What is Cognitive Science

The Situation-Dependency of Visual Perception

Susanna Schellenberg

Thursday, September 28, 2006, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

University of Pittsburgh, Department of Philosophy

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I argue that explaining how one can have knowledge of objects� intrinsic properties (their shape, size, and color) through the specific means of perception requires distinguishing the situation-dependency from the subjectivity of perception. By understanding the way objects are presented in terms of mind-independent and external situation-dependent properties of objects, the way objects are presented can be clearly distinguished both from how objects appear to one and how one represents objects as being presented. Situation-dependent properties are properties the object has given the situational features (the lighting conditions, the perceiver�s location in relation to the perceived object) that are a function of those very situational features and the object�s intrinsic properties. I spell out the consequences of this distinction for the relation between representations of objects� intrinsic properties and representations of their situation-dependent properties.

Susanna Schellenberg


"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.

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