On Aug 26, 12:05 am, Sanny <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote:
Representationalism is the philosophical position that the world we
see in conscious experience is not the real world itself, but merely a
miniature virtual-reality replica of that world in an internal
representation. Representationalism is also known (in psychology) as
Indirect Perception, and (in philosophy) as Indirect Realism, or
1. It is impossible to have experience beyond the sensory surface.
2. Dreams, Hallucinations, and Visual Illusions clearly indicate that
the world of experience is not the same thing as the world itself.
3. The observed Properties of Phenomenal Perspective clearly indicate
that the world of experience is not the same as the external world
that it represents.
4. Perception operates like a guided hallucination that is as much a
matter of active construction or generation, as it is a matter of
passive detection or recognition.
Therefore; Representationalism is the only alternative that is
consistent with the facts of perception.
5. The Dimensions of Conscious Experience reveals the visual world to
be composed of, solid volumes, bounded by colored surfaces, embedded
in a spatial void.
Every point on every visible surface is experienced as a separate
entity, all of which are perceived simultaneously in the form of
continuous surfaces in depth. The phenomena of transparency, as well
as the perception of empty space between the observer and a visible
object demonstrate that multiple depth values can be experienced at
every point in visual space. In other words, perceptual experience is
like a museum diorama, or theatre set, in which continuous colored
surfaces bound volumetric objects embedded in a spatial void.
Whatever the neurophysiological mechanism underlying this perceptual
experience, the information content explicitly encoded in that
perceptual representation cannot be any less than the information
content of the corresponding subjective experience.
6. Four Initial Objections;
Return to Representationalist Site
The Homunculus Objection: This "picture-in-the-head" or "Cartesian
theatre" concept of visual representation has been criticized on the
grounds that there would have to be a miniature observer to view this
miniature internal scene, resulting in an infinite regress of
observers within observers.
But this argument is invalid. For in fact there is no need for an
internal observer of the scene, since the internal representation is
simply a data structure like any other data in a computer, except that
this data is expressed in spatial form. For if a picture in the head
required a homunculus to view it, then the same argument would hold
for any other form of information in the brain, which would also
require a homunculus to read or interpret that information. In fact
any information encoded in the brain needs only to be available to
other internal processes rather than to a miniature copy of the whole
The fact that the brain does go to the trouble of constructing a full
spatial analog of the external environment merely suggests that it has
ways to make use of this spatial data. In other words, the brain
employes an analogical paradigm of perceptual computation to make use
of the analogical data in spatial perception.
Phenomenology presents the mind as a three-dimensional colored
structure or analogical representation, while neurophysiology presents
the brain as an assembly of billions of discrete quasi-independent
local processors interconnected in a massively parallel network.
Where in that mass of neural circuitry are the three-dimensional
volumetric real-time moving pictures that we know so well in conscious
The object of our phenomenological investigation is conscious
experience itself and knowledge of that particular entity is very
certain. Knowledge of our own conscious state is more certain and
reliable than any other knowledge we can possibly have, even when our
conscious experience is itself only a hallucination.
The mind is identically equal to physical patterns of energy in the
physical brain. To claim otherwise is to relegate the elaborate
structure of conscious experience to a mystical state beyond the
bounds of science. The dimensions of conscious experience, such as
phenomenal color and phenomenal space, are a direct manifestation of
certain physical states of our physical brain.
Things appear as they do because that is the way the world is
represented in the neurophysiological mechanism of our physical brain.
The world of conscious experience therefore is in principle accessible
to scientific scrutiny after all, both internally through
introspection, and externally through neurophysiological recording.
If we accept the materialist view that mind is a physical process
taking place in the physical mechanism of the brain, and since we know
that mind is conscious, then that already is direct and
incontrovertible evidence that a physical process taking place in a
physical mechanism can under certain conditions be conscious.
Now it it true that the brain is a very special kind of mechanism. But
what makes the brain so special is not its substance, for it is made
of the ordinary substance of matter and energy. What sets the brain
apart from normal matter is its complex organization. The most likely
explanation therefore is that what makes our consciousness special is
not its substance, but its complex organization.
So the simplest, most parsimonious explanation is that our own
conscious qualia evolved from those of our animal ancestors, and
differ from those earlier forms more in its level of complex
organization rather than in its fundamental nature.
THEREFORE: Unless we wish to believe in some magical nomological
dangler that extends mind half way into the spirit world, we must face
the observational fact that there is a spatial representation in the