Can visual cognitive neuroscience learn anything from the philosophy of language? Ambiguity and the topology of neural network models of multistable perception

Synthese 193 (5):1409-1432 (2016)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The Necker cube and the productive class of related stimuli involving multiple depth interpretations driven by corner-like line junctions are often taken to be ambiguous. This idea is normally taken to be as little in need of defense as the claim that the Necker cube gives rise to multiple distinct percepts. In the philosophy of language, it is taken to be a substantive question whether a stimulus that affords multiple interpretations is a case of ambiguity. If we take into account what have been identified as hallmark features of ambiguity and look at the empirical record, it appears that the Necker cube and related stimuli are not ambiguous. I argue that this raises problems for extant models of multistable perception in cognitive neuroscience insofar as they are purported to apply to these stimuli. Helpfully, similar considerations also yield reasons to suggest that the relevant models are well motivated for other instances of multistable perception. However, a different breed of model seems to be required for the Necker cube and related stimuli. I end with a sketch how one may go about designing such a model relying on oscillatory patters in neural firing. I suggest that distinctions normally confined to the philosophy of language are important for the study of perception, a perspective with a growing number of adherents

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,213

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-07-18

Downloads
46 (#251,691)

6 months
1 (#414,449)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Philipp Koralus
Oxford University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

The Logic Of Perception.Irvin Rock - 1983 - Cambridge: MIT Press.
Logic and Conversation.H. P. Grice - 1975 - In Donald Davidson & Gilbert Harman (eds.), The Logic of Grammar. Encino, CA: pp. 64-75.
A Feature Integration Theory of Attention.Anne Treisman - 1980 - Cognitive Psychology 12:97-136.

View all 23 references / Add more references