Do Things Look Flat?Eric Schwitzgebel
Philosophy & Phenomenological Research, 72 (2006), 589-599.
Abstract: Does a penny viewed at an angle in some sense look elliptical, as though projected on a two-dimensional surface? Many philosophers have said such things, from Malebranche (1674/1997) and Hume (1739/1978), through early sense-data theorists, to Tye (2000) and Noë (2004). I confess that it doesn’t seem this way to me, though I’m somewhat baffled by the phenomenology and pessimistic about our ability to resolve the dispute. I conjecture that, maybe, projectivist views draw some of their appeal by over-analogizing visual experience to painting or photography. Theorists writing in contexts where vision is analogized to less projective media – signet ring impressions in wax in ancient Greece, stereoscopy in introspective psychology circa 1900 – seem substantially less likely to attribute such projective distortions to visual appearances.
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