Roberto Casati

Roberto Casati is the Director of the Jean Nicod Institute and Professor at EHESS in Paris. He is the coauthor of Holes and Other Superficialities and Parts and Places: The Structures of Spatial Representation, both published by the MIT Press.

  • The Visual World of Shadows

    The Visual World of Shadows

    Roberto Casati and Patrick Cavanagh

    How the perception of shadows, studied by vision scientists and visual artists, reveals the inner workings of the visual system.

    In The Visual World of Shadows, Roberto Casati and Patrick Cavanagh examine how the perception of shadows, as studied by vision scientists and visual artists, reveals the inner workings of the visual system. Shadows are at once a massive problem for vision—which must distinguish them from objects or material features of objects—and a resource, signaling the presence, location, shape, and size of objects.

    Casati and Cavanagh draw up an inventory of information retrievable from shadows, showing their amazing variety. They present an overview of the visual system, distinguishing between measurement and inference. They discuss the shadow mission, the work done by the visual brain to parse, and perhaps discard, the information from shadows; shadow ownership, the association of a shadow with the object that casts it; shadow labeling, the visual system's ability to tell shadows from nonshadows; and the shadow concept, our knowledge about shadows as a category. Casati and Cavanagh then apply the theoretical apparatus they have developed for shadows to other phenomena: illumination, reflection, and transparency. Finally, they examine the art of the shadow, paying tribute to artists' exploration of shadow, analyzing a series of artworks (reproduced in color) from a rich and fascinating art historical corpus.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00
  • Parts and Places

    Parts and Places

    The Structures of Spatial Representation

    Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi

    Thinking about space is thinking about spatial things. The table is on the carpet; hence the carpet is under the table. The vase is in the box; hence the box is not in the vase. But what does it mean for an object to be somewhere? How are objects tied to the space they occupy? In this book Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi address some of the fundamental issues in the philosophy of spatial representation. Their starting point is an analysis of the interplay between mereology (the study of part/whole relations), topology (the study of spatial continuity and compactness), and the theory of spatial location proper. This leads to a unified framework for spatial representation understood quite broadly as a theory of the representation of spatial entities. The framework is then tested against some classical metaphysical questions such as: Are parts essential to their wholes? Is spatial co-location a sufficient criterion of identity? What (if anything) distinguishes material objects from events and other spatial entities? The concluding chapters deal with applications to topics as diverse as the logical analysis of movement and the semantics of maps.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £31.95
    • Paperback $23.00 £17.99
  • Holes and Other Superficialities

    Holes and Other Superficialities

    Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi

    This fascinating investigation on the borderlines of metaphysics, everyday geometry, and the theory of perception seeks to answer two basic questions: Do holes really exist? And if so, what are they? Holes are among entities that down-to-earth philosophers would like to expel from their ontological inventory. Casati and Varzi argue in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this unorthodox approach—odd as these might appear. They examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity, their causal role, and the ways we perceive them.

    A Bradford Book

    • Hardcover $40.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £24.00