• AmadeusD
    1.3k
    We do what, perceive and think? Sure.

    But if it's a miracle (meaning, minds are not part of world-stuff), then maybe it happens once ever, in the whole history of the universe.

    But if it happens several billion times, as is the case with our species, it can't be a miracle and thus our minds are a property of the world.

    I don't see an alternative between these two options
    Manuel

    I'm unsure why - this seems to define miracle as rare. As i understand, we could get a miracle per moment; as long as it's something which requires the suspension of established natural law, it would just be a lot of miracles. Though, this does go to the origin of those laws - and a force which overcame them. I don't think I either know enough, or care enough, to go further but 'being common' doesn't seem a defeater, to me. Might be misunderstanding!

    I do, though, presuppose that if mind-at-large is a thing (in mind of panpsychism, lets say) then there will be natural laws regulating its behaviour and so there's no miracle in it. If it is somehow totally inexplicable, then yeah, it would have to be an ingression to reality, rather than some discreet aspect of reality.

    Which formulation, exactly?Jamal
    Of Kant's project (though, i refer to success./failure rather than intention) establishing access to the external world. I just can't get that from anything in the CPR, as my understanding currently sits. It seems patently., inarguably clear that Kant does nothing but outline teh exact problem with the claim that we have access to the external world. This said, I also think his intention was not to establish that, but to remove the basic scepticism of Hume in the sense that Kant's system allows us to not doubt external existence, but still remain totally out of touch with it. I do not think he intended, and absolutely reject that he succeeding, in establishing any way to access external objects.

    in a certain way, or expressed more generally, as phenomena, it does not follow that we do not perceive external things. Kant is explicit that external things are things we can possibly experience. External = empirical, and Kant is an empirical realist.Jamal

    Again, I would need passages. This is alien to my reading, and through conversations with Mww, seems to contradict the practical use drawn from the synthetic apriori. It seems to be that the synthetic apriori is the only possible way to gain reliable information about external objects to which we have no access - logical consistency derived from inferential experience. I do not see Kant anywhere inferring, much less stating, that this consistency traces up access to those objects. Quite hte opposite, to my mind.

    in which he argues that perceiving your own inner states is dependent on the existence of objects in spaceJamal

    Absolutely. And again, we have no access to those objects (on my, and I am weakly confident, Kant's account).
    Edited after Jamal replied (and I haven't read it): "in space" is the giveaway here. That means he's definitely not referring to the external world, in which he seems to believe time and space are incoherent.

    And If I am wrong, then I am arguing against Kant, not you. But I maintain that we do not have that access. As noted earlier with, i think Janus, You absolutely cannot access an empty bay in Bengal by experiencing a tidal wave in Chile.
  • Jamal
    9k
    I do not think he intended, and absolutely reject that he succeeding, in establishing any way to access external objects.AmadeusD

    Maybe you’re thinking of a different philosopher, because this is a really odd thing to say about Kant. Your move at this point ought to be to say that for Kant, external objects, which we do have access to, are mere phenomena, and thus mind-dependent. I take issue with that too but it’s at least a decent interpretation.

    But that’s probably enough Kant for now.

    And If I am wrong, I am arguing against Kant, not you. But I maintain that we do not have that access. As noted earlier with, i think Janus, You absolutely cannot access an empty bay in Bengal by experiencing a tidal wave in Chile.AmadeusD

    You are most definitely arguing against me too. We are animals in direct sensorimotor engagement with the environment. To deny this like a 17th century philosopher is perverse.
  • Jamal
    9k
    Absolutely. And again, we have no access to those objects (on my, and I am weakly confident, Kant's account).AmadeusD

    I know I said enough Kant, but just a small point about this. You make a good point, although in the Refutation he does state that “inner experience is itself only indirect and is possible only through outer experience.” (B277)

    Whether he carries the argument from the existence of external things to the experience of those things, it’s obvious that he thinks the latter is possible.

    Also, if you need me to get the bits where he sets out his empirical realism I guess I could do it tomorrow, if you’re interested. However, you are not precise enough in saying what you object to.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Up top, let me point out, as i tend to do at roughly this point, I am new to figuring out 'what I think' as such. A lot of my language may be imprecise, or necessarily under-developed. I apologise for that. I do understand basic sense and internal consistency though.

    because this is a really odd thing to say about KantJamal

    It seems so. But i find that very odd. It seems like some kind of idolatry to think he did this. Though, that may not be far off - he appears to inspire as much stupidity as insight.

    You are most definitely arguing against me too. We are animals in direct sensorimotor engagement with the environment. To deny this like a 17th century philosopher is perverse.Jamal

    So you say. But you have no addressed anything I've put forward as reasons for my position, so far. The tide example is a really good one, to my mind because (to the bolded) that isn't access to external objects. And your formulation earlier in this same comment seems to agree with that.
    To the underlined: This seems to be an extremely restricted way of considering different view points. It's not idealism to contend that while we're able to reliably infer external objects (and take them as 'given' in some noumenal sense), we cannot access them. In fact, as best i can tell, that is exactly what 'transcendental idealism' amounts to. Again, why I think Kant's intention was never to pretend to overcome the mitigatory fact of sensory organs producing experience 'of the world'.

    external objects, which we do have access to, are mere phenomenaJamal

    This is fully self-contradictory to my mind. If they are "mere phenomena", they are not external objects(this seems as simple as "cold is not heat"). This is why I am pretty hard-up in accepting Kant intended to establish that. It is nonsensical in his language, and his own claims. Also, why i've asked for passages. Having very recently finished (in a three-month go) the CPR, it is incongruous with even the most basic reading of hte overall thesis to think he's trying to, or has established that necessarily internal phenomenal representations could possibly be external objects, rather than the result, we know not how, of external objects. He seems to explicitly acknowledge that we have no access, and require reason to infer anything about hte external world. Is he not illustrating hat the upper limits of pure reason are within? It seems unavoidable... as an eg Kant relies in many places on the concept of mathematical a priori to ground the limits of his own system in cognition of intuitions, not objects "as they are":

    "Mathematics gives us a splendid example of how far we can go with a priori cognition independently of experience. Now it is occupied, to be sure, with objects and cognitions only so far as these can be exhibited in intuition"

    It's funny - you're, I think, the third poster with what I take to be some serious understanding of these things to deny this denial (my denial of Kant's either project, or success in it) and yet none have proposed any possible solution to the mitigation depriving us of access to the external world. Only externalities. I am, in my 'heart', as they say, fairly sure I must be wrong. Yet, I take up the horn, and nothing comes of it...

    Again, if the argument is that synthetic a priori's give us access, my response is "No, they very, very clearly do not and that would, to my mind, make the mistake Kant spends his entire introduction trying to avoid".

    I know I said enough KantJamal

    This is all Kant :)

    “inner experience is itself only indirect and is possible only through outer experience.” (B277)Jamal

    This seems to be a fairly direct explication of what i'm positing - we can be 'sure' that intuition is 'caused by' external objects of whatever, unknowable, kind. But our experience is indirect and we do not have access to those objects.

    Whether he carries the argument from the existence of external things to the experience of those things, it’s obvious that he thinks the latter is possible.Jamal

    For sure. But its a mediation which necessarily precludes us, as thinking beings, access to the 'cause' of our intuitions.
    you are not precise enough in saying what you object toJamal

    I'm unsure that's true - I'm wanting something from Kant that indicates he thinks we have an access to things-in-themselves.
    Would be weird if there was such a passage, right?
  • Jamal
    9k
    I'm wanting something from Kant that indicates he thinks we have an access to things-in-themselvesAmadeusD

    I have never claimed anything like that, so I don’t know why you’d be looking for it from me.

    Of course, I actually do. You’ve said it yourself: you think an external object just is a thing as it is in itself. But the latter is merely an aspect of an external object, the aspect that we logically cannot access (what it looks like when you’re not looking).

    If you’d prefer to use a different scheme, one in which it’s all in the head, then do so if you’re into that, but don’t try to use Kant in support of your position. He doesn’t think what you think he thinks.

    That said, he does appear to contradict himself quite a lot so I understand the misunderstandings.

    This seems to be a fairly direct explication of what i'm positing - we can be 'sure' that intuition is 'caused by' external objects of whatever, unknowable, kind. But our experience is indirect and we do not have access to those objects.AmadeusD

    I think maybe you have misunderstood. He is saying that inner experience, unlike outer experience, is indirect.

    Here he summarizes the idealist position:

    Idealism assumed that the only direct experience is inner expe­rience and that from it we only infer external things; but we infer them only unreliably, as happens whenever we infer determinate causes from given effects, because the cause of the presentations that we ascribe—per­haps falsely—to external things may also reside in ourselves. — B276

    Then he goes on to present his own contrasting position:

    Yet here we have proved that outer experience is in fact direct, and that only by means of it can there be inner experience

    In a footnote for “direct”:

    In the preceding theorem, the direct consciousness of the existence of external things is not presupposed but proved, whether or not we have insight into the pos­ sibilitv of this consciousness.

    Since we have direct access to external objects, their existence is not merely inferred.

    So you say. But you have no addressed anything I've put forward as reasons for my position, so far. The tide example is a really good one, to my mind because (to the bolded) that isn't access to external objects. And your formulation earlier in this same comment seems to agree with that.

    To the underlined: This seems to be an extremely restricted way of considering different view points. It's not idealism to contend that while we're able to reliably infer external objects (and take them as 'given' in some noumenal sense), we cannot access them. In fact, as best i can tell, that is exactly what 'transcendental idealism' amounts to. Again, why I think Kant's intention was never to pretend to overcome the mitigatory fact of sensory organs producing experience 'of the world'.
    AmadeusD

    Sorry, I didn’t read any of your previous posts in the thread so I don’t know your arguments. What’s the tide thing?

    I won’t address your comments about transcendental idealism, because TI is not very relevant at this point. TI plays a special role in allowing Kant later on to establish human objective knowledge of the world.

    Aside from Kant, for the sake of argument let’s say (which I would never say) that we infer external things. Why wouldn’t you accept that this inference is a neural component in our access to the world outside our skulls?
  • Janus
    15.3k
    Do not agree. If you replace 'assumption' with 'inference' then, yes, that is where i stand. I think this is where science actually stands. I do not think 'evidence for evolution' is the factual, undebatable schema it is claimed to be outside its competition with other theoriesAmadeusD

    I am not aware of any competing theories. And as I have already acknowledged scientific theories are never proven; it is always the case that they may be wrong.

    I'll repeat this once more because I don't think you have grasped it: the distinction between the things in themselves and phenomenal objects is not meant to be a claim that there are two worlds: the world for us and the world in itself.

    If we are affected by things via the senses, then in that connection we have access to them. We know how they appear to us. The dialectical development of that realization is to say that while we know, that is have access, to things as they appear to us, we do not know, and do not have access to what and how they are in themselves. It's really not that hard to understand.
  • Manuel
    3.9k
    I'm unsure why - this seems to define miracle as rare. As i understand, we could get a miracle per moment; as long as it's something which requires the suspension of established natural law, it would just be a lot of miracles. Though, this does go to the origin of those laws - and a force which overcame them. I don't think I either know enough, or care enough, to go further but 'being common' doesn't seem a defeater, to me. Might be misunderstanding!AmadeusD

    By miracles I mean something which goes beyond whatever naturalism encapsulates, naturalism meaning, in my case, a thing of nature. Mind you, my definition of naturalism allows for novels and movies and drama and all that, so it is far from being a scientisitic designator. We don't know the limits of what nature encapsulates.

    By supernatural, I would mean something that goes beyond what nature can do. It's a kind of substance dualism, which can't be defended intelligibly. So, if a miracle could happen, it couldn't be part of nature by definition (my definition), but since we don't know the limits of nature, we shouldn't invoke the miraculous. So if a mind is not part of the world, and since the world is part of nature, mind must be part of nature too, unless there is argument given as to why minds cannot be natural, which doesn't make any sense.

    I do, though, presuppose that if mind-at-large is a thing (in mind of panpsychism, lets say) then there will be natural laws regulating its behaviour and so there's no miracle in it. If it is somehow totally inexplicable, then yeah, it would have to be an ingression to reality, rather than some discreet aspect of reality.AmadeusD

    Well that sounds like Kastrup's idea, except he doesn't believe in panpsychism, because he doesn't believe there is mind-independent matter. But if you are a panpsychist in general (like Strawson or Goff) then, sure, that's one way to explain the mental.

    I am personally a "radical emergence" guy, minds arise from configurations of natural stuff, but we have no idea how.
  • jkop
    618
    I'm wanting something from Kant that indicates he thinks we have an access to things-in-themselves.AmadeusD
    The short answer is that Kant is an empirical realist, but the thing-in-itself is not an empirical thing. It's a conceptual construction, a thing imagined as having no properties, and as such a limit beyond which there is nothing more to know. We should not expect to have access to such a thing.

    Regarding possible knowledge of empirical things, Kant is a scientific realist, not unlike many contemporary scientific realists. However, one might add that scientific realism is typically an indirect kind of realism based on the dubious assumption that we never see things as they are, only figments of our own perceptual faculties or brains.

    Unlike sound skepticism that assumption explains us blind, and keeps us busy with the problem of explaining how we as blind can access things.

    A better assumption is, I think, that the processes that occur in our perceptual faculties and brains constitute the accessing of things.

    For example, when I move my head and, say, a tree appears in the visual field, a process arises in my brain that is the conscious awareness of what I see. My visual access to the tree is direct in the sense that the tree is not seen via something else that represents the tree. The tree presents itself in my visual field, and that's how I access it. It's direct realism.

    Unlike a belief which can be separated from what it is a belief of (hence subject to doubt), conscious awareness cannot be separated from what it is awareness of, e.g. a tree.
  • Mww
    4.5k
    I am personally a "radical emergence" guy, minds arise from configurations of natural stuff, but we have no idea how.Manuel

    I’d join that club, if there was such a thing.
  • Manuel
    3.9k


    Honorary membership will have to do. Our views are considered very silly in much contemporary science/philosophy. Oh well.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Thank you guys :) Just to preface, for you all, absolutely everything you've said is 'fair enough' and I don't mean to sound incredulous, if I do, below.

    I am not aware of any competing theories. And as I have already acknowledged scientific theories are never proven; it is always the case that they may be wrong.Janus

    And this seems, clearly to me, but perhaps not others, because we have no direct access to confirm or deny any findings. We are necessarily precluded from 100% certainty for this reason. Inference can never be 100%.
    Maybe I'm picking up something irrelevant to your formulations? could be, and if that's true, we may not even be disagreeing. But, I mean, I agree, carving off theologica, with your assessment. That's not really relevant. It could be that even the theologica didn't exist, and this theory could be un-ensurable.

    I don't think you have grasped itJanus

    I understand (it's clear) you think this, but it is inaccurate. It doesn't change my position whatsoever. That said, I disagree with Kant, using his own account. Its not possible, from CPR, to conclude there is "one world" where somehow our intuitions (which are not the objects they represent) actually are those objects. This is probably something beyond this discussion..So, idk. Maybe I'll leave that one here because it doesn't seem we'll come to terms.

    then in that connection we have access to themJanus

    Disagree and have outlined in detail why not, in previous replies. Will leave this one.

    we do not know, and do not have access to what and how they are in themselves. It's really not that hard to understand.Janus

    According to your responses, it's extremely difficult :smirk: I am genuinely joking - I don't know what to do with this passage given my position. I don't think its well-placed.

    =================================

    but since we don't know the limits of nature, we shouldn't invoke the miraculousManuel
    I certainly agree with this, so perhaps I just misunderstood.

    But if you are a panpsychist in generalManuel

    I think I'm leaning this way, but i'm not all that well versed in metaphysics thus far. Panpsychism, on its face, seems to solve a few problems i see. Not tied to it.
    =================================
    You’ve said it yourself: you think an external object just is a thing as it is in itself.Jamal

    My position is that that is the a fact. A version of 'external object' which resides in the head(i.e experience) is quite plainly nonsensical. I think claiming this isn't Kant's position, even with Kant possibly not owning it, is tantamount to being dishonest (more on why, below, after you quoted something which seems to ensure that this is the case). His writing is known to be confused in places, and this seems to be one. He does not give us room to make this chess move in the CPR.

    He is saying that inner experienceJamal

    Which is literally all we have. I'm having a lot of trouble understanding what you're objecting to...

    Then he goes on to present his own contrasting positionJamal

    The quote you presented is a perfect example where I am arguing against Kant, partially because he makes no sense, and partially because I think he's wrong.
    The quote posits that, somehow, even though internal experience is all we have to judge (which Kant accepts) we have 'direct' access to external objects, not found in experience. Totally incoherent on his account itself.

    Since we have direct access to external objects, their existence is not merely inferredJamal

    We don't. I think you're making a misreading of Kant either way. The quoted does not infer that we interact directly with external objectsin experience but via our sense organs, prior to experience (hence synthetic a priori). Our experience is necessarily internal. We do not even have an external experience on his, or most people's account because it makes no sense at all if our experience is mediated by sense organs. Kant's rather extreme and important addition to this scheme is to show (and I take this to be true, essentially) that we can infer without doubt that those objects exist through the synthetic a priori. But, he still concludes, even with this certainty, that we can't even conceptualise anything about them (aside from Noumena.. not available to humans, it seems).

    I have never claimed anything like thatJamal

    If this were the case, we'd have nothing to discuss. We would agree. So i'm unsure how you can claim that... So if that is the case, I apologise, and must have missed something extremely important. Perhaps you could assist?

    What’s the tide thing?Jamal

    The example was in response to (i think Janus) positing that via the senses, the inference we make to external objects is essentially 'perfect' and provides 'direct access' to those objects in some way.
    My response was to deny this categorically, and the examples used were:
    A shadow does not give us any access to the object that caused it to appear, despite (possible) a 1:1 match in dimensions.
    The second example was that if you're standing in a bay (A) and a tidal wave hits (lets assume you're Dr. Manhattan) this gives you no access whatsoever so the empty bay(B) across the ocean whcih caused it. While crude, I think these hold for Experience (A) and ding-an-sich (B).

    ============================
    We should not expect to have access to such a thing.jkop

    Fully agreed. I'm unsure why others seem to think my position is otherwise. It's a mere observation of this fact.

    A better assumption is, I think, that the processes that occur in our perceptual faculties and brains constitute the accessing of things.jkop

    I think that's a ridiculous assumption (well, if your adding 'direct' to the formulation) for reasons previously stated. But, that may just be a disagreement of kind. If you're not positing 'direct access' by our mind to the thing perceived, I have no issue. If you are, I can't get on the train.

    conscious awareness of *what I see*jkop

    *the sense-data your brain is decoding into a visual experience it provides for you, a posteriori. I don't see how this isn't the case, given what we know about how our senses and perception work.

    My visual access to the tree is direct in the sense that the tree is not seen via something else that represents the tree.jkop

    It is, though, empirically. It is 'seen' by your mind only via sense-data mediated by sense organs, and possibly aberrations in the brain, into your experience. This explains visual delusion, for instance, well.

    The tree presents itself in my visual fieldjkop

    Absolutely not. Your visual field is produced inside your mind. Nothing is presented to it except impressions/sense-data/perceptions. Objects in-the-world aren't available unless you're collapsing the non-physical experience into the physical world. I would again, not get on the train.

    conscious awareness cannot be separated from what it is awareness of, e.g. a tree.jkop

    It can though. Visual delusion(without qualifier - could be drugs or whatever else causing the aberration), is again, a great exemplar. If different people can be seeing something empirically different in their experience, then our perception seems mediated in an unreliable way. This is to say that in most cases, a shadow seen by any person might accurately represent the thing it is a shadow of. That much is fair enough. But it does not follow that this is reliable or that it is access to the thing. Plainly, when an aberration of the brain can result in an individual receiving and decoding ostensibly the exact same sense-data and experiencing something different, we're seeing something less-than-direct going on. If we lived in a world of shadows, and literally never encountered the objects, not a lot would change except the number of 'delusional' individuals.

    I would certainly be open to exploring whether that latter issue is actually additional and sans aberration there's some way to assert reliability in perception. I've yet to see that though. unsure what it would look like, either. No one has taken that route, so hard to know how I would feel about it. I would not be an adequate fellow to follow it from this conversation..
  • jkop
    618
    I would certainly be open to exploring whether that latter issue is actually additional and sans aberration there's some way to assert reliability in perception. I've yet to see that though.AmadeusD

    You might be interested in reading this short but concise text by John Searle: Philosophy of Perception and The Bad Argument

    Searle was a student of Austin. Austin famously deconstructed the idea of sense-data in the book Sense and Sensibilia.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Thank you for the link. I will make comments as going through.

    I think the use of 'see' throughout this essay is misleading. It assumes direct perception, instead of 'proving' it.

    "If the perceptual experience could talk it would say, “If I am to be satisfied (veridical) I must be caused by the very object of which I seem to be the seeing.”

    Why would we need this to happen, unless you're trying to prove direct perception? This seems to reverse engineer a situation that supports the conclusion. It seems to be that Searle has, here, smuggled in the requirements of his fourth element (intentionality). That seems to be lifting everything from that bullet point forward.

    "Confining ourselves to seeing the tree in front of me we can say that the conditions of satisfaction of the visual experience are that there has to be a tree there and the fact that the tree is there is causing in a certain way the current visual experience. "

    but this artificially removes the aspects of perception that would dog this account...like the mediation of the senses as delusion (sans brain aberration) shows.

    "but when I see the tree I cannot separate the visual experience from an awareness of the presence of the tree."

    Only IFF you're directly perceiving (i.e he's referring to the tree, not the representation of the tree.. Important below).. as above.

    "This is true even if it is a hallucination and even if I know that it is a hallucination... I have the experience of the perceptual presentation of an object even though there is no object there."

    True. Which is why the initial contention doesn't make a lot of sense to me. You could just plum be hallucinating a tree looking out your California Coast window. Would this just collapse into a representation? Then how do you know the difference, in practice? Seems tautological or requiring an unstated axiom, which is that there's a 1:1 match between reflected light and visual experience. That seems an odd contention well-guarded against by the reality of our visual system.

    "but when I see the tree I cannot separate the visual experience from an awareness of the presence of the tree. "

    I seem to be capable of this. My visual experience gives me awareness of my visual experience. Not whatever caused it (on my account). As noted elsewhere, its unavoidable that something caused you to experience the perception of anything, other than pure hallucination (dreams, for instance, where no empirical avenue is available). But directly perceiving it...

    "What is the relationship between the sense data you do perceive and the real world that you do not perceive?"

    I'm not all that interested in this question, but I have no idea why the rejection of it.. Is it because its hard, or devalues philosophy generally as discussion of hallucination? Doesn't strike me as particularly an issue..

    "these visual experiences. Call them ‘sense data’."

    Not how i'd use the word. The "sense data" is fuel for the experience - its fed into the machine of our cognition and output as a visual experience - but we're not seeing our own photoreceptors or brain-regions when we 'experience' vision. We're seeing a coherent set of data represented to our visual faculties - only made coherent by the activity of our cognitive faculties. Thus, stroke patients do not have a coherent visual field (by accounts i've heard) while their brain is unable to adequate synthesise the sense-data into a coherent experience. I have had that experience, though not by stroke but by drug use and mental exhaustion (separately).

    "The crucial step in the argument from illusion as stated is step 4."

    And there we have it.

    "In the hallucinatory case, there is no independently existing object causing the experience"

    I think this relies on a misuse of the word "hallucinatory". Hallucination is defined as he posits... it can read across (as a negation) to "actual perception" as such without his take. If you, without adequate empirical reason, immediately note what is already understood as a hallucination, to be importantly different to "seeing" then you just might be defining-out actual visual experience without noticing. On my account, it's quite likely. Though, I don't see 'hallucination' in quite the denatured light Searle appears to. My response would, prima facie be "yes, that's right. And while you're recognising that, by definition, an hallucination is not the same as 'seeing' that's just linguistics being tricky".

    "The visual experience is a conscious event going on in the brain but, and this is the important point, visual experiences cannot themselves be seen because they are the seeing of objects and states of affairs in the world. When you see something, the seeing itself cannot be seen, just as when you hit a nail with a hammer the hitting cannot itself be hit."

    This is true whether an object is there or not(hence, the immediately-previous comment) - it just presupposes that in use of 'see' Searle has established an object is there, actually. Definitionally, within this essay, sure, but its not supportive of the thesis imo.

    Ok, so it appears this essay isn't dealing with the problem I'm identifying at allllllll:

    "The scientist says we are trying to explain the cause of your visual experience and what we discovered is neurobiological processes cause a conscious visual experience. But then, surely, it seems that the visual experience is the object of your capacity of perception. It is what is seen. This last sentence embodies the mistake. The visual experience is not seen because it is the case of seeing the object. "

    This isn't an issue for me. Obviously the "visual experience" isn't seen. It is the experience of seeing. But again, Searle would fall back on a definition of 'see' that requires direct perception - I can't see that he's gotten past the mediation required for visual experience to happen at all. I really hope to learn to write Philosophy well, specifically to counter-act this type of jiggering and misunderstanding within a piece of writing. Conflating an 'experience' with it's contents is a real problem, imo.

    "The experience of pain does not have pain as an object because the experience of pain is identical with the pain."

    Duhhh. They are identical in that there is only the experience of pain... there is no "the pain" to my mind. Who claims that "the pain" is different to the experience of pain? I've not seen that anywhere. Is someone claiming there's 'pain' out there not being experienced?

    "Similarly, if the experience of perceiving is an object of perceiving, then it becomes identical with the perceiving."

    This strikes me as if Searle confused himself, then tried to untangle his own confusion. The "experience of perceiving" is not an "experience" in-and-of-itself. It consists in its contents. So, that's a misnomer. Perception is a biophysical process which results in an experience - but an experience must be of something. He's rejected sense-data and then just not dealt with it at all... Interesting read. Of what, John?

    I'm getting a bit too busy at work now to read more at the present moment. Probably everything above is nonsense and I look forward to being told why :)
  • Jamal
    9k


    Initially you seemed to be asking for someone to correct your interpretation of Kant if you’d got anything wrong, which is the only reason I commented. But you are sticking to your misinterpretation, and sticking to what really seems like a wilful misunderstanding of what I’ve said, e.g., that I've claimed, contrary to what I've explicitly said a few times, that Kant believes we can access things as they are in themselves—so I won’t continue down that road. I'll just leave you with these, which I think you have not absorbed:

    [the thing as it is in itself] is merely an aspect of an external object, the aspect that we logically cannot accessJamal

    The short answer is that Kant is an empirical realist, but the thing-in-itself is not an empirical thing. It's a conceptual construction, a thing imagined as having no properties, and as such a limit beyond which there is nothing more to know. We should not expect to have access to such a thing.jkop

    (There is a very slight tension between these descriptions, which seems to align with the difference between the thing-in-itself and the noumenon)

    The example was in response to (i think Janus) positing that via the senses, the inference we make to external objects is essentially 'perfect' and provides 'direct access' to those objects in some way.
    My response was to deny this categorically, and the examples used were:
    A shadow does not give us any access to the object that caused it to appear, despite (possible) a 1:1 match in dimensions.
    The second example was that if you're standing in a bay (A) and a tidal wave hits (lets assume you're Dr. Manhattan) this gives you no access whatsoever so the empty bay(B) across the ocean whcih caused it. While crude, I think these hold for Experience (A) and ding-an-sich (B).
    AmadeusD

    These are just analogies. Assuming they apply is to beg the question. I thought, from what you said, that you had a better argument.
  • Janus
    15.3k
    Probably everything above is nonsense and I look forward to being told whyAmadeusD

    Said the flypaper to the fly.

    You must take us to be fools! :rofl:
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    I may need to ;)

    Corrections are intended to correct. I do not see that you've done this. Asking to be corrected is not asking to be either taken for a ride, or to accept any objection on its face. I've tried to explore the ideas you've put forward and tehy are left wanting to me. If you see this as you describe, far be it from me :)

    Yes. They are. Unsure why you're somehow using that as the examplar of the argument, rather than a fairly direct and illustrative couple of analogies. Which you've said it is. So, at a bit of a loss mate :\ They illustrate well that aspect of what I've put forward that you are not getting. If you're not wanting to explore that, then so be it! No issue :) Perhaps I just don't understand - and if that's the case, I couldn't accept what you're putting forth anyway so please don't fault me for either 1. disagreeing with you; or 2. Not understanding you. I am trying to be honest, not difficult.

    But as an example, it seems patently incorrect when you reject the notion that Kant uses the 'two worlds' model. It is clear he does, and this is expressed by other philosophers constantly (most recently for me, in episode #063 of Philosophize This!) as "Noumenal world" and the "Phenomenal World". This sits well with my reading. As does this response from DeepAI:

    Q: does the Critique of Pure Reason set out two worlds, one being Noumenal and one being appearance? (i purposefully formulated this badly to see if It required any massaging to get the answer I 'wanted'.

    A: Yes, the Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant does set out two distinct worlds: the Noumenal world, which is the world of things as they are in themselves beyond human perception, and the Phenomenal world, which is the world of appearances as they appear to us through our senses. Kant argues that we can never know the Noumenal world directly, as our perceptions are always shaped by our mental faculties and categories of understanding. The Phenomenal world, on the other hand, is the world as it appears to us, and is subject to the limitations of human perception and cognition.

    If, to you, this isn't exactly what i've been putting forward, im unsure where we could go.
  • Jamal
    9k
    Corrections are intended to correct. I do not see that you've done this. Asking to be corrected is not asking to be either taken for a ride, or to accept any objection on its face. I've tried to explore the ideas you've put forward and tehy are left wanting to me. If you see this as you describe, far be it from me :)

    Yes. They are. Unsure why you're somehow using that as the examplar of the argument, rather than a fairly direct and illustrative couple of analogies. Which you've said it is. So, at a bit of a loss mate :\ They illustrate well that aspect of what I've put forward that you are not getting. If you're not wanting to explore that, then so be it! No issue :) Perhaps I just don't understand - and if that's the case, I couldn't accept what you're putting forth anyway so please don't fault me for either 1. disagreeing with you; or 2. Not understanding you. I am trying to be honest, not difficult.
    AmadeusD

    Stream of consciousness is cool in modernist fiction but confusing in this context. :wink:

    Anyway, it’s rhetorical bluster with a hint of bullshit, but it seems good-natured so you’re forgiven :grin:

    But as an example, it seems patently incorrect when you reject the notion that Kant uses the 'two worlds' model. It is clear he does, and this is expressed by other philosophers constantlyAmadeusD

    Patently incorrect to agree with the majority of philosophers today, who reject the two world interpretation? It’s a debate with respected adherents on each side—and always has been. So it’s patently incorrect to say that the two aspect interpretation is patently incorrect. The key secondary text is Allison’s Kant’s Transcendental Idealism.

    Having said that, I always feel like saying that the two world interpretation is patently incorrect, since Kant is quite obviously drawing a dichotomy between things (regarded) as X vs things (regarded) as Y. But I can’t say that, since I’m forced to admit that Paul Guyer, proponent of the two world interpretation, is a respected Kant scholar.

    Talk of a noumenal world looks plainly wrong to me, since noumena are objects of thought, insofar as they are objects at all. They are conceptual. Bearing this in mind, Kant does address a two world interpretation:

    Hence the division of objects into phenomena and noumena, and of the world into a world of sense and a world of understanding, cannot be per­mitted at all in the positive signification, although concepts do indeed permit the distinction into sensible and intellectual ones. — A255

    This is because the concept of a noumenon is…

    … only a boundary concept serving to limit the pretension of sensibility, and hence is only of negative use. But it is nonetheless not arbitrarily invented; rather, it coheres with the limitation of sensibility, yet without being able to posit anything posi­ tive outside sensibility's range.

    But remind me why we’re talking about the two world interpretation?

    BTW I have personally found LLM AI tools to be sometimes bad with philosophy so I suggest you avoid them except perhaps for guiding your study—certainly don’t give them the last word.
  • jkop
    618
    Is someone claiming there's 'pain' out there not being experienced?AmadeusD

    Searle's analogy (pain) shows how absurd it would be to assume that you never feel pain as it really is, only via your own sense-data. Likewise, it is absurd to assume that you never see objects, only your own sense-data of them, hence leaving the objects out there unseen.

    When a bundle of light rays reach your eyes, the eye's lens projects the bundle upside down. So, the photoreceptor cells are responding to a projection that is upside-down relative to, say, a visible object that reflected the light.Yet the object does not appear upside-down in your visual experience.

    That's a simple example of how visual experiences adjust themselves to the relative orientation of objects as they are. The experience has a mind-to-world direction of fit.

    It also has a world-to-mind direction of causation, e.g. from visible objects, light, photoreceptor cells etc. to the experience that arises in the brain.

    These two relations give us access to the perceivable world.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Stream of consciousness is cool in modernist fiction but confusing in this context. :wink:

    Anyway, it’s rhetorical bluster with a hint of bullshit, but it seems good-natured so you’re forgiven :grin:
    Jamal

    I can't grok what you're getting here, but there's no bullshit to be found. Using analogies isn't bullshit, and neither is what im trying to get across. Appreciate being forgiven for something I didn't do, though :)

    The key secondary text is Allison’s Kant’s Transcendental Idealism.Jamal

    It is, if you want to support that position(im joking; I'm not up at all enough to say something like that - However, from what I know of this text its main thrust is purely to point out that Kant isn't denying external reality). But, having recently come to the CPR I literally have never seen a respected philosopher claim what you're claiming. Perhaps 'patent' is a touch far, but as I see it, this is the standard for anyone not trying to be edgy. It also seems to be actually be what Kant said he was doing. So, fair play, if there is an entire swathe of top notch fellas/fellettes who are saying what you're saying. I am unaware and plead ignorance on that one. I would also note that post-hoc discussions about Kant aren't what I'm referring to anyhow - though, I appreciate that to your mind that's a problem. For me, it would be a problem had i read a number of secondary sources and then pretended their interpretation was bunk on its face. Trying to illustrate that I've not got that option open to me, currently.

    (at this stage, I just want to say I really appreciate the tone and engagement in the remainder of your post. Not sure how I'll be responding but I appreciate it)

    Talk of a noumenal world looks plainly wrong to me, since noumena are objects of thoughtJamal

    I agree with this. Mww sorted me out in terms of when and when not to refer to Noumena, though, that seems to be a real debate among 'scholars'. But, i run with the idea that yes ding-an-sich is 'actual object', 'noumena' are conceptual as are beyond our perception, but not conception, whereas phenomena/possible phenomena are wholly ours to perceive and conceive as we wish. Unsure what that does for our discussion, but i definitely didn't do anything to help myself there lol.

    BTW I have personally found LLM AI tools to be sometimes bad with philosophy so I suggest you avoid them except perhaps for guiding your study—certainly don’t give them the last word.Jamal

    I don't use them for anything except summarizing passages/chapters/sections in my 'academic' life :) Appreciate the advice!

    Likewisejkop

    This is an extremely loud red flag to me. There is no analogy between 'pain' and 'actual objects'. That was actually the entire point of the rhetoric i put out. No one claims there's 'pain' out there not being experienced.
    The same can't be said for objects. It's not like there is pain, which enters the brain, and is projected into experience. Pain is the experience of certain biophysical causal chains. Not so with visual data, imo.

    The experience has a mind-to-world direction of fit.jkop

    Agree, and noted earlier (repeating as its relevant, not out of annoyance) that the direction of fit in terms of us thinking we 'see' things is one of evolutions greatest feats. That says nothing for us 'seeing' objects. Though, again, use of the term See, as Searle quite rightly points out, is extremely difficult here. 'see' might only refer to receiving light rays. 'experiencing' might be more apt for the experience of the mind-created visual. I would prefer "look at" to represent the act of turning ones eyes to an object, and 'seeing' as the process of world-to-mind and 'visual experience' as .. well, what it is :P

    Not directly at anyone:
    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. It's an odd thing to note. Seems to always boil down to 'we look at something, therefore...' with no treatment of the intermediary..
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    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

    What is the light reflected/refracted by?
  • Jamal
    9k
    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. It's an odd thing to note. Seems to always boil down to 'we look at something, therefore...' with no treatment of the intermediary..AmadeusD

    Ah, so you’re one of those guys!

    —I can see rain over there behind that hill
    —Actually, you can’t
    —What?
    —All we see is light!
    —Oh my God, this shit again.

    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. Why would you think this? We see things by means of reflected/refracted light, don't we? This is part of how we access things around us.

    But it’s actually quite hard to tell what you think, because your use of terms seems quite unstable. You say we see light, which in turn allows us to “see” visual constructs, which suggests that you think we don't really see things or the visual constructs of those things (since you put the word "see" in quotation marks for the latter). But a more common form of phenomenalism would say that internal images (or models, representations, whatever) are the objects of perception, rather than the raw sensory stimuli; I would have expected this to be your kind of position. And in any case, why does your personal use of the word differ so much from everyone else’s?

    The propagation of light, the movement of the perceiver’s eyes, the retinal photoreceptors, the special cells, the electrical signals in the nervous system…and so on. There is a lot that happens to enable us to see things. And yet you deny that we see things. Don’t you think it’s weird that we would have evolved such an elaborate system if it were not for perceiving things in the environment?

    Of course, the particular problem here is really just linguistic (ideological too, but I won't get into that), like when people say, without thinking, that what we think of as solid objects are not really solid. I'm not going to fully untie the tangled usages, since what I've said should already suggest a strategy of auto-disentanglement.

    To use an analogy: neither travelling to New York, nor travelling to New York directly, demand that I use a teleporter. There is an intervening process, and yet it’s still New York I’m travelling to, directly.

    At the risk of being moderated for self-promotion ... I deal with some of these issues in an old article that used to be on the TPF articles site but is now just on my blog: The Argument for Indirect Realism (and there are also two discussions on TPF about the article).

    But, having recently come to the CPR I literally have never seen a respected philosopher claim what you're claiming. Perhaps 'patent' is a touch far, but as I see it, this is the standard for anyone not trying to be edgy.AmadeusD

    We were talking about two worlds vs two aspects. The latter is the predominant interpretation of Kant among philosophers. You didn't know that, but now you do. Check the books and the internet if you don't believe me, rather than shouting about how incredulous you are. They asked this question in the last PhilPapers Survey: Kant (what is his view?): one world or two worlds?.

    Just because two aspects is more popular (except in Canada) doesn't mean it's right, but it does show that your incredulity is inappropriate.

    And didn't you see my quotation from Kant himself, arguing against two worlds? Is he not a "respected philosopher"?

    However, if you're referring to the more edgy side of my interpretation, namely that Kant is not any kind of idealist at all--despite incorporating something called transcendental idealism in his system--then that has support among respected philosophers too, notably Arthur Collins in his book, Possible Experience: Understanding Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. As I recall, I actually think Collins goes a bit too far and lets Kant off with too much--but anyway, I haven't even said much along these lines in this discussion; most of what I've said is pretty standard.

    If there is any particular statement of mine about Kant's philosophy that strikes you as outrageous, then please quote it and I'll either elaborate on it until you begin to nod in agreement, or else correct myself.
  • jkop
    618
    There is no analogy between 'pain' and 'actual objects'.AmadeusD

    The analogy is between feeling (pain) and seeing (objects).

    Pain is the experience of certain biophysical causal chains. Not so with visual data, imo.AmadeusD

    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?
  • Michael
    13.9k
    Of course, the particular problem here is really just linguisticJamal

    I agree. This is the issue with the very meaning of the terms "direct" and "indirect". Each often seems to be defined as the inverse of the other, which is no definition at all.

    Traditionally direct and indirect realism provide two competing answers to the epistemological problem of perception. The epistemological problem asks if we can trust our experiences to provide us with accurate information about the nature of external world objects. Direct realists conclude that we can and indirect realists conclude that we can't.

    The usual way direct realists phrase their position is just to say that we perceive external world objects. But it doesn't follow from this that we can trust our experiences to provide us with accurate information about the nature of external world objects – unless they mean something very specific by perceiving external world objects.

    So what meaning of perceiving external world objects would entail the direct realist's conclusion that we can trust our experiences to provide us with accurate information about the nature of external world objects?

    My own take is that the properties of the experience – the look, the sound, the feel, the taste, the smell – must be properties of the external world objects. If they are then we can trust our experiences to provide us with accurate information about the nature of external world objects and if they aren't then we can't.

    But what if someone were to say that the properties of the experience are not properties of the external world objects but that we are nonetheless perceiving external world objects? At the very least it seems to show that the usual dichotomy is an overly simplistic division. There should in fact be four options to consider:

    1. We perceive external world objects and the properties of the experience are properties of the external world objects
    2. We perceive external world objects and the properties of the experience are not properties of the external world objects
    3. We do not perceive external world objects and the properties of the experience are properties of the external world objects
    4. We do not perceive external world objects and the properties of the experience are not properties of the external world objects

    We can perhaps dismiss (3) as a viable option, (1) I understand as naive realism, (4) I understand as indirect realism, but what of (2)?

    (2) disagrees with the indirect realist's claim that we do not perceive external world objects but entails the indirect realist's conclusion that we cannot trust our experiences to provide us with accurate information about the nature of external world objects.

    Is (2) direct or indirect realism, or something else?

    Although I suspect that indirect realists will claim that we perceive external world objects if and only if the properties of the experience are properties of the external world objects, and so that (2) is a contradiction.
  • Jamal
    9k


    Yes, I understand. You can be a phenomenalist or indirect realist without making mistakes like “all we see is light”. So yeah, your view is more advanced, since it avoids the linguistic confusions—but it is thereby even more deeply wrong. :grin:
  • Michael
    13.9k
    I've tidied up my comment. Perhaps you could explain where you think I've gone wrong?
  • Jamal
    9k


    I'm not going to get into it this time. This is partly because I don't like the debate any more, but also because since you developed your more reasonable version of indirect realism a couple of years ago, it pushes the debate back to more deep and difficult matters: the distinction between appearance and reality, the idea of things "as they really are", etc., all of which I am deeply suspicious of. I think that internally your position is well-argued, but I just don't think I accept the terms any more, the way it's all framed. Sorry to be so vague.

    Under certain definitions I can settle for either (1) or (2). It depends. (2) could describe various correlationisms. Whether it's direct or not might not be a fruitful debate, because the way the term is understood is so diverse as to be hopelessly confusing. One person might mean "as it really is, independently of perception," and another might mean "perceived without intermediate objects of perception" or whatever. Seems like a historical debate and I don't know what to do with it any more.
  • Michael
    13.9k
    Whether it's direct or not might not be a fruitful debate, because the way the term is understood is so diverse as to be hopelessly confusing.Jamal

    On that I agree.
  • jkop
    618


    To expect accuracy is to assume that seeing something is a re-presentation of something, which it isn't.

    A Sunday painter might have the intent to re-present Lisa accurately, assuming there is a certain way she really is. But what could such a way possibly be? A human, female, friend, foe, happy, sad, still or in motion in various projections all at once? The assumption of accuracy is based on bad philosophy of perception.

    By convention there are ways to paint objects in more or less useful ways, e.g. photorealistically or contextually. But there is no accurate way to see Lisa, just different ways under different conditions in which Lisa can be seen. Visual experiences of Lisa are different from, say, beliefs of what Lisa looks like. A visual experience arises in the observer's conscious awareness, and so does a belief of what Lisa looks like. The belief is subject to doubt, and it can be refined and elaborated depending on use, but the visual experiences are biological facts that arise under certain conditions of satisfaction.
  • Michael
    13.9k
    visual experiences are biological facts that arise under certain conditions of satisfactionjkop

    The epistemological problem of perception seeks to understand the relationship between visual experiences and the external world objects that such experiences are putatively of. Roughly speaking indirect realists claim that the relationship is only causal, whereas direct realists claim that the relationship is more than that.

    For example, we mostly agree that we experience a red colour when electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength stimulates the sense receptors in our eyes, and that the wavelength of this electromagnetic radiation is influenced by the atomic structure of an external world object's surface.

    What we don't agree on is whether or not it is correct – or even sensible – to say that this red colour is a property of that external world object. Indirect realists say that it isn't, whereas direct realists (or at least naive colour realists) say that it is.
  • jkop
    618
    What we don't agree on is whether or not it is correct – or even sensible – to say that the colour red is a property of that external world object. Indirect realists say that it isn't, whereas direct realists (or at least naive colour realists) claim that it is.Michael

    Right, I recall something Hilary Putnam wrote on color realism, that surface properties of objects have dispositions to appear in such and such ways under such and such conditions. Searle is more brain-oriented and although he is a direct realist he thinks of colors as systematically occurring hallucinations.

    The surface properties of the materials of a building, for instance, systematically reflect certain wavelengths of light that observers identify as the colors of those surfaces under ordinary conditions of observation (e.g. daylight). When the light conditions change the colors that we see also change (e.g. dusk, night, dawn, cloudy etc. ), but the surfaces typically remain the same, including their disposition to reflect the same colors under the same conditions.
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