Material Objects as the Singular Subjects of Multimodal Perception

In Aleksandra Mroczko-Wrasowicz & Rick Grush (eds.), Sensory Individuals: Unimodal and Multimodal Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 261–275 (2023)
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Higher animals need to identify and track material objects because they depend on interactions with them for nutrition, reproduction, and social interaction. This paper investigates the perception of material objects. It argues, first, that material objects are tagged, in all five external senses, as bearers of the features detected by them. This happens through a perceptual process, here entitled Generalized Completion, which creates the appearance of objects that have properties that transcend the activation of sensory receptors. The paper shows, secondly, that material objects are privileged subjects for perceived motion and interaction. That is, they are perceived as subjects for these properties while their parts seem to be subjects only derivatively. Material objects are the only perceptual subjects that are both multisensory and privileged.

Author's Profile

Mohan Matthen
University of Toronto, Mississauga


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