• Vera Mont
    3.2k
    It just requires that we have zero access to them and cannot gain access to them.AmadeusD

    That could be inconvenient when shopping for groceries or calling 911.
  • jkop
    677
    The colours we 'know' are created by our biology. Other animals see different colours, less or more than humans. Or none. If this realism, it is not external to human experince.Tom Storm
    Some are born blind even, but that's no good reason to reject the reality of visible things. Colours are partly created by the biology of various visual systems, and partly by the properties of the light or the surfaces that reflect it. For example, a clear sky in daylight is disposed to be seen as blue by any animal with the appropriate visual system, because of the causal relations between the wavelength of the light and the biology of the visual systems. Granted that some lack the ability, but again, that's no reason to reject the reality of the conditions under which the sky is seen as blue.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k


    I don’t see how. The appearances are what you’re talking about
  • Tom Storm
    8.4k
    Granted that some lack the ability, but again, that's no reason to reject the reality of the conditions under which the sky is seen as blue.jkop

    I’m not a philosopher, so I make no claims about what is real. It’s common sense to believe what we observe is real but anything common sense is worth questioning. I tend to hold that it doesn’t matter either way, since almost all of us behave as realists the moment we engage with what we know as the external world. Even the idealists.
  • Angelo Cannata
    332
    Logic, being (in the context Im taking it) a closed system, doesn't need to be 'checked'. Its either accepted or notAmadeusD
    If accepting logic is ultimately up to you, then logic is just an opinion. Since you get from logic the hypothesis of the existence of an external world, then that hypothesis is an opinion as well.
    This seems to confirm my idea that philosophy is, or should be, art. An artist doesn't claim that things are the way they conceive them; rather, an artist just shares their opinions, emotions, subjectivity, feelings. This way logic is just a particular way of expressing and sharing our subjective, artistic, emotions and feelings.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k
    How can we trust reason and logic, given that we have no way to assess them without using them again? How can I trust my brain, since I have no way to assess it without making itself in charge of making the assessment, without giving it the responsibility of assessing itself?Angelo Cannata

    Unless one has fallen into the black hole of solipsism, it really isn't so difficult if one is willing to get out of the philosophical armchair. You can give the responsibility of evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your cognitive faculties to a psychologist trained to makes such evaluations. You can study the workings of brains and perceptual systems to develop a more nuanced understanding of the various degrees of reliability of human cognitive faculties.

    Depending on health insurance it may not be cheap, but you can take a WAIS test (or whatever the equivalent is where you may be) and get some relatively fine grained detail on the subject of your idiosyncratic constellation of cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

    Perhaps you aren't alone with your armchair? :chin:
  • Angelo Cannata
    332

    The psychologist's perspective is limited inside the field of science. Philosophy wants to understand ultimate questions: that's why philosophy tries to criticize knowledge itself and even criticism itself. Science is unable to transcend its own level, because doing this is not a purpose of science. Philosophy tries to transcend systems, to be able to criticize them from a wider and wider perspective. Science cannot go wider than its own field, because science is a closed system, limited by what can be measured, repeated, expressed with maths. Philosophy is not limited to this, philosophy wants to criticize any system, including science. In this perspective, it doesn't matter if science is supported by experiments: philosophy wants to go beyond what can be supported by experiments.
    In this context, thinking that psychologists can solve the problems of philosophy doesn't make sense. Actually, this is not even an intention of psychologists. On the contrary, they have respect for philosophy, because they know that philosophy studies things at a different level.
  • wonderer1
    1.7k


    Sounds like a grandiose rationalization for being scientifically uneducated to me.
  • Corvus
    3k
    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.

    I’m no logician, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve somehow bungled the argument and I welcome anyone’s help in formulating it correctly. However, if this argument essentially satisfies the skeptic’s point, then it seems that the skeptic is contradicting him/herself by making a claim about the external world.
    Thales
    The definition "external", which is outside of our minds itself is inside our minds because it is a definition formed of a sentence, and the words "external" and "outside" are both concept, which are all internal to us. Hence, claiming that they are outside of us is incorrect.

    We know the external world as representations to our mind. We know both the representations and external world to us, because they are conceivable and accessible via perception and interactions.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    As it happens I just finished a book that explicitly addresses these questions. The picture it paints conforms in great detail to the one I've been formulating for a few decades. In a nutshell, the concrete basis of our entire concept of objectivity can only arise from the mind's awareness of its own facticity: cogito ergo sum. Consequently:

    the external world , whose origin growth and structure we have been, throughout this book, investigating, is the Mirror of the Mind and the Map of Knowledge in one...In an immediate and direct way, the mind can never know itself it can only know itself through the mediation of an external world, know that what it sees in the external world is its own reflection. (Collingwood, Speculum Mentis)

    For anyone who shares similar intuitions about the nature of reality, I cannot highly enough recommend this short book.
  • Corvus
    3k
    Mind can do a lot more than knowing the world. It hopes, imagines, feels, desires, plans, anticipates, criticises, reflects, remembers and reasons .... etc etc. It is a synthesis of the whole mental events and operations in totality.
  • Corvus
    3k
    the external world , whose origin growth and structure we have been, throughout this book, investigating, is the Mirror of the Mind and the Map of Knowledge in one...In an immediate and direct way, the mind can never know itself it can only know itself through the mediation of an external world, know that what it sees in the external world is its own reflection. (Collingwood, Speculum Mentis)Pantagruel

    Exactly.Pantagruel
    :cool: :up:
  • jkop
    677
    It’s common sense to believe what we observe is real but anything common sense is worth questioning.Tom Storm
    I agree, but the questioning of common sense realism is often limited to a superficial or willful rejection, perhaps because it just seems too banal or mundane for an intellectual to take seriously.

    Allegedly Hume rejected naive realism by poking his eyeball so that the object in his visual field was doubled. But since the object had not duplicated itself he rejected naive realism.

    almost all of us behave as realists the moment we engage with what we know as the external world. Even the idealists.Tom Storm

    Right. Many live as realists while defending anti-realim or the relativism or nihilism that follow from it. Kant's transcendental idealism is probably one of the most impressive attempts to solve the skeptical challenge, but his solution is complicated and arguably inconsistent. He too rejected naive realism :cool:
  • Vera Mont
    3.2k
    The appearances are what you’re talking aboutAmadeusD

    I see. Very useful to know, as it makes all the difference.
  • Alkis Piskas
    2.1k
    “We can never know anything about an external world because all we have when we make such an assertion is our perceptions and reasoning, all of which occur in our minds. We can not get ‘outside of our perceptions’ to make any claims about the external world.”Thales
    But all we know about our "external world" is through our senses and our experiences. Saying that we can't know anything because all we have is our senses is self-contradictory and makes no sense.

    Looking through this bad argumentation, what I can see is an allusion to "absolute reality". Namely, that we can never know the absolute reality (of the external world) because we can only have a subjective reality of it. Which is a commonplace, but at least it's a little better than the what has been tried to be argued.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    If accepting logic is ultimately up to you, then logic is just an opinion.Angelo Cannata

    No. This is a completely incoherent sentence/claim.

    The opinion is whether or not I want to use logic. Logic, is not an opinion. That's a really, really strange take (particularly given it arose from something i said whcih doesn't indicate this).

    This seems to confirm my idea that philosophy is, or should be, art.Angelo Cannata

    This is very much a good explanation for your position. But i have a nagging/sinnking/growing suspicion that this is in service of defending the indefensible propositions of Catholicism (logically speaking) and turning History and 'the external world' into malleable ideas that can fit any damn thing into them. Far be it from me..

    This way logic is just a particular way of expressing and sharing our subjective, artistic, emotions and feelings.Angelo Cannata

    Comports with the above, for sure. So that's good, i suppose.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    it makes all the difference.Vera Mont

    Not to humans, for whom the distinction is somewhat useless :P
  • Angelo Cannata
    332
    Logic, is not an opinionAmadeusD
    Who establishes that it is not an opinion?
    Saying that logic is not an opinion implies that you can validate its correctness without using your brain. Can you do this? Can you give evidence that 2+2=4 without using your brain? Even if you use any kind of external instruments to get evidence of it, at the end of any validation process there is your brain drawing the conclusion “...then 2+2=4 is correct”. Who guarantees that the final conclusion made by our brain is correct?
  • Vera Mont
    3.2k
    Not to humans, for whom the distinction is somewhat uselessAmadeusD

    Who else would waste any time on this question?
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Not the point.

    Who establishes that it is not an opinion?
    Saying that logic is not an opinion implies that you can validate its correctness without using your brain.
    Angelo Cannata

    I don't feel that's the case at all. Logic is discovered fact of our world/universe/whatever you want to call it. We didn't event logic. We invented language.

    Can you give evidence that 2+2=4 without using your brainAngelo Cannata

    If i put two eggs in front of you. Indicate that you need to focus on these two eggs. Then put another two eggs infront of you, additional to those two eggs, you will see four eggs. So, that's not my brain doing anything.

    Who guarantees that the final conclusion made by our brain is correct?Angelo Cannata

    This is a worth-while point to some degree - But only if you're a true sceptic. Though, again, I imagine this is service to theological ends, so i'm unsure how best to approach that fact. Perhaps your idea of 'guarantee' is something I don't need.
  • Angelo Cannata
    332
    So, that's not my brain doing anythingAmadeusD
    On the contrary, your brain is doing everything: it interprets the presence of the eggs, it counts them, it calculates them, draws conclusions and, finally, you used it to write your message. This is actually the essential problem of realists: they decide to ignore their involvement in whatever they think and say, as if what they think and say was something fallen from the heavens and they were invisible and non-existent. This is also the essence of all tricks made by magicians: they try to convince you that what you are seeing is just reality, without any interference of them.
    The same way, like a magician, you are trying to convince me that, in calculating that the eggs are four, your brain has done nothing! Who decided that they are four then?
  • bert1
    1.8k
    The skeptic equivocates between self and consciousness. The idealist says there is a world external to self, but not a world external to consciousness.
  • Vera Mont
    3.2k
    Not the point.AmadeusD

    Of course not!
  • Janus
    15.5k
    I don't think 'precognitively' is accurate. We aren't affected by anything but sensation. The sensation is not the things in the external world.AmadeusD

    We infer that there are physical processes which give rise to cognitions, perceptions. We cannot be conscious of those processes in vivo, but we can observe and analyze and theorize about how it all works; that's what science does.

    In cognition or perception, we encounter things which appear to be external to our bodies. For examples, we see animals, trees, mountains, clouds we don;t see sensations. We infer that these things are presented to us via sensations, but we are conscious only of the things, not of the sensations that we infer preoduced our awareness of the things,

    Presented to the mind. But only sensuous data is presented - not objects. (having come back to add this, I think we're probably agreeing there?)AmadeusD

    Again, my view is that we are presented with objects, not with "sensuous data", the latter idea is an after the fact interpretation, so I don't think we are agreeing.

    Is this to say that there is, in fact, a direct link between our impressions and whatsoever caused them? I think that can be inferred, because otherwise we couldn't have cognition on this account. But, that isn't to say there's anything superficially the same about htem. I think that's the issue i'm trying to zoom in on. The 'external' object never appears to us, in any way.AmadeusD

    I think all our experience makes plausible the idea that our perceptions are caused by the actions of things and environmental conditions on our senses. The actions themselves never appear to us in vivo but only the external objects do; so our views seem to be diametrically ooposed on this.

    Oh. I'm really sorry if it's come across that I'm denying an external world/external objects. It just requires that we have zero access to them and cannot gain access to them. My account requires them to exist, though. I think that covers the remainder of your post lol.AmadeusD

    No need to apologize, we are both just presenting ideas. The question I have regarding what you say here is as to how it is we could have an idea of an external world/ external objects if we had "zero access to them"?
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    The same way, like a magician, you are trying to convince me that, in calculating that the eggs are four, your brain has done nothing! Who decided that they are four then?Angelo Cannata

    I didn't even mention that process, and in any case its your brain. I don't think this discussion is to go anywhere worth going.

    :smirk:
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    In cognition or perception, we encounter things which appear to be external to our bodies. For examples, we see animals, trees, mountains, clouds we don;t see sensations. We infer that these things are presented to us via sensations, but we are conscious only of the things, not of the sensations that we infer preoduced our awareness of the things,Janus

    Very much disagree with this(other than the bolded) but I thin its possible terms are getting muddled. So, up top let me say the "object" is two things on my accout - the External Object (whcih i use in this reply) and the object of our cognition.
    I don't think there is an arguable case that the 'tree' you are experiencing the view of is "the tree" in an External Object. It's your mind projecting its interpretation of (assumably - key) external data into whatever arena our consciousness gets its visuals from. I don't think it can be another way... Which has some heavy lifting to do further down my reply.. I've just thought of a potentially helpful metaphor..

    When you put a DVD into a DVD player you're not looking at a DVD. You're looking at data interpreted by the machine, projected in such a way that you can cognise it. You are not looking at an actual *insert movie scene description*, or a plastic disc with magnetic stripping on it. Merely interpreted data. I see our sense organs as the Laser Disc Reader, and our mind as the Television producing the 'film' that you watch. Obviously, the pre-recorded nature diminishes the helpfulness of hte metaphor somewhat, but hopefully it illuminates what im saying somewhat too.

    not of the sensations that we infer preoduced our awareness of the things,Janus

    Now, I can, at the least, not object to this. But the 'things' are you talking about aren't external objects. Nor could they be (as above, though, that's my contention - not an absolute claim). They are the objects that result from your brain/mind interpreting the data which (assumably - again, key) is derived from actual external objects interacting with sense organs.

    Again, my view is that we are presented with objects, not with "sensuous data", the latter idea is an after the fact interpretation, so I don't think we are agreeing.Janus

    Well, maybe to make clearer why I thought were agreeing there, as a semi-visual rep i'm trying to post:
    1. External Thing --> 2. ET interacts with sense organ --> sense organ conveys sensuous data to the brain/mind complex --> the brain/mind complex spits out a visual/smell/feeling whatever as a result of interpreting the data. The External Thing is never, and can never be, present to the mind. If you don't agree, fair enough, I got that wrong. I'm guess here you would think the underlined are the same thing?

    I think all our experience makes plausible the idea that our perceptions are caused by the actions of things and environmental conditions on our senses.Janus

    I agree with this (and was the basis of claiming, tepidly, agreement between us earlier in the piece).

    The actions themselves never appear to us in vivoJanus

    I agree with this (but as far as I'm concerned, it wouldn't be possible for the objects and not the actions to appear to us).

    the external objects doJanus

    Again, I don't think this is a possible claim. How are you accounting for the mediation our sense organs provide between the object an our idea/cognition of it? I can't see away to reverse through that mediation to the object, without losing either the object, or at least seriously fidelity.

    Could your account be coming down to a position that the External Object and the cognition of it are adequately the same as queried above? If so, I can accept that account - but I just can't find good reason to believe it other than shared cognitions (i.e, an apple looks like an apple to 99.9% of people).

    how it is we could have an idea of an external world/ external objects if we had "zero access to them"?Janus

    Because we can assume we wouldn't get any cognition of objects without their being 'actual' objects, given how we understand our sense organs to work. We can't get cognitions out of nowhere.. so we infer (and, rightly, imo) that there simply must be something 'out there' bumping against our sense organs to produce the data which is interpreted to give us our cognitions.

    No need to apologize, we are both just presenting ideas.Janus

    Appreciate that. Not always the way it goes :)
  • Janus
    15.5k
    Because we can assume we wouldn't get any cognition of objects without their being 'actual' objects, given how we understand our sense organs to work. We can't get cognitions out of nowhere.. so we infer (and, rightly, imo) that there simply must be something 'out there' bumping against our sense organs to produce the data which is interpreted to give us our cognitions.AmadeusD

    I won't reply to the other passages in your post, because I think this is the nub of the issue. Our understanding of the way our sense organs work (as with all objective sciences) is based on the assumption, not the certainty, that we have reliable access to and understanding of external objects.

    In other words, we know how they appear to work. We cannot assess this knowledge in terms of accuracy other than to gauge the overall coherency and consistency and predictive success of our scientific accounts because we have nothing other than what appears to us to compare it with.

    I think the plausible account is that we have access to external objects insofar as they can appear to us via our senses, but no access to understanding their natures beyond that.
  • Banno
    23.3k


    In making the division between mind and body, one renders the two incommensurate.

    So it is disingenuous to then complain that you can't put them back together again.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    I think the plausible account is that we have access to external objects insofar as they can appear to us via our senses, but no access to understanding their natures beyond that.Janus

    Ok, fair enough. I would then assume this:
    Could your account be coming down to a position that the External Object and the cognition of it are adequately the same as queried above? If so, I can accept that account - but I just can't find good reason to believe it other than shared cognitions (i.e, an apple looks like an apple to 99.9% of people).AmadeusD

    Is a fair, if rough-and-ready, way to say that I can't really disagree, but i see the degree of mediation(provided by the senses) as enough to say we don't have access to the External Objects.
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