Perception is Analog: The Argument from Weber's Law

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

Authors
Jacob Beck
York University
Abstract
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jphil2019116621
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 42,401
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analog Mental Representation.Jacob Beck - forthcoming - WIREs Cognitive Science.
Analog Simulation.Russell Trenholme - 1994 - Philosophy of Science 61 (1):115-131.
Analog Representations and Their Users.Matthew Katz - 2016 - Synthese 193 (3):851-871.
Analog and Digital Representation.Matthew Katz - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):403-408.
Determinability of Perception as Homogeneity of Representation.Víctor Verdejo - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):33-47.
We Are Digitized Long Before We Have Computers.Yun Xia - 2007 - American Journal of Semiotics 23 (1/4):353-372.
Analog and Analog.John Haugeland - 1981 - Philosophical Topics 12 (1):213-226.
Analogue Magnitude Representations: A Philosophical Introduction.Jacob Beck - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):829-855.
Chaotic Neurons and Analog Computation.Kazuyuki Aihara & Jun Kyung Ryeu - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):810-811.
Analog and Digital, Continuous and Discrete.Corey J. Maley - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):117-131.
Varieties of Analog and Digital Representation.Whit Schonbein - 2014 - Minds and Machines 24 (4):415-438.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-03-12

Total views
77 ( #102,602 of 2,255,390 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #13,026 of 2,255,390 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature