Form of Life, by Christine Skarda
How does our experience of the world arise?
Perceptual neuroscience explains perception
as a process of putting things together. Neurons process information
about an independent external object by creating neural representations
of its individual features. The perceptual system then progressively
integrates these isolated features to form a perceptual whole,
a complete neural representation of the actual object.
But how this binding process occurs remains
a mystery. It is in fact the central problem for perceptual neuroscience
today. After more than a half century of searching for the complete
internal correlates of external objects and events, neuroscientists
have found no evidence for their existence.
The Perceptual Form of Life proposes
a new model of perception that explains the same research data
without relying on the concept of neural representation. In this
new model, perceptual systems do not construct internal correlates.
They do not integrate information or connect the internal world
of the organism with external reality. Instead, perceptual systems
break the unbroken web of reality apart--into features, objects,
physiological subsystems, and perceivers. The new model posits
a revolutionary view of brain functioning and entails a very
different set of predictions.
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