CFA: Ecological Perception: Amodal and Multimodal Trends

Ecological Perception: Amodal and Multimodal Trends


University of Edinburgh, May 29 & 30, 2015

This conference aims to bring together philosophers working on a broadly ecological approach to perception to address questions of multimodal sensory integration and the amodal perception of environmental information.

“Ecological Perception” is interpreted liberally as any approach to perceptual function and content that takes contingent features of the environment or evolutionary history to play a key explanatory role.  This broad understanding is meant to include not only the tradition stemming directly from J. J. Gibson’s ecological optics, but also related traditions such as gestalt psychology, J. v. Uexküll’s Umwelt theory, and more recent approaches from the phenomenological, embodied, and enactivist movements.

The aim is to examine resources within these traditions for moving beyond the focus on within-modality (and even cross-modal) perception to a broader perspective on the integration of multiple modalities within a unified experience.  Also of interest are questions of how perception via a single modality might provide modality-independent (amodal) information about the world (should colour experience be understood as merely about colours, or can it tell us more?) and whether traditionally unimodal perceptual categories (taste, touch, spatial perception) can more helpfully be understood in multi- or amodal terms.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Professor Gary Hatfield, University of Pennsylvania
  • Professor Kathleen Akins, Simon Fraser University


Paper proposals are invited in the form of extended abstracts (500–750 words), and should be emailed directly to the conference organizer.  Both shorter and longer presentations will be considered (25 min + 20 min questions; 50 min + 40 min questions).  Complete papers will also be accepted, but are not required.  Postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students are encouraged to submit.

Deadline: April 12

Send all abstracts and inquiries to Alistair Isaac at