Do Things Look Flat?

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 20th-century 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 raise geometrical complaints against the view and conjecture that views of this sort draw some of their appeal from over-analogizing visual experience to painting or photography. Theorists writing in contexts where vision is typically analogized to less-projective media--wax signet impressions in ancient Greece, stereoscopy in introspective psychology circa 1900--are substantially less likely to attribute such projective distortions to visual appearances
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2006.tb00585.x
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Michael Madary (2012). Husserl on Perceptual Constancy. European Journal of Philosophy 20 (1):145-165.
Søren Overgaard (2010). On the Looks of Things. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (2):260-284.

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