Principles of Information-Processing Systems and Signal Detection
The quotation which heads this chapter can be interpreted from at least three different points of view. First, that reality consists of a continuum of phenomena of which we observe only a few, and upon those few observations we build a conceptual theoretical structure which enables us to imagine those aspects of reality which have not been observed. This is a philosophical position adopted by many physicists. A second interpretation is less concerned with objective reality and more concerned with subjective, that is, with psychological, perception. Even when we do observe the physical world, our subjective impressions of that objective reality do not bear a one-to-one relationship to it: the cognitive interpretations of our sensory impressions differ from the latter in many ways (some of which will be discussed for the modality of vision in Chapter 5). Thus we may say that our subjective theoretical models of objective reality do not even agree in all cases with the “iron posts of observation”; these iron posts are often systematically bent to conform with the seemingly more flimsy papier-mâché constructions of imagination—with the illusion of reality.
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