Object Persistence in Philosophy and Psychology
What makes an object the same persisting individual over time? Philosophers and psychologists have both grappled with this question, but from different perspectives—philosophers conceptually analyzing the criteria for object persistence, and psychologists exploring the mental mechanisms that lead us to experience the world in terms of persisting objects. It is striking that the same themes populate explorations of persistence in these two very different fields—e.g. the roles of spatiotemporal continuity, persistence through property change, and cohesion violations. Such similarities may reflect an underlying connection, in that psychological mechanisms of object persistence (especially relevant parts of mid-level visual object processing) may serve to underlie the intuitions about persistence that fuel metaphysical theories. This would be a way for cognitive science to join these two disparate fields, helping to explain the possible origins and reliability of some metaphysical intuitions, and perhaps leading to philosophical progress.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2007-11-01