Perception as epistemic: 'We perceive only what we have motivationally selected as entities'


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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.
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