Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Pebi- to History of Philosophy - Indifferentism » Perception - Perceptual Systems, Historical Background, Innate And Learned - Classical perceptual phenomena, Broad theoretical approaches, Current research/future developments

Perception - Historical Background

physical philosophers experience world

Perception is studied by philosophers, physiologists, physicians, and psychologists. Physiologists and physicians focus primarily on sensation and the underlying physical processes connected to perception. Systematic thought about perception began with ancient Greek philosophers who were interested primarily in the sources and validity of human knowledge. This still active branch of philosophy, known as epistemology, explores whether a real physical world exists independent of our experience of it, and whether our perceptions are an accurate reflection of that world. Epistemologists also question whether we are born with certain innate forms of knowledge, or whether all knowledge is learned through experience.

The systematic examination of mental organizations of physical sensations falls largely within the domain of psychology. In contrast with philosophers, psychologists use scientific methods to investigate perceptual questions. Many of the questions raised by philosophers are reflected in the larger issues that are still investigated by psychologists today. These issues include how our perceptions are formed from the interaction of the physical environment and our sense organs, the accuracy of our perceptual systems in perceiving the world, and what, if any, aspects of perception reflect innate properties of the brain versus being learned through experience.


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