William Molyneux posed the following question: Consider a person who has been born blind and who has learnt to distinguish a globe and a cube by touch. If this person could suddenly see, would they be able to distinguish these objects by sight alone? This seventeenth-century thought experiment, known as ‘Molyneux’s problem’, received attention from some of philosophy’s greatest minds. We discuss how thinkers like Locke and Leibniz, as well as artists with visual impairments, responded to Molyneux’s challenge.
Marjolein Degenaar is the author of Molyneux’s Problem: Three Centuries of Discussion on the Perception of Form.
Barry Ginley is Equality and Access Adviser, Victoria & Albert Museum.
Brian Glenney is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Norwich University.
Clare Moriarty (@quiteclare) is a Fellow, Forum for Philosophy and a Teaching Fellow in Philosophy, UCD
The Forum for European Philosophy (@ForumPhilosophy) is an educational charity that organises a full and varied programme of philosophy and interdisciplinary events in the UK.
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A podcast of this event is available to download from Molyneux's Problem.
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