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Title: Seeing through
Author: Mac Cumhaill, Clare
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores and defends the idea that empty space is both visible and tangible - we see and feel it. In particular, it is argued that empty space looks 'clear' and 'seethrough'. Naturally, this requires a defense of the claim that empty space is something, not nothing, and this is the first task the thesis takes up. Chapter One motivates metaphysical Absolutism as an assumption, while Chapter Two defends the thought that empty space, understood absolutely, is not inefficacious - it has a kind of structural 'biff' that arises from its shape and which affects light and material located in and moving through it. This, it is argued, has consequences for perception, and these are worked out in Chapters Three and Six. Drawing on the work of Graham Nerlich, it is argued that empty space has a 'look' and a 'feel'. Unlike Nerlich, however, it is insisted that Euclidean space is visible and tangible. Chapter Four asks in what sense the perception of a given empty region depends on that region - since empty space has a kind of biff, it is not negatively efficacious - while Chapter Five develops this theme in arguing against treating the perception of empty space as a species of absence perception. In this chapter, an alternative treatment of the perception of empty space is considered - the Structural View defended by Richardson (2010) and Soteriou (2011). This view emphasizes, not the structure of space, but the structure of experience. It is shown in what sense the 'direct' account so far defended is compatible with the structuralist position, where this is read descriptively, not transcendentally. Chapter Seven traces a speculative line of argument by considering the seeing of space in mirrors and figurative paintings, while Chapter Eight explains where the structuralist and direct views diverge. It is argued, after Husserl (1907), that empty space and objects are co-seen, but that this is so in two distinct respects. Seeing empty space as space that objects could take up involves seeing objects as space-takers. But there could well be perceivers who see the 'look' of empty space without yet seeing empty space as space that could be filled.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available