Translated by Stephen MacKenna and B. S. Page.
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WHY DISTANT OBJECTS APPEAR SMALL.
1. Seen from a distance, objects appear reduced and close together, however far apart they be: within easy range, their sizes and the distances that separate them are observed correctly.
Distant objects show in this reduction because they must be drawn together for vision and the light must be concentrated to suit the size of the pupil; besides, as we are placed farther and farther away from the material mass under observation, it is more and more the bare form that reaches us, stripped, so to speak, of magnitude as of all other quality.
Or it may be that we appreciate the magnitude of an object by observing the salience and recession of its several parts, so that to perceive its true size we must have it close at hand.
Or again, it may be that magnitude is known incidentally [as a deduction] from the observation of colour. With an object at hand we know how much space is covered by the colour; at a distance, only that something is coloured, for the parts, quantitatively distinct among themselves, do not give us the precise knowledge of that quantity, the colours themselves reaching us only in a blurred impression.
What wonder, then, if size be like sound — reduced when the form reaches us but faintly — for in sound the hearing is concerned only about the form; magnitude is not discerned except incidentally.
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