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Re: direct/indirect perception

Dear Bruno, Brian, and list:

As I understand Gibson's concept of direct perception, it is more
than just the claim that the necessary information to form the
percept is in the stimulus.   It also claims that there is no
mental representation at all of the stimulus.

The argument goes like this: suppose that the way we know the
world is by forming a representation of it.  How would that help?
How would we know what was in the representation?  Would we have
to form a representation of the representation?  This leads to an
infinite regress.  An advocate of representations would argue
that the brain, having formed the representation, could then read
features off it as required.  Gibson rejects the need for a
representation at all.  He would argue that the world is its own
best representation.  Why would you need another one?  The brain
can read off features, as it needs them, directly from the world,
not from a representation.  Hence the name "direct perception".
Furthermore, all the forms of interaction that a representation
theorist might envision between the rest of the brain and the
representation, e.g., feedback loops for the control of action,
can be done directly with the world.  We are so directly coupled
with the world that we can consider the world and our actions
upon it as a single system for purposes of modeling.  So we don't
need a representation.  Of course we know we have representations
for purposes of thought and imagination, but these processes are
different from simple perception, which does not use

I don't agree with this, but it's the argument for direct

Al Bregman

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruno L. Giordano" <bruno.giordano@UNIPD.IT>
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 6:39 AM
Subject: Re: direct/indirect perception

> Dear Brian, and list,
> the ecological approach has the merit of directing attention of
research to the
> information in the environment, and to how the adaptive animal
tends to
> structure the incoming information in terms of properties of
the environment.
> These issues are important to me.
> However, what would we gain the day we will be able to state
clearly: [1]
> perception is direct vs. [2] perception is not direct?
> Which will be the advantages of such knowledge?
>     Bruno
> Quoting Brian Gygi <bgygi@EBIRE.ORG>:
> > Julien,
> >
> > I'm not the authority on this, but I always thought that
> > perception" is direct in the sense that all the information
> > perception
> > is available in the environment, as opposed to more
> > information-processing-oriented theories of perception which
posit that
> > the
> > stimulus is impoverished and the job of the sensory system is
improve it
> > through the use of prior knowledge and inferences.  So direct
> > does not really require intermediate representations or
memory models,
> > although I believe only the most hardcore Gibsonians would
insist on no
> > role for memory.
> >
> > Brian Gygi
> > East Bay Institute for Research and Education
> > Martinez, CA
> >
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Bruno L. Giordano - Ph. D. student
> Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale
> Via Venezia 8 - 35131 Padova, Italy
> currently hosted by:
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