Early-Modern Theories of Vision - AFS500194
Poslední úprava: doc. James Hill, Ph.D. (20.02.2018)
Early-Modern Theories of Vision
Vision has traditionally been thought of as the most spiritual of the five senses, with a special kinship to the intellect. In this course we will be examining two contrasting theories of vision in early-modern philosophy, developed by René Descartes and George Berkeley. Our focus will be on three aspects of these theories. Firstly, we shall investigate how they explain the perception by sight of distance, shape, size and other spatial properties. Secondly, we shall reflect on the relation of vision to the other senses, and on the (alleged) distinction between common and proper sensibles. Thirdly, we shall explore the wider significance of vision in the work of these philosophers—in particular, the way in which the mind, or intellect, is modelled on the eye; and the extent to which the philosophers in question use an ocular paradigm to understand knowledge. During the course we will also find time to consider perspectives on vision found in the work of Nicolas Malebranche, William Molyneux and Denis Diderot. This course, which will be conducted in English, is intended for students on an MA programme as it will presuppose an orientation in early-modern philosophy.
Descartes, René. La dioptrique, 1637 (Czech translation, 2010), esp. discourses 4-6
Berkeley, George. An Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, 1709, and The Theory of Vision Vindicated and Explained, 1733
Diderot, Denis. A Letter on the Blind (Lettre sur les aveugles), 1749
Malebranche, Nicolas. De la recherche de la vérité, 1674-5.
Molyneux, William. Dioptrica Nova: A Treatise of Dioptricks in Two Parts, 1692.
Secondary Literature (A Brief Selection)
Armstrong, D.M. Berkeley’s Theory of Vision: A Critical Examination of Bishop Berkeley’s Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. Melbourne University Press, 1960.
Atherton, Margaret. Berkeley’s Revolution in Vision. Cornell University Press, 1990.
Gaukroger, Stephen. Descartes: An Intellectual Biography. OUP, 1995
Lindberg, David C. Theories of vision from al-Kindi to Kepler. Chicago, 1976.
Martin, Michael. ‘Sight and Touch’ in Tim Crane (ed.) The Contents of Experience: Essays on Perception. CUP, 1992 : pp. 196-215
Ott, Walter. Descartes, Malebranche and the Crisis of Perception. OUP. 2017, chapter 4
Pitcher, George (ed). Berkeley on Vision: A Nineteenth-Century Debate. New York and London: Garland, 1988.
Schwartz, Robert.Vision. Blackwell, 1994.
Wilson, Catherine. ‘Discourses of Vision in Seventeenth-Century Metaphysics'in David Levin (ed.), Sites of Vision: MIT Press, 1997: pp. 117-138
1. Introduction with an Historical Background
2. Descartes on Vision and Sense Perception
3. Descartes on the Natural Geometry of Vision
4. Descartes on Vision and the “Eye of the Intellect”
5. Malebranche on Vision
6. Berkeley on Seeing Distance
7. Berkeley against the Common Sensibles
8. Berkeley on Visual and Tactile Geometry
9. Berkeley on Touch and Space
10. The “Molyneux Problem”
11. Diderot on Blindness and Vision
Poslední úprava: doc. James Hill, Ph.D. (12.02.2018)
The course requirements (for the award of "zkouška") are: (i) regular attendance during the semester; (ii) one short presentation during the semester to be written up as an essay (minimum 4 "normostrany).