Phronesis 43 (2):176-196 (1998)

Sylvia Berryman
University of British Columbia
Philosophy in the period immediately after Aristotle is sometimes thought to be marked by the decline of natural philosophy and philosophical disinterest in contemporary achievements in the sciences. But in one area at least, the early third century B.C.E. was a time of productive interaction between such disparate fields as epistemology, physics and geometry. Debates between the sceptics and the dogmatic philosophical schools focus on epistemological problems about the possibility of self-evident appearances, but there is evidence from Euclid's day of a quite different response. The sceptical challenge provoked the development of theories explaining error formation, showing how illusions can be studied systematically and are subject to prediction. Such theories do not legitimate claims about the nature of the underlying entities perceived, but provide justification for forming expectations about future perceptions. While it overtly focuses on purely geometrical considerations, the Euclidean model of optics nonetheless provides support for certain views about the nature of vision and the physics of light. Moreover, by offering a model in which the image received is not thought to be a perspicuous mirroring of the object seen, Euclid may have helped promote a view of perception as something reconstructed from information received, not as a mere form transferred into the eye. The ancient sceptic may indeed have fulfilled his promise to promote inquiry by focusing attention on problems that escape the attention of a hasty theorist
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1163/15685289860511078
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 62,448
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Euclides e a geometria do raio visual.Guilherme Rodrigues Neto - 2013 - Scientiae Studia 11 (4):873-892.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Visual Imagery and Geometric Enthymeme: The Example of Euclid I.Keith K. Niall - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):202-203.
Geometry and Spatial Intuition: A Genetic Approach.Rene Jagnow - 2003 - Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada)
Kant and Non-Euclidean Geometry.Amit Hagar - 2008 - Kant-Studien 99 (1):80-98.
Kant on Euclid: Geometry in Perspective.Stephen R. Palmquist - 1990 - Philosophia Mathematica (1-2):88-113.
Justification and Praxeological Foundationalism.Rudolf Haller - 1988 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 31 (3):335 – 345.


Added to PP index

Total views
76 ( #139,929 of 2,446,177 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #456,899 of 2,446,177 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes