Perception as an Intelligent Act

Psychological Applications and Trends 2024 2024 (Psichology) (2024)
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We intend to demonstrate that human perception is better understood when thought from the perspective of Aristotelian-Thomistic Philosophy. After concluding for its existence, Descartes, in the 17th century, concludes that there are ideas that we all possess, such as the idea of “perfection”. This idea cannot result from experience, and it’s God the source of the idea of perfection in us, and the one who guarantees the existence not only of external reality but also of our own correct reasoning. Very far from the God of Thomas Aquinas who is Alpha and Omega, Descartes' god is a god situated and secondary between the subject and reality which, in turn, is guaranteed by God, in a vicious circle between God and the subject. It’s a subjective or logical God, such as Kant's, but not a real God. Reality is, therefore, subjectively intelligible and truth objectively achieved, and the principle of causality is, in this way, subjectively valid. Reality is intelligible not because it’s provided by intelligible forms — by intelligible (and not only sensitive matter) that we, in fact, perceive — but because it is a reality presented by extension that is nothing more than a reflection of the logical-mathematical universe, thought by Modernity and which, with this thinker, is innate to the subject. This is a pure and finished reason. The extensive reality is purged of subjective elements; it is logical-mathematical (therefore, it is thought). It’s a kind of idealism and not realism and which results in a physicalist and materialist view of reality. Materialism, called physicalism in mainstream culture, consists of the idea that there is a world out there that is not experiential. It is material, but the way the word is used here has a strict conceptual definition. Matter is something that can be specifically described by numbers. It's a world without qualities. The world is purely quantitative and, because we are part of this world, we are also quantitative. The entire world of qualities that, deep down, constitutes our reality, is generated, according to materialism, in a not very well specified way and by a brain inside our head. The world outside has no flavors, colors, smells or sounds. We cannot see it because it has no qualities. The best we can do is imagine it as some kind of set of mathematical equations floating in the void.

Author's Profile

Martinho Moura
Universidade Católica Portuguesa


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