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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Contemporary perceptual psychology uses Bayesian decision theory to develop Helmholtz’s view that perception involves ‘unconscious inference’. The science provides mathematically rigorous, empirically well-confirmed explanations for diverse perceptual constancies and illusions. The explanations assign a central role to mental representation. This article highlights the explanatory centrality of representation within current Bayesian perceptual models. The article also discusses how Bayesian perceptual psychology bears upon several prominent philosophical topics, including: eliminativism about representation (defended by Churchland, Field, Quine, and Stich); relationalism about perception (endorsed by Brewer, Campbell, Martin, and Travis); phenomenal content (postulated by Chalmers, Horgan and Tienson, and Thompson); and the computational theory of mind (espoused by Fodor and many other philosophers).

Keywords: Bayesian decision theory, unconscious inference, perceptual psychology, perceptual constancies, perceptual illusions, mental representation, eliminativism, relationalism, phenomenal content, computational theory of mind

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