Cognitive Penetrability of Perception

Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663 (2013)
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Perception is typically distinguished from cognition. For example, seeing is importantly different from believing. And while what one sees clearly influences what one thinks, it is debatable whether what one believes and otherwise thinks can influence, in some direct and non-trivial way, what one sees. The latter possible relation is the cognitive penetration of perception. Cognitive penetration, if it occurs, has implications for philosophy of science, epistemology, philosophy of mind, and cognitive science. This paper offers an analysis of the phenomenon, its theoretical consequences, and a variety of experimental results and possible interpretations of them. The paper concludes by proposing some constraints for analyses and definitions of cognitive penetrability

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Dustin Stokes
University of Utah


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