Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception by Mohan Matthen | 9780199204281 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception

Seeing, Doing, and Knowing: A Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception

by Mohan Matthen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199204284

ISBN-13: 9780199204281

Pub. Date: 04/19/2007

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is how sensory systems are designed for specialized epistemic tasks. Sensory-systems are automatic sorting machines; they engage in a process of classification. Human vision, for example, sorts

Overview

Seeing, Doing, and Knowing is an original and comprehensive philosophical treatment of sense perception as it is investigated by cognitive neuroscientists. Its central theme is how sensory systems are designed for specialized epistemic tasks. Sensory-systems are automatic sorting machines; they engage in a process of classification. Human vision, for example, sorts and orders external objects in terms of a specialized, proprietary scheme of categories-colours, shapes, speeds and directions of movement, etc. This 'Sensory Classification Thesis' implies that sensation is not a naturally caused image from which an organism must infer the state of the world beyond; it is more like an internal communication, a signal concerning the state of the world issued by a sensory system, in accordance with internal conventions, for the use of an organism's other systems. This is why sensory states are both easily understood and persuasive.

Sensory classification schemes are purpose-built to serve the knowledge-gathering and pragmatic needs of particular types of organisms. They are specialized: a bee or a bird does not see exactly what a human does. The Sensory Classification Thesis helps clarify this specialization in perceptual content and supports a new form of realism about the deliverances of sensation: 'Pluralistic Realism' is based on the idea that sensory systems coevolve with an organism's other systems; they are not simply moulded to the external world.

The last part of the book deals with reference in vision. Cognitive scientists now believe that vision guides the limbs by means of a subsystem that links up with the objects of physical manipulation in ways that bypass sensorycategories. In a novel extension of this theory, Matthen argues that 'motion-guiding vision' is integrated with sensory classification in conscious vision. This accounts for the quasi-demonstrative form of visual states: 'This particular object is red', and so on. He uses this idea to cast new light on the nature of perceptual objects, pictorial representation, and the visual representation of space.

About the Author:
Mohan Matthen is Canada Research Chair in Philosophy, Perception, and Communication at the University of Toronto

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199204281
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
04/19/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents


Prelude: The New Philosophy of Vision     1
Classification
The Sensory Classification Thesis     13
Sensory Classification: The View from Psychology     36
Sensory Concepts     61
Afterword to Part I: A Look Ahead: Pluralistic Realism     90
Similarity
The Sensory Ordering Thesis     95
The Sources of Sensory Similarity     123
Afterword to Part II The Stages of the Sensory Process     146
Specialization
Perceptual Specialization and the Definition of Colour     153
The Disunity of Colour     177
Pluralistic Realism     188
Content
Sensing and Doing     213
Sense Experience     235
The Semantic Theory of Colour Experience     246
Reference
Visual Objects     271
Visual Reference     293
Conclusion     325
List of Definitions and Named Theses     328
Literature Consulted     336
Index     351

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