Between Perception and Action
What mediates between sensory input and motor output? This is probably the most basic question one can ask about the mind. There is stimulation on your retina, something happens in your skull and then you hand reaches out to grab the apple in front of you. What is it that happens in between? What representations make it possible for you to grab this apple? Bence Nanay calls these representations that make it possible for you to grab the apple 'pragmatic representations'. In Between Perception and Action he argues that pragmatic representations whose function is to mediate between sensory input and motor output play an immensely important role in our mental life. And they help us to explain why the vast majority of what goes on in our mind is very similar to the simple mental processes of animals. The human mind, like the mind of non-human animals, has been selected for allowing us to perform actions successfully. And the vast majority of our actions, like the actions of non-human animals, could not be performed without perceptual guidance. And what provides the perceptual guidance for performing actions are pragmatic representations. If we accept this framework, many classic questions in philosophy of perception and of action will look very different. The aim of this book is to trace the various consequences of this way of thinking about the mind in a number of branches of philosophy as well as in psychology and cognitive science.
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action theory actions actions affording an action agent aliefs animals antecedent of action argue argument attribute action-properties attribute properties auditory behavior belief-like imagination belief–desire model beliefs and desires bodily movements Cambridge Chapter chimpanzees claim Cognitive Sciences conative component concept conscious debate decision decision-making direction of fit dorsal stream Ebbinghaus illusion emotional-relevance properties emotionally relevant empathy empirical findings enactivism entities example explain Gendler Goodale human imaginative episode immediate mental antecedent important Jeannerod Matthen mirror neuron Nanay need to represent non-perceptual one’s ordinary objects other-centered Oxford University Press perceived object perceptual content perceptual representations perceptually attributed phenomenology philosophy of action philosophy of perception Povinelli pragmatic mental imagery pragmatic representations attribute pretense actions primates propositional Psychology quasi-perceptually representational component scenario scientific research program semi-actions sense modalities sensory individuals simulation simulationist social cognition spatiotemporal region theory of mind thick action-properties Tomasello unconscious vicarious emotional engagement vicarious perception visual subsystem