Research

Perceptual architecture

A nearly ubiquitous account of perception, in both philosophy and the cognitive sciences, is what Jonathan Cohen and I have called "feature prioritarianism." Stemming back at least as far as the British empiricists, feature prioritarianism holds that perception makes contact with the world by first independently representing object features such as size, shape, and color, then combining these representations in a logical or mereological fashion. In several works, we have criticized this picture as incompatible with the range of psychological evidence, which shows that features are not, as a general principle, represented prior to information about objects and scene elements (nor vice versa). We have articulated a fundamentally "integrative" account of perception, which captures this lack of priority between feature and object representations, and the ubiquitous interactions of different features in perceptual processing.

I am currently involved in a number of projects that further explore this type of architecture from a philosophical perspective. Some of the issues I am considering involve the nature of the relationship between perception, the role of context in determining perceptual content, and a variety of questions about the nature of categorical perception.