A Look at Biological and Machine Perception

  • R. L. Gregory
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI)


The study of perception is divided between many established sciences: Physiology, Experimental Psychology and Machine Intelligence; with several others making contributions. But each of the contributing sciences tends to have its own concepts, and ways of considering problems. Each — to use T.S. Kuhn’s term — has its own ‘paradigm’, within which its science is respectable. This can make cooperation difficult, as misunderstandings (and even distrust) can be generated by paradigm differences. This paper is a plea to consider perceptual phenomena from many points of view, and to consider whether a general paradigm for perception might be found. We may say at once that the status of perceptual phenomena is likely to be odd, as science is in general concerned with the object world; but perceptions are not objects, though they are in some sense related to objects. It is this relation between perceptions and objects which is the classical philosophical problem, and it cannot be ignored when we consider perception as a territory for scientific investigation. This territory is essentially odd: its phenomena tend to be illusions — departures from the world — rather than facts of the world. It requires a conceptual somersault to accept illusions as the major facts of a science!


Machine Intelligence Illusory Contour Object World Perceptual Phenomenon Visual Phenomenon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Gregory
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of BristolUK

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