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Hardcover | $45.00 X | £37.95 | 264 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 12 b&w illus. | December 2016 | ISBN: 9780262035453
eBook | $32.00 X | December 2016 | ISBN: 9780262341776
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Visual Phenomenology


In this book, Michael Madary examines visual experience, drawing on both phenomenological and empirical methods of investigation. He finds that these two approaches—careful, philosophical description of experience and the science of vision—independently converge on the same result: Visual perception is an ongoing process of anticipation and fulfillment.

Madary first makes the case for the descriptive premise, arguing that the phenomenology of vision is best described as on ongoing process of anticipation and fulfillment. He discusses visual experience as being perspectival, temporal, and indeterminate; considers the possibility of surprise when appearances do not change as we expect; and considers the content of visual anticipation. Madary then makes the case for the empirical premise, showing that there are strong empirical reasons to model vision using the general form of anticipation and fulfillment. He presents a range of evidence from perceptual psychology and neuroscience, and reinterprets evidence for the two-visual-systems hypothesis. Finally, he considers the relationship between visual perception and social cognition. An appendix discusses Husserlian phenomenology as it relates to the argument of the book.

Madary argues that the fact that there is a convergence of historically distinct methodologies itself is an argument that supports his findings. With Visual Phenomenology, he creates an exchange between the humanities and the sciences that takes both methods of investigation seriously.

About the Author

Michael Madary is Assistant Researcher and Lecturer at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.


“Defending the idea that visual perception is an ongoing process of anticipation and fulfillment, Madary draws from both phenomenological studies and vision science to provide new, important insights into how we see the world and others. His analysis is rich with the empirical and experiential facts. In contrast to many works on vision, this book is bright and clear and eminently readable.”
Shaun Gallagher, Lillian and Morrie Moss Professor of Excellence in Philosophy, University of Memphis; author of How the Body Shapes the Mind and The Phenomenological Mind
Visual Phenomenology is a highly original, rigorously argued, and well-researched work. It is widely taken for granted in phenomenological circles that perception essentially involves both anticipation and fulfillment. But I am unaware of any work in which this claim is defended nearly so well or with such careful attention to phenomenological and empirical evidence. This book will make a very significant contribution to phenomenology, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of perception.”
Walter Hopp, Associate Professor, Boston University; author of Perception and Knowledge