030111 Seeing-As: Perception and Imagination from Kant to Artificial Intelligence (Vernazzani)

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Consider the visual experience of seeing Jastrow’s figure either as a duck or as a rabbit. As Wittgenstein famously remarked, nothing has changed in the picture, and yet everything seems to have changed when you stop seeing it as a duck, and see it as a rabbit instead. Seeing-as episodes stretch far beyond bistable pictures and include also episodes of face and expression perception, object recognition, sign perception, and so on. According to P.F. Strawson’s influential Kantian account, imagination and concepts are involved in shaping our seeing-as experiences. In this seminar, we will explore the imagination’s and visual imagery’s contribution to visual perceptual experience. We will begin with some classical texts, starting from Aristotle’s on phantasia, Hume, Kant’s doctrine of schematism, Wittgenstein, and Strawson, and then review some contemporary philosophical and scientific accounts, including recent work in Artificial Intelligence. | | | Reading suggestion: P.F. Strawson (1974) “Imagination and Perception” in his Freedom and Resentment and Other Essays (pp. 50-72). New York: Routledge.