The perception of shape

In Carl Ginet & Sydney Shoemaker (eds.), Knowledge And Mind: Phil Essays. Oxford University Press (1983)
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The central text of this article is Thomas Reid’s response to Berkeley’s argument for distinguishing tangible from visual shape. Reid is right to hold that shape words do not have different visual and tangible meanings. We might also perceive shape, moreover, with senses other than touch and sight. As Reid also suggests, the visual perception of shape does not require perception of hue or brightness. Contrary to treatments of the Molyneux problem by H. P. Grice and Judith Jarvis Thomson, I argue that breakdowns of a certain kind between tangible and visible shape are conceivable.



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David Sanford
Duke University

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