Richard Gregory was one of the major scientific thinkers of our time. Originally published in 1986, here he presents essays on the rich subject of perception. How we experience colours, shapes, sounds, touches, tickles, tastes and smells is a mysterious and rich inquiry. Wonderful as these sensations are, though, he argues that perception becomes really interesting when we consider how objects are identified and located in space and time as things we interact with, using our intelligence to understand them. Gregory’s essays convey the crucial importance of the major scientists and their achievements in the study of perception; but they also show us how much we can learn from our surroundings, our language, our times, our successes and our failures. Why are we so often fooled, in scientific as well as everyday life?
Table of Contents
Illustrations. Pre-script. Part 1: Amusing 1. Laughing Matter 2. Toy Mates 3. Matches to Murder 4. When Worlds Collide 5. Swatting Truth 6. Ivory Towers of Babel: Illuminated by Eclipses of the Sun 7. Living with Robots Part 2: Musing 8. Magical Mechanisms of Mind 9. Is Consciousness Sensational Inference? 10. Conjuring 11. The Oddest Perceptions: Illusions 12. Reflecting on Mirrors 13. With Two Pins and a Length of String: The Odd Perceptions of Johannes Kepler 14. French without Fears: Denis Diderot and Julian Offray de la Mettrie 15. Samuel Butler: Nowhere in a Mirror 16. On First Reading a Book by Einstein 17. Kenneth Craik’s The Nature of Explanation: Forty Years On 18. The Genius of Alan Turing 19. Premature Reductions and Mythical Productions: Gains and Losses of Explanation 20. Is ESP Crystal Balls? 21. This Estranged Intelligence Part 3: Using 22. Inventing 23. Half-Baked Designs 24. The Fourth Dimension of 3-D 25. See Naples and Live: The Scanning Eye of Copilia 26. Bacon’s Last Egg: Exploratory Science Hands-On 27. Spelling Spells 28. Whatever Happened to Information Theory? 29. Designing Designers 30. Journey to Unconsciousness with Ketamine 31. Engineering Mind. Post-script. Index