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Does Visual Spatial Awareness Require the Visual Awareness of Space?


  • I am especially grateful to John Campbell, Thane Naberhaus, Alva Noë, Bill Prinzmetal, Lynn Robertson, James Stazicker, Daniel Warren, and two anonymous referees with this journal for comments and discussions concerning this material.

Department of Philosophy, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, USA.


Many philosophers have held that it is not possible to experience a spatial object, property, or relation except against the background of an intact awareness of a space that is somehow ‘absolute’. This paper challenges that claim, by analyzing in detail the case of a brain-damaged subject whose visual experiences seem to have violated this condition: spatial objects and properties were present in his visual experience, but space itself was not. I go on to suggest that phenomenological argumentation can give us a kind of evidence about the nature of the mind even if this evidence is not absolutely incorrigible.