making sense is biological coding of sensory ecology

Dale Purves’ Lab provides profound and accessible teaching on the function of biological sensory systems. The point of biological sensory systems is not to perceive accurately the real world, but to respond successfully in the circumstances in which the organism has evolved and lives.  Phylogenetic and ontogenetic experiences determine perception-action cycles, which are empirical sensory responses. The common knowledge necessary for inter-subjective communication comes from the one real world and the shared phylogenetic and ontogenetic experiences of organism in that one common world.

But don’t merely ponder my representation of Dale Purves’ research. Play around with his online demonstrations and see for yourself.

Additional note:  Purves appends to the bottom of his resources list a note and some additional references under the title “Opinions about this approach to vision.”  The note states in part:

It seems only fair to warn those interested in the merits of the general approach to vision outlined here that opinion has been divided about this work. In fact, the majority opinion, to judge from numerous anonymous and a number of signed reviews, has been quite negative. …  Of course, people should make up their own minds, but it would be misleading to present the material, ideas, and demonstrations here without calling attention to their controversial nature.

There can be no more convincing testimony to the greatness of a scientist’s work.

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