The expression blind spot has had a remarkable career in 20th-century philosophy. It emerged from a longer history of ideas, discussed with particular enthusiasm during the Enlightenment, about the relationship between blindness and sight. Few were more actively interested in this relationship than Denis Diderot, who devoted an entire work to the subject – the celebrated Lettre sur les aveugles – and questioned his own visual experiences in various experiments. What does it mean when we speak of seeing a tree? Why don’t we notice the movements of our eyelids? What happens when we look at paintings with a telescope? The presentation will discuss some long-lasting effects of these seemingly simple questions.
Peter Bexte, Professor of Aesthetics at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne since 2008, studies the relationships between image, medium, and perception. His works include
Wo immer vom Sehen die Rede ist … da ist ein Blinder nicht fern (2013) and “Sicht und Einsicht: Zum Topos des blinden Mathematikers,” in Mathesis & Graphé: Leonard Euler und die Entfaltung der Wissenssysteme, ed. Horst Bredekamp and Wladimir Velminski (2009). He has edited the volumes Denis Diderot: Schriften zur Kunst (2005); and Blinde Seher: Wahrnehmung von Wahrnehmung in der Kunst des 17. Jahrhunderts (1999).