Research

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In my dissertationI argue that we should change the way we think about both perceptual constancy and perceptual objectivity (i.e. the capacity of perception to present the world as objective, independent of our viewpoint).

I propose a new account of constancy rooted in a sort of pragmatic principle, that is, in the idea that we should start by looking at what constancy is for, what it does.

I reject the ‘standard’ account of constancy according to which constancy is achieved when the perceptual system ‘extracts’ a distal property from a largely underdetermined proximal stimulus, and ‘discounts’ contextual information. This approach, I think, is too visuo-centric and cannot fully capture the role that constancies play in providing perceptual stability for action.

My account allows to include instances of constancy in non-visual modalities which, even though they contribute to the achievement of perceptual stability for action, cannot be easily accommodated within a picture focused on the attribution of specific distal properties.

Finally, my account of constancy is employed to understand what it is for perception to be objective: objectivity, in this picture, is essentially tied to agency, and perceptual constancy is what keeps these two notions together.

My work is largely inspired by traditions such as Gestalt and ecological psychology, pragmatism, enactivism, embodied cognitive science, and existentialist phenomenology.

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Here is a couple of things I have published:

Suoni (2014, www.aphex.it)

Naturalizing Qualia (2017, Phenomenology and Mind)

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These articles are currently under review:

  • Enactivism and the ‘problem’ of perceptual presence 
  • Perceptual constancy is dead, long live perceptual constancy! 
  • Putting the Interface theory of perception in perspective

And here are a few more projects I have been working on (email me if you’d like to see the manuscripts!):

  • Olympians and vampires – Talent, practice, and transformative experience

On the one hand, sports champions were born with an incredible amount of talent. On the other hand, they have outstanding dedication to hard training. But are talent and practice distinct? L.A. Paul’s notion of ‘transformative experience’ might help us understand what lies behind these commonplace notions…

  • Reconsidering Perceptual Constancy (co-authored with Tony Chemero)

When thinking about perceptual constancy, we tend to think about the attribution of properties (shapes, colors, sizes, etc.). But think about balancing a pole on the top of your hand…

  • Issues on the nature of sounds

What are sounds? We seem to know a lot about them, but they are in fact very, very tricky items…

  • Naive realism, constancy, and objectivity

Is the fact that perception is both objective and perspectival problematic for the naive realist? Not necessarily…