Spatial Experience

Edited by Susanna Siegel (Harvard University, Cornell University)
Assistant editor: Farid Masrour (University of Wisconsin, Madison, University of Arizona)
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

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  1. Handbook of Experimental Phenomenology. Visual Peception of Shape, Space and Appearance.Liliana Albertazzi (ed.) - 2013 - Wiley.
    Visual Perception of Shape, Space and Appearance Liliana Albertazzi. the sort I have in mind. What I am speaking of is the mandatory correlations between attributes of visual space (those of, e.g., surfaces, shape, distance, direction) and  ...
  2. Unfolding Perceptual Continua.Liliana Albertazzi (ed.) - 2002 - Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    The book analyses the differences between the mathematical interpretation and the phenomenological intuition of the continuum.
  3. An Argument for Shape Internalism.Jan Almäng - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-18.
    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 (...)
  4. Alignment of Spatial Perspective.Elena Andonova - 2010 - In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Cognitive Science Society. pp. 2506--2511.
  5. Hippocampus: Seahorse; Brain-Structure; Spatial Map; Concept.Beth Diane Armstrong - unknown
    Through an exploration of both sculptural and thought processes undertaken in making my Masters exhibition, ‘Hippocampus’, I unpack some possibilities, instabilities, and limitations inherent in representation and visual perception. This thesis explores the Hippocampus as image and concept . Looking at Gilles Deleuze’s writings on representation, I will expand on the notion of the map as being that which does not define and fix a structure or meaning, but rather is open, extendable and experimental. I explore the becoming, rather than (...)
  6. Studies in Space Orientation. II. Perception of the Upright with Displaced Visual Fields and with Body Tilted.S. E. Asch & H. A. Witkin - 1992 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 121 (4):407-418.
  7. Studies in Space Orientation: I. Perception of the Upright with Displaced Visual Fields.S. E. Asch & H. A. Witkin - 1948 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 38 (3):325.
  8. Studies in Space Orientation. II. Perception of the Upright with Displaced Visual Fields and with Body Tilted.S. E. Asch & H. A. Witkin - 1948 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 38 (4):455.
  9. Evans on Bodily Awareness and Perceptual Self‐Location.Ignacio Ávila - 2014 - European Journal of Philosophy 22 (2):269-287.
    In Chapter 7 of The Varieties of Reference Evans implicitly outlines a view to the effect that bodily awareness plays no role in perceptual self-location or in the specification of our perceptual perspective of the world. In this paper I discuss this story and offer an alternative proposal. Then I explore some consequences of this account for our understanding of the elusiveness of the self in perceptual experience.
  10. Is the Experience of Pain Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities.Murat Aydede - manuscript
    I distinguish between two claims of transparency of experiences. One claim is weaker and supported by phenomenological evidence. This I call the Transparency Datum. Introspection of standard perceptual experiences as well as bodily sensations is consistent with, indeed supported by, the Transparency Datum. I formulate a stronger transparency thesis that is entailed by (strong) representationalism about experiential phenomenology. I point out some empirical consequences of strong transparency in the context of representationalism. I argue that pain experiences, as well as some (...)
  11. Spatial Perception, Embodiment, and Scientific Realism.Andrew R. Bailey - 2007 - Dialogue 46 (3):553-568.
  12. Visual Riemannian Space Versus Cognitive Euclidean Space.Antonio M. Battro - 1977 - Synthese 35 (4):423 - 429.
  13. How the World Is Measured Up in Size Experience.David J. Bennett - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (2):345-365.
    I develop a Russellian representationalist account of size experience that draws importantly from contemporary vision science research on size perception. The core view is that size is experienced in ‘body-scaled’ units. So, an object might, say, be experienced as two eye-level units high. The view is sharpened in response to Thompson’s (forthcoming) Doubled Earth example. This example is presented by Thompson as part of an argument for a Fregean view of size experience. But I argue that the Russellian view I (...)
  14. Space-Time Relations: Effects of Time on Perceived Visual Extent.J. Christopher Bill & Leon W. Teft - 1969 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 81 (1):196.
  15. A Theory of Granular Partitions.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - In Foundations of Geographic Information Science. Taylor & Francis.
    We have a variety of different ways of dividing up, classifying, mapping, sorting and listing the objects in reality. The theory of granular partitions presented here seeks to provide a general and unified basis for understanding such phenomena in formal terms that is more realistic than existing alternatives. Our theory has two orthogonal parts: the first is a theory of classification; it provides an account of partitions as cells and subcells; the second is a theory of reference or intentionality; it (...)
  16. 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.
  17. Spatial Representation.Bill Brewer - 1993 - Cambridge: Blackwell.
  18. The Integration of Spatial Vision and Action.Bill Brewer - 1993 - In Naomi M. Eilan (ed.), Spatial Representation. Cambridge: Blackwell.
  19. Unilateral Neglect and the Objectivity of Spatial Representation.Bill Brewer - 1992 - Mind and Language 7 (3):222-39.
    Patients may show a more-or-less complete deviation of the head and eyes towards the right (ipsilesional) side [that is, to the same side of egocentric space as the brain lesion responsible for their disorder]. If addressed by the examiner from the left (contralesional) side [the opposite side to their lesion], patients with severe extrapersonal neglect may fail to respond or may look for the speaker in the right side of the room, turning head and eyes more and more to the (...)
  20. 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.
  21. Multisensory Processing and Perceptual Consciousness: Part II.Robert Briscoe - forthcoming - Philosophy Compass.
    The first part of this survey article presented a cartography of some of the more extensively studied forms of multisensory processing. In this second part, I turn to examining some of the different possible ways in which the structure of conscious perceptual experience might also be characterized as multisensory. In addition, I discuss the significance of research on multisensory processing and multisensory consciousness for philosophical debates concerning the modularity of perception, cognitive penetration, and the individuation of the senses.
  22. Depiction, Pictorial Experience, and Vision Science.Robert Briscoe - 2016 - Philosophical Topics 44 (2):43-81.
    Pictures are 2D surfaces designed to elicit 3D-scene-representing experiences from their viewers. In this essay, I argue that philosophers have tended to underestimate the relevance of research in vision science to understanding the nature of pictorial experience. Both the deeply entrenched methodology of virtual psychophysics as well as empirical studies of pictorial space perception provide compelling support for the view that pictorial experience and seeing face-to-face are experiences of the same psychological, explanatory kind. I also show that an empirically informed (...)
  23. Spatial Content and Motoric Significance.Robert Briscoe - 2014 - Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies (2):199-216.
    According to “actionism” (Noë 2010), perception constitutively depends on implicit knowledge of the way sensory stimulations vary as a consequence of the perceiver’s self-movement. My aim in this contribution is to develop an alternative conception of the role of action in perception present in the work of Gareth Evans using resources provided by Ruth Millikan’s biosemantic theory of mental representation.
  24. Do Intentions for Action Penetrate Visual Experience?Robert Briscoe - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-2.
  25. Mental Imagery and the Varieties of Amodal Perception.Robert Briscoe - 2011 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (2):153-173.
    The problem of amodal perception is the problem of how we represent features of perceived objects that are occluded or otherwise hidden from us. Bence Nanay (2010) has recently proposed that we amodally perceive an object's occluded features by imaginatively projecting them into the relevant regions of visual egocentric space. In this paper, I argue that amodal perception is not a single, unitary capacity. Drawing appropriate distinctions reveals amodal perception to be characterized not only by mental imagery, as Nanay suggests, (...)
  26. Perceiving the Present: Systematization of Illusions or Illusion of Systematization?Robert Briscoe - 2010 - Cognitive Science 34 (8):1530-1542.
    Mark Changizi et al. (2008) claim that it is possible systematically to organize more than 50 kinds of illusions in a 7 × 4 matrix of 28 classes. This systematization, they further maintain, can be explained by the operation of a single visual processing latency correction mechanism that they call “perceiving the present” (PTP). This brief report raises some concerns about the way a number of illusions are classified by the proposed systematization. It also poses two general problems—one empirical and (...)
  27. Egocentric Spatial Representation in Action and Perception.Robert Briscoe - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):423-460.
    Neuropsychological findings used to motivate the "two visual systems" hypothesis have been taken to endanger a pair of widely accepted claims about spatial representation in conscious visual experience. The first is the claim that visual experience represents 3-D space around the perceiver using an egocentric frame of reference. The second is the claim that there is a constitutive link between the spatial contents of visual experience and the perceiver's bodily actions. In this paper, I review and assess three main sources (...)
  28. Vision, Action, and Make‐Perceive.Robert Briscoe - 2008 - Mind and Language 23 (4):457-497.
    In this paper, I critically assess the enactive account of visual perception recently defended by Alva Noë (2004). I argue inter alia that the enactive account falsely identifies an object’s apparent shape with its 2D perspectival shape; that it mistakenly assimilates visual shape perception and volumetric object recognition; and that it seriously misrepresents the constitutive role of bodily action in visual awareness. I argue further that noticing an object’s perspectival shape involves a hybrid experience combining both perceptual and imaginative elements (...)
  29. Multisensory Processing and Perceptual Consciousness: Part I.Robert Eamon Briscoe - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):121-133.
    Multisensory processing encompasses all of the various ways in which the presence of information in one sensory modality can adaptively influence the processing of information in a different modality. In Part I of this survey article, I begin by presenting a cartography of some of the more extensively investigated forms of multisensory processing, with a special focus on two distinct types of multisensory integration. I briefly discuss the conditions under which these different forms of multisensory processing occur as well as (...)
  30. Action-Based Theories of Perception.Robert Briscoe & Rick Grush - 2015 - In The Stanford Encylcopedia of Philosophy. pp. 1-66.
    Action is a means of acquiring perceptual information about the environment. Turning around, for example, alters your spatial relations to surrounding objects and, hence, which of their properties you visually perceive. Moving your hand over an object’s surface enables you to feel its shape, temperature, and texture. Sniffing and walking around a room enables you to track down the source of an unpleasant smell. Active or passive movements of the body can also generate useful sources of perceptual information (Gibson 1966, (...)
  31. On Seeing 'Everything' Upside Down.Lorin Browning - 1973 - Analysis 34 (December):48-49.
  32. Representing Space in Language and Perception.David J. Bryant - 1997 - Mind and Language 12 (3-4):239-264.
  33. Frames of Reference in the Spatial Representation System.David J. Bryant - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):241.
  34. Assessing Spatial Frameworks with Object and Direction Probes.David J. Bryant & Barbara Tversky - 1992 - Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 30 (1):29-32.
  35. Sex Differences in the Spatial Representation of Number.Rebecca Bull, Alexandra A. Cleland & Thomas Mitchell - 2013 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 142 (1):181.
  36. Perception and Evidence.Alex Byrne - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (1):101-113.
    Perception is a source of knowledge: by looking at a white cup on a desk, one can come to know that there is a white cup on a desk. Schellenberg’s character Percy is in such an agreeable situation, the “good case”. Her hapless Hallie, on the other hand, is in the “bad case”: she is hallucinating a white cup on a desk. We may suppose that Percy and Hallie share a very specific visual state that completely characterizes the character of (...)
  37. What's the Role of Spatial Awareness in Visual Perception of Objects?John Campbell - 2007 - Mind and Language 22 (5):548–562.
    I set out two theses. The first is Lynn Robertson’s: (a) spatial awareness is a cause of object perception. A natural counterpoint is: (b) spatial awareness is a cause of your ability to make accurate verbal reports about a perceived object. Zenon Pylyshyn has criticized both. I argue that nonetheless, the burden of the evidence supports both (a) and (b). Finally, I argue conscious visual perception of an object has a different causal role to both: (i) non-conscious perception of the (...)
  38. What is the Role of Location in the Sense of a Visual Demonstrative? Reply to Matthen.John Campbell - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 127 (2):239-254.
  39. Attention and Frames of Reference in Spatial Reasoning: A Reply to Bryant.John Campbell - 1997 - Mind and Language 12 (3&4):265–277.
  40. Shape Properties, Experience of Shape and Shape Concepts.John Campbell - 1996 - Philosophical Issues 7:351-363.
  41. Out of Shape.Mel Campbell - 2013 - Agora 48 (3):27.
  42. Space and Objective Experience.Quassim Cassam - 2005 - In José Luis Bermúdez (ed.), Thought, Reference, and Experience: Themes From the Philosophy of Gareth Evans. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  43. Perceptual Space is Monadic.Albert Casullo - 1989 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 50 (September):131-134.
  44. The Spatial Structure of Perceptual Space.Albert Casullo - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 46 (June):665-671.
  45. The Shape of Time.A. Cioranescu - 1990 - Diogenes 38 (149):1-21.
  46. Location, Location, Location.Austen Clark - manuscript
    Forthcoming in Lana Trick & Don Dedrick , Cognition, Computation, and Pylyshyn. MIT Press. Presented at the Zenon Pylyshyn Conference , University of Guelph, 1 May 2005.
  47. Investigating What Felt Shapes Look Like.Sam Clarke - 2016 - I-Perception 7 (1).
    A recent empirical study claims to show that the answer to Molyneux’s question is negative, but, as John Schwenkler points out, its findings are inconclusive: Subjects tested in this study probably lacked the visual acuity required for a fair assessment of the question. Schwenkler is undeterred. He argues that the study could be improved by lowering the visual demands placed on subjects, a suggestion later endorsed and developed by Kevin Connolly. I suggest that Connolly and Schwenkler both underestimate the difficulties (...)
  48. Effects of the Visual Field Upon Perception of Change in Spatial Orientation.Norman L. Corah - 1965 - Journal of Experimental Psychology 70 (6):598.
  49. Scenery and the Sense of Sight.Vaughan Cornish - 1935 - Cambridge University Press.
  50. Bálint’s Syndrome, Object Seeing, and Spatial Perception.French Craig - forthcoming - Mind & Language.
    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 it is supposed that in Bálint’s syndrome subjects can see objects without seeing space or spatial location. In this paper, I question whether the empirical evidence available to us adequately supports this understanding of Bálint’s syndrome, and explain how the aforementioned empirical (...)
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