Knowledge and Performance in Perception – Interdisciplinary Perspectives

The philosophical conceptions of perception and cognition have undergone a critical transformation in recent debates. Perception is no longer thought to be a pure “input mechanism”enabling the mind to make rational judgments on the nature of things. Rather, its integral relation to action and higher cognition has become the focus of investigation, keeping pace with new developments in cognition research. Cognition, broadly construed, comprises emotion, perception, and the capacities for acting and thinking. Current research takes into account the “situatedness” of cognitive capacities; they are construed as enactive, embedded, embodied, or even extended.

The conference aims to clarify< the mutual relations between perceptual experience, prior knowledge, and action capacities, the latter two being considered to influence perceptual experience both from top-down and bottom-up. We seek to establish an interdisciplinary debate in order to sharpen philosophical concepts through empirical observations and to develop new hypotheses and questions for empirical research.

Topics and questions to be debated shall be the following:Which formats do object representations have? How can they best be described? To what degree do concepts influence the content of experience? Can the distinction between non-conceptual and conceptual content of experience be defended in the light of empirical observation, such as the distinction between associative and apperceptive visual agnosia? Is it helpful, from a developmental perspective, to assume that having concepts is necessary for the capacity to experience perceptually? Given that perception and higher cognition can be described separately, to what extent are we able to rationalize about the content of experience? How does this rationalization proceed, especially when it comes to ambiguous stimuli? Do different representational formats (conceptual-propositional or sensorimotor) interfere here? What role does visual awareness play when it comes to directing and controlling behavior? Is it necessary? Is visual awareness important for concept-formation? Do action capacities influence the direction of attention? Does attention mediate between bottom-up processing of sensory information and the top-down impact of prior knowledge and intentionality? Can intentional states be regarded as prepotent factors in (explorative) behavior? Last but not least: Do we need a new model of mind in the light of embodied, embedded, extended and enactive perception and cognition?


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