A Behaviorist Looks at Form Recognition by William R. Uttal

By William R. Uttal

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92). 2. Another important influence on the shaping of our concepts of form came from the Arab philosophers of the 10th and 11th centuries when Europe was intellectually quiescent, Of these, two are of special importance. Avicenna (980-1037) dealt with form as a property of a material objects, a property comparable to the matter of which it was composed. ) The distinction between matter and form made by Avicenna wasa subtle andlargely unappreciated precursor of later thought concerning the nature of form.

For example, the analysis of an image into its Fourier or spatial frequency components sometimes loses the psychophysical essence of the image as the procedure converts qualitative arrangement into a numerical representation. Unfortunately, such a transformationfrom the spatial domain to thefrequency domain results in a new form that itself must be recognized. The problem has hardly been solved in this situation; rather, the key issue has merely been deferred. This generation of what may become an infinite regress is reminiscent of the historical invocation of the homunculus as a solution to other kinds of cognitive problems.

Sometimes such a simulation may be successful in superficially imitating some limited aspect of human performance. However, the review of the basic perceptual literature presented in Chapter 3 stronglysuggeststhat an algorithmic, feature processing a p proach is not the correct direction from whichto seek understandingof the organic process. What has all too often happened in this field is that the available tools and techniques of mathematics, science, and engineering are carelessly and glibly metamorphosized into psychobiological theories of organic form recognition in total disregard of what perceptual research on living organisms tells us.

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A Behaviorist Looks at Form Recognition by William R. Uttal
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