The arrangement of our visual system and the objective truth

In summary, the discussion discussed how perception is "unconscious inference" and how our visual system incorporates prior knowledge to overcome the ambiguity of sense data.
  • #1
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Hello people :oldsmile:
I would like to discuss one issue here.
Let’s imagine that I am looking to the sphere:
sphereSVG2-1024x871.png

I can clearly see that it sphere, not cylinder, or cube, or submarine, or dinosaur.
So what I see is objective truth.

But how do we generally see the objects? We have got two eyes, the visual information flows from them to thalamus and then to visual cortex in occipital lobe. Extremely complex processes occur there and in the result I/we see the sphere in front of me.

Now imagine that visual cortex is arranged in a bit different way and in principle this was possible – the evolution could go in a bit different way. Let’s assume that visual cortex has 9 layers, that visual information flows to layer 1 (outermost layer), then it goes to layer 5, then to 7 and etc. We can imagine as many things as we wish.

But eventually I would see the same sphere in front of me, right? If I doubt what kind of object do I have in front of me I can touch it and I can be sure that it is sphere and not cylinder, or cube, or submarine, or dinosaur.

So, my question is – our current pattern of our visual system/cortex is the only possible one that enables us to see objects objectively as they are in reality? Or perhaps other patterns are also possible? Under different kind of visual system we would see other objects (cube instead of sphere for example)? :oldeyes:
 
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  • #2
Eagle9 said:
I can clearly see that it sphere, not cylinder, or cube, or submarine, or dinosaur.
So what I see is objective truth.

But it's not. It's a 2-D representation of a sphere. That sphere may not even exist. The picture might be many things, but one thing it is not is objective truth. Sorry. Objective truth.

Since the premise is false, it's not clear what is left to discuss.
 
  • #3
Eagle9 said:
So what I see is objective truth.
Not really, but in any case "objective truth" is philosophy, not science, and as such it is not appropriate for discussion on PF.
 
  • #4
Eagle9 said:
Hello people :oldsmile:
I would like to discuss one issue here.
Let’s imagine that I am looking to the sphere:
View attachment 280261
I can clearly see that it sphere, not cylinder, or cube, or submarine, or dinosaur.
So what I see is objective truth.
But how do we generally see the objects? We have got two eyes, the visual information flows from them to thalamus and then to visual cortex in occipital lobe. Extremely complex processes occur there and in the result I/we see the sphere in front of me.
Now imagine that visual cortex is arranged in a bit different way and in principle this was possible – the evolution could go in a bit different way. Let’s assume that visual cortex has 9 layers, that visual information flows to layer 1 (outermost layer), then it goes to layer 5, then to 7 and etc. We can imagine as many things as we wish.
But eventually I would see the same sphere in front of me, right? If I doubt what kind of object do I have in front of me I can touch it and I can be sure that it is sphere and not cylinder, or cube, or submarine, or dinosaur.
So, my question is – our current pattern of our visual system/cortex is the only possible one that enables us to see objects objectively as they are in reality? Or perhaps other patterns are also possible? Under different kind of visual system we would see other objects (cube instead of sphere for example)? :oldeyes:

The standard answer is that perception is "unconscious inference", which is an idea that can be traced back to Helmholtz (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscious_inference). The premise is that perception is an "ill-posed" problem, meaning that there are multiple possible configurations of the visual world that are consistent with any given retinal input. Your visual system then incorporates prior knowledge, for example that light typically comes from above, casts shadows, etc., to overcome the ambiguity of the sense data. This can be framed as Bayesian inference (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_approaches_to_brain_function). A good example is shown here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_shadow_illusion).

Our visual systems don't allow us to see things "objectively as they are in reality", but rather they allow us to see things in a way which evolution has favoured to help us survive, and there are multiple illusions (such as the above checker shadow illusion) which reveal that.
 
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  • #5
@madness gave a good answer - but this area is somewhat outside the bounds PF sets for discussion -- as @Vanadium 50 clearly states.
Example: Pareidolia - humans see faces and other things where there are none. It is part of our adaptive evolutionary history.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

So, thread is closed. Thanks to everyone helping.
 
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1. What is the arrangement of our visual system?

The arrangement of our visual system refers to the organization and structure of the various components involved in processing visual information, including the eyes, optic nerves, and brain regions responsible for vision.

2. How does our visual system perceive objective truth?

Our visual system does not directly perceive objective truth. Instead, it processes and interprets visual stimuli based on our individual experiences, biases, and expectations. This can lead to differences in how we perceive and interpret the same visual information.

3. What factors influence the arrangement of our visual system?

The arrangement of our visual system is influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Our genes determine the basic structure and function of our visual system, while our experiences and environment can shape and refine its development.

4. Can our visual system be fooled or tricked?

Yes, our visual system can be fooled or tricked through optical illusions, which exploit the limitations and biases of our visual system. Our brain may also fill in missing information or make assumptions based on past experiences, leading to inaccuracies in our perception of reality.

5. How does our visual system contribute to our understanding of objective truth?

Our visual system plays a crucial role in our understanding of objective truth by allowing us to perceive and interpret visual information from our surroundings. However, it is important to recognize that our perception is not always a perfect representation of reality and can be influenced by various factors.

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