[SydPhil] Synaesthesia talk at Macquarie, Thursday 11 Feb

John Sutton john.sutton at mq.edu.au
Fri Jan 22 11:42:12 AEDT 2016

Enquiries to Anina Rich (anina.rich at mq.edu.au)

PARC / Cognitive Science seminar
Thurs 11th Feb, 10.30am
Seminar room 3.10, 3rd floor Australian Hearing Hub

Title: High-level perception in synaesthesia
Speaker: Associate Professor Aleksandra Mroczko-Wasowicz (Institute of Philosophy of Mind and Cognition, National Yang Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan)

Presenter's website: www.mroczko-wasowicz.com<http://www.mroczko-wasowicz.com>

In this talk I will discuss a wide scope of perceptual experience, i.e., not exclusively identified with the sensory stimulation but also including non-sensory aspects like categorizing, conceptualization, and top-down influences. Such an expansive view of perception has recently become a part of a philosophical debate on whether high-level properties (i.e., properties over and above those directly transduced by the sensory modalities) are admissible to enter the  contents of perception and phenomenal consciousness. Examples of such properties might be kind properties (recognizing that something belongs to a certain category), generic properties, uses or functions for a perceiver, numerical values, and other semantic properties representing some things or concepts. These properties are meant to be abstract, generalized, and cognitive in their nature. I propose that conscious experience in synaesthetic perception is a striking example in support of the liberal thesis that contents of perceptual experience may include high-level properties. Synaesthesia is traditionally considered to be a perceptual phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory modality (the inducer) elicits involuntary and consistent sensory experiences in the same or another modality (the concurrent). Increasing evidence for the role of semantic representations in the induction of synaesthesia demonstrates however that for many forms of synaesthesia the inducers are not strictly sensory. They are cultural constructs, e.g., numbers, letters, time units, musical notes or instruments, and sports-specific movements. The categorization of these objects/events is likely high level, involving a conceptual component. Thus, synaesthetic inducer-concurrent pairings embrace both non-sensory and sensory phenomenology

Professor John Sutton

Deputy Head, Dept of Cognitive Science

Macquarie University

Sydney, NSW 2109


john.sutton at mq.edu.au



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