The dissertation presents a history of modern ideas about vision. I believe that vision isnot a timeless concept; rather, each period understands vision differently depending on how it isused. In the twentieth century, vision acquired new roles as the medium of mass communicationand the instrument of labor, and, as any other productive tool, it was subjected to engineering,rationalization and automation. Such new disciplines as applied experimental psychology andcognitive science, communication engineering and film, robotics, and advertising designcontinue to search for ways to utilize vision productively. In the process, they generate newknowledge about vision, at the same time reducing it to a few disjoined and limited models. Thedissertation chapters follow the development of four such models: vision as a code, vision as ameans of logical reasoning, vision as a way to capture spatial information, and vision asinformation processing.Let us consider a few definitions of vision that are representative of entire research paradigmsand that were unthinkable before the middle of this century.David Marr's Vision, published in 1980, summarized a decade of investigations onhuman perception carried out at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. This book has beenthe most influential account of the computational approach to vision, shared by computer scientists and psychologists. It opens with this statement:What does it mean, to see? The plain man's answer (and Aristotle's, too) would be, to know whatis where by looking. In other words, vision is the process of discovering from images what is present in the world, and where it is.
David Marr, Vision (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1982), 3.