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Spatial Perception and Geometry in Kant and Helmholtz

Gary Hatfield
PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association
Vol. 1984, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1984), pp. 569-587
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192527
Page Count: 19
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Spatial Perception and Geometry in Kant and Helmholtz
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Abstract

This paper examines Helmholtz's attempt to use empirical psychology to refute certain of Kant's epistemological positions. Particularly, Helmholtz believed that his work in the psychology of visual perception showed Kant's doctrine of the a priori character of spatial intuition to be in error. Some of Helmholtz's arguments are effective, but this effectiveness derives from his arguments to show the possibility of obtaining evidence that the structure of physical space is non-Euclidean, and these arguments do not depend on his theory of vision. Helmholtz's general attempt to provide an empirical account of the "inferences" of perception is regarded as a failure.

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