or less than total, to dreams.

 

My one experience with hallucinations was certainly not total. It was due to a temporary condition of metabolic encephalopathy, due to a medical condition. It included a melting quality to any kind of shiny plastic and the hands of the clock on the wall of the hospital room going around fast like in a cartoon. My estimate would be that the ability for not only visual observation, but visual percepts was being degraded. Fortunately, my mind was not alone in the world those couple of days.






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