PSA 1974 pp 549-561 | Cite as

The Illusions of Experience

  • Robert M. AndersonJr.
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 32)


On reading the grain argument as advanced by Meehl and Sellars, I find that there is not one but two grain arguments. According to one argument, mental events cannot be the same as neural events because mental events have a continuity that neural events do not have. The other argues for the same conclusion from the simplicity of experienced quality. I answer these arguments by claiming that these properties of experience are illusory. I detail a dual threshold theory of visual experience and show that given this model the mind-brain identity theory predicts the existence of these illusions.


Visual Cortex Receptive Field Visual Experience Minimal Element Quality Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, Jr., R. M.: 1975, ‘Wholistic and Particulate Approaches in Neuropsychology’, in W. B. Weimer and D. S. Palermo (eds.), Cognition and the Symbolic Processes, V. H. Winston, Washington, D.C., 1975.Google Scholar
  2. De Valois, R. L. and Jacobs, G. H.: 1968, ‘Primate Color Vision’, Science 162, 533–540.Google Scholar
  3. Eccles, J. C: 1970, Facing Reality, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.Google Scholar
  4. Feigl, H.: 1967, The ‘Mental’ and the ‘Physical’, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.Google Scholar
  5. Hubel, D. H. and T. N. Wiesel: 1962, ‘Receptive Fields, Binocular Interaction and Functional Architecture in the Cat’ s Visual Cortex’, Journal of Physiology 160, 106–154.Google Scholar
  6. Hubel, D. H. and T. N. Wiesel: 1963, ‘Shape and Arrangement of Columns in Cats’ Striate Cortex’, Journal of Physiology 165, 559–568.Google Scholar
  7. Kabrisky, M.: 1966, A Proposed Model for Visual Information Processing in the Human Brain, University of Illinois Press, Urbana.Google Scholar
  8. Köhler, W. and H. Wallach: 1944, ‘Figurai After-Effects: An Investigation of Visual Processes’, Proceedings of American Philosophical Society 88, 296–357.Google Scholar
  9. Maxwell, G.: 1968, ‘Scientific Methodology and the Casual Theory of Perception’, in I. Lakatos and A. Musgrave (eds.), Problems in the Philosophy of Science, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 1968.Google Scholar
  10. Meehl, P. E.: 1966, ‘The Complete Autocerebroscopist: A Thought-Experiment on Professor Feigl’s Mind-Body Identity Thesis’, in P. K. Feyerabend and G. Maxwell (eds.), Mind, Matter, and Method: Essays in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1966.Google Scholar
  11. Mountcastle, V. B.: 1957, ‘Modalitity and Topographic Properties of Single Neurons of Cat’s Somatic Sensory Cortex’, Journal of Neurophysiology 20, 408–434.Google Scholar
  12. Pepper, S.: 1967, Concept and Quality, University of California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  13. Poggio, G. F.: 1968, ‘Central Neural Mechanisms in Vision’, in V. B. Mountcastle (ed.), Medical Physiology, C. V. Mosby, St. Louis, Missouri, 1968.Google Scholar
  14. Pribram, K. H.: 1971, Languages of the Brain: Experimental Paradoxes and Principles in Neuropsychology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliff, New Jersey.Google Scholar
  15. Russell, B.: 1954, The Analysis of Matter, Dover, New York.Google Scholar
  16. Seilars, W.: 1963, Science, Perception, and Reality, Humanities Press, New York.Google Scholar
  17. Seilars, W.: 1966, ‘The Refutation of Phenomenalism: Prolegomena to a Defense of Scientific Realism’, in P. K. Feyerabend and G. Maxwell (eds.), Mind, Matter, and Method: Essay in Philosophy and Science in Honor of Herbert Feigl, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1966.Google Scholar
  18. Talbot, S. A. and Marshall, W. H.: 1941, ‘Physiological Studies on Neural Mechanisms of Visual Localization and Discrimination’, American Journal of Ophtthalmology 24, 1255–1263.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert M. AndersonJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryStanford University Medical SchoolStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations