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Alhacen's Theory of Visual Perception (First Three Books of by Alhazen, A. Mark Smith

By Alhazen, A. Mark Smith

Someday among 1028 and 1038, Ibn al-Haytham accomplished his huge optical synthesis, Kitab al-Manazir ("Book of Optics"). via no later than 1200, and maybe a little bit prior, this treatise seemed in Latin below the identify De aspectibus. In that shape it was once attributed to a undeniable "Alhacen." those adjustments in identify and authorial designation are indicative of the profound transformations among the 2 models, Arabic and Latin, of the treatise. in lots of methods, in reality, they are often looked no longer easily as various models of an identical paintings, yet as diverse works of their personal correct. consequently, the Arab writer, Ibn al-Haytham, and his Latin incarnation, Alhacen, characterize unique, occasionally even conflicting, interpretive voices. And an identical holds for his or her respective texts. To complicate issues, "Alhacen" doesn't symbolize a unmarried interpretive voice. there have been at the very least translators at paintings at the Latin textual content, one in all them adhering faithfully to the Arabic unique, the opposite content material with distilling, even paraphrasing, the Arabic unique. therefore, the Latin textual content offers no longer one, yet at the least faces to the reader. This two-volume serious variation represents fourteen years of labor on Dr. Smith's half. offered the 2001 J. F. Lewis Award.

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Extra resources for Alhacen's Theory of Visual Perception (First Three Books of Alhacen's De Aspectibus), Volume One - Introduction and Latin Text (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society)

Sample text

159 Color is a natural concomitantof opacity,so, at least in practice,if not theory,neither can exist without the other. 16 On its own, in fact, color has virtually no illuminative effect, as is evident from our inability to see things in pitch-blackdarkness. , by shining on other opaque objectsand impartingits own hue to their surfaces-color requires illumination. Color and light are naturally disposed to intermingle,light providingcolorwith the abilityto shine, color in turn providing light with a sort of screenupon and throughwhich to exert its illuminative power.

As such, it provides one way-but not the only wayof explaining visual phenomena. Consequently,Ptolemy's analysis of INTRODUCTION xxxvii sight is largely dependent upon, but by no means limited to, ray-geometry. , spatial) or tangible propertiesof things. As the properobjectof sightand thus the only thing that is visible perse-color is absolutely primal. Rendered effectively visible by light, it is the first thing sensed by the visual flux. The resulting color-impression provides the basis upon which all otherperceptionsarederived, particularlythose involving the spatial characteristicsof things.

In the process,we will examineAlhacen'saccount of visual certification,accordingto which we make actualsense of what we see. Having thus ascertainedhow, under propercircumstances,we achieve a veridicalperceptionof externalparticulars,we will close with an account of visual illusions, or misperceptions,and their genesis in the transgressionof certain threshold conditions critical to proper visual perception. ThePhysicalGroundsofSight:Accordingto Alhacen,eight preconditions must be met if visual perception is to occur at all, much less properly.

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