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Critical and metacritical dimensions in Helmholtz's account of human vision

Liesbet De Kock (UGent)
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Abstract
This paper takes Hermann von Helmholtz’s (1821 – 1894) psychophysiological theory of perception as a point of departure to examine the conditions of possibility for the process of objectification which necessarily mediates the interactions of complex living beings with their environment. By means of an analysis of the 1855 statement ‘to see is to understand sensation’, I will argue that the epistemological framework of Helmholtz’s optics can be analyzed transcendentally on two levels of analysis, namely critical and metacritical. Both levels are concerned with the way in which objectivity is constituted by an active, sensitive being, but while the former is concerned with the imposition of structure by our cognitive organization, the latter deals with the constitutional role of the (sensitivity) to constraint. It will be demonstrated how this general epistemological strategy could also help structuring the questions involved in accounting for the internal models that necessarily underlie the activity of anticipation. More specifically, I will argue that Helmholtz’s work could provide some powerful insights into the notion of ‘constraint’, which is considered to be crucial in accounting for the ability for anticipation according to Stepp and Turvey (2010), amongst others.
Keywords
constraint, Kant, objectification, anticipation, Hermann von Helmholtz, Fichte

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Chicago
De Kock, Liesbet. 2014. “Critical and Metacritical Dimensions in Helmholtz’s Account of Human Vision.” Casys : International Journal of Computing Anticipatory Systems 26: 35–48.
APA
De Kock, Liesbet. (2014). Critical and metacritical dimensions in Helmholtz’s account of human vision. CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS, 26, 35–48.
Vancouver
1.
De Kock L. Critical and metacritical dimensions in Helmholtz’s account of human vision. CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS. 2014;26:35–48.
MLA
De Kock, Liesbet. “Critical and Metacritical Dimensions in Helmholtz’s Account of Human Vision.” CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS 26 (2014): 35–48. Print.
@article{1897252,
  abstract     = {This paper takes Hermann von Helmholtz{\textquoteright}s (1821 -- 1894) psychophysiological theory of perception as a point of departure to examine the conditions of possibility for the process of objectification which necessarily mediates the interactions of complex living beings with their environment. By means of an analysis of the 1855 statement {\textquoteleft}to see is to understand sensation{\textquoteright}, I will argue that the epistemological framework of Helmholtz{\textquoteright}s optics can be analyzed transcendentally on two levels of analysis, namely critical and metacritical. Both levels are concerned with the way in which objectivity is constituted by an active, sensitive being, but while the former is concerned with the imposition of structure by our cognitive organization, the latter deals with the constitutional role of the (sensitivity) to constraint. It will be demonstrated how this general epistemological strategy could also help structuring the questions involved in accounting for the internal models that necessarily underlie the activity of anticipation.  More specifically, I will argue that Helmholtz{\textquoteright}s work could provide some powerful insights into the notion of {\textquoteleft}constraint{\textquoteright}, which is considered to be crucial in accounting for the ability for anticipation according to Stepp and Turvey (2010), amongst others.},
  author       = {De Kock, Liesbet},
  issn         = {1373-5411},
  journal      = {CASYS : INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPUTING ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS},
  keyword      = {constraint,Kant,objectification,anticipation,Hermann von Helmholtz,Fichte},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {35--48},
  title        = {Critical and metacritical dimensions in Helmholtz's account of human vision},
  volume       = {26},
  year         = {2014},
}