Notes on videos about theories of seeing

The first video calls the notion of an “external” world into question. While this use of language is so familiar as to appear rock solid, it is not obligatory. The term “external world” (Außenwelt) was introduced by Johann Gottlieb Fichte. This innovation was not, originally, solely about epistemology. A detailed discussion of what he meant is available here:

Gottlieb, Gabriel (2015). Fichte’s Deduction of the External World. International Philosophical Quarterly 55 (2):217-234.

The sensorimotor correspondence theory of visual perception was introduced in 2001 by Kevin O’Regan and Alva Noë. It got no more than a passing reference here, and it remains to be integrated with other relational approaches to perception, but it clearly belongs with them, and not with imagistic constructions

O’Regan, J. K., & Noë, A. (2001). A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness. Behavioral and brain sciences, 24(5), 939-973.

I would love to be able to suggest a way to get beyond thinking of the “visual field”. I suggest the term “manifestation”, but there is no established way of shifting this conversation in that direction(yet).

In Video 3, I refer to the distinction between “wild seeing” and “aesthetic seeing” which was made by Alva Noë in this book:

Noë, A. (2015). Strange tools: Art and human nature. Hill and Wang.

A video documenting the creation of the chalk drawing by Edgar Mueller can be seen here:

In Video 4 I reference the classic work by Lee and Reddish on diving gannets:

Lee, D. N., & Reddish, P. E. (1981). Plummeting gannets: A paradigm of ecological optics. Nature293(5830), 293-294.

In Video 6 I point out the perplexing realization that, images aside, one has never seen one’s own face. Douglas Harding is the most prominent person to develop this theme ( though it recurs as a means of perturbing the contemplative monk in the Zen Buddhist tradition as well.

The notion of the (impossible) “innocent eye” was introduced by Ernst Gombrich in this work:

Gombrich, E. H. (1961). Art and illusion (p. 87). New York: Pantheon Books.

In Video 7 I refer to the extraordinarily simple perceptual system of the box jellyfish larva. Further details can be found in this paper:

Nordström, K., Wallén, Seymour, J., & Nilsson, D. (2003). A simple visual system without neurons in jellyfish larvae. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences270(1531), 2349-2354.

Towards the end of his life, Gilles Deleuze wrote a short, but very important, paper on the notion of the control society:

Deleuze, G. (2017). Postscript on the Societies of Control. In Surveillance, crime and social control (pp. 35-39). Routledge. [Link to PDF]

I also refer to Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s book “1926”, available for purchase here.