The Geometry Of Vision And The Mind Body Problem

Lang (1987)
Abstract
In this thesis, I both analyze the phenomenology of vision from a geometrical point of view, and also develop certain connections between that geometrical analysis and the mind body problem. In order to motivate the need for such an analysis, I first show, by means of a refutation of direct realism, that visual space is never identical with any of the physical objects being indirectly "seen" by constituting color arrangements in it. It thus follows that the geometry of visual space may be quite different from the Euclidean geometry of physical space, and I proceed to analyze that geometry. ;I argue that topologically, visual space is two dimensional, inasmuch as regions of it are capable of being bounded by a line, such as the borders around the various objects constituted in it. An apparent paradox arises here though, inasmuch as we posess phenomenal depth perception, which is particularly striking during binocular vision, and thus the question arises as to how the binocular depth cue of retinal disparity is registered phenomenally in a two dimensional space. I resolve this apparent paradox by arguing that the internal metric struture of this space can be apprehended phenomenally, and can serve as such a phenomenal depth cue. It is shown that holistically, this metric structure is elliptical, since for example marginal distortions in wide-angle photography are not present in visual space, and it is also noted that there is a tendency towards size constancy in visual perception. It is shown from these geometrical considerations that visual space posseses a variable curvature, with that curvature being determined by the physical depths of objects constituted in the space. ;Finally, I investigate what bearing the preceding geometrical conclusions have on the question of how events in visual space may be causally determined by neural events in the brain. The classical isomorphic theory of Gestalt psychology is then reinterpreted in light of my analysis of the geometry of visual space
Keywords Body  Metaphysics  Mind  Perception  Phenomena  Science  Space  Topology  Vision
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