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The Riches of Experience

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Suppose you see a red ball. Unless you are in a psychologist's lab, it is unlikely that you see just the red ball against, say, a white background. Rather, a myriad of objects is visually presented to you simultaneously. For instance, you see the cricket bat beside the red ball, the table upon which they both lie, as well as what's in the background of the table. You also see the shapes of these objects, together with the manifold of spatial relations connecting them. For some of these objects at least, you see their particular colour(s), even the texture of their surface(s). Most of our visual experiences seem to be like that. This owes partly to the fact that the visual scenes we encounter are complex and 'contain' many objects -- in contrast to the psychologist's lab. More importantly, each single experience has the propensity to convey a rich amount of information about the objects, properties and relations which make up such scenes — together with information about the scenes themselves.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750142, Dallas, TX 75275-0142, USA, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2007


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