Evolving Perceptual Categories

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Philosophy of Science, ISSN: 0031-8248, Vol: 81, Issue: 5, Page: 840-851

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O'Connor, Cailin
University of Chicago Press; Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library
Arts and Humanities
article description
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.