What is Cognitive Science

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

"What is Cognitive Science?"

This lunchtime talks series is designed to introduce the University community to issues in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is one the the few fields where modern developments in computer science and artificial intelligence promise to shed light on classical problems in psychology and the philosophy of the mind. Ancient questions of how we see the world, understand language, and reason, and questions such as 'how a material system can know about the outside world', are being explored with the powerful new conceptual prosthetics of computer modeling.

The talks in this lunchtime lecture series are every Thursday during the Fall semester from ** 12:00-1:00 ** in the Psychology Building, Room 101 on  Busch Campus.

Note: Talks are also announced by email (with reminders sent the day of the talk) to people who have requested to be placed on our announce list. If you would like to be added to our announce list, please email the Business Office (business_manager@ruccs.rutgers.edu).