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James J. Gibson’s Direct Realist Theory of Perception

Lee Pierson

Presented at: OCON 2009

Date: Jul 03, 2009

James Gibson’s direct realist theory of perception—the one approach to perception in contemporary psychology that is fundamentally consistent with Objectivism—is presented in its essentials. Gibson’s radical primacy-of-existence viewpoint departs from other current approaches to perception: when we look at a tree, Gibson says, we see a tree—not an image or any other kind of representation of a tree.

According to Gibson, visual perceptual awareness is the detection of entities and events in the world, not the construction of an inner world of consciousness.

Topics include: visual perception as involving the pickup of information in light, perception as an activity occurring over time, why perceiving the world entails co-perceiving the self, affordances (perceived values), distinguishing perception from memory. This course has no prerequisites except a desire to understand the source of all of our knowledge—perception.


Parts: 4

Handout: none


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