Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Limited Order Constraint

The limited order constraint is a property that can be imposed on machines that are designed to detect properties in a display.  To say that a detector is of limited order is to say that the detector cannot see the entire display at once.  The limited order constraint is a required assumption in Minsky and Papert’s (1969) proof that perceptrons cannot recognize or detect connected ness.  It is also responsible for the aperture problem in motion perception (Hildreth, 1983).  Pylyshyn’s (2003, 2007) theory of seeing and visualizing begins by assuming this constraint, and then proceeds by exploring its implications for the nature of the visual architecture.


  1. Hildreth, E. C. (1983). The Measurement Of Visual Motion. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  2. Minsky, M. L., & Papert, S. (1969). Perceptrons: An Introduction To Computational Geometry (1st ed.). Cambridge, Mass.,: MIT Press.
  3. Pylyshyn, Z. W. (2003). Seeing and Visualizing: It's Not What You Think. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
  4. Pylyshyn, Z. W. (2007). Things and Places: How The Mind Connects With The World. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

(Added March 2011)