Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This work investigates some of the philosophical implications of current theories of the psychophysiology of perception. First, I consider the use of recent investigations into psychophysiological theories of vision, in particular, the perception of colour, and the important role assumed here for cognition and language. I conclude that a relation between colour perception and language has not been established, that consideration of special colours is too limited, and that the experimentation to date generates misleading results. I consider the interdependence of our psychophysiological response to the entire visual array, the world present to our fovea and its surround, and the manner in which this undercuts some standing notions of the assumed role of colour. Second, I consider the importance of this interdependence for limited visual experiences, with focus specifically on pictorial arts. I challenge the widely held belief, developed in a number of distinct ways, that the perception of two-dimensional representations requires a psychological immersion in the work at the expense of awareness of the work. I further conclude that a holistic approach, demonstrated through a series of practical aesthetic considerations, produces much more satisfying and useful results.



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