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What you see when you see a thing depends upon what you see the thing as … But what you see the thing as depends upon what you know about what you are seeing… Here is Smith at sea on a foggy evening, and as lost as ever he can be. Suddenly the skies clear and Smith sees the Pole Star.
What you see when you see a thing depends upon what you see the thing as…But what you see the thing as depends upon what you know about what you are seeing…
Here is Smith at sea on a foggy evening, and as lost as ever he can be. Suddenly the skies clear and Smith sees the Pole Star.
What happens next?
In particular, what are the consequences of what Smith perceives for what he comes to believe and do?
That depends upon what he sees the Pole star as...
If for example he sees the star that is the Celestial North Pole then Smith will know, to that extent, where he is -- and we may confidently expect the he will utter “saved!” and make for port.
Whereas, if he sees the Pole Star, but takes it to be a firefly, then seeing the Pole Star may have no particular consequences for his behavior or his further cognitive states.
Smith will be just as lost after he sees it as he was before.
October 6, 2004
Lateral geniculate nucleus
Primary visual cortex
Another approach to understanding visual perception is to develop models of how the fluctuating patterns of light reaching the eyes are processed to yield information about the surrounding world, without necessarily referring to any physiological mechanisms.
Marr used the term “computational theory” to describe this aspect of his approach to visual perception.
The term does not mean a theory that is just something to do w/computers.
Instead it expresses the specific and very powerful idea that the first stage in understanding perception is to identify the information that a perceiver needs from the world, and the regular properties of the world that can be incorporated into processes for obtaining that information.
In other words, we need to know what computations a visual system needs to perform, before attempting to understand how to carry them out.
Synesthesia syn-es-the-sian. Physiol.Sensation produced at a point other thanor remote from the point of stimulation, as of a color from hearing acertain sound (fr. Gk, syn = together + aisthesis = to perceive). Synesthesia is an involuntary joiningin which the real information of one sense is accompanied by a perception in another sense. In addition to being involuntary, this additional perception is regarded by the synesthete as real, often outside the body, instead of imagined in the mind's eye. It also has some other interesting features that clearly separate it from artistic fancy or purple prose. Its reality and vividness are what make synesthesia so interesting in its violation of conventional perception. Synesthesia is also fascinating because logically it should not be a product of the human brain, where the evolutionary trend has been for increasing separation of function anatomically. R. Cytowic, "Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses" Springer-Verlag, NY (p.1)
The world of the blind…of the blinded…it seems, can be especially rich in such in-between states – the intersensory, the metamodal—states for which we have no common language.
Famous Study of Creativity: French Mathematician Jacques Hadamard asked many scientists and mathematicians, including Einstein about their thought process…
Einstein replied…”The physical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are…more or less clear images which can be “voluntarily” reproduced and combined…”
“…Some are of visual and some of muscular type. Conventional words or other signs have to be sought for laboriously only in a secondary stage…”
“There is increasing evidence from neuroscience for the extraordinarily rich interconnectedness and interactions of the sensory areas of the brain, and the difficulty, therefore, of saying that anything is purely visual or purely auditory, or purely anything.”
“Some philosophers—professional artificial-intelligence critic Hubert Dreyfus for one—maintain that achieving human-level intelligence is impossible without a body.”The Age of Spiritual Machines,Ray Kurzweil, Penguin Books, 1999