This paper, which has both a historical and a polemical aspect, investigates the view, dominant throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that the sense of sight is, originally, not phenomenally three-dimensional in character, and that we must come to interpret its properly two-dimensional data by reference to the sense of 'touch'. The principal argument for this claim, due to Berkeley, is examined and found wanting. The supposedly confirming findings concerning 'Molyneux subjects' are also investigated and are shown to be (...) either irrelevant or disconfirming. Recent investigations on infant and neonatal perception are discussed and are also found to be disconfirming. An innatist version of the theory is then considered and is shown to be undermined by the largely 'Gibsonian' character of early space-perception. Finally three recent arguments in favour of the theory - two from psychologists, one from a philosopher - are considered and answered. (shrink)
In this paper I show and discuss the relevance of Wittgenstein´s arguments as to the spatial nature of sight for recent issues in the philosophy of mind. The first, bearing upon the dimensionality of the manifolds at play in depiction, plays a critical role in Clark´s attempt to provide an independent account of qualia and of their differentiative properties. The second, pertaining to the properly spatial structure formed by the data of sight, is explicitly appealed to in the (...) debate on the realistic character of any genuinely spatial conceptual scheme. I argue that if Wittgenstein rightly assumes that the simultaneous presence of sensible places in vision is a key condition on objectivity, he fails however to warrant the allegedly realistic character of the conceptual scheme employed in his own search for a phenomenological description of the visual field. (shrink)
Looking at pictures, we see in them the scenes they depict, and any value they have springs from these experiences of seeing-in. Sight and Sensibility presents the first detailed and comprehensive theory of evaluating pictures. Dominic Lopes confronts the puzzle of how the value of seeing anything in a picture can exceed that of seeing it face to face - his solution pinpoints how seeing-in is like and unlike ordinary seeing. Moreover, since part of what we see in pictures (...) is emotional expressions, his book also develops a theory of expression especially tailored to pictures. -/- Not all evaluations of pictures as opportunities for seeing-in are aesthetic - others are cognitive or moral. Lopes argues that these evaluations interact, for some imply others. His argument entails novel conceptions of aesthetic and cognitive evaluation, such that aesthetic evaluation is distinguished from art evaluation as essentially tied to experience, and that cognitive evaluations assess cognitive capacities, including perceptual ones. Ultimately, Lopes defends images against the widespread criticism that they thwart serious thought, especially moral thought, because they merely replicate ordinary experience. He concludes by presenting detailed case studies of the contribution pictures can make to moral reflection. -/- Sight and Sensibility will be essential reading for anyone working in aesthetics and art theory, and for all those intrigued by the power of images to affect our lives. (shrink)
This paper aims to trace individual as well as collective aspects of ‘sight styles’ in diagnostic computed tomography. Radiologists need to efficiently translate the visualized data from the living human body into a reliable and significant diagnosis. During this process, their visual thinking and the created images are incorporated into a complex network of other visualizations, communication strategies, professional traditions, and (tacit) visual knowledge. To investigate the interplay of collective as well as individual dimensions of diagnostic seeing, the concept (...) of ‘sight collective’ (Sehkollektiv) is developed. On the one hand, this concept is based on critical reading of Ludwik Fleck’s epistemological writings and his notions of thought collective (Denkkollektiv) and thought style (Denkstil). On the other hand, it is tested by means of qualitative empirical studies in a radiological university clinic (participatory observations and informal interviews). By employing this approach, the paper traces the collective foundations of a certain diagnostic sight. Moreover, it shows how the individual abilities of radiologists to perform stylized seeing rely remarkably on software-based interactions with the processed images and on tacit dimensions of visual knowledge. (shrink)
Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages breaks new ground by bringing postmodern writings on vision and embodiment into dialogue with medieval texts and images: an interdisciplinary strategy that illuminates and complicates both cultures. This is an invaluable reference work for anyone interested in the history and theory of visuality, and it is essential reading or scholars of art, science, or spirituality in the medieval period.
Both Ralph Waldo Emerson's and W. E. B. Du Bois' firstborn sons tragically died at very young ages. Drawing from the essays where they write about their grief, I explore Du Bois' "subversion" and "revision" of Emerson's thought by contrasting their visual metaphors: Emerson's "focal distancing" and Du Bois' practice of "second sight" and seeing through "the Veil." I show how the disruptive particular event of the deaths of their sons causes both to challenge the idealist elements of their (...) respective gazes. I draw upon Theodor Adorno to explore the larger lessons of these reconsiderations. In recognizing the seductive dangers of the idealist gaze and the value of the disruptive particular, Adorno explicitly theorizes what Emerson and Du Bois also come to appreciate, in a less overt way, in their moments of loss. (shrink)
There have been many objections to the possibility oftime travel. But all the truly interesting ones concern the possibility of reversecausation. What is objectionable about reverse causation? I diagnose that the trulyinteresting objections are to a further possibility: that of causal loops. I raisedoubts about whether there must be causal loops if reverse causation obtains; but devote themajority of the paper to describing, and dispelling concerns about, various kinds ofcausal loop. In short, I argue that they are neither logically nor (...) physically impossible.The only possibly objectionable feature that all causal loops share is that coincidenceis required to explain them. Just how coincidental a loop will be varies: some arereally quite ordinary, and some are incredibly unlikely. I end by speculating thatthe tendency amongst physicists to avoid discussion of causal loops involving intentionalaction may have been unfortunate, since intentional action is an excellent way tonon-mysteriously bring about what otherwise would have been an unlikely coincidence. Hencecausal loops may be more likely in a world with beings like us, than in one without. (shrink)
There has been relatively little discussion, in contemporary philosophy of mind, of the active aspects of perceptual processes. This essay presents and offers some preliminary development of a view about what it is for an agent to watch a particular material object throughout a period of time. On this view, watching is a kind of perceptual activity distinguished by a distinctive epistemic role. The essay presents a puzzle about watching an object that arises through elementary reflection on the consequences of (...) two apparent truths about watching an object throughout a period of time. It proposes that the puzzle can be resolved by a view according to which for an agent to watch an object throughout a period of time is for that agent to maintain visual awareness of that object with the aim of perceptually knowing what that object is doing. The essay goes on to make some further suggestions about how the apparatus developed in connection with the notion of watching may enable us to offer related explanations of other kinds of perceptual activity. It proposes that a useful distinction can be drawn between perceptual activities like watching which have as their aim knowledge of what an object is doing and activities like looking or visually scrutinizing which have as their aims knowledge of the states or conditions of the objects of perceptual awareness. (shrink)
I raise two questions that bear on the aesthetics of painting and sculpture. First, painting involves perspective, in the sense that everything represented in a painting is represented from a point, or points, within represented space; is sculpture also perspectival? Second, painting is specially linked to vision; is sculpture linked in this way either to vision or to touch? To clarify the link between painting and vision, I describe the perspectival structure of vision. Since this is the same structure we (...) find in painting, the link is that painting manifests the perspective of vision. Touch is also perspectival, but the perspective involved is different from that in vision. Thus we can answer my second question, concerning the relations of the art forms to the senses, by addressing the first, concerning the role of perspective in sculpture. I argue that sculpture exhibits neither the perspectival structure of vision, nor that of touch. It is not perspectival, and it is not linked to either sense as painting is to vision. I close by considering the aesthetic significance of these conclusions. + This paper is a modified version of an Inaugural Lecture at the University of Sheffield. I am grateful to the University, for the opportunity to give the lecture; to my colleagues and friends, for their generous support on that occasion; to Marion Thain, for discussion; and to the Leverhulme Trust, for the award of a Philip Leverhulme prize, which made possible the research here presented. (shrink)
Vision, more than any other sense, dominates our mental life. Our visual experience is just so rich, so detailed, that we can hardly distinguish that experience from the world itself. Even when we just think about the world and don't look at it directly, we can't help but 'imagine' what it looks like. We think of 'seeing' as being a conscious activity--we direct our eyes, we choose what we look at, we register what we are seeing. The series of events (...) described in this book radically altered this attitude towards vision. This book describes one of the most extraordinary neurological cases of recent years--one that profoundly changed scientific views on consciousness. It is the story of Dee Fletcher--a woman recently blinded--who became the subject of a series of scientific studies. As events unfolded, Milner and Goodale found that Dee wasn't in fact blind--she just didn't know that she could see. Taking us on a journey into the unconscious brain, the two scientists who made this incredible discovery tell the amazing story of their work, and the surprising conclusion they were forced to reach. Written to be accessible to students and popular science readers, this book is a fascinating illustration of the power of the 'unconscious' mind. (shrink)
The isomorphism constraint places plausible limits on the use of third-person evidence to explain color experience but poses no difficulty for functionalists; they themselves argue for just such limits. Palmer's absent qualia claim is supported by neither the Color Machine nor Color Room examples. The nature of color experience depends on relations external to the color space, as well as internal to it.
Congenitally blind people can make and understand ‘tactile pictures’ – representations form of raised ridges on flat surfaces. If made visible, these representations can serve as pictures for the sighted. Does it follow that we should take at face value the idea that they are pictures made for touch? I explore this question, and the related issue of the aesthetics of ‘tactile pictures’ by considering the role in both depiction and pictorial aesthetics of experience, and by asking how far the (...) experience of those engaging with representations through touch can approximate to that of those engaging with them through sight. (shrink)
Using the later works of Wittgenstein, this paper investigates the intricate ways in which the will is related to mental imagery. It examines how "seeing" is subject to the will in a different way from "forming an image". Although it is unwise to posit a model of images which maintains that images are directly willed inner objects - just like outer objects, only located in our heads - this model is often incorrectly embraced by philosophers and psychologists. A proper understanding (...) of the relationship between seeing and imaging will also help solve the dilemma posed by a visual mental image that can be both intentional (i.e., subject to the will) and yet unintentional (i.e., forced upon one). (shrink)
Sensorimotor theorists of perception have argued that eye movement is a necessary condition for seeing on the basis that subjects whose retinal images do not move undergo a form of blindness. I show that the argument does not work.
The physician-researcher conflict of interest has thus far eluded satisfactory solution. Most attempts to deal with it focus on improving informed consent. But those attempts are not successful and may even make things worse. Research subjects are already voluntarily undertaking the risks of research — we should not ask them to go it alone — to undergo medical “treatment” without medical “care.” The only effective solution is that in much clinical research, each research subject should have a doctor independent from (...) the research study. (shrink)
La Iglesia ha dado por zanjado el caso Galileo en más de una ocasion. No obstante, la polémica ha continuado. Aquí se argumenta que las distintas iniciativas de la Iglesia respecto al caso Galileo -la revision de la condena dei copernicanismo a partir de 1820; la utilización de los documentos dei dossier inquisitorial de Galileo a partir de 1850 y la polémica suscitada; el caso Paschini (1942-1965); y las conclusiones de Juan Pablo II en 1992-1993- ponen de manifiesto la misma (...) actitud de la Iglesia y la persistencia de los intereses básicos de partida, que hacen muy improbable que el “caso de Galileo”, al margen de los problemas genuinamente históricos, pueda cerrarse.Althoght the Catholic Church has setlled “Galileo’s case” several times, the controverse goes on. I argue that Church’s initatives on this matter -the revision of the condenmation of copernicanism from 1820; the use of documents coming from Galileo’s inquisitorial dossier from 1850 on and the controversy raised by this use; Paschini case (1942-1965); and the conclusions drawn by pope John Paul II in 1992-1993- make evident the identical actitude of the Church as well as the persistence of his basic interests, which make very unlikely that Galileo’s case, regardless of genuine historical problems, call be considered as closed. (shrink)