2007 | 6 | 3-4(18) | 265-288
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Vision and Cognition

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The ancient thought identified cognition with vision understood as an immediate relation between the cognitive faculty and its object. This was applied to the sensory as well as the intellectual cognition as shown by metaphors used to describe the latter. And this was maintained by Christian thought with some complications concerning the intellectual cognition introduced by the idea of illumination of the intellect by God. The break off with the model of cognition as vision begins with Kepler. He opens the period of dualism: the sensory cognition is henceforth considered as an indirect one, while the intellect is still endowed with the capacity of immediately seeing intelligible objects. Such a dualism characteristic of Descartes and of Locke was eliminated, albeit through different ways, by Berkeley and by Hume. They introduce the model of cognition as production. Kant gives to it an interpretation different from that of Hume but he remains in its conceptual limits. Today this model is no more valid because we practice the cognition through the agency of instruments of observation and measure or, in the case of the past, through the agency of its remains. And this type of cognition cannot be included in the dichotomy of sensory and intellectual cognition.
  • K. Pomian,
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