If a sensory field exists as a pure natural sign open to all kinds of interpretation as evidence (see 'Sensing as non-epistemic'), what is it that does the interpreting? Borrowing from the old Gestalt psychologists, I have proposed a gestalt module that picks out wholes from the turmoil, it being the process of noticing or attending to , but the important difference from Koffka and Köhler (Koffka, 1935; Köhler, 1940), the originators of the term 'gestalt' in the psychology of perception (...) ( is that the emphasis is upon the gestalt projection as motivated . Gestalt-attention of this kind is usually enforced in the first instance by pain or pleasure, and the resulting projections are placed in memory tabbed with fear or desire, such that if such a pattern recurs in the sensory field, fear or desire are triggered. In advanced animals the ability to play with the gestalt module has been evolved, because experimenting in curiosity has proved adaptive, as the exploratory behaviour in the Rat, the Raven, the Apes and Homo sapiens bears out. (shrink)
Freud's Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious (1976 ), because of its subject-matter, has had a fragmented history. From within psychoanalysis itself it has been regarded as an early application of the insights of his dream theory to a by-way of human behaviour, in which the unconscious adopts techniques against the censor similar to those that are operative within the dream. In his essay 'Humour' (1985 ) Freud himself did later add an addendum on humour per se which related (...) it to his id-ego-superego topology, extending the context of relevance to the operations of the superego as an 'heir to the parental agency', but he did not widen the generality of his explanation further. (shrink)
The title of this paper is 'The Story of the Story'. If its argument is valid, I cannot be speaking to you now, trying to change your view of something without telling a story myself, even about the Story. Over the last two decades there has been an increasing number of people in a variety of disciplines telling us that the story, narrative, is an inescapable feature of human communication. Listen to a few representative voices. from psychology - Theodore Sarbin: (...) 'Human beings think, perceive, imagine, and make moral choices according to narrative structures' (Sarbin, 1986,8); from philosophy' - Alasdair MacIntyre: 'In what does the unity of a human life consist? The answer is that its unity is the unity of a.. (shrink)
In view of the excellent arguments that have been put forth recently in favour of qualia, internal sensory presentations, it would strike an impartial observer - one could imagine a future historian of philosophy - as extremely odd why so many philosophers who are opposed to qualia, that is, sensory experiences internal to the brain, have largely ignored those arguments in their own. There has been a fashionable assumption that any theory of perception which espouses qualia has long since been (...) overcome by a number of 'formidable' objections, in particular, the Homunculus/Infinite Regress Objection, the Solipsism Objection, Austin's Illusion/Delusion Objection, the Ludicrousness-of-Colours-in-the-Brain Objection, the Indirect-Realist-has-to-assume-Direct-Realism Objection, the Impossibility-of-Comparing-Internal-with-External Objection, the Impossibility of Intrinsic Experience, and several more minor varieties of these. It is uncanny how they continue to be repeated, indeed, with a kind of automatism, evidenced by the fact that none of those who repeat them appear to have taken note of the answers to the objections. Indeed, they only appear to refer to those philosophers with whom they agree: it has long been insisted upon in the study of rhetoric that one of the weakest things to do in an argument is to ignore the main points made by one's opponent:
[it is] the wisest plan _to state Objections in their full force_ ; at least, wherever there does exist a satisfactory answer to them; otherwise, those who hear them stated more strongly than by the uncandid advocate who had undertaken to repel them, will naturally enough conclude that they are unanswerable. It is but a momentary and ineffective triumph that can be obtained by man. (shrink)
If a sensory field exists as a pure natural sign open to all kinds of interpretation as _evidence_ (see 'Sensing as non-epistemic'), what is it that does the interpreting? Borrowing from the old Gestalt psychologists, I have proposed a gestalt module that picks out wholes from the turmoil, it being the process of _noticing_ or _attending to_ , but the important difference from Koffka and Khler (Koffka, 1935; Khler, 1940), the originators of the term 'gestalt' in the psychology of perception (...) ( is that the emphasis is upon the gestalt projection as motivated . Gestalt-attention of this kind is usually enforced in the first instance by pain or pleasure, and the resulting projections are placed in memory tabbed with fear or desire, such that if such a pattern recurs in the sensory field, fear or desire are triggered. In advanced animals the ability to play with the gestalt module has been evolved, because experimenting in curiosity has proved adaptive, as the exploratory behaviour in the Rat, the Raven, the Apes and _Homo sapiens_ bears out. (shrink)
A sensory receptor, in any organism anywhere, is sensitive through time to some distribution - energy, motion, molecular shape - indeed, anything that can produce an effect. The sensitivity is rarely direct: for example, it may track changes in relative variation rather than the absolute change of state (as when the skin responds to colder and hotter instead of to cold and hot as such); it may track differing variations under different conditions (the eyes' dark-adaptation; adaptation to sound frequencies can (...) lower the difference threshold; the kinesthetic sense will shut down if a limb is held in a stationary position too long - the limb 'going to sleep'); it may be subject to distortion of the input from overloading (dazzle producing strong-after-images); it may not be confined to one channel of sensitivity (the retina is sensitive to pressure; the hands can feel some strong sound-vibrations, the tympanum of the ear records touch). Strictly speaking there is no limit as to what intensities and what ranges receptors could be sensitive. Sharks are sensitive to electrostatic fields, homing pigeons to magnetic fields; snakes to infra-red rays; bacteria to acid concentrations; perhaps there has even been a mutant organism sensitive to the passage of cosmic rays, even though that would hardly have bestowed any conceivable survival value. What is irrefutable is that individual receptors differ markedly from organism to organism, between different members of the species (one dog being better at tracing smells than another; one person being able to sense light-waves of 375 nanometres, another not; children able to hear 20,000 Hz, older persons not), and between receptors of the same kind within one organism (one eye being sensitive to 765 nm and the other not; one ear deaf to 15,000 Hz and over, the other not). There are also just-noticeable-differences (JND's), in that one person can see two shades of a colour where another sees only one; similarly with sounds. (shrink)
Interesting as the experiments are, their relevance to the real-life situation is rendered questionable by the unthinking use of given singularities as target objects. The evolutionary process does not respect what one agent takes to be a singular referent. A “singling” from the continuum is rather a varying feature of the necessity to track what is rewarding in it.
One evolutionary advantage is that, because of sensory and perceptual relativity (acknowledged as an empirical fact), the tracking of portions of the real relevant to the living creature can be enhanced if updating from species-member to species-member can take place. In human perception, the structure is therefore in the form of a triangulation (Davidson's metaphor) in which continual mutual correction can be performed. Language, that which distinguishes human beings from other animals, capitalizes on that structure. The means by which updating (...) of adaptiveness takes place in the human species is shown to involve a covert hypothesis of singularity in co-reference, a structure that brings the idea of mutual faith and its character to the fore. (shrink)
The authors are working with a limited notion of religion. They have confined themselves to a view of it as superstition, “counterintuitive,” as they put it. What they have not seen is that faith does in a real sense involve a paradox in that it projects an impossibility as a methodological device, a fictive ploy, which in the best interpretation necessarily involves a commitment to the likelihood of self-sacrifice.
Arthur M. Glenberg omits discussion of motivation and this leads him to an underestimation of the part played by pleasure and pain and desire and fear in both the clamping and the updating of percepts. This commentary aims at rectifying this omission, showing that mutual correction plays an important role.
Steven Lehar allows too much to his direct realist opponent in using the word “subjective” of the sensory field per se. The latter retains its nonconceptual, nonmental nature even when explored by perceptual judgement. He also needs to stress the evolutionary value of perceptual differences between person and person, a move that enables one to undermine the direct realist's superstitious certainty about the singular object.
Zenon Pylyshyn here repeats the same error as in his original article (1973) in starting with the premiss that all cognition is a matter of perceiving entities already given in their singularity. He therefore fails to acknowledge the force of the evolutionary argument that perceiving is a motivated process working upon a non-epistemic sensory registration internal to the brain.
The authors O'Regan & Noë (O&N) have ignored the case for the visual field as being non-epistemic evidence internal to the brain, having no pictorial similarity to the external input, and being material in ontological status. They are also not aware of the case for the evolutionary advantage of learning as the perceptual refashioning of such non-epistemic sensory evidence via motivated feedback in sensorimotor activity.
The originator of the notion of structural isomorphism was the philosopher Roy Wood Sellars. Many modern philosophers are unaware how this notion vitiates their attacks on the concept of an internal sensory presentation. His view that this allowed for corrective feedback undercuts Palmer's belief that there is a mapping of objects. The privacy of subjective experience is also shown not to be inviolable.
From an Indirect Realist point of view, the Knowledge Argument in the philosophy of perception has been misdirected by its very title. If it can be argued that sense-fields are at their basis no more than evidence, indeed, a part of existence as brute as what is usually termed the 'external', then, if 'knowing' is not essential to sensing, that argument has to be radically reconstructed. Resistance to there being an non-epistemic or 'raw feel' basis for sensing is very fashionable (...) at the moment (e.g. in Davidson, McDowell, Harman), but the present article aims at breaking through it. Scientific facts are adduced to show that sensing can exist without perceiving. It is argued that the part played by motivation in the gathering of knowledge in a feedback system, enhanced by intersubjective linguistic correction in the human case, allows for a ready evolutionary adaptation. One can advance from this to a fresh view of knowledge and rationality which see them at base as part of a folk-psychological method of allowing for continuing disambiguation of what are identified within that method as 'entities' and 'properties'. (shrink)
It is the purpose of this article to explicate the logical implications of a television analogy for perception, first suggested by John R. Smythies (1956). It aims to show not only that one cannot escape the postulation of qualia that have an evolutionary purpose not accounted for within a strong functionalist theory, but also that it undermines other anti-representationalist arguments as well as some representationalist ones.
This discussion takes up an attack by Jerrold Aronson (seconded by Rom Harre) on the use made by Norwood R. Hanson of the Gestalt-Switch Analogy in the philosophy of science. Aronson's understanding of what is implied in a gestalt switch is shown to be flawed. In his endeavor to detach conceptual understanding from perceptual identification he cites several examples, without realizing the degree to which such gestalt switches can affect conceptualizing or how conceptualizing can affect gestalts. In particular, he has (...) not confronted the possibility of such gestalt selection being involved in the basic identification of what we term "entities". (shrink)