Publication 2075

Thompson E., Palacios A. & Varela F. J. (1992) Ways of coloring: Comparative color vision as a case study in cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15(1): 1–26. Fulltext at http://cepa.info/2075
Different explanations of color vision favor different philosophical positions: Computational vision is more compatible with objectivism (the color is in the object), psychophysics and neurophysiology with subjectivism (the color is in the head). Comparative research suggests that an explanation of color must be both experientialist (unlike objectivism) and ecological (unlike subjectivism). Computational vision’s emphasis on optimally “recovering” prespecified features of the environment (i.e., distal properties, independent of the sensory-motor capacities of the animal) is unsatisfactory. Conceiving of visual perception instead as the visual guidance of activity in an environment that is determined largely by that very activity suggests new directions for research.

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