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Evolving Perceptual Categories

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Abstract

This article uses sim-max games to model perceptual categorization with the goal of answering the following question: To what degree should we expect the perceptual categories of biological actors to track properties of the world around them? I argue that an analysis of these games suggests that the relationship between real-world structure and evolved perceptual categories is mediated by successful action in the sense that organisms evolve to categorize together states of nature for which similar actions lead to similar results. This conclusion indicates that both strongly realist and strongly antirealist views about perceptual categories are too simple.

Type
Signaling Theory in Biological and Cognitive Sciences
Copyright
Copyright © The Philosophy of Science Association

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Footnotes

Many thanks to Brian Skyrms, Simon Huttegger, Jeffrey Barrett, Kyle Stanford, Michael McBride, James Weatherall, Louis Narens, Kimberly Jameson, Grant Ramsey, Katherine Brading, and Justin Bruner for comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank audiences at the PSA 2012, GIRL Lund 2013, the MCMP, the Notre Dame HPS colloquium series, and the UCI Social Dynamics seminar for wonderful feedback.

References

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