The "great debate" in cognitive science today is about the nature of mental images. One side says images are basically pictures in the head. The other side says they are like the symbol structures in computers. If the picture-in-the-head theorists are right, then computers will never be able to think like people. This book contains the most intelligible and incisive articles in the debate, articles by cognitive psychologists, computer scientists and philosophers. The most exciting imagery phenomena are described, phenomena that indicate that mental images can be rotated and scanned, that smaller images are harder to see than larger ones, that when mental images are made larger they eventually overflow, that the "screen" they overflow from has a determinable shape (elliptical), and that this "screen" subtends a determinate visual angle, the angle of vision of the mind's eye. Such experiments cry out for explanation. If images are pictures in the head, who (or what) looks at them? Why haven't brain scientists found them? Such questions are the subject of the great debate. IMAGERY is an excellent choice for courses in cognitive psychology, perception: artificial intelligence, computer science; philosophy of mind, of psychology and of science; minds and machines, science and society.
Contributors Roger Brown and Richard Herrnstein (on the work of Roger N. Shepard), Daniel Dennett, Jerry Fodor, Robert Schwartz, Stephen Kosslyn, Steven Pinker, George Smith, Steven Shwartz, and Zenon Pylyshyn
Ned Block is Silver Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at New York University and was Chair of the Philosophy Program at MIT from 1990 to 1995. He is a coeditor of The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates (MIT Press, 1997).
The unexpected revival ofexperimental work on the properties of mental images hasstimulated both elegant experimentation and intense philosophical controversy; thisexceptionally well-selectedgroup of papers includesexamples of both, Every cognitive scientist and every philosopher of mind should befascinated!
Hilary Putnam, Harvard University
Ned Block's book, IMAGERY,would make an excellent, coherent unit for undergraduate andgraduate study. It contains manyof the critical studies and coversthe high points of the experimental and theoretical researchin mental representation, which isfast becoming the fundamentalissue in cognitive science.
Edward Smith, Bolt, Beranek and Newman Inc., Harvard University