Spatial Experience

Edited by Susanna Siegel (Harvard University)
Assistant editor: Farid Masrour (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
About this topic
Summary What is the relationship between our representation of spatial properties (such as distance, direction, size, shape, location) and objectivity? When we think of objects as existing independently of us, does this entail that we think of them as occupying space? Do we represent the objects we perceive as all occupying the same continuous space? Where does our concept of space come from? Is our representation of bodily space continuous with our representation of space outside the body?  Does the experience of space differ across sensory modalities? When we experience space, do we always experience ourselves in it? Could we hold constant our experience of left and right, while varying which direction those experiences represented?
Key works Kant 1991 discussed our representation of space and held that we represent a single continuous space, and that we represent objects as existing in it. His idea that we have a special means of representing space (an 'intuition') distinct from our means of representing objects in space has influenced many subsequent discussions of the relationship between space and objectivity. The relationship is also the topic of Evans 1980 and Strawson 1959Strawson 1959 introduced a case of a sound-world in which the inhabitant (Hero) only has auditory perception, and questions whether anyone could reidentification criteria for sounds that don't use any spatial cues.  Evans 1980 uses the case to probe the nature of our representation of mind-independence.
Introductions Eilan et al 1993; Evans 1980; Strawson 1959.
Related categories

286 found
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  1. added 2018-12-29
    Visual Field and Empty Space.Kristjan Laasik - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    In a paper titled “Seeing Empty Space,” Louise Richardson argues for the thesis that seeing empty space involves a certain “structural feature,” namely, “it [s] seeming to one as if some region of space is one in which if some visible object were there, one would see it” (SF; Richardson, 2010, p. 237). I will argue that there is a reason to question whether a structural feature such as SF is needed in order to visually experience empty space. I will (...)
  2. added 2018-12-11
    The Spatial Structure of Unified Consciousness.Bartek Chomanski - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Miami
  3. added 2018-12-04
    Bodily Awareness and Novel Multisensory Features.Robert Briscoe - forthcoming - Synthese.
    According to the decomposition thesis, a subject’s total perceptual experience at a time is an aggregate of discrete, modality‐specific experiences. Contrary to this view, I argue that certain cases of multisensory integration give rise to experiences that represent features of a novel type. Through the coordinated use of bodily awareness – understood here as encompassing both proprioception and kinaesthesis – and the exteroceptive sensory modalities, one becomes perceptually responsive to spatial features whose instances couldn’t be represented by any of the (...)
  4. added 2018-09-14
    Understanding Evans.Rick Grush - manuscript
    This paper is largely exegetical/interpretive. My goal is to demonstrate that some criticisms that have been leveled against the program Gareth Evans constructs in The Varieties of Reference (Evans 1980, henceforth VR) misfire because they are based on misunderstandings of Evans’ position. First I will be discussing three criticisms raised by Tyler Burge (Burge, 2010). The first has to do with Evans’ arguments to the effect that a causal connection between a belief and an object is insufficient for that belief (...)
  5. added 2018-09-08
    Conspectus of J. R. Smythies' Theories of Mind, Matter, and N-Dimensional Space.Peter Sjöstedt-H. - manuscript
    Conspectus of part of John R. Smythies' Analysis of Perception (1956). It presents a summary of his ideas on phenomenal space – the space of one’s imagination, dreams, psychedelic experiences, somatic sensations, visions, hynagogia, etc. – and its relation to physical space.
  6. added 2018-06-15
    Bálint’s Syndrome, Object Seeing, and Spatial Perception.Craig French - 2018 - Mind and Language 33 (3):221-241.
    Ordinary cases of object seeing involve the visual perception of space and spatial location. But does seeing an object require such spatial perception? An empirical challenge to the idea that it does comes from reflection upon Bálint's syndrome, for some suppose that in Bálint's syndrome subjects can see objects without seeing space or spatial location. In this article, I question whether the empirical evidence available to us adequately supports this understanding of Bálint's syndrome, and explain how the aforementioned empirical challenge (...)
  7. added 2018-04-28
    The Recurrent Model of Bodily Spatial Phenomenology.Tony Cheng & Patrick Haggard - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (3-4):55-70.
    In this paper, we introduce and defend the recurrent model for understanding bodily spatial phenomenology. While Longo, Azañón and Haggard (2010) propose a bottom-up model, Bermúdez (2017) emphasizes the top-down aspect of the information processing loop. We argue that both are only half of the story. Section 1 intro- duces what the issues are. Section 2 starts by explaining why the top- down, descending direction is necessary with the illustration from the ‘body-based tactile rescaling’ paradigm (de Vignemont, Ehrsson and Haggard, (...)
  8. added 2018-04-28
    Spatial Perception and the Sense of Touch.Patrick Haggard, Tony Cheng, Brianna Beck & Francesca Fardo - 2017 - In The Subject's Matter: Self-Consciousness and the Body. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. pp. 97-114.
    It remains controversial whether touch is a truly spatial sense or not. Many philosophers suggest that, if touch is indeed spatial, it is only through its alliances with exploratory movement, and with proprioception. Here we develop the notion that a minimal yet important form of spatial perception may occur in purely passive touch. We do this by showing that the array of tactile receptive fields in the skin, and appropriately relayed to the cortex, may contain the same basic informational building (...)
  9. added 2018-04-07
    The Perspectival Character of Perception.Kevin J. Lande - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy 115 (4):187-214.
    You can perceive things, in many respects, as they really are. For example, you can correctly see a coin as circular from most angles. Nonetheless, your perception of the world is perspectival. The coin looks different when slanted than when head-on, and there is some respect in which the slanted coin looks similar to a head-on ellipse. Many hold that perception is perspectival because you perceive certain properties that correspond to the “looks” of things. I argue that this view is (...)
  10. added 2018-03-30
    Are Perspectival Shapes Seen or Imagined? An Experimental Approach.John Schwenkler & Assaf Weksler - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.
    This paper proposes a novel experimental approach that would help to determine whether perspectival shapes, such as the elliptical profile of a tilted plate or coin, are part of perceptual experience. If they are part of perceptual experience, then it should be possible to identify these shapes simply by attending appropriately to them. Otherwise, in order to identify perspectival shapes they must first be constructed in the visual imagination. We propose that these accounts of perspectival identification can be tested by (...)
  11. added 2018-02-17
    The Extension of Color Sensations: Reid, Stewart, and Fearn.Giovanni B. Grandi - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (S1):50-79.
    It seems to be a consequence of Reid’s views on sensations that colour sensations are not extended nor are they arranged in figured patterns. Reid further claimed that ‘there is no sensation appropriated to visible figure.’ As I show, Reid tried to justify these controversial claims by appeal to Cheselden’s report of the experiences of a young man affected by severe cataracts, and by appeal to cases of perception of visible figure without colour. While holding fast to the principle that (...)
  12. added 2018-02-16
    The Sense of Space.David Morris - 2004 - State University of New York Press.
    A phenomenological account of spatial perception in relation to the lived body. -/- The Sense of Space brings together space and body to show that space is a plastic environment, charged with meaning, that reflects the distinctive character of human embodiment in the full range of its moving, perceptual, emotional, expressive, developmental, and social capacities. Drawing on the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Bergson, as well as contemporary psychology to develop a renewed account of the moving, perceiving body, the book suggests (...)
  13. added 2018-01-06
    On the Relation Between Visualized Space and Perceived Space.Bartek Chomanski - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (3):567-583.
    In this paper, I will examine the question of the space of visual imagery. I will ask whether in visually imagining an object or a scene, we also thereby imagine that object or scene as being in a space unrelated to the space we’re simultaneously perceiving or whether it is the case that the space of visual imagination is experienced as connected to the space of perceptual experience. I will argue that the there is no distinction between the spatial content (...)
  14. added 2017-12-22
    The Locus of Masking Shape-at-a-Slant.William Epstein & Gary Hatfield - 1978 - Perception and Psychophysics 24 (6):501-504.
    Twelve subjects provided shape and orientation judgments for a set of projectively equivalent, variously rotated rectangles under three viewing conditions—monoptic, dichoptic, and binocular—with and without the presence of a pattern mask. In the absence of the mask, partial constancy was exhibited under the first two conditions and near perfect constancy under the binocular condition. Orientation was discriminated. Presence of the mask produced projective shape matching and diminished orientation discrimination. It is argued that the site of masking was postchiasmal, and the (...)
  15. added 2017-12-22
    Functional Equivalence of Masking and Cue Reduction in Perception of Shape at a Slant.William Epstein & Gary Hatfield - 1978 - Perception and Psychophysics 23 (2):137-144.
    In a backward masking paradigm Epstein, Hatfield, and Muise (1977) found that presentation of a frontoparallel pattern mask caused the perceived shape of elliptical figures which were rotated in depth to conform to a projective shape function. The current study extended the masking function by examining the effect of a mask which was partially or wholly cotemporal with the target. The study also assessed the functional equivalence of the masking treatment and the conventional treatment for minimizing depth information. Reports of (...)
  16. added 2017-12-12
    Spatial Perception: The Perspectival Aspect of Perception.E. J. Green & Susanna Schellenberg - 2017 - Philosophy Compass:1-17.
    When we perceive an object, we perceive the object from a per- spective. As a consequence of the perspectival nature of perception, when we perceive, say, a circular coin from different angles, there is a respect in which the coin looks circular throughout, but also a respect in which the coin's appearance changes. More generally, perception of shape and size properties has both a constant aspect—an aspect that remains stable across changes in perspective—and a perspectival aspect—an aspect that changes depending (...)
  17. added 2017-10-19
    On the Perception of Structure.E. J. Green - 2017 - Noûs.
    Many of the objects that we perceive have an important characteristic: When they move, they change shape. For instance, when you watch a person walk across a room, her body constantly deforms. I suggest that we exercise a type of perceptual constancy in response to changes of this sort, which I call structure constancy. In this paper I offer an account of structure constancy. I introduce the notion of compositional structure, and propose that structure constancy involves perceptually representing an object (...)
  18. added 2017-09-27
    Balint’s Syndrome, Visual Motion Perception, and Awareness of Space.Bartek Chomanski - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1265-1284.
    Kant, Wittgenstein, and Husserl all held that visual awareness of objects requires visual awareness of the space in which the objects are located. There is a lively debate in the literature on spatial perception whether this view is undermined by the results of experiments on a Balint’s syndrome patient, known as RM. I argue that neither of two recent interpretations of these results is able to explain RM’s apparent ability to experience motion. I outline some ways in which each interpretation (...)
  19. added 2017-09-03
    Perceiving as Having Subjectively Conditioned Appearances.Gary Hatfield - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (2):149-178.
    This paper develops an appearance view of perception. When we see an object, we see it by having it appear some way to us. We see the object, not the appearance; but we see the object via the appearance. The appearance is subjectively conditioned: aspects of it depend on attributes of the subject. We mentally have the appearance and can reflect on it as an appearance. But in the primary instance, of veridical perception, it is the object that we focus (...)
  20. added 2017-08-21
    Gombrich and the Duck-Rabbit.Robert Eamon Briscoe - 2018 - In Michael Beaney (ed.), Aspect Perception After Wittgenstein: Seeing-as and Novelty. Routledge. pp. 49-88.
  21. added 2017-08-04
    Zur Kognition räumlicher Grenzen: Eine mereotopologische Untersuchung.Barry Smith - 1995 - Kognitionswissenschaft 4:177-184.
    The perception of spatial bodies is at least in part a perception of bodily boundaries or surfaces. The usual mathematical conception of boundaries as abstract constructions is, however, of little use for cognitive science purposes. The essay therefore seeks a more adequate conception of the ontology of boundaries building on ideas in Aristotle and Brentano on what we may call the coincidence of boundaries. It presents a formal theory of boundaries and of the continua to which they belong, of a (...)
  22. added 2017-05-01
    Shape Perception in a Relativistic Universe.Peter Fisher Epstein - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):339-379.
    According to Minkoswki, Einstein's special theory of relativity reveals that ‘space by itself, and time by itself are doomed to fade away into mere shadows’. But perceptual experience represents objects as instantiating shapes like squareness — properties of ‘space by itself’. Thus, STR seems to threaten the veridicality of shape experience. In response to this worry, some have argued that we should analyze the contents of our spatial experiences on the model of traditional secondary qualities. On this picture—defended in recent (...)
  23. added 2017-03-17
    An Argument for Shape Internalism.Jan Almäng - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):819-836.
    This paper is a defense of an internalist view of the perception of shapes. A basic assumption of the paper is that perceptual experiences have certain parts which account both for the phenomenal character associated with perceiving shapes—phenomenal shapes—and for the intentional content presenting shapes—intentional shapes. Internalism about perceptions of shapes is defined as the claim that phenomenal shapes determine the intentional shapes. Externalism is defined as the claim that perceptual experiences represent whatever shape the phenomenal shape reliably tracks. The (...)
  24. added 2017-03-02
    Spatial Thinking.Günter Figal - 2009 - Research in Phenomenology 39 (3):333-343.
    This paper is an attempt to solve a key problem of phenomenology. The problem is given with the double role of the revealing capacity for which phenomena are present. On the one hand, this capacity must be prior to all phenomena, because it allows phenomena to show themselves and thus to be what they essentially are. On the other hand, the revealing capacity must be situated in the midst of phenomena; it must belong to the phenomenal world in order to (...)
  25. added 2017-02-27
    Husserl’s Lebenswelt and the Problem of Spatial Cognition – in Search of Universals.Elżbieta Łukasiewicz - 2010 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):23-43.
    Perception and conceptualization of space are some of the most basic elements of human cognition. It has been long assumed that human spatial thinkingand frames of reference used to grasp and describe the location of an object in relation to other objects are of universal nature and so are projected in naturallanguages in basically the same manner; three principal dimensions in egocentric perceptual space were distinguished: up-down, front-back and left-right, reflecting our biological make-up. If differences in spatial terminology were observed, (...)
  26. added 2017-02-27
    The natural and the normative. Theories of spatial perception from Kant to Helmholtz. [REVIEW]André Stanguennec - 1994 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 184 (4):465-466.
    Review of Gary Hatfield, The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception from Kant to Helmholtz. MIT Press, 1990.
  27. added 2017-02-27
    The Natural and the Normative. Theories of Spatial Perception From Kant to Helmholtz. [REVIEW]Lorne Falkenstein - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (2):476-480.
  28. added 2017-02-27
    The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception From Kant to Helmholtz. [REVIEW]Christopher Longuet-Higgins - 1992 - Philosophical Quarterly 42 (168):395-396.
    Review of Gary Hatfield, The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception from Kant to Helmholtz. MIT Press, 1990.
  29. added 2017-02-26
    Action and Variation in Perception.Kristjan Laasik - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy (published online):1364-1375.
    In her paper, ‘Action and Self-location in Perception’, Susanna Schellenberg argues that perceptual experience of an object's intrinsic spatial properties, such as its size and shape, requires a capacity to act. More specifically, Schellenberg argues that, to have a perceptual experience of an object's intrinsic spatial properties, a subject needs to have a certain practical conception of space, or a spatial know-how. That, in turn, requires self-locating representations, which locate the subject, relative to the perceptual object, as a perceiver and (...)
  30. added 2017-02-15
    Layers of Permanence: A Spatial-Materialist Reading of Ivan Vladislavić's The Exploded View.Shane Graham - 2008 - Mediations 24 (1).
    Critics of Vladislavić’s fiction have tended toward dehistoricized textual readings focusing on the author’s clear preoccupation with words and word games. Such readings have often ignored or downplayed Vladislavić’s equally clear interest in the material processes and socio-physical spaces that shape and enable life in the city. This essay develops a spatial-materialist interpretation of his novel The Exploded View, reading word games and puzzles as part of a larger attempt to map the labyrinthine geographies of the post-apartheid city. Vladislavić forges (...)
  31. added 2017-02-15
    A Genetic View of Space Perception.E. A. Kirkpatrick - 1902 - Philosophical Review 11:87.
  32. added 2017-02-14
    How Images Shape Bodies.Arthur W. Frank - 1998 - Body and Society 4 (1):101-112.
  33. added 2017-02-13
    Spatial Terms Reflect Near-Optimal Spatial Categories.Naveen Khetarpal, Asifa Majid & Terry Regier - 2009 - In N. A. Taatgen & H. van Rijn (eds.), Proceedings of the 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. pp. 2396--2401.
  34. added 2017-02-13
    Shape-From-Shading Depends on Visual, Gravitational, and Body-Orientation Cues.Heather L. Jenkin, Michael R. Jenkin, Richard T. Dyde & Laurence R. Harris - 2004 - In Robert Schwartz (ed.), Perception. Malden Ma: Blackwell. pp. 1453-1461.
  35. added 2017-02-13
    Human Spatial Representation Derived From a Honeybee Compass.Martin Giurfa & Randolf Menzel - 2003 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 7 (2):59-60.
  36. added 2017-02-13
    Updating Egocentric Representations in Human Navigation.Ranxiao Frances Wang & Elizabeth S. Spelke - 2000 - Cognition 77 (3):215-250.
  37. added 2017-02-13
    A Theory of Visual Stability Across Saccadic Eye Movements.Bruce Bridgeman, A. H. C. Van der Heijden & Boris M. Velichkovsky - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (2):247.
  38. added 2017-02-13
    Frames of Reference in the Spatial Representation System.David J. Bryant - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):241.
  39. added 2017-02-13
    The Mapping of Visual Space is a Function of the Structure of the Visual Field.J. Blouin, N. Teasdale, C. Bard & M. Fleury - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (2):326-327.
  40. added 2017-02-13
    Spatial Ability: Not Enough Space to Make a Sex Difference.John Eliot - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (1):196.
  41. added 2017-02-13
    Picture in Visual Space and Recognition of Similarity.Tarow Indow - 1989 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12 (1):87.
  42. added 2017-02-13
    Voluntary Movement and Perception in Intrapersonal and Extrapersonal Space.P. E. Roland - 1979 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2 (1):79-80.
  43. added 2017-02-13
    Re-Afference in Space and Movement Perception.Austin H. Riesen - 1979 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2 (1):78.
  44. added 2017-02-12
    Comment on "The Role of Instruction in Experimental Space Orientation".H. A. Witkin - 1953 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 46 (2):135-136.
  45. added 2017-02-12
    Hand-Tongue Space Perception.C. N. Waterman - 1917 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 2 (4):289-294.
  46. added 2017-02-11
    Out of Shape.Mel Campbell - 2013 - Agora (History Teachers' Association of Victoria) 48 (3):27.
  47. added 2017-02-11
    Space-Time Relations: Effects of Time on Perceived Visual Extent.J. Christopher Bill & Leon W. Teft - 1969 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 81 (1):196.
  48. added 2017-02-11
    Effects of the Visual Field Upon Perception of Change in Spatial Orientation.Norman L. Corah - 1965 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 70 (6):598.
  49. added 2017-02-11
    The Perception of the Egocentric Orientation of a Line.Irvin Rock - 1954 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 48 (5):367.
  50. added 2017-02-11
    The Role of Instruction in Experimental Space Perception.Cecil W. Mann & Randolph O. Boring - 1953 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 45 (1):44.
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