Representation and constraints: The inverse problem and the structure of visual space

Acta Psychologica 114:355-378 (2003)
Abstract
Visual space can be distinguished from physical space. The ?rst is found in visual experi- ence, while the second is de?ned independently of perception. Theorists have wondered about the relation between the two. Some investigators have concluded that visual space is non- Euclidean, and that it does not have a single metric structure. Here it is argued (1) that visual space exhibits contraction in all three dimensions with increasing distance from the observer, (2) that experienced features of this contraction (including the apparent convergence of lines in visual experience that are produced from physically parallel stimuli in ordinary viewing con- ditions) are not the same as would be the experience of a perspective projection onto a fronto- parallel plane, and (3) that such contraction is consistent with size constancy. These properties of visual space are di?erent from those that would be predicted if spatial perception resulted from the successful solution of the inverse problem. They are consistent with the notion that optical constraints have been internalized. More generally, they are also consistent with the notion that visual spatial structures bear a resemblance relation to physical spatial structures. This notion supports a type of representational relation that is distinct from mere causal cor- respondence. The reticence of some philosophers and psychologists to discuss the structure of phenomenal space is diagnosed in terms of the simple materialism and the functionalism of the 1970s and 1980s.
Keywords Geometry of Visual Space  Size Constancy
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Gary Hatfield (2007). The Reality of Qualia. Erkenntnis 66 (1-2):133--168.
Jonathan Vogel (2010). BonJour on Explanation and Skepticism. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (4):413-421.
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