Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Perceptual Judgments

From David Kelley's classic, The Evidence of the Senses: " ... The perceptual judgment is the conceptual identification of what is perceived. Transforming our perceptual awareness of the world into conceptual form, it gives us a way to retain and communicate what we perceive and to express the evidence of the senses in a way that can bring it to bear on abstract conclusions. My approach to the perceptual judgment is centered on this fact; my goal is to understand the link it creates between the perceptual and the conceptual awareness of objects ..."

A perceptual judgment is a belief about a particular object present to the senses.

He goes on: "... A perceptual judgment is justified by the way an object appears to a perceiver. Because the thing before him looks a certain way, he can identify it as a tree, as green, and so on. The appearance will not justify predicating these attributes of any object at random, however, but only of the particular item that appears, and only if it is picked out as a particular item. Thus I might "see" a camouflaged soldier in the sense that his facing surfaces are parts of my field of view, but I am not in a position to form a judgment about him. Nor would the appearance of the field justify such a judgment, unless I can isolate the soldier as a figure against the ground. If I cannot isolate him, but only the various patches of color that in fact are parts of his clothing, then I can form justified judgments only about those patches. This is one reason why it is important that what we discriminate in vision is ,the entity itself, not merely its facing surface ..."

This is great stuff. If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. Best of all, it's now free.


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