Rich Perception

I say time and time again on this blog that people see the world RICHLY, meaning that we don’t just see objects, but we see moods, possibilities, and my personal hypothesis, right and wrong. And I mean it all very literally — we SEE these things.

This piece from the NYT is getting a lot of attention and the author means for it to be about the possibility of spotting mistakes, but another lesson is that our brain is taking sensory information from the world and adjusting it, molding it, and schematizing it.

So, when someone looks to their left and sees cars whizzing around, the brain takes this information and makes it all add up to something much more useable — we simply see “a place to change lanes.” The brain computes everything for us and incorporates it directly into perception. Some philosophers (me included) think that we might perceive REASONS in this same way, as a perceptual imposition onto the world. So, when we see a cop watching us on the side of the road, we see a reason to slow down.

Anyone who read my recent post on animals knows that animals might do this exact same thing, but for different tasks than humans.



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