Object individuation by iconic content: How is numerosity represented in iconic representation?

Athanasios Raftopoulos


Abstract: Fodor argues that perceptual representations are a subset of iconic representations, which are distinguished from symbolic/discursive representations. Iconic representations are nonconceptual (NCC) and they do not support the abilities afforded by concepts. Iconic representations, for example, cannot support object individuation. If someone thinks that perception or some of its parts has imagistic NCC, they face the following dilemma. Either they will have to accept that this NCC does not allow for object individuation, but it represents instead conglomerations of properties and at some stage of visual processing it must interface with cognition and its conceptual capacities for the visual objects to be individuated. Or, they will have to hold that the imagistic, NCC of (or, a stage of) perception, allows for object individuation. I opt for the second thesis because I think there is strong empirical evidence that objects are individuated during early vision. I also think that early vision individuates objects by means of, what I had previously called nonconceptual perceptual demonstrative reference. I argue, first, why Fodor’s view that iconic NCC does not enable object individuation is false. I also argue, contra Fodor, that early vision allows the perception of the cardinality of sets of objects.

Keywords: Early Vision; Analog Representations; Object Individuation; Arithmetic Cognition; Cardinality of Sets


L'individuazione di oggetti mediante il contenuto iconico: come è rappresentata la numerosità nella rappresentazione iconica?

Riassunto: Per Fodor le rappresentazioni percettive sono un sottoinsieme delle rappresentazioni iconiche, distinte dalle rappresentazioni simbolico/discorsive. Le rappresentazioni iconiche sono nonconcettuali e non supportano le abilità richieste dai concetti. Le rappresentazioni iconiche, per esempio, non supportano l'individuazione di oggetti. Se si pensa che la percezione o qualche sua parte abbia un contenuto nonconcettuale (NCC) come immagine, si ci si imbatte nel seguente dilemma. O si accetta che il NCC non permetta di individuare oggetti, ma che rappresenti conglomerati di proprietà e che (durante il processamento visivo) si interfacci con la cognizione e le sue capacità concettuali, per individuare gli oggetti visivi. O si dice che l'immagine, il NCC (o una su stadio), della percezione consenta di individuare oggetti. Propendo per la seconda tesi, poiché penso che ci sia solida evidenza empirica per cui gli oggetti vengono individuati durante le prime fasi della visione, in cui l’individuazione avviene mediante quanto definito come riferimento dimostrativo del contenuto nonconcettuale percettivo. Chiarirò le ragioni per cui la concezione di Fodor, per cui il contenuto nonconcettuale iconico non supporta l’individuazione di oggetti, è falsa. Inoltre, contra Fodor, sosterrò che le prime fasi della visione permettono la percezione della cardinalità di insiemi di oggetti.

Parole chiave: Prime fasi della visione; Rappresentazioni analogiche; Individuazione di oggetti; Cognizione aritmetica; Cardinalità degli insiemi

Parole chiave

Early Vision; Analog Representations; Object Individuation; Arithmetic Cognition; Cardinality of Sets

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4453/rifp.2020.0003

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