CFP: The Geometry of the Visual Field. Early Modern and Contemporary Approaches (Special Issue "Topoi", Springer)

Submission deadline: October 15, 2014

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Topoi: An international Review of Philosophy
The Geometry of the Visual Field. Early Modern and Contemporary Approaches
Deadline for submission: 15 October 2014

Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy (, will publish a special issue on the Geometry of the Visual Field. The deadline for submitted papers is 15 October 2014.

Guest Editor:
Hannes Ole Matthiessen (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)

Confirmed Contributors:
Andrea van Doorn and Jan Koenderink (Delft/Leuven)

Lorne Falkenstein (Western Ontario)

Giovanni B. Grandi (UBC Okanagan)

Mark Wagner (Wagner College, New York)

In a remarkable section of his “Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense”, published 250 years ago, Thomas Reid argued that the geometry of “visibles” – ordinary objects regarded (under abstraction from the dimension of depth) as two-dimensional occupants of the visual field – is describable in terms of spherical geometry. Once we investigate the geometrical properties of, say, the trapezoidal appearance of a rectangular sheet of paper we find, according to Reid, that they are determined by a projection on the inside of a sphere with the eye at its centre. As a result, the geometry of visibles differs from Euclidean plane geometry. For example, it allows for a triangle to have apparently straight sides and apparent angles that add up to more than 180 degrees.

While many theorists currently working on the geometry of vision deny that two-dimensional projections of any sort have a role to play in an account of human vision, the view that Reid’s account does something to capture the phenomenology of visual experience continues to be endorsed by philosophers in both the phenomenological and the analytic tradition. 

The aim of this issue is to advance and stimulate both the philosophical and psychological understanding of the geometry of visual space. We invite contributions dealing with any of the following: Thomas Reid and 17th/18th philosophy and theory of vision, empirical research on the geometry of vision, the philosophy of perception considered from either an analytic or a phenomenological orientation

Contributions are invited on (though not limited to) the following topics:

Reid’s contribution to the history of the theory of visual space

The legacy of Reid’s contribution for contemporary work on the theory of visual space

Empirical, mathematical, and philosophical arguments for or against a non-euclidean geometry of visual space

The status of “visibles” as an element of phenomenal experience and an explanatory category in visual theory

The geometry of visibles and two-dimensionalism about vision

The dimensionality of visual space

Implications of empirical studies for our understanding of the geometry of vision

All papers will be subject to double-blind peer-review, following international standard practices. Manuscripts should be submitted exclusively through the Online Manuscript Submission System (Editorial Manager), accessible at

Please save your manuscript in one of the formats supported by the system (e.g., Word, WordPerfect, RTF, TXT, LATEX2e, TEX, Postscript, etc.), which does NOT include PDF. Make sure to select the appropriate article type for your submission by selecting “S.I.: Geometry of Visual Space (Matthiessen)” as the appropriate tab from the scroll-down menu.

For any further information please contact: Hannes Ole Matthiessen, [email protected]

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