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Seeing, Doing, and KnowingA Philosophical Theory of Sense Perception$
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Mohan Matthen

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199268504

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199268509.001.0001

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Sensory Classification: The View from Psychology

Sensory Classification: The View from Psychology

(p.36) 2 Sensory Classification: The View from Psychology
Seeing, Doing, and Knowing

Mohan Matthen (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Descartes realized that the retinal image would have to be transformed into Amovements of the brain@ and then into ideas before it could become material for sensory or mental operations; he discovered what today is called Atransduction@. The current neurocomputational paradigm goes further: it sees sensory systems as processing transduced signals in the search for the occurrence of specific events or conditions and discarding all information irrelevant to these. When a particular feature is detected, the system enters into a characteristic state: for instance, a neuron might fire to signal the detection of a particular feature. A perceiver gains access to this event through a conscious sensation, which is in no way an image or picture. The features that a system detects in this way are often objective characteristics of external things. This opens the door to realism with respect to sensory classification.

Keywords:   classification, Descartes, feature maps, realism, sensory data processing, similarity, single neuron studies, visual attention, W. V. O. Quine

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