Skepticism and Spatial Objects

in International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
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I defend external world realism. I assume that the principle of inference to the best explanation is justified: roughly, a hypothesis that provides a better explanation of the total evidence is more probable than one that does not. I argue that the existence of a world of spatial objects provides a systematic explanation of the spatial contents of visual experience, and that it provides a better explanation than traditional skeptical hypotheses. This paper thus pursues the explanationist strategy of Laurence BonJour and Jonathan Vogel. It is an improved, more compelling defense, for at least two reasons. First, the attention to spatial properties, and in particular to what I call perspectival projections, makes the explanatory power of the realist hypothesis much more vivid and concrete. Second, the argument preserves and elucidates much that seems correct in the explanationist arguments others have offered while avoiding significant problems and shortcomings.

Skepticism and Spatial Objects

in International Journal for the Study of Skepticism



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    Alberti’s window.

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    (a) and (b) illustrate the problem of determining the structure of the projecting stimulus from a single image. (c) disconfirms the hypothesis suggested by (b) that the stimulus consists of lines meeting at a point in 3D space.

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    Parallel lines projecting converging lines.

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    Vertices projected by corners and edges of cubes.

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    Change of projection size with distance from object.

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    Two projections of a cube. Change in perspective leads to slight foreshortening of some sides, and elongation of others.

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    Optic flow resulting from motion perpendicular to the line of sight.


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