Virtual objects

Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (4):357-377 (1999)
What should be done theoretically regarding those "virtual objects" that James J. Gibson refers to several times in his last book? Does not Gibson's view that we visually perceive, sometimes, items that are merely "virtual" produce a contradiction within his theory of visual perceiving? How can something unable itself to have effects on what occurs in the visual system justifiably be claimed to be an object of visual perceiving? I address among other issues: whether there is a sense in which a theory that treats of perceiving as direct can allow for the visual perceiving of "virtual objects." Also, with specific reference to seven cases of perceived "virtual objects" according to Gibson, I argue against the notion that something "virtual" is what is visually perceived. In the seven cases, the visually perceived items either are, have been, or will be actual parts of the one and only world that we all inhabit or they have no existence. I conclude with comment pertaining to the question: Should physical presence &emdash; that is, an item's stimulational presence in relation to our visual system &emdash; be necessary for us to be said to perceive that item?
Keywords Behavior  Object  Perception  Psychology  Science  Virtual Object  Gibson, J
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