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date: 18 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter begins with a sketch of the empirical, theoretical, and philosophical background to nineteenth-century theories of perception, focusing on visual perception. It then considers German sensory physiology and psychology in the nineteenth century and its reception. This section gives special attention to: assumptions about nerve–sensation relations; spatial perception; the question of whether there is a two-dimensional representation in visual experience; psychophysics; size constancy; and theories of colour perception. The chapter then offers a brief look at the interaction between perceptual theory and philosophical issues in epistemology and the metaphysics of mind in Britain and America, focusing on: the notion of a muscle sense; the problem of the external world; and forms of perceptual realism. It ends with an overview of psychological theories of perception in the early twentieth century and the Gestalt reaction, culminating with J. J. Gibson.

Keywords: colour perception, German psychology, Gestalt psychology, James J. Gibson, William Hamilton, problem of the external world, psychophysics, representative realism, size constancy, spatial perception

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