From Perception to Conception

  • Jean M. Mandler
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 10)


As I began to read George Butterworth’s chapter, I thought that surely we were going to disagree. He begins by espousing Gibson’s ‘direct realism’ theory of perception, a theory that I have not found to be particularly helpful in my quest to understand the conceptual foundations of the mind. But as he elaborated his understanding of this view, and contrasted it with the more traditional constructivist view of Piaget, I came to realize that despite differences in terminology our views of the perceptual foundations of knowledge are very similar. We agree on the import of recent work on infant perception, and that perceptual functioning forms the initial basis for gaining knowledge about the world. However, we seem to disagree on the extent to which Gibson’s theory is apt to provide a sufficient basis for understanding conceptual growth. I will first summarize our points of agreement, and then discuss the problems to which our common belief in the perceptual foundations of knowledge lead us.


Young Infant Conceptual Knowledge Perceptual System Perceptual Categorization Perceptual Information 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean M. Mandler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaSan Diego, La JollaUSA

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