Thisness and Visual Objects

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):17-32 (2018)
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According to the traditional view, visual objects can be characterized as bundles of features and locations. This initially plausible idea is contested within the contemporary psychology and philosophy of perception, where it is claimed that the visual system can represent objects as merely ‘this’ or ‘that’, in abstraction from their qualities. In this paper, I consider whether philosophical and psychological arguments connected with the rejection of the ‘bundle’ view of visual objects show that it is needed to postulate an additional, purely individualizing characteristic, known in the philosophical tradition as ‘thisness’, within the structure of visual objects. I argue that the phenomenon of asymmetry of errors observed in Multiple Object Tracking experiments strongly suggests that reference to ‘thisness’ is needed if we are to formulate a proper diachronic identity criterion of visual objects.

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Błażej Skrzypulec
Jagiellonian University


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