Perspectival shapes are viewpoint-dependent relational properties

Psychol Rev. 2024 Jan;131(1):307-310. doi: 10.1037/rev0000404. Epub 2022 Dec 22.


Recently, there is a renewed debate concerning the role of perspective in vision. Morales et al. (2020) present evidence that, in the case of viewing a rotated coin, the visual system is sensitive to what has often been called "perspectival shapes." It has generated vigorous discussions, including an online symposium by Morales and Cohen, an exchange between Linton (2021) and Morales et al. (2021), and most recently, a fierce critique by Burge and Burge (2022), in which they launch various conceptual and empirical objections. Although Morales and Firestone (2022) have responded to them recently, and we are in agreement with Morales and Firestone in general, there are further problems in Burge and Burge (2022) that are worth highlighting. The main point of this comment is that what the Burge-Burge team call "viewpoint-dependent relational properties" are simply instances of what the Morales-Firestone team call "perspectival shapes"; the confusion arises from Burge and Burge's misconstrual of Morales et al.'s claims. This shows that conceptually, the two teams are in large agreement, as Morales and Firestone (2022) also point out, and the focus should be put on the empirical disagreements, which has been covered by Morales and Firestone (2022). Relatedly, we argue that Burge and Burge (2022) misinterpret Morales et al. (2020) as supporting a new entity in perception science, and that this misinterpretation is a primary source of their apparent disagreement. This is worth pointing out because such misunderstanding generates many unnecessary quarrels that hinder progress. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).