Relative to other so-called ‘minor entities’, in particular shadows, and to an extent holes, reflections remain strikingly under-theorised. This sub-section contains an assortment of works that explore the nature and/or harness the concept of reflection, most notably in the philosophy of perception. Here a number of issues of theoretical significance crop up: Is perception with a mirror illusory? When one perceives a reflection, what is one perceiving – light, a reflecting surface, a reflection or an image of some sort? The nature of reflections: are they akin to echoes? More generally reflections might be treated as a diagnostic for sorting among distinct philosophical theories of perception and their relative merits. A further, but related area of concern is the connection between specular and pictorial experience.
The concept of reflection is widely exploited in logic (reversal), philosophy of mind (simulation theories) and phenomenology (introspection). Famously, Richard Rorty’s meta-theoretical criticism of a certain species of analytic philosophy reports an over-reliance on the assumption of experience and language ‘mirroring nature'.
|Key works||For consideration of the nature of mirror reflections (are they images say?), and the question as to whether they are illusory see Casati 2012 and compare the classic Block 1974. An exploration of the significance of mirror reflections for contemporary philosophy of perception can be found in Millar 2011. See also the short exchange between Arthadeva 1957 (for his account of refraction see Arthadeva 1959) and Armstrong 1959.|
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David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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