Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology

Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology

by Gary Hatfield
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


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Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology

How do we see? This question has fascinated and perplexed philosophers and scientists for millennia. In visual perception, mind and world meet, when light reflected from objects enters the eyes and stimulates the nerves leading to activity in the brain near the back of the head. This neural activity yields conscious experiences of a world in three dimensions, clothed in colors, and immediately recognized as (say) ground, sky, grass, trees, and friends. The visual brain also produces nonconscious representations that interact with other brain systems for perception and cognition and that help to regulate our visually guided actions. But how does all of this really work? The answers concern the physiology, psychology, and philosophy of visual perception and cognition. Gary Hatfield's essays address fundamental questions concerning, in Part I, the psychological processes underlying spatial perception and perception of objects; in Part II, psychological theories and metaphysical controversies about color perception and qualia; and, in Part III, the history and philosophy of theories of vision, including methodological controversies surrounding introspection and involving the relations between psychology and the fields of neuroscience and cognitive science. An introductory chapter provides a unified overview; an extensive reference list rounds out the volume.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199228201
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 05/03/2009
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Gary Hatfield has studied visual perception for more than three decades. His works include experimental studies of shape constancy, theoretical papers on perception, and philosophical studies of the fundamental concepts and theories of visual perception and cognition and their history. His work in the history and philosophy of psychology extends from the seventeenth century to current controversies on qualia and perceptual representation. He has published books on Descartes and the Meditations and The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception from Kant to Helmholtz, and he has translated Kant's Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. He is the co-founder of the Visual Studies undergraduate program at the University of Pennsylvania and has co-taught, with psychologists and art historians, courses and seminars on all aspects of visual perception.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Philosophy and Science of Visual Perception and Cognition: Note on the Concept of Information in Perception
Part I. Foundational and Theoretical Issues in Perception and Cognition
2. Representation and Content in Some (Actual) Theories of Perception
3. Representation in Perception and Cognition: Task Analysis, Psychological Functions, and Rule Instantiation
4. Perception as Unconscious Inference
5. Representation and Constraints: The Inverse Problem and the Structure of Visual Space
6. On Perceptual Constancy
7. Getting Objects for Free (or Not): The Philosophy and Psychology of Object Perception
Part II. Color Perception and Qualia
8. Color Perception and Neural Encoding: Does Matameric Matching Entail a Loss of Information?
9. Objectivity and Subjectivity Revisited: Color as a Psychobiological Property
10. Sense-Data and the Mind-Body Problem
11. The Reality of Qualia
Part III. History and Philosophy of Psychology
12. The Sensory Core and the Medieval Foundations of Early Modern Perceptual Theory. Postscript (2008) on Ibn al-Haytham's (Alhacen's) Theory of Vision
13. Attention in Early Scientific Psychology
14. Psychology, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science: Reflections on the History and Philosophy of Experimental Psychology
15. What Can the Mind Tell Us About the Brain? Psychology, Neurophysiology, and Constraint
16. Introspective Evidence in Psychology

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