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The Matter of Vision

The Matter of Vision

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The Matter of Vision

A genuinely original insight into the nature of the visual character of thought (with a) light touch ...

Publication date: 2015
Total pages: 226
ISBN: 9780 86196 712 4
Price: £ 20.00


Since the earliest days of Cinema, analysis has largely failed to address the fundamental fact about the medium – its visual nature – and retreated to the conceit that Cinema can be understood through drawing parallels with Language. The Matter of Vision rejects that sleight of hand in favour of an analytical framework based in neuroscience and evolutionary biology, seeing in Real Science the potential for a qualitatively superior understanding of the medium.


‘A genuinely original insight into the nature of the visual character of thought (with a) light touch … the point being made is absolutely right.

There is a deep irony here. Books like this are very easily dismissed as disorganised or slipshod. The same criticism comes from academic journals about papers with new ideas. But if you look at the publications that are revered by those same academics, what do you find? Parmenides’s 150 line poetic fragment on the illusoriness of apparent reality. Plato’s interminable chat show with Socrates which never tells you the answers. Kant’s impenetrable and grossly repetitive meanderings through reason. Quine’s “Two Dogmas” paper which does not have the courtesy to let anyone outside the club know what all the half-said references to “well known arguments” are. And above all Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations – which reads very much like (this) book except more so. PI is just a long list of statements dozens of which cover the same ground in no particular order. It is nothing more than jottings. Yet it was the engine of late twentieth century philosophy. The good ideas in PI were centuries old and the other ideas were anti-scientistic nonsense. (This) book is far better than PI in that it is original.

The book has (an) important overlap with what some of the brightest people in computational neuroscience are saying - that there is a “third way” for brains to work that is not connectionist or language symbol manipulation but something more pictorial that we should all have known about but has been missed.

(Wyeth may have to be) content that just a few people may find it rather exciting, (but) what I particularly like about the book is that it points us in a direction with huge scope. Suddenly the wood is free of the trees.’

Jonathan Edwards, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at University College London; Book review editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies


Peter Wyeth has been a filmmaker since the early nineteen-seventies, when he was an M Phil student at UCL in Town Planning and became interested in Cinema. He made around ten films of his own and about fifty corporate videos – in order to try to make a living at what he loved doing. One short drama won a minor TCM award and a longer documentary was a runner-up for the documentary of the year Grierson Award. For about fifteen years he taught film and was in charge of a film-school in London, and has since turned to writing on modernist architecture & design as well as Cinema and a novel. He recently started a building company as he loves buildings and is still trying to make a living.

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