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Perception

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J.M.Díaz-Nafría jdian@unileon.es
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Concept
 French
Perception
 German Wahrnehmung

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Philip Warntoft 3/5/2018, within the course "The Odysee of Philopsophy and Information" facilitated by J.M.Díaz at HM)

[NE: Since the article is larger than 700 words, you should add an abstract and subdivide the text in several paragraphs]

As stated in Seland (2016), perception is identified as how we interpret and transform the manifestation of an object into an insight with help of our sensory system. The individual [NE: maybe better "human"] sensory system consists of five particular aspects which helps us to develop and perceive information of vision, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling [NE: here the orientation & balance (or orientation in short) is to be added as provided by the vestibular system]. Furthermore, in order to comprehend perception, we need to understand it as a process where we absorb information from the environment and use the perceived information so as to interrelate with our environment [as discussed below, the role of knowledge can be acknowledge]. Moreover, perception permits each individual to provide information with the sensory system and convert it to something meaningful as well as useful in our daily lives.

Seland (2016) further claims that for instance words are composed of singular letters that together contribute to something that each individual perceives as something special and meaningful. Also, perception is not simply essential for individuals to understand and cooperate with the environment, it is also required for our existence and safety. With the help of our sensory system, we can easily capture information, adapt the information and then act in such a way that will prevent us from being hurt. For instance, we have the ability to identify the sound on an oncoming car as well as the ability to sense the heat from a hot plate to avoid being hit by the car or burned on the plate. 

According to Millar (2014), a perpetual experience of a given item or object is when the object itself is presented to the perceiver's mind. For instance, when holding a book in front of you in your hands, the book seems to be present to you in a way it never does when deliberately think or visualise that the book will actually be in front of you. When holding the book in your hands, the book is presented to you and you have an experience of holding that specific book in your hands and nothing else. Moreover, there are two relevant as well as dominant theories of perception in order to explain the distinctive phenomenology of perceptual experience: the relational view or naïve realism and the representational or content view. There are numerous philosophers such as Crane, Hellie, Fish and Kennedy who state that individuals should admit naïve realism since it delivers a sustaining explanation of perceptual experience, while the content view can not.

Millar (2014) further claims that naïve realism and content view are two theories constantly competing regarding the structure of perceptual experiences. Millar (2014) defines an experience as a certain phenomenally conscious mental state or occasion. A phenomenon can be described as an observant happening, for instance, thunder, solar eclipse, northern lights, a hurricane, etc. The phenomenal character or phenomenology of an experience is what the experience is like for the subject. We make daily judgments by continually relying to the first-person's access of experience and compare it to our own experiences. As mentioned, experiences can be distinguished from each other due to the phenomenon of phenomenology. For example, thinking about the moon is different than from what it is to visualise seeing the moon. When you see the moon, this brings a completely different perspective on the actual object. By looking at the moon in real life, you can easily determine how the moon looks, how big it is, what shape it has, how strong it is, and so on. But just thinking about the moon, several different perceptions may arise. In your own mind, you cannot perceive the moon in such a way that does not matter the true reality. Therefore, there is an important difference between experience and perspective about the actual reality and what may be reality. In other words, your personal opinion when thinking about the moon in a reality perspective based on previous experiences and perceptions [this sentence is lacking a verb]

Millar (2014) further explains that perceptual experiences are those experiences and understandings which are typical of the particular sense modalities that at any rate involve the physical things and their characteristics. These perceptual experiences are explained and presented in three particular types: An accurate/vertical perceptual experience, an illusory perceptual experience (also called illusion) and a hallucinatory perceptual experience (hallucination). An accurate- or vertical perceptual experience is identified as an exactly perception regarding the characteristics of an experience that it actually has. For instance, if you put your hand on a hot plate, you feel with your sense that the plate is hot and in the worst case scenario you burn yourself. Your perception of experience in this case will be that the plate is hot and you do not want to burn yourself since you actually know the plate's temporarily state, that it is hot. An illusory perceptual experience is when a perceived object does not have all the characteristics which are expected for that specific object. It is a false perceived reality due to numerous ambiguous sense of mind.        

 
Figure 1: Common example of illusory perception. 
(Source: Science and Nonduality, 2018) 


For instance, Fig. 1 shows a blue background covered in orange circles of different sizes. Or is it an orange background with blue details which intends to make the subject think that it is a blue background with orange circles? However, what is it that the image is trying to convey? How do individuals perceive the picture by just taking part of the information presented in the image? One idea may be that we perceive the image to be circulating in minimal movements, but in a reality perspective, the picture is completely stagnant. It can also be perceived as an endless downhill; or, like a circular space, filled with orange circles with a vertical pole in the middle from bottom to top. Shortly stated, we perceive the image in so many different ways that it becomes difficult for our mind to understand and determine what is a true perception of reality or illusion. The third and final type of perceptual experience is hallucinatory perceptual experience or hallucination. A hallucination involves an incorrect perception of the reality. From the subjects point of view, one can experience that you see things or objects, but in fact, it does not exists. However, it is never impossible that it exists elsewhere but not during that specific occasion and at that precise location. 

Naïve realism is not identified as a concept of all types of perceptual experiences. Generally, it is known as a theory of vertical experiences and illusions. A vertical experience is, according to Fieandt, Järvinen, West and Korkala (2018 [you should provide the reference below and because your are quoting literally also the page number]), defined as "the direct perception of stimuli as they exist". This corresponds to the ability of the human being to orient himself in a particularly existing need that must be stimulated. For instance, the ability to eliminate the need for food in a sense of hunger. Veridical experience or perception can also lead to an unchanged perception of a changing stimuli at human beings. In other words, people tend to perceive particular objects in the environment with relatively constant characteristics (such as colour, size, etc) as unchanged even though they actually change. As naïve realism is restricted to veridical perceptual experiences, naïve realism refers to a primitive relationship of awareness or acquaintance to certain physical things and its characteristics. The naïve realist claims that veridical perceptual experiences are in a strong sense world involving. For example, visualise that you have a book with a red cover laying on a table right in front of you. Based on the naïve realist's opinion or perception of information, your perception or perceptual experience depends on your standing in relation of acquaintance to the specific book in front of you and the redness of its cover. Since the particular book and its redness are constituents in this relational state, they also contribute to your perceptual experience of the red book. Furthermore, Millar (2014) states that by having this experience, you know that you are familiar with the book and you know that it exists in real life. Bahm (1943) compiles the theoretical approach to naïve realism as follows:

1. All the objects in question are completely independent of being existing with a subject. An object can still continue to exist even if someone has not detected it or has specific knowledge about the object itself.

2. An object consists of attributes or features which are parts of the object and together shape the identity of the object. 

3. Objects are not created or changed simply because we know them. Objects, including their qualities and characteristics are not affected merely by their being known. 

4. Objects seem as they are and are as they seem. Nothing can change and object. The reality of an object is based on how it appears to others. 

5. An object is known as it seems. There is nothing between the object itself and our knowledge of the object that change the object itself. 

6. All objects are public. This means that they can be seen and interpreted by more than one person at the same time. 

Contrariwise, content theorists argue that when someone perceives information [this sounds strange to me. The perception system is informed and something is perceived, an object, either real or illusory, but information is not being perceived], this individual is associated to the world and represents the world to be in a particular and specific way. Furthermore, content analysts argues that a "representational mental state or event is one with a representational content" (Millar, 2014, pp. 629). Shortly stated, the content of a [I suppose here the adjective mental is missing and needed, otherwise it could be misinterpreted] state or event represents how the world is in a reality perspective. Content view also includes beliefs and desires. For instance, a content theorist would claim that the content of an individual's belief that the book is on the table means that the book actually is on the table. The subject's (the individual's) perceptual experience refers to the actual reality. In other words, if someone believes in something in a certain way, it means that is the way it is. Both in believes and in a reality perspective. The content view associates that we ourselves determine what is right or wrong. If we believe in something in a certain way, we should stick to that thought because that is what we claim as correct. However, content theorists further states that different opinions regarding an object can still occur even if there is a content view included or not. [I would like to read Millar, because the reality of beliefs as mental states doesn't necessarily means that the belief is correct. For Dretsky information-based believes are in direct correspondence to reality, but you haven't restrict your statement to information-based beliefs] 

Perception and knowledge 

According to Rock (1985), perception is identified as a foundation of knowledge [He states that it is a source, not a foundation]. However, it is not clarified that knowledge is considered as a foundation of perception [He clearly states the normal independence of perception, but also the its affection by knowledge in certain situations of ambiguity. This is connected to what I tried to explain in the lectures: that even disregarding the physiology of perception there is an inherent ambiguity of the manifestation of an observed object through the light it scatters, and therefore different interpretations can be figured out corresponding to the same manifestation. This open character of the manifestation of an object makes, on the one hand, that perception cannot be completely autonomous in the determination of percepts; on the other, that in certain situations previous knowledge can provide the clue to solve the ambiguity and it influences perception. There are neurophysiological experiments than shown the top-down influence (or feedback from higher cortical areas) in the brain in certain situations]. Although, Rock (1985) further claims that there are two particular aspects of knowledge that tend to influence the perception [more than "aspects" Rock speaks of "kinds" of knowledge (p.3). It is quite different speaking of aspects or kinds. Don't you see it?]. The first aspect is known as consciously knowing and the second kind is interpreted as information stored in memory founded on past experiences. Rock believes in that the consciously knowing does not normally affect what we perceive (but there are exceptions to this rule) and that the other aspect of knowledge (memory from past experiences) not only manages the recognition and interpretation but only ["only" or "also"? ] affects the perception itself. Although, restrictions exist talking about the impact of knowledge of perception [I suppose you're talking about "impact of knowledge ON perfection". However, I think that as the previous sentence is now stated this is redundant since in the previous sentence you have already  you make the previous add this later sentence can be taken away, which is somehow contradictory, because in knowledge of the second type there is always impact on perception]

It is clear that we can not correlate our perception of what we have seen of a specific object or event based on the information that we have taken part of. Although, if knowledge does not result in an influence of perception, knowledge can still contribute in a proposal or offer that we may already be or will be fully aware of. Even if we know that the moon is motionless and that it remains unchanged, it does not prevent us to change our perception regarding the moon. For instance, if a dark cloud passes and at the same time obscures the sight of the moon, there is nothing that says we can not change our view or perception of the moon. It is highly possible that you believe that the whole moon's appearance and function is affected in this situation and that it will not be white during the daytime and shining during the nighttime anymore. Rock (1985) describes this as that perception is totally unaffected by correct information. That being said, we can claim, according to Rock, that perception is completely independent of what is true or false and it is up to the individual himself to form and shape his own perception regarding a particular object. 

It is important to be able to distinguish between knowledge and perception. Rock states that knowing stands for when someone attains a symbolic representation in form of an abstract which is not straight tangled to or founded on stimulus input. What makes us able to differentiate between knowledge and perception is that knowledge is something that is fixed and can not be changed. Certainly, more than one person can have different types of knowledge within a particular area. Either one has more or less knowledge while both have correct knowledge from a reality perspective. Or it turns out that a person is right while another one has wrong knowledge within the area of discussion. Moreover, perception is according to Rock considered to be 'stimulus bound'. This means that perception is controlled by the requirement of conformity to and support by the stimulus. 

As mentioned earlier, it is not clarified that knowledge can be seen as a foundation of perception. However, there are moments when knowledge has the ability to affect our own perception regarding a certain state. For instance, Rock (2018) mentions an example of two squares, one of which has a transparent, vertical thin opening and the other square has a drawn line in form of a curve which is placed at the centre of the square. If the slit or the opening is too narrow, the naive observer will not perceive a figure (the curve) moving behind the first square by just looking through the thin opening. Instead, the viewer will most likely observe the figure behind to move along the split. In other words, instead of watching the figure moving behind at right angles to the vertical slit, the observer will see the line moving up and down through the narrow opening in the first square. However, if the observer from the first beginning is aware of what is happening and the person knows what the line/curve behind looks like [actually if it is a line the effect is not achieved], this will result in completely different conditions and he or she will most likely achieve the anorthoscopic effect. This leads to a change in the perception of the person. The observer still has the same view as if the event should happen spontaneously. However, the change will not occur if the conditions are such that the anorthoscopic effect is not supportable, as is the case when the figure is a straight line rather than a curved one. 

This is a classical example of how knowledge can change or influence a person's individual perception. The reason for this is that the transformation is suspect and somehow too poor or less passable than it can be in order to bring to mind a certain or the favoured explanation [I think these underlined adjectives are not so appropriate]. Therefore, only a diverse solution occurs. Nevertheless, the stimulus and particular subsidiary perceptions can maintain the preferred solution, which in this case is the most important thing  [I don't understand this]. Hence, if a person is given any hint regarding the preferred solution, it can directly be preserved by all individuals [preserved by all individuals].


References
  • Seland, D. (2016). "Perception: Recognition and Interpretation". Quality Magazin, 55(5), p.6. [Online] Deerfield, Illinois: BNP Media <http://digital.bnpmedia.com> [Accessed: 9/5/2018]
[NE-5: Dear Philip, I have finally found the article, which was not among the records of scientific publications since it is rather comercial. With the identification you provided Internet search engines drove me to other places (I needed the identification provided by Academic OneFile. I have completed the reference according to the given format (see article column). In general, in scientific and technical writing it is better relying on academic publications, though other sources can also be used.]
  • Millar, B., 2014. The Phenomenological Problem of Perception. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 88(3), pp.625–654.
[NE-6: This source is clearly relevant. Though I have institutional access to Wiley Online, for some reason I don't understand, I haven't been able to download the article. Do you have it? Can you share it?]

  • 2018 "Space Perception" [Online] available at: https://www.britannica.com/science/space-perception#ref488146 [Consulted: 15/05/2018]
  • Rock, I. (1985). "Perception and Knowledge". Acta Psychologica, Vol. 59, pp. 3-22.
  • Bahm, A.J., 1943. What Is Knowledge? The Scientific Monthly, 56(3), pp.266–273.
  • "Science and Nonduality" (2018). Illusions and the Mind’s Reality. [Online]. Science and Nonduality. <https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/illusions-and-the-minds-reality/[Consulted: 09/05/2018]


Incorporated entries

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José María DÍAZ NAFRÍA,
May 13, 2018, 12:38 PM
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José María DÍAZ NAFRÍA,
May 13, 2018, 12:38 PM
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José María DÍAZ NAFRÍA,
May 13, 2018, 12:38 PM
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