Physicalism is an empirical theory of the mind and its place in nature. So the physicalist must show that current neuroscience does not falsify physicalism, but instead supports it. Current neuroscience shows that a nervous system is what I call a vector function system. I provide a brief outline of the resources that empirical research has made available within the constraints of the vector function approach. Then I argue that these resources are sufficient, indeed apt, for the physicalist enterprise, by (...) offering a vector functional, hence physicalist, theory of the percept--the perceptual experience itself, a paradigm of phenomenally immediate, introspectively accessible consciousness. (shrink)
Flickering light induces visual hallucinations in human observers. Despite a long history of the phenomenon, little is known about the dependence of flicker-induced subjective impressions on the flicker frequency. We investigate this question using Ganzfeld stimulation and an experimental paradigm combining a continuous frequency scan with a focus on re-occurring, whole percepts. On the single-subject level, we find a high degree of frequency stability of percepts. To generalize across subjects, we apply two rating systems, a set of complex percept (...) classes derived from subjects’ reports and an enumeration of elementary percept features, and determine distributions of occurrences over flicker frequency. We observe a stronger frequency specificity for complex percept classes than elementary percept features. Comparing the similarity relations among percept categories to those among frequency profiles, we observe that though percepts are preferentially induced by particular frequencies, the frequency does not unambiguously determine the experienced percept. (shrink)
Participants who were unable to detect familiarity from masked 17 ms faces did report a vague, partial visual percept. Two experiments investigated the relative strength of the visual percept generated by famous and unfamiliar faces, using masked 17 ms exposure. Each trial presented simultaneously a famous and an unfamiliar face, one face in LVF and the other in RVF. In one task, participants responded according to which of the faces generated the stronger visual percept, and in the (...) other task, they attempted an explicit familiarity decision. The relative strength of the visual percept of the famous face compared to the unfamiliar face was moderated by response latency and participants’ attitude towards the famous person. There was also an interaction of visual field with response latency, suggesting that the right hemisphere can generate a visual percept differentiating famous from unfamiliar faces more rapidly than the left hemisphere. Participants were at chance in the explicit familiarity decision, confirming the absence of awareness of facial familiarity. (shrink)
On the basis of the graphic convergence between the English « noise » and the French word « la noise » , this article attempts to identify a percept that would be specific to the transgeneric reality of noise music. In order to understand how noise has become a source of aesthetic enjoyment, it revisits the history of recording devices, and proposes a philosophical hypothesis on the type of affect that is nurtured and fostered by those who expose themselves (...) to the noise experience : an ontological-political exploration of « letting-be ». (shrink)
Investigation of the Percept is a short work that focuses on issues of perception and epistemology. Its author, Dignaga, was one of the most influential figures in the Indian Buddhist epistemological tradition, and his ideas had a profound and wide-ranging impact in India, Tibet, and China. The work inspired more than twenty commentaries throughout East Asia and three in Tibet, the most recent in 2014.This book is the first of its kind in Buddhist studies: a comprehensive history of a (...) text and its commentarial tradition. The volume editors translate the root text and commentary, along with Indian and Tibetan commentaries, providing detailed analyses of the commentarial innovations of each author, as well as critically edited versions of all texts and extant Sanskrit fragments of passages. The team-based approach made it possible to study and translate a corpus of treatises in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese and to employ the methods of critical philology and cross-cultural philosophy to provide readers with a rich collection of studies and translations, along with detailed philosophical analyses that open up the intriguing implications of Dignaga's thought and demonstrate the diversity of commentarial approaches to his text.This rich text has inspired some of the greatest minds in India and Tibet. It explores some of the key issues of Buddhist epistemology: the relationship between minds and their percepts, the problems of idealism and realism, and error and misperception. (shrink)
Film, Samuel Beckett's 1964 short starring Buster Keaton, dubbed by Deleuze as ‘The Greatest Irish Film’, is a seminal text in the latter's cinematic canon as it helps us to extrapolate the transition from the Bergson-based movement-image of Cinema 1 to the Nietzschean time-image of Cinema 2. Film is unique insofar as its narrative traverses and progressively destroys the action-, perception- and affection-images that constitute the movement-image as a whole, using Keaton's body, and more importantly his face, as a means (...) of attaining a pure intensity or Entity abstracted from all spatio-temporal coordinates, a condition of exhaustion/saturation that Deleuze and Guattari call, ‘non-human becoming’. Beckett's film is predicated on Bishop Berkeley's fundamental philosophical principle, esse est percipi (to be is to be perceived) and, using Keaton as its protagonist, raises the question of whether it is possible to escape perception, not only by a third party, but also by oneself. The latter is ‘played’ by the camera itself, which ‘stalks’ Keaton from behind, taking great pains not to exceed a 45-degree ‘angle of immunity’ (lest Buster experience percipi or the anguish of perceivedness) until the film's final close-up when he comes face to face with his own self-perception and affective annihilation. Film's denouement thus deconstructs the very nature of conventional cinematic language, whereby filmic suture – the enfolding of character, camera and spectatorial ‘viewing-views’ into a unified field of vision – gives way to a perspective where, at the very moment that the perceptive/affective body dies, the work of filmic art gives birth to itself as a being of pure sensation, exceeding lived experience. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Perception-Action Mutuality Obviates Mental Construction” by Martin Flament Fultot, Lin Nie & Claudia Carello. Upshot: In my view, the clash between ecological psychology, enactivism, and constructivism in general has more to do with irreconcilable metaphysical and theoretical incommensurabilities than disagreements about specific mechanisms or processes of perception. Even with mutual enabling of action and perception, some internal process of self-modification is still needed if novel behavior is to be adequately explained.
This article, a contribution to the Common Knowledge symposium “Fuzzy Studies: On the Consequence of Blur,” documents how some modern artists and critics have argued against any sort of verbal thinking about art. Beyond describing works of visual art and pronouncing on their relative quality, critics often assume responsibility for explaining what a given work means. Because paintings and sculptures are less precisely codified, less articulate, than verbalized communications, they may seem to require verbal translation. Yet some artists and critics (...) have warned that the advantageous emotional force of a visual presentation is diminished or even destroyed by the generalizing classifications that verbal thinking entails. Sensation suffers from any reconstitution in words. “Watch Out for Thinking” focuses on the views of two critics (Clement Greenberg, Charles Harrison) and two artists (Willem de Kooning, Donald Judd), each of whom was sympathetic to the principle that visual observation and expression should remain independent of verbal explanation. Their common principle required that each develop some method of dealing with the gap between the experience of sensation and the thoughts generated by or directed at such feeling. On this issue, each disagreed with the others, whether expressing his difference directly or indirectly; and the differences often hinged on matters of aesthetic judgment. Ironically, the practice of such judgment demanded verbal concepts for its articulation. In turn, the verbal discourse tended to render the initial aesthetic judgment more extreme, more polarizing, than it may have felt as a lived response to a specific work of art. To remedy the situation, a viewer might allow feeling to divert the logical course of thinking. (shrink)
Berkeley’s ‘esse is percipi’ has been criticized for implying epistemological solipsism, the main argument being that different minds cannot harbor numerically one and the same idea. Similarly, C. J. Boström, the dominating Swedish philosopher in the nineteenth century, was early scorned because his principle of esse est percipi allegedly contradicts the simultaneous claim that two spirits can perceive the same thing under qualitatively different appearances. Whereas the criticism against Berkeley is here regarded as valid, it is argued that Boström successfully (...) defended himself by employing a dual concept of meaning, resembling Frege’s Sinn and Bedeutung some thirty years later, and by postulating an ontology that permits human minds to share in the divine ideas that constitute reality. (shrink)
Two cross-modal experiments provide partial support for O'Regan & Noë's (O&N's) claim that sensorimotor contingencies mediate perception. Differences in locating a target sound accompanied by a spatially disparate neutral light correlate with whether the two stimuli were perceived as spatially unified. This correlation suggests that internal representations are necessary for conscious perception, which may also mediate sensorimotor contingencies.
Deleuze and Guattari differentiate between philosophy, science, and the arts - seeing each as a means of confronting chaos - and challenge the common view that philosophy is an extension of logic. The authors also discuss the similarities and distinctions between creative and philosophical writing. Fresh anecdotes from the history of philosophy illuminate this book, along with engaging discussions of composers, painters, writers, and architects.
Impressions, energy radiated by phenomena in the momentary environmental scene, enter sensory neurons, creating in afferent nerves a data stream. Following Kant, by our inner sense the mind perceives its own thoughts as it ties together sense data into an internalized scene. The mind, residing in the brain, logically a Language Machine, processes and stores items as coded grammatical entities. Kantian synthetic unity in the linguistic brain is able to deliver our experience of the scene as we appear to see (...) it. Uniquely, the brain records its own history, synthesizing a Movie-in-the-Brain, called the Noumenal Cosmos. Attempting thereby to represent the actual Universe, this makes for a sovereign brain that governs itself. The brain is domicile of an Ego, with its selfhood at stake at all times. Yet, it can know itself only by its actions, in which it appears as an actor in its own movie. Phenomena enter garbled, as confused apparitions, and must be put in good form using top–down feedback control by Ego, so that each movie frame makes rational sense within the overall context of the Noumenal Cosmos. A stack of frames is processed typically in 40 Hz rhythm with 300 ms process time each, for about 12 in the stack at any time. Successive neural centers are processing the stack in the brain assembly line, based on data from increasingly global receptive fields. Ego stitches together the movie frames, but only the top frame is in consciousness for 25 ms. The top frame contains the whole scene where the Ego makes an appearance as the actor that imposes Kantian synthetic unity on the scene, merely an assembly of grammatical texts, in a system-internal coded process language, fitting the scene into the Noumenal Cosmos. But Ego observes Ego only to the extent permitted by the objectivity rule, only what it does and thinks, not its true face. From the Noumenal Cosmos, the Ego receives grammatical messages in the internal sense code. They are integrated into a whole in the reaction of the Ego to the momentary scene. The voluntary nature of Ego’s decisions is explained, based on its ability to code in advance its own actions sequentially in time, as it sees fit with a view to an orderly Noumenal Cosmos, records of code being arranged spatially in neural structures. (shrink)
Visual percepts frequently appear chromatically rich, yet their paucity in reportable information has led to widely accepted minimalist models of vision. The discrepancy may be resolved by positing that the richness of natural scenes is reflected in phenomenal consciousness but not in detail in the phenomenal judgments upon which reports about qualia are based. Conceptual awareness (including phenomenal judgments) arises from neural mechanisms that categorize objects, and also from mechanisms that conceptually characterize textural properties of pre-categorically segmented regions in the (...) visual field. Experimental evidence suggests that complex images instigate the generation of so-called ensemble phenomenal judgments. These involve concepts that categorize global attributes of segmented areas but carry no information pertaining to details. It is then argued that there are cogent reasons for believing that phenomenal percepts (i.e. qualia) arising from chromatically complex stimuli cohere in this ensemble sense with both the stimulus and with the resulting ensemble phenomenal judgments. Thus, spatially detailed retinal images are deemed to yield correspondingly detailed phenomenal experiences that are in turn conceptually apprehended via a relatively small number of ensemble phenomenal judgments. Lastly, it is suggested that the bridge locus for chromatically rich phenomenal experiences is most plausibly located early in the cortical visual pathway. (shrink)