Energy, Quanta & Vision: An Updated Conceptualization

Event Date

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Christopher Tyler



One of the classic papers in the field of vision research is ‘Energy, Quanta and Vision’ (1942) by Hecht, Shlaer & Pirenne. I take this as a jumping-off point for a 21st century reconceptualization of these three domains of enquiry forming the foundations of neuroscience. In the domain of energy, I develop the concept of emergent energy structures from the most basic subatomic physics through the levels of cellular and biological complexity to the energy flows of the brain. In the domain of quanta I show how quantization is a natural consequence of energy absorption and that the mysterious Quantum Physics concepts of superposition of states and the collapse of the wave function are inherent properties of the human concept of probability as such, rather than of the underlying physical processes. In the domain of vision, I focus on the counterpoint between the complementary neural and conscious processes of perception, from primary sensory processing to propositional generation. The whole overview lays the philosophical foundations of neuroscience, which are rarely conceptualized in a complete analytic framework.


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