Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

What is perception?

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

It can be tricky to understand percepts (and the perceptual level of cognition) because percepts can only be understood by a mind that is operating at the conceptual level. Once at the conceptual level, your mind automatically identifies existents as "concepts" -- your mind identifies a bed as a bed. Your mind did not do that the first time you saw a bed as a young child -- your mind was pre-conceptual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would suggest getting a brief overview on the Objectivist position by checking out: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/perception.html

See if that satisfies or not.

Thanks for the recommendation. And yes, I'm familiar with the Objectivist stance on perception. I'm just not quite satisfied with my understanding of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do we experience the world, or simply perceptions?
Your question is really about the verb "experience", I would say. You experience the world, which is necessarily via perceptions. If someone started saying things like "Yesterday, I experienced the perception of the most excruciating pain when I passed a kidney stone", you'd think they were nuts. It's like saying strange things such "I saw the visual image of a dog", "I heard the sound waves of my neighbor" etc. Or worse, "I became aware of the mental state arising from light hitting an apple and selectively reflecting particular wavelengths in the direction of my eye, which struck the cones inside my eye and caused a cascade of neuro-chemical events traveling up to my visual cortex". I.e. "I saw an apple".

Man has direct knowledge of the external world. We actually see apples and hear dogs. We experience the world. Directly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your question is really about the verb "experience", I would say. You experience the world, which is necessarily via perceptions. If someone started saying things like "Yesterday, I experienced the perception of the most excruciating pain when I passed a kidney stone", you'd think they were nuts. It's like saying strange things such "I saw the visual image of a dog", "I heard the sound waves of my neighbor" etc. Or worse, "I became aware of the mental state arising from light hitting an apple and selectively reflecting particular wavelengths in the direction of my eye, which struck the cones inside my eye and caused a cascade of neuro-chemical events traveling up to my visual cortex". I.e. "I saw an apple".

Man has direct knowledge of the external world. We actually see apples and hear dogs. We experience the world. Directly.

Thank you for the reply, DavidOdden. This is my main misunderstanding in regard to Objectivism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This may seem idiotic, but what is a perception? I know the textbook definition, but can some one help elucidate this for me? Do we experience the world, or simply perceptions?

We experience the world.

But perception does not fit into a theory of experience. A theory of experience means using experience as a genus in which perception is an instance on par with other kinds of experiences such as memory, dreams, imagination and hallucination. But the only similarity that can be found among them is in the state-based interpretation of consciousness. That says that what is experienced must be contained in the experiential state, and the state of the perceiver is the state of a subject. Considered as a state of a perceiver, any perceptual experience could occur with just the same content in either the presence or absence of an external object. But there is no basis for this interpretation of mental states, it is an assumption which is compatible with that Cartesian metaphysical dualism that holds mind and matter are two separate and independent realms. Cartesian dualism forbids the possibility that it is the presence of an external object which necessarily causes a mental state. Perception is a case of exactly that possibility.

The true genus of perception is awareness. Awareness is the relationship between existence and consciousness. Awareness can discriminated into types on the basis of its objects. Perception is awareness of the external world. Introspection is awareness of the contents of the mind. Interoception is the awareness of the body.

The objects of awareness of introspection are not primaries, they are necessarily and chronologically derivative of awareness of the external world. The external world exists first, then perception of it, then memories, and only then is introspection possible. The primacy of existence principle points out that necessary relationship between consciousness and existence where in contrast metaphysical dualism asserts independence, the denial of a necessary relationship.

I've been taking a christmas break from my notes project on Kelley's book on perception (new computer, new games!), but the next chapter is the definition of perception. My notes are complete, they just need to be organized a bit and typed up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We experience the world.

But perception does not fit into a theory of experience. A theory of experience means using experience as a genus in which perception is an instance on par with other kinds of experiences such as memory, dreams, imagination and hallucination. But the only similarity that can be found among them is in the state-based interpretation of consciousness. That says that what is experienced must be contained in the experiential state, and the state of the perceiver is the state of a subject. Considered as a state of a perceiver, any perceptual experience could occur with just the same content in either the presence or absence of an external object. But there is no basis for this interpretation of mental states, it is an assumption which is compatible with that Cartesian metaphysical dualism that holds mind and matter are two separate and independent realms. Cartesian dualism forbids the possibility that it is the presence of an external object which necessarily causes a mental state. Perception is a case of exactly that possibility.

The true genus of perception is awareness. Awareness is the relationship between existence and consciousness. Awareness can discriminated into types on the basis of its objects. Perception is awareness of the external world. Introspection is awareness of the contents of the mind. Interoception is the awareness of the body.

The objects of awareness of introspection are not primaries, they are necessarily and chronologically derivative of awareness of the external world. The external world exists first, then perception of it, then memories, and only then is introspection possible. The primacy of existence principle points out that necessary relationship between consciousness and existence where in contrast metaphysical dualism asserts independence, the denial of a necessary relationship.

I've been taking a christmas break from my notes project on Kelley's book on perception (new computer, new games!), but the next chapter is the definition of perception. My notes are complete, they just need to be organized a bit and typed up.

Thanks, Grames! I'm looking forward to it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...