The Moon Illusion

A comprehensive discussion of the moon illusion, illustrating its scientific and philosophic implications.

This paper analyzes the history of illusions and the effect they have had on the intellectual development of the western world. The paper discusses the roots of the problem of the moon allusion in philosophy and the crossover into psychology. An outline is presented of what the moon illusion is, illustrating the issues of size and distance of the moon. The paper provides some of the common responses to the moon allusion by people like Baird and Wagner, Kaufman and Rock, Parks, and Reed. The implications for both science and philosophy for the various outcomes achieved by the researchers are examined.
“Open up any philosophical text, from the elementary textbook, Does the Center Hold? by Donald Palmer to the Oxford History of Western Philosophy. The first entry in the book will be Socrates. Even as far back as that, and probably further back than that, people have been concerned with the problems of perception. Idealism, realism, skepticism. How do we know what we know when the world can change so frequently, so fast. If our senses sometimes deceive us, and they tend to deceive us often, how can we rely upon them to tell us about the outside world. Perhaps it was when these questions were first posed that the science of psychology was first born.”