Prolegomena 16 (1):55-72 (2017)

According to Roy Sorensen, when one looks at the Moon, during a solar eclipse, what she sees is its inner part of the farther, reflective one, and not the always-facing-Earth side of our natural satellite. To make his point clearer, he put forward the famous example of a double eclipse involving the fictional planets Far and Near. From the observer’s vantage point, the two planets have the same apparent diameter and overlap. What the agent sees is a dark disk, but believes that what she is seeing is Near, because Far is behind it. Sorensen claims that what she actually sees is planet Far and that the causal theory of perception explains why this is the case. Of course, this position stands against common sense. Sorensen shows that it counters Alvin Goldman’s renowned observation criteria too. Nonetheless, he maintains, since Near is causally idle and the agent does see something, the only possible conclusion is that she sees Far, pace Goldman – and common sense. In this paper, I try to demonstrate that Sorensen is wrong and that the correct solution to the eclipse riddle is that the observer sees Near. As a matter of fact, besides meeting common sense and Goldman’s observability criteria, Near can be legitimately be considered the object of a successful perceptual discrimination even in the light of the causal theory of perception.
Keywords Causal theory of perception  eclipse  observation  Goldman  Seeing Dark Things  Sorensen  silhouettes  Eclipse Riddle
Categories (categorize this paper)
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: 70,192
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

X—The Validity of Transcendental Arguments.Charles Taylor - 1979 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 79 (1):151-166.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Silhouettes Are Shadows.Jonathan Westphal - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (2):187-197.
Common Sense.Michael De Medeiros - 2009 - Weigl Publishers.
The Reappearing Act.István Aranyosi - 2009 - Acta Analytica 24 (1):1 - 10.
Seeing Intersecting Eclipses.Roy Sorensen - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):25.
On Privations and Their Perception.Casey O’Callaghan - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (2):175-186.
Dark Matters.Roy Sorensen - 2012 - The Philosophers' Magazine 56:42-46.
Seeing Dark Things. The Philosophy of Shadows.István Aranyosi - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3):513-515.
Sociology and Common Sense.David Thomas - 1978 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 21 (1-4):1 – 32.
Dark Matters.Roy Sorensen - 2012 - The Philosophers' Magazine 56 (56):42-46.
Scientific Realism and Basic Common Sense.Howard Sankey - 2014 - Kairos. Revista de Filosofia and Ciência 10:11-24.


Added to PP index

Total views
66 ( #173,709 of 2,507,393 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #277,263 of 2,507,393 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes