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Mind and Matter VI Perception and the “Construction” of “Reality” Everything we see is inside our own heads. —Buckminster Fuller.

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Presentation on theme: "Mind and Matter VI Perception and the “Construction” of “Reality” Everything we see is inside our own heads. —Buckminster Fuller."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mind and Matter VI Perception and the “Construction” of “Reality” Everything we see is inside our own heads. —Buckminster Fuller

2 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 2

3 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 3

4 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception – What is ‘pressure’? – What is ‘temperature’? Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 4

5 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 5

6 Electromagnetic wave lengths 6 Visible light: ca nm or μm

7 Infra-Red waves 7

8 Seeing colors Stylized image of the eye’s photoreceptors, the rods and cones, which respond to particular of wavelengths of light to give animals their sense of sight 8

9 Columns of neurons for orientation of lines (visual cortex) K. Obermayer & G.G. Blasdell, 1993

10 Hints of what goes on in visual perception I Shapes recognized by different low level neurons 10

11 Hints of what goes on in visual perception II Relatively higher level (but still quite low) 11

12 Hints of what goes on in visual perception III At a somewhat higher level 12

13 Hints of what goes on in visual perception IV Somewhat higher level yet Elementary shapes like these.. 13

14 Hints of what goes on in visual perception V Next higher level..can be integrated into more complex formations 14

15 Electromagnetic wave lengths and cells 15

16 Cell sizes and the limits of vision 16

17 Seeing at the nanoscale Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell, and William Moerner have won the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the development of super- resolved fluorescence microscopy.” Along with advances in instrumentation and fluorescent probes, as well as in computational techniques, the work of Moerner and his co-Laureates “has allowed scientists to observe and see individual single molecules in living cells in real time,” added Lewis. “I’m thrilled about this prize.” Nanoscopy-Wins-Nobel/ 17

18 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 18

19 Hearing—the cochlea 19

20 Kinds of information that we can get about the world Internal body feelings – Proprioception Pressure, texture, temperature – Somatosensory perception Visible light – Vision Sound waves – Hearing Molecules floating in the air – Smell 20

21 The Real World and the Perceived World: Three major types of difference 1Perception is not reliable 2The matter that the world seems to be made of is altogether different from what it appears to be Especially very small things 3It doesn’t have the organization imposed by our minds 21

22 1. Perception is not reliable  Vision  Hearing 22

23 An experiment in phonological perception F2 F3 [ra] [la] What was presented to subjects:

24 An experiment in phonological perception F2 F3 What English speakers heard:

25 An experiment in phonological perception F2 F3 What Japanese speakers heard:

26 Infants, perception, and adaptation Infants are highly sensitive to speech sounds in their environment Innate fine-grained system, shared with other primates By age six months they have “ warped ” this system of categories into line with the language being heard around them

27 The Real World and the Perceived World: Three major types of difference 1Perception is not reliable 2The matter that the world seems to be made of is altogether different from what it appears to be Especially very small things (Eddington 1928: ix-xvi) 3It doesn’t have the organization imposed by our minds 27

28 Eddington on the two great revolutionary developments 28 The epithet “revolutionary” is usually reserved for two great modern developments—the Relativity Theory and the Quantum Theory. These are not merely new discoveries as to the content of the world; they involve changes in our mode of thought about the world. They cannot be stated immediately in plain terms because we have first to grasp new conceptions undreamt of in the classical scheme of physics. —Arthur Eddington (1928:4)

29 3. It doesn’t have the organization im posed by our minds Infinitely varied No boundaries No two things exactly alike Everything changes “Kaleidoscopic flux” 29

30 Categories and reality – Categories are in the mind, not in the real world – In the world, everything is unique lacks clear boundaries changes from day to day – (even moment to moment) – Whorf: “kaleidoscopic flux”

31 Boundaries and reality – Boundaries are in the mind, not in the world – In the real world There are no boundaries Approximations to boundaries change from day to day – even moment to moment – Whorf: “kaleidoscopic flux”

32 The Illusion of Enduring Objects A.k.a. The illusion of self-identity through time Sunshine A River Boston Cape Cod Joe Biden Your Body 32

33 33 T h a t ‘ s i t f o r t o d a y


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