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Do we see with microscopes?

Abstract : The role of a family of instruments, microscopes, in our quest for reliable knowledge is compared with that of visual systems. Similarities and dissimilarities in accounts of their epistemic contributions are assessed. Several possible lines of argument for denying that we see with microscopes are reviewed. Arguments that exploit differences in the relations that hold between the distal stimulus and either the retinal or the microscope image are briefly presented and discussed. Arguments that concentrate on differences in the relations that hold between the image and the end-product of the process are then considered. The discussion focusses on whether, once it is granted that the main purpose of both (advanced) visual perception and microscope observation is to inform us on distal spatial layouts, there remain fundamental enough differences as to the means employed for reaching this goal to justify denying that we see with microscopes.
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Contributor : Elisabeth Pacherie <>
Submitted on : Monday, October 28, 2002 - 1:18:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
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  • HAL Id : ijn_00000240, version 1



Elisabeth Pacherie. Do we see with microscopes?. The Monist, Open court, La Salle, 1995, 78 (2), pp. 171-188. ⟨ijn_00000240⟩



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