Why Does a Mirror Reverse Things Horizontally but Not Vertically?

October 30, 2014 2:38 PM

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Mirroring reverses the direction perpendicular to the mirror surface. Thus, the mirror image of an asymmetric object becomes its enantiomorph (an example of enantiomorphic pairs is a pair of left and right hands). An enantiomorph is, or can be considered to have been, obtained by reversal in any single direction of an object ("orientation reversing" mentioned in Joshua Levy's answer; also equivalent to "space inversion" or "parity operation" in physics, in which all the three directions are reversed).

However, we can define the left-right direction of an object (or the mirror image) only after defining the top-bottom and front-back directions from the external view* of the object (or the mirror image). Thus, the top and front of the enantiomorph are always regarded as the same sides, in the exter...

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