Abductive inference in late vision
SourceStudies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
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In earlier work (Raftopoulos 2009), I analyzed early vision, which I claimed is a cognitively impenetrable (CI) stage of visual processing. In contradistinction, late vision is cognitively penetrated (CP) and involves the modulation of processing by cognitively driven attention. Its stages have hybrid contents, partly conceptual contents, and partly iconic analogue contents. In this chapter, I examine the processes of late vision and discuss whether late vision should be construed as a perceptual stage or as a thought-like stage. Using Jackendoff’s (1989) distinction between visual awareness and visual understanding, I argue that the contents of late vision belong to visual awareness. In late vision an abduction or “inference” to the best explanation allows the construction of a representation that best fits a scene. Given the sparse retinal image that underdetermines both the distal object and the percept, the visual system fills in the missing information to arrive at the best explanation, that is, the percept that best fits the retinal information. I argue that late vision does not consist in propositional structures formed in cognitive areas and participate in discursive reasoning and inferences, and does not implicate discursive abductive inferences from propositionally structured premises to recognitional beliefs. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.