Retinal Images and Object Files: Towards Empirically Evaluating Philosophical Accounts of Visual Perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to an influential philosophical view I call “the relational properties view” (RPV), “perspectival” properties, such as the elliptical appearance of a tilted coin, are relational properties of external objects. Philosophers have assessed this view on the basis of phenomenological, epistemological or other purely philosophical considerations. My aim in this paper is to examine whether it is possible to evaluate RPV empirically. In the first, negative part of the paper I consider and reject a certain tempting way of doing so. In the second, positive part of the paper I suggest a novel way of evaluating RPV empirically, relying on the influential object files framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-103
Number of pages13
JournalReview of Philosophy and Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I am grateful to audiences at the Consciousness and Intentionality conference at the University of Salzburg (2013), the annual conference of the New Israeli Philosophical Association at Bar Ilan University (2013), and the Rutgers-Jagiellonian Conference in Cognitive Science at the Jagiellonian University of Krakow (2014). I would like to thank Sara Aronowitz, Hagit Benbaji, Zoe Gutzeit, Amir Horowitz, Arnon Keren, Arnon Levi, Olivier Massin, Takuya Niikawa, Thomas Papathomas, Eva Schmidt, Itay Shani, Dan Shargel, Błażej Skrzypulec, Ronen Tsdaka, Benjamin Young and an anonymous referee for The Review of Philosophy and Psychology for helpful feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Special thanks go to Susanna Schellenberg and Shimon Ullman, whom I treated as paradigmatic representatives of the two main issues the present work addresses, namely RPV and vision science, respectively, and whose generous feedback and encouragement have convinced me that the present project is worth pursuing. I am grateful to Yaron Senderowicz, who supervised my PhD thesis, in which the present research is rooted, for teaching me the difference between a good philosophical idea and good philosophical work, and to Amir Horowitz, my supervisor during my post-doctoral stay at the Open University of Israel, during which the present research was carried out, for all the help and encouragement. This work has been supported by a post-doctoral fellowship plus travel stipends from the research authority of the Open University of Israel (on the basis of Amir Horowitz’s ISF grant no. 419/11).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy


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