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The role of indexicals in space and time perception

Carlos Montemayor

Thursday, October 06, 2005, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Rutgers University, Dept of Philosophy

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The relation between our sensory experience and our conceptual capacities has been, and continues to be, one of the most important and problematic issues in the history of philosophy and psychology. This topic becomes particularly difficult when framed in terms of what Kant called the necessary conditions for all sensibility: the intuitions of space and time, rather than framed in terms of particular experiences in relation to their respective conceptual categorizations. Thus, the question is how can our conceptual representations and our sensorimotor mechanisms produce our experience of space and time?

There are several answers to this question offered mainly by psychologists. However, I will argue that they are not satisfactory because they rely exclusively on complex conceptual structures, for instance Triesman and Gelade�s master map of locations. I will present current psychological theories in order to show how they share the underlying assumption of a conceptual frame of reference for space and I will extend this analysis to the literature on the perception of time. Then, I will sketch some ideas defended by philosophers and scientists concerning the perception of space that will help locate the main problem of the conceptual frame view. Finally, based on these ideas, I will explain why perceptual indexicals must play an important role in space and time perception which, I suggest, has significant implications for other topics, such as the interface between cognitive domains, subitizing and situated cognition. The proposal that I will defend is based on Pylyshyn�s research on multiple object tracking.


Carlos Montemayor