Sunday, September 30, 2007

Are pennies round?

Well, let's see. Take that coin out of your pocket and put it on the table in front of you. Sure looks round...or does it? Unless you're looking straight down at it at a 90° angle, what you're actually seeing is an oval-shaped piece of metal. What's that you say? You know it's round because you can pick it up and *feel* the roundness of its perimeter? Okay, so now you're saying the proof of an object's roundness is bound up with the sense of touch, but not always with the sense of sight. But why should this be? Why is one sense privileged over another when it comes to judging an object's true shape? Or maybe you're saying that, by definition, the penny's true shape can only be measured by tracing it onto a piece of paper. Okay, go ahead--trace it with a pencil. Now let's look at that tracing--just set it down on the table. Unless you're looking straight down at the tracing, it seems to be shaped like...oh dear...

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