• Beverley
    70
    For if one is unable to know anything about the external world, then one can not make any claims about it at all – even claiming that knowledge about it is impossible, because that too is knowing something about the external world – namely, that it is unknowable.Thales

    Not knowing about something does not mean you know about it. It means you DO NOT know about it.
    You cannot get any knowledge out of anything that is unknowable, or in other words, you cannot get any knowledge if there is no knowledge there.

    In fact, wouldn’t you need to bypass your own perceptions and go outside your own mind in order to make such a claim? After all, according to the argument, your own perceptions and mind are unable to determine anything about the external world. Given that argument, you would need to employ some means – other than your own perceptions and mind – to be able to verify whether or not an external world can be accessed by your internal perceptions and mind.Thales

    They DON’T know if their perceptions are dependable or not, that is the whole point. They DOUBT, or question, if they are or not. But the point is, can YOU prove it one way or another?

    If we are to know anything, then don’t we need to (somehow) have access to that object of knowledge? And to have access, don’t we need a means by which we access it? When we go on a journey by automobile, we need a road to access our destination. So too with knowledge; we need a “road” (or a way) to get it.Thales

    The main way the skeptics can throw doubt on this is by saying that someone or thing PUT that information into your head. (like brains in vats, or something similar to The Matrix movie.)
    Think about it like this:

    I suppose you could say, well I know that the world exists, even if I know nothing about it, but according to the skeptics, you cannot know even if it exists at all. For example, if the word as you know it is really all some kind of hallucination and you live in a universe that is totally different, but you have no knowledge of the universe you live in because all you can see is the hallucination of this world, then you know nothing about the world you think you know, you only know about the hallucination.

    Take another example: We solve algebraic problems by adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. This is the means by which we access – or gain knowledge about – the answer. Note that we do not identify the process of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing with the answer to the problems – they are merely the means by which we access the answer. Without adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing, we can not have knowledge about (answers to) the problems.Thales

    When we do adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing etc it makes sense to us, and also, then the answer makes sense, but what if someone or thing is controlling our minds and TELLING us that it makes sense, but in reality, it doesn’t at all? Like, when in a dream, we may accept that we can be in one place one minute and then magically be in another place the next. In the context of that dream, it makes sense to us and seems normal, but in reality, it isn’t.

    I guess it is like the skeptics are taking away (excuse the pun) all the adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing—or throwing doubt on all that— and if we cannot rely on that, then, as you said, we have no means of accessing the answer.

    Skeptics misrepresent their critics as identifying perception with the world itself. Rather, aren’t skeptics the ones conflating process with result; confusing the road with the destination; and identifying addition, subtraction, multiplying and dividing with the solutions of algebraic problems?Thales

    I do not think that they think the images we see ARE the world. I think they accept that they are images.
    But the skeptics are saying, what if we cannot trust the images we can see? If the image is all distorted, then we are not getting a true picture of the world.

    Such as colour blindness or mirage/hallucinations or dreams

    And one final observation: It seems to me that the skeptic is rigging the game from the start – taking away the means by which we can have knowledge of the external world in order to prove it is impossible to know anything about it. Which actually reveals another logical issue – that of assuming what is to be proven and then “proving” it (the fallacy of begging the question):Thales

    They do not assume the truth of anything, they do the opposite, they say that they do NOT know the answer.

    They are not saying the world is NOT real. They are saying that they do not know if the world is real or not, and then they ask if you can say if it is real or not.

    They are also not taking away the means by which we can get knowledge, they are asking if we can trust those means. How reliable are they? If we cannot rely on adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing etc then we may still have an answer, but how useful is that answer?

    The same as, if we cannot rely on our senses and what we see/perceive etc then we may still know about a world, but how useful is that if the world is just a hallucination?

    Just because I assume and assert that all black cats bring bad luck, it doesn’t (really) follow that bad luck befalls anyone who gets a black cat… does it?!Thales

    Are you saying, “Just because someone assumes that black cats bring bad luck, it doesn’t mean it is true.” ?

    Which would be like saying, “Just because the skeptics assume the world isn’t real, it doesn’t mean it is true?”

    Which would also be like saying this, just opposite:

    “Just because I assume the world is real, it doesn’t mean it is true?”

    What this boils down to is, we do not know either way. That is what the skeptics are questioning.

    In my view, it is impossible to get around the skeptics’ doubt. Descartes thought he had, but he hadn’t. The truth of the matter is, in my opinion, that nobody can know ANYTHING for absolute certain. But we, as humans, do not like to accept this, and hence, you get people like Descartes who went to absolute extremes to dispel the doubt because he so desperately didn’t want to accept it. But the fact is, we have been living for millennia without knowing everything for certain, and we haven’t done too bad. Of course, there have been many times when we THOUGHT we knew things for certain, and then we found out later that we were wrong. But then we just moved on.

    I believe the important thing is to keep trying, to keep searching for the truth, even if we are aware we may not totally get there, because there are levels of certainty. So, some things are much more likely to be true than others, and we can base things on this to some extent. It seems prudent to do so.

    For example, say a plane crashed, and the airline wanted to work out why it had crashed to prevent it from happening again, if they didn’t take into account ‘likelihood’ then they could just as easily say the fact that there had been a black cat at the side of the runway at the time was the reason for the crash. Then they might go out and shoot all the black cats in the area. (I am against cat shooting by the way) But taking likelihood into account would probably mean that they would inspect the mechanics and electrics etc of the plane from top to bottom. Then, if they found something wrong, they could fix it, which seems to be a lot safer bet than shooting all the black cats (and the black cats get to live! Yay. Poor black cats, they are given such a bad name!)

    The other thing that always springs to my mind is, we may think we want to know the answers to everything, but do we really? Okay so, suddenly we know the answers to ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. So, now what? What do we do next? Is there any point anymore? First of all, we may as well shut down this forum. There would be absolutely no point in philosophy anymore. Somehow, there seems to be a great irony here because we need to keep searching for truth to keep motivation in our lives, but once we find all the truth, we lose all the motivation we were trying to keep!
  • Thales
    8
    BeverleyBeverley
    Thank you for your thoughtful response to my post. Although I also appreciate the input given previously by the other responders, you actually went through (most of) my arguments and replied directly to them, rather than opening up whole new streams of thought – which, again, is great and I appreciate being the catalyst for such streams; but also I was genuinely curious about what people thought (specifically) about my arguments. So I’m grateful you took the time to address them, and I look forward to re-reading and cogitating more on what you have written!

    In the meantime, you should know that your mention of Descartes brought a smile to my lips and a song in my heart:

    In my view, it is impossible to get around the skeptics’ doubt. Descartes thought he had, but he hadn’t.Beverley

    I remember reading the Cogito decades ago and being really moved by “systemic doubt.” Doubt everything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste and think until you come to a place where doubt is not possible:

    I can’t doubt that I’m thinking because ‘doubting’ is, itself, a form of thinking.

    It was so cool and impactful that it put a dance in my step all the way from the library to my room.

    Unfortunately, my Cartesian bubble was eventually burst (I believe by Bertrand Russell) when I learned that even if doubting/thinking is irrefutable, the “I” is not; Descartes had snuck it in through the back door.

    So with that, and while it’s still open, I’ll sneak out the door myself! <smile>
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    The analogy is between feeling (pain) and seeing (objects).jkop

    Yes, but I do not see any analogy between them, as noted, for the reason noted. I think your terming of the sides of the analogy is inaccurate to what they represent.

    Is visual data not the result of certain biophysical causal chains? Or do you just mean that it's the result of other causal chains? What Is an example of positive empirical evidence for visual data?jkop

    Well, when i refer to 'visual data' I mean the electrical information being passed from whatever the light rays have reflected off of, into the eye, through the cones etc.. and then into the brain - the data itself is not experienced at all. The brain forms an experience-apt representation of that data. I guess I'm trying to delineate between the electrical 'fuel' fed into the brain, and the experience of it. Similarly with pain - pain is an experience of C-fibres firing in the absence of a brain or neuronal aberration. This may be coarse or imprecise, so I apologise if its hard to grasp what im saying - haven't gotten a great handle on translating thought to clear language in the philosophical context, as is probably obvious LOL.

    What is the light reflected/refracted by?wonderer1

    No idea. My part in the process(and as such, the point at whcih I could say anything about it) comes after that, as best I can tell. I could say "the objects" but then im stuck with literally nothing else to say about it.
    ==============================================
    Hi Jamal; it will become quite clear throughout my response that I'm of the view you have misread (and, from what I can tell, willfully) large parts of my responses throughout the last couple of pages evidenced by 1:0 matches in your response to specific passages. Forgive any instances where I appear to have my back up. I do. You do not appear to be dealing with my positions properly, and its difficult to get through as I'm being forced to discuss views I don't hold, in the context of a defense. But know that I appreciate any words anyone is willing to bother putting down for me.

    Ah, so you’re one of those guys!Jamal

    This bodes extremely badly for whatever you have to say...

    Your questions imply that you consider the seeing of a thing to require that there be no light passing between the thing and the eye; that if there is a physical process involved in the perception of a thing, that thing is not being perceived.Jamal

    This is not my position and I have absolutely no clue how you could possibly glean this from anything I have said. I've not intimated anything of hte sort. I want an explanation, from someone who claims visual access to the external objects "behind" perception (as it were, on my account) about how that happens. Really simple, if you have a theory about it, lay it out. If not, I will assume you have none. But, ironically in comparison to a quote of yours further down this response, your uses of 'seeing' and 'perception' here are extremely confusing.

    You say we see lightJamal

    I do not. I have been clear to point out that uses of the word 'see' in conflicted instances have muddled the entire thing and attempted to clear up my terms that 'see' are used for into "look at" and "see". I did this very recently in the exchange and apologise for any preceding confusion. I'll leave that there.

    I would have expected this to be your kind of position.Jamal

    It is. And having gone back through my posts, I have to say its bizarre to me to have gotten something other than this from my writing. If you could please outline for me precisely where this idea has come from, I'd be more than happy to clarify wherever I misspoke (as must be the case given this is exactly my position), or adjust/reject my clearly erroneous utterance at the time.

    why does your personal use of the word differ so much from everyone else’s?Jamal

    If you mean 'see', its because its used in an extremely bad way and the colloquial meaning is usually taken on, even here, and I've merely done what most philosophers do (though, I am not one, obviously) and defined my terms - just happened to be part-way through the exchange because this isn't an academic exchange in the sense that I needed notes beforehand. We "look at" objects, receive the light being reflected and perceive the internal mind-produced representation. Provide another mechanism, if you don't think this is correct...

    Of course, the particular problem here is really just linguisticJamal

    Yes, and that has been my position since realising no one has provided anything resembling an objection. This is why i defined terms, and Why its really hard to read this all in good faith.

    New York I’m travelling to, directly.Jamal

    Practically, sure, and 'practically', I don't walk around noticing that I'm not in touch with my environment, directly. But you are patently not traveling 'directly' to New York if you're passing through other spaces between your current, and New York. That would be indirect, obviously. Colloquial uses of words are a serious issue, and apparently, not cleared up on a forum like this, ironically.

    how incredulous you areJamal

    I literally pointed out that I am not incredulous, and apologised if I appeared so. This exchange is becoming more and more clearly a punt on your part.

    but it does show that your incredulity is inappropriate.Jamal

    There is none, as above. It would be helpful (and I am not at all being facetious here) if you could carefully read what I've typed before replying to it - the number of patent errors in terms of your groking my passages is uncomfortable.

    And didn't you see my quotation from Kant himself, arguing against two worlds?Jamal

    Unless I'm misremembering, yes, and I responded to it directly and we exchanged on it. Kant contradicts his own system in such a claim. So, again, the above interpretation.

    Kant is not any kind of idealist at allJamal

    Yep, I know. Indirect Realism seems both Kant's position, and the best representative of the scientific facts of our visual/perception complex. If this entire exchange and objection/response flow actually just boils down to an unfortunate assumption on your part that "two worlds" in my mind means literally two separate worlds, then that's a shame and perhaps I underestimated the stupidity of certain philosophical positions. The idea that there are literally 'two worlds' is utterly bizarre to me and it hadn't occurred to me it was being used this way.

    The idea that there are clear two absolutely distinct aspects to reality from a human perspective, seems undeniable. If this murky use of words has been the issue then, returning to your claim that its a linguistic problem, yes. End of.

    If there is any particular statement of mine about Kant's philosophy that strikes you as outrageousJamal

    Given that I began my substantial replies with something to the effect of 'everything you have said is fair enough and reasonable' I feel fairly justified in just saying, nah dude. Please read more carefully. Nothing you've said about Kant is anything but reasonable, even if I think its wrong.
    ===============================

    properties of the external world objects.Michael

    Is this to say things like 'redness' and 'warmth' inhere in the objects (on this account)?

    3.Michael

    fwiw, and maybe this will help Jamal, this is closest to where I am currently.


    "What does it mean to literally see an object?" (sorry, had to copy from my notifications as I couldn't find hte post

    Well, yeah, that's a serious issue given we seem to all mean different things. And the definition of 'to see' includes two separate concepts: to look at something (i.e "with the eyes") and "perception" which is an act of the mind. So, its an incongruent complex imo and largely is hte reason for what I take to be Jamal's misapprehensions of my position, let alone my arguments.

    On my use of the word, it would mean to have a visual experience without any mediation from the object to the experience. My preferred terms, as noted, work thus:

    To Look: To turn one's visual sense organ to an object (obviously, thats redundant.. our eyes work lol).
    Conference: An event, in which photoreceptor cells/cones etc.. respond to light by shunting electrical signals through various apparati to the visual cortex.
    To See (perceive): To have a visual experience which the visual cortex has produced from that received data.

    I don't note any objection to this formulation of how sight works. So I can't understand objections to the position that "to see" is not to directly perceive an object. Im not sure how you can claim that we 'perceive' objects.
    ==============================
  • Jamal
    9k
    Your questions imply that you consider the seeing of a thing to require that there be no light passing between the thing and the eye; that if there is a physical process involved in the perception of a thing, that thing is not being perceived.Jamal

    This is not my position and I have absolutely no clue how you could possibly glean this from anything I have said.AmadeusD

    I got it straight from this:

    I'm still wanting an explanation of how it's possible we're seeing "actual objects" that i can explore. Every explanation attempting to do so just ignores entirely that we literally do not see objects, but reflected/refracted light which in turn causes us to 'see' a visual construct. No one seems to disagree, but still reject the fact that we cannot ever access external objects.AmadeusD

    Here, you imply that we cannot see objects, for the reason that light intervenes between the objects and the visual system. If that is not what you meant, and there is some other argument here, I cannot see what it could be.

    You say we see lightJamal

    I do not.AmadeusD

    But that’s what you said:

    Every explanation attempting to do so just ignores entirely that we literally do not see objects, but reflected/refracted light which in turn causes us to 'see' a visual construct.AmadeusD

    Is there some other way to understand “we literally do not see objects, but reflected/refracted light”?

    If you don’t actually mean what you say, and you can’t remember what you said, and you’re unwilling to read over what you’ve said before to understand my objections, then it’s not surprising that I’m not getting through to you.

    I can’t tell if it’s just that your reading comprehension is bad or if you’re intellectually dishonest. I’ve responded to you patiently and very precisely, each time quoting what you said and responding directly, and now you’re flying off the handle, ranting and raving, and making very little sense. This discussion hasn’t gone the way I hoped, so I’ll bow out.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Here, you imply that we cannot see objects, for the reason that light intervenes between the objects and the visual system. If that is not what you meant, and there is some other argument here, I cannot see what it could be.Jamal

    Thank you for going through and finding the relevant passage. I cannot understand how you're getting there, though:

    for the reason that light intervenes between the objects and the visual systemJamal

    Not at all. The inference (and, from what I see, the only reasonable one) is that I deny that we directly perceive objects because the light is what is affecting hte visual system - not the object. You can glean this easily by noticing the following:

    I'm still wanting an explanation of how it's possible we're seeing "actual objects" that i can explore. Every explanation attempting to do so just ignores entirely that we literally do not see objects, but reflected/refracted light which in turn causes us to 'see' a visual construct. No one seems to disagree, but still reject the fact that we cannot ever access external objects.AmadeusD

    I even scare-quoted 'see' because of the linguistic issues. This is your use of hte term not mine. I would have used 'perceive' if I was writing to an open audience. Light doesn't intervene - it is the vehicle by which the object reaches the sense organs. Space intervenes, I guess. There is a distance between the object and our eye/s. Light traversing that distance is mediated by the environment, in most cases, which we've not touch by further goes to my point that we do not directly perceive objects, nor could we. I also highlight, again, the underlined above as its required for an adequate alternate view to consider. I notice, from the comment box, you are bowing out. So be it.

    f you don’t actually mean what you say, and you can’t remember what you said, and you’re unwilling to read over what you’ve said before to understand my objections, then it’s not surprising that I’m not getting through to you.Jamal

    You are simply not reading very well, and choosing passages you think support some 'gotcha' around what im saying. Aside from the fact that i've been very open about re-defining the terms to make sense of the ideas as I go, this is a very bad-faith way of going about things. I get that you don't want to, anymore, but just ask me to clarify if you have issues. here, though, I already did - twice, so you're still remaining in a box of your own creation, if you're taking obviously badly-formulated statements over the clarifying ones. It is not that you're not getting through to me, my friend. It is that you are not adequately engaging what i've said.

    I can’t tell if it’s just that your reading comprehension is bad or if you’re intellectually dishonest.Jamal

    Oh, my. LOL. It's neither. But, I also note that you think directly addressing objections, and clarifying my position is "ranting and raving". I have no idea why you're bringing such emotionally charged language into an exchange that should be about achieving clarity, if not a coming to terms. You seem to me more than happy with obstructing clarity, and then concluding its my issue to overcome.

    I was right to note that "This bodes extremely badly..". I should have left it there.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    Some folk might find the thread on Austin: Sense and Sensibilia of use.

    With great care, Austin dismantles the accounts of perception that are so problematic here.

    In any case, it is now apparent that is dreadfully confused. He will happily talk about not seeing objects, but seeing light - as if the light by which we see were more corrigible than the very things we see.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    He will happily talk about not seeing objects, but seeing lightBanno

    Or, as is in fact the case, I've been very careless with my words and you have no interest whatsoever in anything but destructive commentary. Far be it from me, mate. You're allowed.

    That thread is actually what made me realise interacting with you was pointless.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    1. All knowledge comes either from sensory perception (e.g., visually perceiving a mountain) or reasoning (e.g., solving an algebraic equation).

    2. Both perception and reasoning occur in our minds.

    3. The external world is, by definition, “external,” which is outside our minds.

    Therefore:

    4. Because everything we know exists in our minds, we can not have any knowledge about the external world.
    Thales

    There's an (in)famous counter to this, from David Stove, a parody:
    1. One only ever tastes oysters with one's mouth
    2. Therefore one never tastes oysters as they in themselves
    3. Therefore we do not know how oysters taste

    Do you still think that argument you presented in the OP is convincing? Since you did present it, should we take it that you have some doubt?


    Your account is muddled. Blaming me won't fix it.
    And yet here you are...
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    if you read that as “blaming you” for anything but your own mistakes then, again, mate, far be it from me.
    But it certainly helps to contextualise you.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    What is the light reflected/refracted by?
    — wonderer1

    No idea. My part in the process(and as such, the point at whcih I could say anything about it) comes after that, as best I can tell. I could say "the objects" but then im stuck with literally nothing else to say about it.
    AmadeusD

    Hopefully your philosophy poisoning isn't so deep that you can't recover.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    My experience off this forum has me tending toward thinking the poison is quite well contained here :)
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    My experience off this forum has me tending toward thinking the poison is quite well contained hereAmadeusD

    And yet here you argue that you don't know anything about the world around you. So I don't know why we should take you seriously when you talk about experience off the forum.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    *shrug* If that's what you 'see', fair enough :)
  • Beverley
    70
    And yet here you argue that you don't know anything about the world around you. So I don't know why we should take you seriously when you talk about experience off the forum.wonderer1

    In my view, everyone is equal in their worth. There are learning opportunities to be had from everyone, no matter if we agree or disagree with them. For example, what I learn from just a brief reading of these correspondences is that some people are quick to jump on the bandwagon when someone else's comments are not being valued or respected.

    If I had any sway in anything, which I don't believe I do, I would tend to encourage people not to write comments that are too negative on here, especially if they are personally directed at specific people because then there develops a situation where people naturally become defensive. It is understandable. But the way I see it is that we are all here in our precious free time to enjoy thought provoking discussion. It seems unfortunate if that time is spent in a negative way. But I am also experienced enough to know that is what often happens in life.

    My experience off this forum has me tending toward thinking the poison is quite well contained here :)AmadeusD

    I also learn that AmadeusD appears to have faith in the people in this forum, and since he has been using this forum for longer than me, I am encouraged to also see the good in people on here too.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    using this forum for longer than meBeverley

    Heh - I am barely a fledgling - I just post a lot because I am able to, and am currently studying so it's useful. Plenty of regular users have been here going on a decade (and from a previous iteration!). I'm still in the 'driveby' window, by my lights haha... and, related, I was intimating the 'poison' was confined to the forum. But it was entirely jest - I don't know why people get so serious here.
  • Beverley
    70
    I was intimating the 'poison' was confined to the forum.AmadeusD

    Ah okay, I may have misread this, thinking that you meant there may be poison on here but it is well controlled. But anyway, I had the feeling before that you seem to think generally that people are fair on here. Maybe I misinterpreted that, but it seems to have stuck in my perceptions of things.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Oh for sure. 7/10 posters I think are normal people. The other 3 (on avg) are the same 3 I would pick out of a house party as the obnoxious ones. The intimation was simply that "philosophical poison" seems well-contained within the forum, and hasn't come to me from without.

    One thing I do note though, is that people here, versus any real-life philosophical context, seem very quick to anger, dismiss and generally be dicks if they're either not getting something, or someone else is doing something they don't like. More than likely, me included. And that counts against it.
  • Mww
    4.5k


    Relax. All is not lost.

    Might it help to examine whether the other senses meet the same criteria you’ve assigned to vision?

    I mean…jeeeezzz, ain’t it nonsense to suppose actual basketballs impress the eyes? Imagine how much that would HURT!!! Nevertheless, on the other hand, it is actually quite necessary that actual oysters (technically, some thing conceived of, named by, and eventually experienced as, “oyster”) impress the tongue. How in the HELL would you even call that slimey mess an “oyster”….or whatever you did end up calling it…. if it never hit the sensory device which allows that kind of determination? Does one ever call it an “oyster” because it sounds like Ravel’s “Bolero”?
    (Sigh)

    Perception does not occur in the mind; it occurs in the senses. Why the fork else would there even BE senses? What is done with what the senses inform you of, is in the mind.
    (Crap-on-a-cracker, I hate that word. There is no mind; there is only reason. Or something. Whatever it is that humans have. What kinda fool denies whatever it is that humans have, huh??? Except rabid physicalists, but they don’t count. Sorta like analytic philosophers. You know….forest-trees/map-territory paradigmatic deniers)
    (Double sigh)
    ————-

    Stove’s Gem? Ehhhh…don’t worry ‘bout that Happy Horse-hockey. Guy just wondered how stupid things could get, and to give an example of it, he did something stupid. Wanna defeat Stove’s Gem? Just don’t do what he did, which 99%…..ok, fine: 80%…..of otherwise intelligent humans never did do in the first place. DUH!!!!)
    (Double-double sigh)
    ———-

    Now that we got the attaboys out of the way, time for the awww-crap’s.

    It make no sense to infer the existence of real, external objects, as the sole criterion of their reality. Kinda silly to trip over the dog, but only credit the dog’s existence to the inference there was something there to trip over. Which would you have done first? If you tripped over the dog it means you didn’t know it was there, so why bother inferring it’s existence from the floor onto which you’ve quite unceremoniously planted your face? Nahhh…the damn dog was already there, which makes explicit you didn’t need any inference at all for it.

    And if that don’t blow your dress up, think of it this way: inference is a logical maneuver, and there is no logic whatsoever in perception. Aristotle said so, as did his somewhat chronologically removed protege. I believe him, or, them, and so should you. Trust me; I wouldn’t steer you wrong, Honest.

    Anyway…just sayin’. Even if you don’t believe a word of it, wasn’t it more fun to read that what’s passed as philosophical discourse here recently?
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Absolutely fantastic post; and I thank you immensely for hte tone and nature of it.

    (Sigh)Mww

    To this point, I'm with you. I am about 99.5% sure that actual objects are presented, in some way, to our actual sense organs. I would need to ask though, is that enough for you to say we 'see' those objects? If so, alrighty. It doesn't do that for me.

    Perception does not occur in the mind; it occurs in the senses.Mww

    I can't make sense of this. Where are 'the senses'? Are they in the sense organs? Or in the mind? I can't see that could be anywhere else. Additionally, perception seems to be defined in various ways. Most seem to begin post-sense - meaning, perception is what is done with the sensory information to create the experience it either constitutes, or initiates. Can you let me know where you see that as incorrect?

    What is done with what the senses inform you of, is in the mind.Mww

    See above. This appears to be what perception is, on most accounts. But, aside from that, I suppose I do not see the mechanics the same as you do. I also then bring in to the discussion, the problem of inaccurate sensory perception. Meaning, there's weak reason to think that what you're "informed of" is necessarily information about any actual objects, as it were. It could be informing you that your eyes are fucked

    Kinda silly to trip over the dog, but only credit the dog’s existence to the inference there was something there to trip over.Mww

    I really don't see a problem with doing so. I mean, adding that correlation with vision helps doesn't alter my argument, but would help on your end :) My problem with that restriction is that we don't have any other experience of the dog. Inference is the only available avenue to infer (in the "posit" sense) that it is an external, real, mind-independent object: That we have an experience of it.

    If you tripped over the dog it means you didn’t know it was thereMww

    Not so. I could have run too fast, I could have slipped on something, I could have forgotten in preconsciousness, I could have been mistaken about where I was stepping or where the dog was etc... But more importantly, I find you to be describing experiences. Experiences occur in the mind.

    Where is the mechanism by which we 'directly' access these objects? You nearly touched on it with the basketball quip - but, in actuality, it would need to impress on the visual experience itself, for the claim to hold. And that seems plainly impossible, as it's not physical.

    inference is a logical maneuver, and there is no logic whatsoever in perception.Mww
    I do not think I agree here. I think, ala Kant, this is how we perceive. Using a priori concepts, logically consistent as to allow for possible experience, to organise sensory information into an experience.

    wasn’t it more fun to read that what’s passed as philosophical discourse here recently?Mww

    105.33%
  • Jamal
    9k
    We are biological entities, engendered and evolved in a physical environment, governed by and dependent for survival on the same physical laws as are all the inanimate and animate entities in that 'outside world'. Being delimited by a thin layer of dermis and epithelium does not truly divide us from the physical world of which we are a product and in which we live.

    Before we evolved to the point of being able to perceive and reason, we received sensory input and nourishment from that same physical outside; we responded to it, interacted with it, injected waste products into it, manipulated and altered it.

    Why should be we not be able to say how we experience it, now that we can enhance, measure and articulate our sensory input?
    Vera Mont

    This was the very first response in the discussion and it might still be the best one. It eschews a direct engagement with the OP's argument and instead offers a better conceptual framework (or paradigm or what have you), one that can replace the worn out assumptions of the early moderns. Philosophical advances tend to be made that way, rather than with direct point-by-point refutations.

    But some philosophers, or enthusiasts of philosophy at least, tend to cast such responses as philosophically naive, as if the modern scientific conception of lifeforms reciprocally engaged with their environments, while it might be okay for practical purposes, is inadequate to the higher demands of philosophy, where it obviously just begs the question (because evil demons and the Matrix and so on).

    The OP begins in the head. Vera is saying, let's begin in the world. My question is for everyone here: is there a serious problem with this? If you say it's begging the question, that scepticism about knowledge and about the external world is still appropriate, then don't you need grounds for that doubt? In the face of our knowledge of the world, of the evolution of animals, of ethology, anthropology, and sociology, what warrant do philosophy enthusiasts have to carry on interrupting by saying, ah, but couldn't it all be a dream?

    In any case, what justification is there for beginning in the head anyway? Developmentally, we are social first, and only later retreat into our thoughts.

    I specifically mention philosophy enthusiasts rather than philosophers per se, because as far as I can tell, the latter indulge in this kind of scepticism as a teaching tool for the history of philosophy, and no longer take it very seriously. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong about that.

    We've had two centuries* of philosophers rejecting the solipsistically-inclined philosophy of Descartes and Kant's epistemology of the independent bourgeois individual, etc. When is everyone else going to catch up?

    * Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, and Wittgenstein all reject the Cartesian starting point in philosophy
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    and that’s a very, very good reason to reject that position.
  • Mww
    4.5k
    I would need to ask though, is that enough for you to say we 'see' those objects?AmadeusD

    I prefer to say my sensory devices are affected by them. Any object is an effect on each sensory device according to that device’s physiology, and from which a corresponding sensation ensues in each, which just is to perceive.

    ….perception is what is done with the sensory information to create the experience….AmadeusD

    Cognition is what is done with sensory information. Experience is cognition by conjoined perceptions. Each in its place, doing only its job, as a system should.

    Where is the mechanism by which we 'directly' access these objects?AmadeusD

    Wasn’t that the whole point of my intervention here? We don’t directly access anything; we have the capacities and abilities by which things are given access to us.

    And now the really cool part: do you see how the thread title is backwards?
  • LFranc
    7
    "we can not have any knowledge about the external world." That is true. But, if we can not have any knowledge about the external world, then we can't even say that this "external world" exists. So there would only be an "internal" world. But how could there be an "internal world" without an external one? So it means that our so-called "internal world" is not "just internal", "sadly internal"... It is the world itself.
    (source: Brief Solutions to Philosophical Problems Using a Hegelian Method, Solution 2)
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    1.8k


    This was the very first response in the discussion and it might still be the best one. It eschews a direct engagement with the OP's argument and instead offers a better conceptual framework (or paradigm or what have you), one that can replace the worn out assumptions of the early moderns. Philosophical advances tend to be made that way, rather than with direct point-by-point refutations.


    The OP begins in the head. Vera is saying, let's begin in the world. My question is for everyone here: is there a serious problem with this?

    :up: :100:

    Agreed. As Steven Jensen says in his "The Human Person," if one begins in the "box" of the mind (or inside the "box" of language) one never gets back outside of it. The solution is "to not start out from inside the box in the first place." A paradigm shift is required. Ideas are not "what we experience," but rather "how we experience."

    It is just like how we write using a computer. We do not say "we cannot write, it is impossible, because it is always a computer (or a pen, pencil, etc.) that does the writing, and a medium (computer, paper, mud, etc.) that receives the writing." We are the ones that write, the computer/pen/finger is the tool we use to perform this act, and the word processor/paper is the medium by which writing is recorded. To see the computer/pen as an insurmountable barrier between us and the capacity for writing is to fundementally misunderstand the relationships at work here.

    It is a a fallacy of composition, the bad assumption being that things are infinitely decomposable, that one can take the whole of human action and break it down into "parts" without losing anything. The world is first removed from the analysis , and then we are shocked that the world is gone. It is, in a way, another one of the ways in which smallism, the dogma that all facts about larger wholes must be fully represented in facts about "smaller, and thus more essential," parts leads to a blind alley. "Neurons do not see, thus man is blind."

    From the birth of semiotics, the study of meaning, as a distinct area of inquiry with Saint Augustine, we have seen the process represented in terms of a tripartite structure. There is the object known, the sign by which it is known, and that which interprets the sign. Getting stuck in the boxes of ideas or language requires presupposing that signs are an impermeable barrier between objects and interpretants, rather than the means connecting the two and transmitting the intelligibility of objects. The mistake lies in assuming that meaning must be totally reducible to just the interpretant (or in the case of positivism, that truth lies only in the object).


    For me, a key realization was that the concerns over being stuck in such boxes are not remotely new. While these are often presented as horrible truths about the limits of knowledge that we stumbled upon after recognizing the "dogmas," of earlier ages, this is not the case. Radical skepticism, getting trapped in the box, the impossibility of communication, relativism — these all show up from the very birth of philosophy. They are in the Platonic Dialogues, and in the pre-Socratics as well. Aquinas comes up with Berkeley's position, but considers it to be a reductio ad absurdum.

    They were effectively dealt with through philosophical anthropology, a field now unfortunately neglected. Human beings are essentially involved in veracity. The Sophists announcing the relativism of all concepts, the impossibility of communication or knowledge, the absence of anything that might be called "truth," nonetheless feels the need to convince others that these things "are true." Finding communication impossible, they strike out to communicate this to others. Finding truth impossible to grasp, they set out to make others grasp this truth.

    In general, Socrates' strategy is to show how the Sophists don't even pretend to believe their own words. In their abandonment of veracity in principle, they come to stand on nothing, yet even still are spurred on by a vestigial sense of veracity in trying to convince others that "they are right that they cannot be right." The Sophists are generally not rebutted, rather they lapse into sullen silence after it is shown that, if they were right, they should not bother speaking, nor should they even trust in their own opinion.
  • Jamal
    9k


    Great post. I particularly appreciate two things: the analogy of writing, which I’d never thought of before (I’ll probably use that in future); and the idea that the back-and-forth between radical sceptics and their opponents is perennial, rather than just a debate of the modern period.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Cognition is what is done with sensory information.Mww

    I think its likely we are speaking the same metaphysical language here, but i can see i'm working from imprecise uses of those two words as i can find conflicted definitions/uses around the net.

    On this usage though, I'm with you.

    we have the capacities and abilities by which things are given access to usMww

    I really, really like this formulation and it answers much of where my issues have been by removing the entire issue of "see/to see" linguistic indeterminacy. I guess this makes sense as you helped me through many passages that got me where I see myself now, in regard to this question of access.
    do you see how the thread title is backwards?Mww

    I do, now. It didn't occur to me that that also solves my mental conflict around the different perspectives in the last couple of pages. Much appreciated :)
  • Mww
    4.5k
    its likely we are speaking the same metaphysical language hereAmadeusD

    Yeah, but you know…..even though we share a language, it remains we may hold with different systems into which that common language fits. For me, “perception” is this and only does that, for you “perception” may be something quite different. So it is with CPR: it is a system, thought out and written as complete in itself. Whether it is right or not is irrelevant, it only matters that it is complete, and…..well, you know….logically comprehensible.

    I really, really like this formulation….AmadeusD

    And it answers how the thread title is backwards: the real transition loss, is from world to mind. Even science grants that, in the exchange of energy forms always and necesarily involves loss of data or information or whatever you want to call it. It follows that anything given to the mind, meaning anything exchanging domain from the external as one energy form, to the internal in a very different energy form, something will be lost in the transition.

    The secondary mark of truth is that for which the negation is also true. As such, it is true there is no possible loss of data or information or whatever you want to call it, from mind to world, re: the thread title, insofar as the mind creates or generates or composes of its own accord all the data with which it is concerned, it follows that a loss created from itself, is impossible.

    Long story short….loss in transition from mind to world? There isn’t any. Or maybe better yet, it makes no sense to say there is such a thing.
    ————

    Much appreciatedAmadeusD

    Thanks, but, I gotta say…whatever you got from me I got from CPR, which reduces to, insofar as there’s no measurable qualifier to support I’m that much smarter than you, you could have got it from CPR on your own. Might just be a matter of time spent on study. Personal attachment of value. Relative significance. Dunno.
  • jkop
    618
    the back-and-forth between radical sceptics and their opponents is perennial, rather than just a debate of the modern period.Jamal

    Yes, the debate on skepticism is perennial, but the notion of consciousness is arguably modern, as is the conceptual separation of consciousness from the object that one is conscious of.

    From this separation follows a skepticism that is radical enough for Berkeley to get rid of the object entirely, and keep only consciousness (or ideas). In this sense idealism is the result of a radically skeptic assumption. Also indirect realists assume that we never see objects and state of affairs directly, but typically play down the significance of the skepticism. My guess is that forthcoming periods won't be as skeptic as the modern.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    It follows that anything given to the mind, meaning anything exchanging domain from the external as one energy form, to the internal in a very different energy form, something will be lost in the transition.Mww

    I think its more than is being allowed, on some of the conceptions in this thread, though. Reading a passage from North-Whitehead this morning struck me as highly relevant:

    "The ultimate momentary 'ego' has as its datum the 'eye as experiencing such-and-such sights'. In the second quotation*, that reference to the number of physical points is a reference to the excited area on the retina. Thus the 'eye as experiencing such-and-such sights' is passed on as a datum from the cells of the retina through the train of actual entities forming the relevant nerves, up to the brain. Any direct relation of eye to the brain is entirely overshadowed by this intensity of indirect transmission"

    *from Hume's Treatise, wanting to know how the eye is sensible of anything by coloured points (in space, assumably).

    On this type of thinking (which is my intuitive mode, and has remained so even having sorted out many other problems in my thinking) gives me a distinct feeling that

    the mind creates or generates or composes of its own accord all the data with which it is concernedMww

    is true, and that arguments around "direct perception" don't even get off the ground, when it comes 'the external world'. I am loathe to present anything it seems your view is, but it appear you must conclude this from the bits and pieces you have proffered. I just cannot understand how Jamal inter alia, is able to talk about that "direct perception" with a straight face, anymore.

    Might just be a matter of time spent on study.Mww

    This, and my dumb, uninformed, choice to get a second-tier translation of the A version.
123456Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment