Although there are countless facts within a scientific disciplines, and numerous theories for organizing or explaining those facts, there are very few approaches to constructing new theories. That is, most theories share a number of fundamental assumptions. In this class, we will learn the two core sets of assumptions -- or core models -- of perception: The computational approach and the ecological approach.
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Over 60% of the human brain is dedicated to perceiving the world around us. Most philosophies of the mind explicitly state that no information can enter out mind, thoughts or brain without first having gone through the perceptual system. It would seem clear, then, that perception forms a critical aspect of what it means to be human. After 150 years of empirical research into perception, an overwhelming wealth of facts about perception have been accumulated. A vast array of theories have been formulated to explain the facts. Yet, all of the models share many fundamental assumptions. In fact, it can be argued that there are really just two models of perception -- the computational model and the ecological model -- and that all the other models are just refinements of these two "core" models. In this course, we will read and discuss the original forms of the two core models, as well as the difference between a scientific approach, theory, and model.