Empirical Approaches in the Nineteenth Century

Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas / Archives Internationales D’histoire Des Idées book series (ARCH, volume 147)


For several decades Cheselden’s report had occupied an important place in the debate surrounding Molyneux’s problem because it was—apart from Grant’s dubious story—the only source of information on what a blind person could see after a successful operation. From the second half of the eighteenth century there was a slow change in this situation because other eye surgeons also began to describe the results they had achieved in operating on cataract patients.1 Cheselden’s report did not, however, fall into oblivion. Practically every time Molyneux’s problem (or, more generally, the perception of people blind from birth cured of their affliction) was discussed reference was made to Cheselden. Cheselden’s findings were, moreover, used as an argument in support of Berkeley’s theory well into the nineteenth century.


Nineteenth Century Cataract Operation Empirical Approach Tactile Sensation Binocular Vision 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

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