Volume 15, 2015
Wilhelm Schapp on Seeing Distant Things
In 1909, Wilhelm Schapp, a student of Edmund Husserl’s at Göttingen, defended his doctoral thesis, Beiträge zur Phänomenologie der Wahrnehmung. In this text, Schapp argues that color presents things to the sense of sight by contributing a certain order, or form, that manifests itself in the orderly, predictable variation of perspectives, in the course of experience. He also argues that we do not visually perceive certain distant things, like a house far down in the valley, due to a lack of such color order. While accepting, with qualifications, Schapp’s claim concerning the need for a color order, I will argue that we can visually perceive distant things. I will also argue that Schapp’s discussion of distant things is, nevertheless, of current interest, viz., by comparison of his views with Alva Noë’s recent arguments to the effect that we do not visually perceive distant objects.