Lectures on Perception: An Ecological Perspective addresses the generic principles by which each and every kind of life form—from single celled organisms (e.g., difflugia) to multi-celled organisms (e.g., primates)—perceives the circumstances of their living so that they can behave adaptively. It focuses on the fundamental ability that relates each and every organism to its surroundings, namely, the ability to perceive things in the sense of how to get about among them and what to do, or not to do, with them. The book’s core thesis breaks from the conventional interpretation of perception as a form of abduction based on innate hypotheses and acquired knowledge, and from the historical scientific focus on the perceptual abilities of animals, most especially those abilities ascribed to humankind. Specifically, it advances the thesis of perception as a matter of laws and principles at nature’s ecological scale, and gives equal theoretical consideration to the perceptual achievements of all of the classically defined ‘kingdoms’ of organisms—Archaea, Bacteria, Protoctista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.
Michael Turvey is the leading exponent of a physical biology of intentional systems for all creatures great and nano. In these interwoven lectures, he charts a path to a thoroughly scientific psychology, grounded in philosophy, ecology, thermodynamics, and the theory of complex systems. Developed over the course of an esteemed career, Turvey’s radical vision (in the sense of going to the root) throws down the gauntlet for the next generation of students of perceiving, acting, and knowing.William H. Warren, Chancellor’s Professor of Cognitive Science, Brown University
Table of Contents
Part 1: Foundational Concepts
Part 2: Computational-Representational Perspective
Part 3: Ecological Perspective