Folk Intuitions about the Causal Theory of Perception

Pendaran Roberts, Keith Allen, Kelly Schmidtke, Ergo, Feb 09, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

If I see a clock, my perception of the clock is caused by the clock. Right? This is the so-called 'folk intuition' about perception, but not only is it not clear that it is true, it is not even clear that ordinary people (aka 'folk') think it is true. This paper reports on a test of folk intuitions about perception and finds that, instead of the strong 'causal' theory of perception, folk are content with a much weaker 'non-blocker' theory of perception. We don't feel obligated to say that there actually is a clock when we report having seen a clock. This has all kinds of implications for our understandings of testing, experience, and learning. Image: Böhm and Pfister.

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