• Janus
    11.3k
    What do you mean by "the same world"? This implies the flower is the same to me and the bee, but you've said otherwise. The question then is to describe those features of the flower that are the same regardless of the perceiver.Hanover

    Both bees and we see the flowers at the same places, we know this because we see them pollinating flowers. What could justify saying that we both see flowers, but that the flowers are not the same in each case? Of course the bees seeings and our seeings are not the same; but it does not follow from that that we don't see the same flowers as the bees.
  • RussellA
    232
    For me, there's no "external world."Ciceronianus

    Direct Realism and Panpsychism

    I agree that the human is part of the world, and has evolved as part of the world over hundreds of millions of years. However, the world can still be divided into humans and that which is external to humans.

    Humans have what Chalmers calls "qualia" and others call subjective experiences, such as pain, love, colour, consciousness, etc.

    If there is no "external world", then human experiences are just part of the world's experiences. IE, all the attributes of the mind - pain, love, colour, consciousness, etc - are also attributes of the world. As consciousness is a human experience, then consciousness must also be an experience of the world.

    Panpsychism is the view that the mind is a fundamental and ubiquitous feature of reality. It seems that it necessarily follows that one of the consequences of Direct Realism is a belief in panpsychism.
  • Cuthbert
    397
    The spirit of G E Moore is upon my shoulder. If there is no external world, then I'm not posting these words on PF.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    Of course the bees seeings and our seeings are not the same; but it does not follow from that that we don't see the same flowers as the beesJanus

    What is the flower other than how we perceive it? If it's something else, what is it?
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    For me, there's no "external world." There's a world of which we're a part. There isn't one world for us and another world for everything else. We see red because we're a particular kind of living organism existing in the world which, when interacting with certain other constituents of the world, see them as having what we call a "red color." That takes place in one and the same world. It's a function of what the world is and what it encompasses.Ciceronianus

    I don't take this to be direct realism/naive realism. It implicates the noumenal and doesn't correlate it to the phenomenal. If you allow that the actual flower is causative of the phenomenal, then the variations of perception among species can only be accounted for by how each mediates the external object, this leading to indirect realism.

    Direct realism I take to be something like Thomas Reid's statement:

    "The sceptic asks me, Why do you believe the existence of the external object which you perceive? This belief, sir, is none of my manufacture; it came from the mint of Nature; it bears her image and superscription; and, if it is not right, the fault is not mine: I even took it upon trust, and without suspicion. Reason, says the sceptic, is the only judge of truth, and you ought to throw off every opinion and every belief that is not grounded on reason. Why, sir, should I believe the faculty of reason more than that of perception?—they came both out of the same shop, and were made by the same artist; and if he puts one piece of false ware into my hands, what should hinder him from putting another? "(IHM 6.20, 168–169)

    This eliminates any argument from reason that what you perceive lacks existence in the form in which you experience it because it refuses to allow reason to over-rule perceptions.

    I'm not sure I find this persuasive, but this I take as a defense of the naive realist position.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    What do you mean by "the same world"? This implies the flower is the same to me and the bee, but you've said otherwise. The question then is to describe those features of the flower that are the same regardless of the perceiver.Hanover

    I mean simply that you (and me and everyone else) and the bee, and the flower, are parts of the same world--we all are parts of the universe. That doesn't mean that we're all the same. That doesn't mean we all have the same characteristics, nor does it mean our characteristics fluctuate. It means that we all interact, differently, but the interaction takes place in the universe; it's part of the universe. The exact characteristics of what we interact with is a matter of study, investigation, testing, and use.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    The spirit of G E Moore is upon my shoulder. If there is no external world, then I'm not posting these words on PF.Cuthbert

    I'm not certain what you mean by this, but if you mean that there are parts of the world in addition to human beings, I agree. If you mean that we're not part of the world in which those other parts exist, I don't agree.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    If there is no "external world", then human experiences are just part of the world's experiences. IE, all the attributes of the mind - pain, love, colour, consciousness, etc - are also attributes of the world. As consciousness is a human experience, then consciousness must also be an experience of the world.RussellA

    I think they're attributes of human beings, and so are part of the world in that sense, but don't know that it follows that they're attributes of the universe, if by that you mean that the universe is something which possesses). Birds are parts of the universe, but it doesn't follow the universe has wings and builds nests.
  • Cuthbert
    397
    I'm not certain what you mean by this,Ciceronianus

    I mean the famous 'proof' of an external world.

    "Much of the lecture is devoted to working out what counts as an ‘external object’, and Moore claims that these are things whose existence is not dependent upon our experience. So, he argues, if he can prove the existence of any such things, then he will have proved the existence of an ‘External World’. Moore then maintains that he can do this —

    How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, ‘Here is one hand’, and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, ‘and here is another’ (‘Proof of an External World’ 166)" https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moore/

    Moore was not claiming that he had a justified belief that he has hands. He was actually producing his hands. To deny the external world would be to deny that what he was producing were his hands. In the same way, if there is no external world, then I am not producing this post on PF. It's performance philosophy.
  • RussellA
    232
    For me, there's no "external world." There's a world of which we're a part. There isn't one world for us and another world for everything else.Ciceronianus

    I think they're attributes of human beings, and so are part of the world in that sense, but don't know that it follows that they're attributes of the universe.Ciceronianus

    I was misled by your use of the phrase "external world"

    There must be an "external world" if pain, love, colour, consciousness, etc are attributes of human beings, yet not attributes of the universe.

    Though I agree with the idea that just because a human has the attribute of perceiving the colour red, it doesn't follow that the colour red is also an attribute of the "external world"
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, ‘Here is one hand’, and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, ‘and here is another’ (‘Proof of an External World’ 166)" https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moore/Cuthbert

    Interesting. But I've never thought of my hands as "external objects" or as parts of an "external world" and I'm uncertain what is meant when it's claimed that they (or any other parts of my body) exist "independently of my experience" if that's what he's saying.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    There must be an "external world" if pain, love, colour, consciousness, etc are attributes of human beings, yet not attributes of the universe.RussellA

    I'm not sure we're speaking of the same thing. Are you saying there must be an "external world" unless the universe feels pain (for example)?
  • Janus
    11.3k
    The flower is there to be perceived and it might be perceived differently by countless kinds of animals, it might feature in many instances of being perceived, and it is not merely any one of those perceptions nor the sum total of them, so it's not clear what you are asking.
  • Banno
    15.1k
    • Bees perceived flowers differently to us.
    • Therefore flowers do not exist.

    Something's missing.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    Bees perceived flowers differently to us.
    Therefore flowers do not exist.

    Something's missing.
    Banno

    No one has argued that.

    What I'm arguing is that the approach of the OP is not naive (direct) realism. It sounds Kantian to me. Per the OP and subsequent clarifications there are said to be external objects and then there are perceptions. How the perception correlates to the external object is left to the unknown. It's being argued that bees have phenomenal states of flowers and people do as well, but they need not be at all similar.

    I ask how this is not identical to saying the flower itself is noumenal and unknowablre, yet the experience is the phenomenal and all that is knowable?

    The flower itself most certainly exists under this construct, but it's unknowable. That's what saves Kant from pure idealism as it does the OP.

    I think something like the Thomas Reid quote better describes naive realism than what is argued here.
  • Janus
    11.3k
    The flower itself most certainly exists under this construct, but it's unknowable.Hanover

    The flower is knowable in a multitude of ways, or in other words, via a multitude of different kinds and instances of encounter. It is not exhaustively knowable, but that does not entail that it is unknowable.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    What I'm arguing is that the approach of the OP is not naive (direct) realism. It sounds Kantian to me. Per the OP and subsequent clarifications there are said to be external objects and then there are perceptions. How the perception correlates to the external object is left to the unknown. It's being argued that bees have phenomenal states of flowers and people do as well, but they need not be at all similar.Hanover

    Here's what I'm proposing, regardless of whether it comports with anyone's idea of naive realism or direct realism. There are many constituents of the world. Some are human, some are bees, some are flowers. None of them exist in an "external world" apart from anything else. None of them is an "external object" in that sense. There is no "thing" called a perception which exists somewhere inside of us.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    There are many constituents of the world. Some are human, some are bees, some are flowers. None of them exist in an "external world" apart from anything else. None of them is an "external object" in that sense. There is no "thing" called a perception which exists somewhere inside of us.Ciceronianus

    I'm open to understanding this, but I really don't follow what's being proposed. If a "constituent" is a part, it is distinct from other parts, which logically demands that bees, flowers, and people are apart from each other. By "apart" I mean not a part of, which means it's separate from me, thus being external.

    It is my experience that my perceptions cease upon my unconsciousness, yet it seems the object of my perception is unaffected by unconsciousness. Do you believe otherwise? When I sleep, does my bed cease to exist now that I no longer perceive it?

    This is slipping into pure idealism. Is that an accurate description of your position?
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    The flower is knowable in a multitude of ways, or in other words, via a multitude of different kinds and instances of encounter. It is not exhaustively knowable, but that does not entail that it is unknowable.Janus

    Very well, what is the flower in and of itself?
  • Banno
    15.1k


    SO you have:
    • Bees perceived flowers
    • People perceive flowers differently to bees
    • There are flowers
    • What flowers are is unknowable
    • How flowers relate to perceptions is unknown

    Odd. Not sure what the point is.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    Odd. Not sure what the point is.Banno

    Must you be able to do something with the truth for it to be true?
  • Banno
    15.1k
    I'm just puzzled as to how you know that both bees and people perceive flowers, even if differently, and yet you also know that what flowers are is unknowable.
  • Cuthbert
    397
    they (or any other parts of my body) exist "independently of my experience" if that's what he's sayingCiceronianus

    He is addressing the question whether all his experience might be a mere figment of his imagination, including his own hands. Well, here's one hand. Is anybody putting their own hand up to say 'No, it isn't' or 'No, it might not be'? You mean no, what isn't? You mean this hand I'm producing? It's a while since I read it but from memory he does not claim to refute universal scepticism but to advance an argument that, if all 'this' is hallucination, then I'm not producing a hand here in this lecture theatre - the very hand whose existence we may proceed to discuss, apparently assuming that it's here because, well, here it is. I would love to have been there.

    I'm speculating, but I think the use of a body part as an example is a nod to Descartes - we might not doubt our own existence but we can doubt the existence of bodies including our own. A wilder speculation is that he was thinking in 1939 of recent brutalities which young men were thankful to survive still in possession of their hands or other limbs.
  • RussellA
    232
    For me, there's no "external world."Ciceronianus

    Here's what I'm proposing, regardless of whether it comports with anyone's idea of naive realism or direct realism.Ciceronianus

    Are you saying there must be an "external world" unless the universe feels pain (for example)?Ciceronianus

    Your question leads to a paradox. If the "external world" must exist, then it must exist whether or not it feels pain. But if it feels pain, then it cannot exist. But it must exist..............

    Definitions
    A common definition of "external world" is "the world consisting of all the objects and events which are experienceable or whose existence is accepted by the human mind, but which exist independently of the mind".
    A common definition of "Direct Realism" is that the external world exists independently of the mind (hence, realism), and we perceive the external world directly (hence, direct).

    The world and pain
    I believe that humans, and sentient beings in general, feel pain. My belief is that pain does not exist in the world external to sentient beings.

    I am not saying there must be an "external world", as my knowledge about the world is insufficient for me to know that, but I am saying that I believe that there is an "external world".

    I am also not saying that the world external to sentient beings cannot feel pain, as again my my knowledge about the world is insufficient for me to know that, but I am saying that I believe that the world external to sentient beings doesn't feel pain.

    IE, I am not saying that "there must be an "external world" unless the universe feels pain", I am saying that "I believe that there is a world external to sentient beings, and I believe that this world external to sentient beings doesn't feel pain"

    Summary
    One aspect of Direct Realism is that the external world exists independently of the mind. As you propose that there is no "external world", am I correct in thinking that your view is neither Naive Realism nor Direct Realism, but something else, such as Idealism, as @Hanover suggests ?
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    "The world" cannot be "external" to – ontologically separate from – itself, which includes its constitutents (Spinoza). To wit:

    For me, there's no "external world." There's a world of which we're a part. There isn't one world for us and another world for everything else. We see red because we're a particular kind of living organism existing in the world which, [b[when interacting with certain other constituents of the world,[/b] see them as having what we call a "red color." That takes place in one and the same world. It's a function of what the world is and what it encompasses.Ciceronianus
    I mean simply that you (and me and everyone else) and the bee, and the flower, are parts of the same world--we all are parts of the universe. That doesn't mean that we're all the same. That doesn't mean we all have the same characteristics, nor does it mean our characteristics fluctuate. It means that we all interact, differently, but the interaction takes place in the universe; it's part of the universe. The exact characteristics of what we interact with is a matter of study, investigation, testing, and use.Ciceronianus
    Here's what I'm proposing, regardless of whether it comports with anyone's idea of naive realism or direct realism. There are many constituents of the world. Some are human, some are bees, some are flowers. None of them exist in an "external world" apart from anything else. None of them is an "external object" in that sense. There is no "thing" called a perception which exists somewhere inside of us.Ciceronianus
    :fire: :100:
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    The world" cannot be "external" to – ontologically separate from – itself, which includes its constitutents (Spinoza). To wit:180 Proof

    None of this makes much sense. That nothing can exist external to the world is tautological, considering "the world" is being referred to as all that is in this context. Even in Spinoza speak, objects have attributes, which makes them distinct within the universe. Bees, flowers, people, and even thoughts of bees, flowers, and people are things with different attributes and can discussed as separate entities, all within the world, even if we hold there is some mega underlying monism.

    The universe is one, as the prefix "uni" demands, but that says nothing about what a flower is. If I conceive a flower as X and you as Y, what is the truth value of the proposition "the flower is Y"?

    Can someone answer the bolded question?
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    I'm just puzzled as to how you know that both bees and people perceive flowers, even if differently, and yet you also know that what flowers are is unknowable.Banno

    Well, that is the Kantian position.

    I tend to believe a causative link between the thing and the experience. So, if the flower is knowable, it can only be knowable from an analysis of all perspectives, recognizing that each of our perspectives is mediated by our peculiar filters. This is precisely how we all navigate the world by the way. Science requires we eliminate subjective bias.

    Whatever objections persist related to indirect realism or subjectivism, they at least avoid the incoherent position of the OP. It argues for a holism, yet it describes seperate entities, but then insists because there is just one universe, all must be one. As if
  • RussellA
    232
    The phrase "external world" has an accepted meaning, and it is about things or events that exist independently of the mind.

    1) For the Psychology Dictionary, the world of real and existing things external to and independent of our consciousness.
    2) For Wiktionary, the world consisting of all the objects and events which are experienceable or whose existence is accepted by the human mind, but which exist independently of the mind.
    3) For GE Moore Proof of an External World, the category of “external things” is the category of space-occupying things that may fail ever to be perceived.
    4) For Putnam, “If we can consider whether [the hypothesis that we are brains in vats being electrochemically stimulated to have the very experiences that we’ve had] is true or false, then it is not true… Hence it is not true”
    5) For Davidson and McDowell, agreement that experiences justify beliefs about the external world only if experiences have contents that can be assessed for truth.

    It is definitely not about the concept expressed in the statement - "The world" cannot be "external" to – ontologically separate from – itself, which includes its constituents (Spinoza)

    Given agreement as to the meaning of the phrase "external world", then the topic "there's no "external world" can be discussed.
  • baker
    3.3k
    Then sketch out how it is appearances that deceive us.
    — baker

    Naive realism simply isnt backed up by recent research in perceptual psychology or the more sophisticated thinking in A.I.
    unenlightened

    I asked you to sketch out how "appearances deceive us". I've never felt "deceived" by an appearance, I don't know what that would be like.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    In your own words ...
    None of this [my post] makes much sense.Hanover
    :mask:
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