Monthly Archives: May 2014

Some Thoughts on the Difference between Language and Perception

Let me briefly outline what might be called the Naive Theory of Temporal Experience (or, perhaps, of Time Perception). This naive theory is simple, as indicated by this definition by Philips :

“[T]he temporal structure of experience matches the apparent temporal structure of the world presented. It is this claim that I call the naïve view of temporal experience, naïveté for short.” (Philips 2014, p.1 of 23)

I assume that what makes this a naive view is that it is the view that how things seem is how things are (and so, in my earlier terminology, that things are not just apparent, but obvious). It is naïve precisely because appearances are taken to be reality.

This raises the question of whether or not we can simply do this — that is, for time, to take appearances to be reality — for apparent time to be actual time. One issue with this comes from perceptual error — just as it is with naive theories of perception more generally; on the illusion side of my work, I have an opinion about the issue in general — briefly, that there can be different kinds of perceptual error, and only some are problematic as for perception (I will expand on this in a later post).

This post focuses on temporal experience.

Naive theories of temporal experience have their advocates (Lee is not one; Philips seems to be one). I guess I am sympathetic to the view for time (and to naive realism generally). What I want to talk about, however, is something else: a point about a common objection to this view: what I will call the Vehicle/Content Confusion Objection.

Please note: There are nine pages in this post; this is page 1. To go to the other pages, click on the linked numbers below. They are just below ‘the ‘Related’ links (WordPress is very annoying about this).

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Failing to See the Illusion

Every year, there is a competition for who can come up with the best ‘illusion’:

http://illusionoftheyear.com/

This year’s winner is a dynamic variant of the Ebbinghaus Illusion (by Christopher D. Blair, Gideon P. Caplovitz, and Ryan E.B. Mruczek at University of Nevada Reno):

There are several runners-up including one called ‘A Turn in the Road’ (by Kimberley D. Orsten and James R. Pomerantz, Rice University, Houston):

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I can see the dynamic Ebbinghaus effect (although not sure of the difference in seeing it from the side).

However, try as I might I have not been able to see the illusion in the ‘Turn in the Road’.

I don’t see how rearranging the different images alters which one seems to be the odd one out. When the video finishes with an overlap it is unsurprising.

But I think I know what I am supposed to experience. And, perhaps, what is being assumed to be behind this alleged experience.