Journal of Philosophy 116 (6):319-349 (2019)

Jacob Beck
York University
In the 1980s, a number of philosophers argued that perception is analog. In the ensuing years, these arguments were forcefully criticized, leaving the thesis in doubt. This paper draws on Weber’s Law, a well-entrenched finding from psychophysics, to advance a new argument that perception is analog. This new argument is an adaptation of an argument that cognitive scientists have leveraged in support of the contention that primitive numerical representations are analog. But the argument here is extended to the representation of non-numerical magnitudes, such as luminance and distance, and shown to apply to perception and not just cognition. The relevant sense of ‘analog’ is also clarified, and two powerful objections are addressed. Finally, the question whether perception’s analog vehicles are located in conscious experience is explored and related to a well-known controversy within psychophysics.
Keywords perception  analog  Weber's Law  magnitude  psychophysics
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ISBN(s) 0022-362X
DOI 10.5840/jphil2019116621
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The Number Sense Represents (Rational) Numbers.Sam Clarke & Jacob Beck - 2021 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 44:1-57.
Explicit nonconceptual metacognition.Peter Carruthers - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (7):2337-2356.
A Puzzle About Seeing for Representationalism.James Openshaw & Assaf Weksler - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2625-2646.

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