I thought I was finished with the review section of my "Hoffman playing basketball in zerogravity" project.
Then I decided to send Professor Hoffman an email asking if he’d responded to Dr. Mausfeld’s paper and he was kind enough to send me a link to more than I had bargained for: “Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentaries” Hoffman, Singh, Prakash, September 30, 2015. It's their response to a collection of 10 expert comments. Some critical and some excited about further exploring Hoffman, Singh & Prakash's Interface Theory of Perception (IT).
So far, I only read through Anderson’s section, because I went off to read the paper in question and it captured my attention.
I’ve spent the past few hours with Barton Anderson's critique (highlights to appear in my next post), and it’s surprisingly interesting, edifying and humbling. It makes me want to repeat that I’m no scholar and don’t presume to be one. What I am is a guy who’s spent my days paying attention to my life, the natural world around me and the lessons Earth scientists have discovered and distilled for general consumption. I’m a serious student and that demands exploration and pushing limits.
The main reason the Case Against Reality and Hoffman’s Interface Theory captured my interest is that it promised to provide a vehicle for exploring and developing my own rather more down to earth notions.
For instance, that we, as a people, and too often scientists included, lack an explicit appreciation for the divide between Physical Reality, (which includes our bodies and brains), and our ever so imaginative Mindscape. Which is the sum total of our dreams, thoughts and perceptual awareness - the me, myself and I.
I believe an explicit appreciation for Earth, as the only touchstone to reality that we humans have, is a necessary prerequisite for wise decision making and constructive living on a crowded, shrinking planet.
That's because, what comes from ignoring this fine point (namely, the ‘Physical Reality ~ Mindscape’ divide), is that people, including scientists, tend to fall in love with the beauty and ingenuity of their own ideas, then pushed by the needs of our egos, lose sight of the physical reality we are actually embedded within every moment of our existence.
The past decades of strategic and lavishly funded mass campaigns* of pure, deliberate disinformation intended to manufacture doubt in complete disregard for honesty, scientific facts, physical reality, or Fair Play for that matter - has been nothing less than brainwashing committed to normalizing disregard for science, and honesty, while enabling delusional thinking.
(*For whatever scientific findings were inconvenient to special interest groups with rich lobbyists and the best advertising minds money could buy. Look where it’s brought our once well run, fairly happy, mightiest government and society in the world. To the brink of self-destruction driven by people embracing belligerent ignorance that was fostered by an acceptance of deliberately manufactured fear, anger and cluelessness. But, I digress, there’ll be time for that later.)
With that rambling introduction, here’s the paper Hoffman shared with me this morning.
“Probing the interface theory of perception: Reply to commentaries Donald D. Hoffman, Manish Singh & Chetan Prakash"
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. volume 22, pages1551–1576(2015)
We propose that selection favors nonveridical perceptions that are tuned to fitness. Current textbooks assert, to the contrary, that perception is useful because, in the normal case, it is veridical. Intuition, both lay and expert, clearly sides with the textbooks. We thus expected that some commentators would reject our proposal and provide counterarguments that could stimulate a productive debate.
We are pleased that several commentators did indeed rise to the occasion and have argued against our proposal. We are also pleased that several others found our proposal worth exploring and have offered ways to test it, develop it, and link it more deeply to the history of ideas in the science and philosophy of perception. To both groups of commentators: thank you.
Point and counterpoint, backed by data and theory, is the essence of science. We hope that the exchange recorded here will advance the scientific understanding of perception and its evolution. In what follows, we respond to the commentaries in alphabetical order.
Where does fitness fit in theories of perception?
Perceptual representation, veridicality, and the interface theory of perception.
Varieties of perceptual truth and their possible evolutionary roots.
Bayesian inference and “truth”: a comment on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash.
Reverse engineering the world: a commentary on Hoffman, Singh, and Prakash, “The interface theory of perception”.
Esse est Percipi & Verum est Factum.
Notions such as “truth” or “correspondence to the objective world” play no role in explanatory accounts of perception.
Are icons sense data?
Philosophizing cannot substitute for experimentation: comment on Hoffman, Singh & Prakash.
The interface theory of perception leaves me hungry for more.
For the paper's details link here.
Cc’s Students’ Guide, a work in progress.
Frontiers in Psychology - June 17, 2014
Student Resources - Background:
More to come . . .
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