Seeing through eyes, mirrors, shadows and pictures

Philosophical Studies 175 (8):2017-2042 (2018)
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I argue that we can see in a great many cases that run counter to common sense. We can literally see through mirrors, in just the same way that we see through our eyes. We can, likewise, literally see through photographs, shadows, and paintings. Rather than starting with an analysis of seeing, I present a series of evolving thought experiments, arguing that in each case there is no relevant difference between it and the previous case regarding whether we see. In a sense, my arguments can be thought of as akin to the Extended Mind Hypothesis. But instead of arguing that our minds can extend into the world, I argue that our sensory organs can extend into the world. Among the things that emerge from this discussion are that—contrary to Currie and Carroll —seeing an object O doesn’t require being able to locate O with respect to yourself, that—contrary to Sorensen —we can see objects by seeing their shadows, and that—contrary to Walton —it doesn’t matter whether the causal relation between O and yourself is mediated by beliefs.



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Helen Yetter-Chappell
University of Miami

Citations of this work

The Epistemic Threat of Deepfakes.Don Fallis - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 34 (4):623-643.
On Pictorially mediated mind-object relations.Jessica Pepp - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (2):246-274.

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The extended mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
Mind and World.John Henry McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Troubles with functionalism.Ned Block - 1978 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 9:261-325.
Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Michael Huemer (ed.) - 2001 - Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.

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