AUTHORITATIVE BOOK REVIEW--
"Problems for Vision," by Gerald Vision
A review by someone who has read the entire book
of Vision, by Gerald Vision, published by Oxford University Press,
1997, ISBN 0195104986, 288 pages.
It can truly be said, without offense to modesty, that this is the first genuinely visionary study of the Causal Theory of Perception, concentrating on sight.
Of course, generally philosophers as well as scientists believe that causal mechanisms help bring off perception (and so do their sisters, and their cousins, and their aunts). But some resist inclusion of causation in the very concept of seeing.
This book defends a causal concept of perception. But it's not your father's Oldsmobile. Gone are the appeals to sense-data, ideas, and other intermediaries - the common coin of causalists such as Descartes, Locke, and Ayer - separating our experience from external reality. Instead a causal component is unearthed by closer analysis of our ordinary perceptual concepts.
As a bonus, a sharp distinction is drawn between perception and perceptual belief, pace some cognitive psychologists, and the central position of phenomenal appearance in perception is maintained, pace some philosophers. If I've succeeded, we may have a theory in which the insights of classical theories and contact with terra firma ("grounding," if you'll pardon the expression, terra cognita) are both preserved, but without the customary attendant incredulities.
© Copyright 2001 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
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