I can’t get my mind around this. How does he navigate without recognizing (by sight) that a wall is a wall and not a golf course? Since he can see and see differences between objects, how is it that he can’t recognize? Does he mean that he merely can't connect a verbal/written symbol to the object? Even more bizarre is his ability to write without being able to read what he has just written. This is blatantly impossible. I call BS on that one.
This condition reminds me of other confusing conditions such as prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces without compromising the ability to discern between patterns in general. How does one go so far as to recognize an object to be a face without at least sometimes absorbing enough information to then being able to recognize whose face? What is a face? Do spiders (with eyes and legs all over the cephalothorax) have faces? “Face” is an arbitrary classification humans use to make sense of the world. The universe isn’t divided into distinct “things.” It just exists. Since those with this condition can still recognize others by clothing, gait, and behavior, they should be able to recognize faces too.
There is also anosognosia, the inability to be aware of “the left side” of anything. Victims are even incapable of knowing that anything is wrong with them and invent outrageous stories to explain their inability to move the left side of the body. Even objects wholly in the right side of the visual field are bisected and the left side ignored. This just raises too many questions for me. What defines an object? What gets bisected? Each candy on the plate? Each plate on the tray? Each tray on the table? The whole table? Since there is no limit to how small objects can be continually bisected into smaller objects, how is it that these people have awareness of anything at all? In experiments, these people could be forced (temporarily) to notice the left side of their bodies by using a curved mirror so as not to reverse left and right. How is it that a mirror can reach them in a way that reality itself doesn’t?
In some conceptions of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it is defined as the inability to form a “theory of mind” to predict the behavior of others, yet those with ASD often have superior ability to process other theories (it has been suggested that Isaac Newton might have had ASD). How is it possible to know whether one is using a physical theory or a mental theory to predict an object’s (i.e. a human’s) behavior without first understanding both theories? In order not to be able to use mental theories, an ASD-afflicted individual first needs to use a mental theory to know that it is indeed a mental theory so it can then not be used. I’m not saying ASD doesn’t exist. Clearly, something is happening to these people. I’m saying the theory-of-mind model makes no sense in explaining the origins of the symptoms. Other models that compare ASD to an extreme form of stagefright are much more promising.
I also once read about a woman left unable to see motion after a stroke, yet she could see that an object was in one place and was then in another place. Recognizing a difference in location relating to a difference in time? That is seeing motion!
I have a mental condition that prevents me from even believing in the existence of many mental conditions. I call it “common sense.” Others call it “arrogance.” Whichever term is best, I only ask that others be as tolerant of my condition as they are of others – unless of course your condition is “intolerance.”