Philosophy Research Archives:
James T. Culbertson
A Neural Theory of Percepts and Mental Images
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This essay is an analysis of conscious perception and conscious memory. It tries to show that percepts and mental images (roughly, experientially, the same as Hume's "impressions and ideas") are sets of particles at the perceived stimulus objects and at the remembered stimulus objects. It is thus a theory of direct perception and direct memory, and a materialism but not a central state materialism. The percept (we claim) is an "appearance" of the stimulus object particles (perceived object particles) which is due to the way the particles at the perceived object are interconnected (interrelated) by the networks of stimuli-plus-neuron-impulses starting from them. The same is true of the mental image. This essay is primarily an analysis of such networks--to show, we claim, how they make the sets of object particles seem to have sense qualities and gestalts and other properties of percepts and mental images.