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

Acta Psychologica 114:355-378 (2003)
Visual <span class='Hi'>space</span> can be distinguished from physical <span class='Hi'>space</span>. The first is found in visual experience, while the second is defined independently of perception. Theorists have wondered about the relation between the two. Some investigators have concluded that visual <span class='Hi'>space</span> is non-Euclidean, and that it does not have a single metric structure. Here it is argued (1) that visual <span class='Hi'>space</span> 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 conditions) 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 <span class='Hi'>space</span> are different 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 correspondence. The reticence of some philosophers and psychologists to discuss the structure of phenomenal <span class='Hi'>space</span> is diagnosed in terms of the simple materialism and the functionalism of the 1970s and 1980s.
Keywords Geometry of Visual Space  Size Constancy
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
D. J. Bennett (2012). Seeing Shape: Shape Appearances and Shape Constancy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 63 (3):487-518.
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.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

282 ( #3,967 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

197 ( #3,090 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.