• Cavacava
    2.4k

    The bird doesn't "know" that it's beautiful in the way that we "know" that (and of course, there's the problem of whether beauty can be epistemically apprehended in the first place). But putting that question aside, our unique, subjective apprehension of the bird's beauty is an experience of the bird that only occurs via our human conciousness. From our human vantage point, the bird is beautiful: not just the the colors of the plumage, but the physical way the bird flits, flies, and the songs that it sings. The bird is acting on instinct; the bird doesn't control it's physical appearance the way a beautiful man or woman does; the bird doesn't sing for the pleasure of song itself; the bird has no mirror in which to observe it's own beauty, both literally and figuratively (figuratively in the sense that conciousness is a mirror in which we reflect on ourselves). The bird has none of that. But we possess a view unique to us; The very sense-experience and abstract concepts that create our apprehension of the bird as beautiful are the things that are exclusive to our human conciousness.

    Suppose that beauty is pleasurable and that both man and bird feel beauty. We the beauty that we see around us, such as in nature and in the beauty in art, the bird in the joy of its song (I am not saying this is its sole purpose). We are very different beings but our behaviors seem somewhat merged in pleasure and pain.

    If so then perhaps the beauty of a song bird's song may not be entirely lost on itself due to its cognitive limitations. I am inclined to believe that Nature itself is responsible for both bird and man. A bird's instincts rule what it feels and the pleasure it experiences in its own behavior, which is as important to it as it is to us.

    Man's consciousness is Nature's realization of its own existence. If there is a macro-cosmic/transcendent perhaps it is Nature itself who's imminent hierarchy might be based on each separate beings degree of participation in it.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    By "qualia" I mean "what it's like to experience some phenomena", that is, the qualities of an experience. See "(1)" under "1. Uses of the Term 'Qualia'": https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia/#Usesnumberjohnny5
    Thank you!

    (1) specific properties intrinsic in the book (e.g. the molecules, atoms); (2) those specific properties actually interacting with the properties of our mental apparatus (e.g. our eyes, retina, nerve cells, etc.); (3) the changes in our mind caused by the interaction in (2) (e.g. within the occipital lobe, other brain/mental processes). We then (can also) infer "the colour red" as distinct from other colours based on experience (obviously).numberjohnny5
    #2 isn't quite right. What colour is the book if you turn out the lights, or if you're using a sodium lamp, and so forth? The point is that what you get from the book is reflected light, but nothing of the book itself.

    So "red" is the name we give to a particular (qualitative, i.e. "qualia") experience which involves a dynamic process involving the properties of some object that causes our minds to make specific changes.numberjohnny5
    Clear enough, but this is just definition, and not quite accurate. And it says that red is the name of a judgment made about a feeloing. People may agree that the book is red, but what does that tell us about red in-itself?

    How do you know there are properties?
    — tim wood
    Because it doesn't make sense to me to think that existents aren't just a "bundle" of properties interacting. What would existents look/be like without properties?
    numberjohnny5
    The point is that you're presupposing what you call properties in order for your understanding and thinking to make sense to you. This is in fact the way the world works. Sometimes there's a problem when the presupposition is taken for reality. For example, you say, "What would existents look/be like without properties?" I know what you mean. The trouble is that the remark, which I think makes perfect sense most of the time, doesn't make sense here.

    It seems - what I'm hearing (reading actually) - is that the book is red, but that red is a qualia. Can't be both. And maybe cannot be either! (Again, what, exactly, is red in itself?) If red is in your head, then all you can know about red is about the red in your head. This begins to look like the pre-Kant problem: if what you know is in your head, then how can you know about the world? If it's in the world (I.e., empirical/observational) then how can you know how it works? I say pre-Kant problem, because Kant resolved it.

    So now, moving up the theoretical macrocosmic hiearchy, the question becomes: Does a human person know that it's beautiful? And secondly, could there be a higher form of being that observes and apprehends a beautiful quality in us which we are incapable of seeing?Noble Dust
    Our inability to "see" it suggests the question as to whether it exists. If it's just a qualia in some being's mind, then what is that to us? If it's us (and we can't "see" it), then how do we know it? That leaves, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And there's more to this remark than initially meets the eye!
  • tom
    1.5k
    Clear enough, but this is just definition, and not quite accurate. And it says that red is the name of a judgment made about a feeloing. People may agree that the book is red, but what does that tell us about red in-itself?tim wood


    The quale of red is the knowledge of what it is like to experience red.

    Consider a physicist and a robot, neither of which can see red, due to a genetic defect and a loose connection respectively. When the physicist (who knows of red) is repaired by a geneticist, she can not only detect red, but also gains knowledge of what it is like to see red. When the robot is fixed by an engineer it can detect red, but has no idea what it is like to see red.

    A quale is "what it is like" knowledge. Birds are incapable of creating such knowledge, as are robots.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    A quale is "what it is like" knowledge. Birds are incapable of creating such knowledge, as are robots.tom

    I dunno. Crows are supposed to be pretty intelligent. Granted birds cannot create people knowledge. Can you create bird knowledge? Perhaps you claim that birds are incapable of knowing. If so, make your case.
    The quale of red is the knowledge of what it is like to experience red.tom

    The point that's getting skipped, here, is How Do You Know?

    This is from the above reference site:
    " These qualities — ones that are accessible to you when you introspect and that together make up the phenomenal character of the experience are sometimes called ‘qualia’."
    I don't see knowledge in there at all. And even if so, your "knowledge" is just of "what it is like to experience red." That's not the same thing as the experience of red. And what does the experience of red have to do with red itself?
  • tom
    1.5k
    I dunno. Crows are supposed to be pretty intelligent. Granted birds cannot create people knowledge. Can you create bird knowledge? Perhaps you claim that birds are incapable of knowing. If so, make your case.tim wood

    In what way is "bird knowledge" any different from knowledge? How do birds create this "bird knowledge"?

    The point that's getting skipped, here, is How Do You Know?tim wood

    Funny!

    I don't see knowledge in there at all. And even if so, your "knowledge" is just of "what it is like to experience red." That's not the same thing as the experience of red. And what does the experience of red have to do with red itself?tim wood

    Qualia and knowledge are intimately related.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-knowledge/
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    #2 isn't quite right. What colour is the book if you turn out the lights, or if you're using a sodium lamp, and so forth? The point is that what you get from the book is reflected light, but nothing of the book itself.tim wood

    Yes, I agree. As you say, this is not a case of the actual book touching one's mental apparatus; the book is not actually touching my eye. What is touching my eye are the properties of light interacting with the both the book's properties and the properties of my mental apparatus.

    People may agree that the book is red, but what does that tell us about red in-itself?tim wood

    By "red in-itself" do you mean noumena?

    For example, you say, "What would existents look/be like without properties?" I know what you mean. The trouble is that the remark, which I think makes perfect sense most of the time, doesn't make sense here.tim wood

    I'm not sure whether you do know what I mean. If properties are identical to existents, then how can existents exist without properties?

    This begins to look like the pre-Kant problem: if what you know is in your head, then how can you know about the world? If it's in the world (I.e., empirical/observational) then how can you know how it works? I say pre-Kant problem, because Kant resolved it.tim wood

    I think we have direct perception of observables (I'm a naive realist). In other words, we experience externals (i.e. objective/external-to-mind objects) directly. We can make inferences from that direct experience, and that's how we can know about the world.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    A quale is "what it is like" knowledge. Birds are incapable of creating such knowledge, as are robots.tom
    Do you mean birds are incapable of reflection? I've kept birdfeeders for some years. They behave both as if they have knowledge, and as if they can access that knowledge. There was a time when folks thought animals were mere automata, but we're several hundred years removed from that aberration, or most of us are. Most folks who have pets acknowledge their pets exhibit signs of having a rich intellectual and emotional life.

    In what way is "bird knowledge" any different from knowledge? How do birds create this "bird knowledge"?tom
    How about as genus and species. And I'll tackle the how when you've accounted for human knowledge. Three questions: an sit, quid sit, quale sit, Is it? What is it? What kind is it? Are you denying the third because you haven't dealt with the first two?

    The point that's getting skipped, here, is How Do You Know?
    — tim wood

    Funny!
    tom

    Serious, actually. Think it through and make it clear how you know - that is, answer the question. I think it's ok to say, I don't know how I know, but I know!" because that's my condition, usually, and I think it's most folk's condition. The trouble comes when you take the step from, "I don't know," to "I know," usually based on just the ignorance in question.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    Yes, I agree. As you say, this is not a case of the actual book touching one's mental apparatus; the book is not actually touching my eye. What is touching my eye are the properties of light interacting with the both the book's properties and the properties of my mental apparatus.

    People may agree that the book is red, but what does that tell us about red in-itself?
    — tim wood

    By "red in-itself" do you mean noumena?
    numberjohnny5

    No need for a special word, and if it's Kant's, then we have to travel a side road to what, exactly, he was referring to. --- The light reaches your eye and "interacts with the properties of your mental apparatus." At some point the product of that interaction becomes the ground for a claim of knowledge and a statement, "The book is red." Again, perfectly ordinary and common. You offer an account: something that was outside comes inside, as qualia (fix this if I'm wrong), and the qualia - the "what it's like to see red" - is(?) the knowledge. Is that it?

    There was a time when there was a "projectionist" theory of perception. As you recognize above, people realized that we don't actually see the tree. So they supposed the tree was "projected" into the eye, and from there "projected," somehow, into/onto the mind. The theory fails in that it provides no account of how the thing projected becomes seen. We can all understand how an image is projected onto a screen, and suppose, by analogy, onto our mind, but as to the viewer, and how the "seeing" actually works, nothing.

    So I find two flaws in the notion of qualia as an account of knowledge. 1) That qualia is the experience of what it's like to experience something (clearly not the experience itself, or the experience of the thing itself). And 2) even if it were, then how does it become knowledge. That is, how does the qualia itself establish knowledge and understanding?

    I think we have direct perception of observables (I'm a naive realist). In other words, we experience externals (i.e. objective/external-to-mind objects) directly. We can make inferences from that direct experience, and that's how we can know about the world.numberjohnny5

    We can't both have and not have direct experience of externals. We agree we can't (we don't see the tree itself). Because we can't, we can't know about the world.
  • tom
    1.5k
    How about as genus and species. And I'll tackle the how when you've accounted for human knowledge. Three questions: an sit, quid sit, quale sit, Is it? What is it? What kind is it? Are you denying the third because you haven't dealt with the first two?tim wood

    I see, you claim "bird knowledge" is different from knowledge, and now demand that I defend your claim?
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    In what way is "bird knowledge" any different from knowledge? How do birds create this "bird knowledge"?
    — tom
    tim wood
    How about as genus and species. And I'll tackle the how when you've accounted for human knowledge. Three questions: an sit, quid sit, quale sit, Is it? What is it? What kind is it? Are you denying the third because you haven't dealt with the first two?
    — tim wood
    I see, you claim "bird knowledge" is different from knowledge, and now demand that I defend your claim?
    tom

    Please point out any demand I made. As to knowledge, I certainly do distinguish between "knowledge" and "bird knowledge," as well as human knowledge, dog, cat, whale, otter, and every other kind of knowledge. Don't you? It's possible that all these knowledges share common aspects that might be a basis for a general category of knowledge. but how can we even approach that absent a good definition and understanding of knowledge to work from. Which you apparently have. Please tell us what you say knowledge is. Of course you can say anything you want, but it would be helpful if you made sense and could respond substantively to questions.
  • tom
    1.5k
    As to knowledge, I certainly do distinguish between "knowledge" and "bird knowledge," as well as human knowledge, dog, cat, whale, otter, and every other kind of knowledge. Don't you?tim wood

    What is the difference between "bird knowledge" and "dog knowledge"?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    What is the difference between "bird knowledge" and "dog knowledge"?

    Sniffability
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    What is the difference between "bird knowledge" and "dog knowledge"?tom
    Don't you think you ought to try for at least a definition of knowledge before you ask people about the varieties of it? Keep in mind I did not say they were different; I did say I distinguished between them. If you locate knowledge in qualia, and qualia is an internal state of some kind, then I imagine that all knowledge is different. We both may be able to identify raspberries in a series of blind tests, but by no means does that lead to the conclusion that our mental states - our qualia - are the same.

    Show us some critical thinking prowess! Tell us what knowledge is! I think we're at cross purposes until you do. (Btw, I do not know what knowledge is.)
  • tom
    1.5k
    SniffabilityCavacava

    Do you think it possible to transfer dog knowledge to a bird?
  • tom
    1.5k
    Don't you think you ought to try for at least a definition of knowledge before you ask people about the varieties of it? Keep in mind I did not say they were different; I did say I distinguished between them. If you locate knowledge in qualia, and qualia is an internal state of some kind, then I imagine that all knowledge is different. We both may be able to identify raspberries in a series of blind tests, but by no means does that lead to the conclusion that our mental states - our qualia - are the same.tim wood

    You claimed that dog knowledge and bird knowledge are different. Why do you not attempt to defend your claim, rather than pretending yu did not make it? If you don't know what knowledge is, how can you even make such a claim?

    Granted birds cannot create people knowledge. Can you create bird knowledge?tim wood

    So, for some reason, birds cannot create "people knowledge"!

    I certainly do distinguish between "knowledge" and "bird knowledge," as well as human knowledge, dog, cat, whale, otter, and every other kind of knowledge. Don't you?tim wood

    In order to distinguish between "dog, cat, whale, otter, and every other kind of knowledge", there must be a difference between them. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    No. I think all life shares the same world, but each species confronts that world in their own way, utilizing what nature has provided to it according to its own pragmatics.
  • tom
    1.5k
    No. I think all life shares the same world, but each species confronts that world in their own way, utilizing what nature has provided to it according to its own pragmatics.Cavacava

    So, why might it not be possible to transfer dog knowledge to a bird? If a bird can know something, then what stops it knowing anything?
  • Cavacava
    2.4k

    I don't think dogs, birds or other creatures can conceptualize. They can think, feel, sense, associate experiences and react on that basis. I think they can share these senses, these feelings at times but knowledge in my opinion requires conceptualization, determinate concepts, without which there is no understanding, no knowledge.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    What is the difference between "bird knowledge" and "dog knowledge"?
    — tom
    Keep in mind I did not say they were different; I did say I distinguished between them....
    (Btw, I do not know what knowledge is.)
    tim wood

    You claimed that dog knowledge and bird knowledge are different. Why do you not attempt to defend your claim, rather than pretending yu did not make it? If you don't know what knowledge is, how can you even make such a claim?tom

    I see you're having trouble with plain and simple English. Since - because - your posts are non-responsive, All I can do is repeat myself. Why do that? "It is hateful to me to tell a story over again, when it has been well told"
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    I don't think dogs, birds or other creatures can conceptualize.Cavacava
    Hi Cavacava. I think they do. But it depends on what you mean by "conceptualize." I have watched a pet cat do something that, it seems to me, required a lot of all kinds of mental capacity. (It had learned how to open a door. If you think this through, you'll recognize it's no small feat. In particular, it could not open the door the way I can: it had to figure out its own way. I think it's a twice-told tale that lot of animals know how to do lots of similar kinds of things.)
  • tom
    1.5k
    I think they can share these senses, these feelings at times but knowledge in my opinion requires conceptualization, determinate concepts, without which there is no understanding, no knowledge.Cavacava

    How do birds "share these sensations, these feelings"?
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    You offer an account: something that was outside comes inside, as qualia (fix this if I'm wrong), and the qualia - the "what it's like to see red" - is(?) the knowledge. Is that it?tim wood

    Using "inside" and "outside" like that I think confuses things. It's rather that properties of light (that are interacting with properties of the book) are interacting with properties of one's eye/retina, which in turn cause changes in the nerves that then cause changes in the visual system, and so on. The qualia refers only to the properties of the mental apparatus processing the environment in this case. And I'd say that the sensorial, perceptual, and acquaintance knowledge experience is not identical to the propositional knowledge one can infer from the experience.

    There was a time when there was a "projectionist" theory of perception. As you recognize above, people realized that we don't actually see the tree.tim wood

    That's not what I said, nor implied; at least, that's certainly not what I intended to say/imply. "Seeing" a tree is identical to properties of light interacting with properties of the tree interacting with one's eye and causing particular changes in one's mind. "Seeing" does not refer to anything else (for instance, the tree actually touching one's eye). Touching the tree with one's hand is another way of perceiving in which properties of the tree interact with the properties of one's hand which cause changes to one's skin, nervous system, etc. I wouldn't say that touching the tree with one's hand isn't touching the actual tree.

    So I find two flaws in the notion of qualia as an account of knowledge. 1) That qualia is the experience of what it's like to experience something (clearly not the experience itself, or the experience of the thing itself). And 2) even if it were, then how does it become knowledge. That is, how does the qualia itself establish knowledge and understanding?tim wood

    As per your (1), the qualia is the experience of some objective/external phenomena (provided that the phenomena in question is not illusory like, say, a projection of any object in question). "Experience" is synonymous with "mental experience", in my view. (2) In a nutshell, as we develop, observe, and "absorb" external phenomena, our minds learn to organise/classify different phenomena into abstract categories of experience. "Qualia" allow us the "material" (i.e. the experiences) from which we make sense of reality.

    We can't both have and not have direct experience of externals. We agree we can't (we don't see the tree itself). Because we can't, we can't know about the world.tim wood

    Again, see my comment above: we have direct experience of observables; it's just not in the way you think qualifies as direct experience. Let me put this another way by asking you a question: what would need to occur for you to believe we have direct experience of observables...of say, a tree?
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    The qualia refers only to the properties of the mental apparatus processing the environment in this case. And I'd say that the sensorial, perceptual, and acquaintance knowledge experience is not identical to the propositional knowledge one can infer from the experience.numberjohnny5
    By "mental apparatus" I'm thinking you mean mind. By "knowledge experience" I'm thinking you mean just that which is the reflection/awareness/consciousness of the experience - or that which is added to the experience-in-itself that makes it intelligible to consciousness - or something along these lines. I agree completely with the non-identity of same with propositional knowledge got from reasoning about experience. (By "not seeing" the tree, I only mean what you mean, except that our language and definitions differ.)

    But where has that got us?

    I wouldn't say that touching the tree with one's hand isn't touching the actual tree.numberjohnny5
    Sure. But the perception of the touching. Therein lies the problem. In this sense touching is like seeing. You're defining seeing, and touching, as the entire process, and presupposing that what ends up in your mind is what's out there. What we have learned to call a tree is out there. All we have to work with is perception of the tree (whether by seeing or touch or any other sense) - in short, an image. I suppose the image is more-or-less accurate within the limits of my perception; I do not suppose it is the thing perceived (nor do you, I gather), nor do I suppose my image is exactly accurate, with respect to the thing - the tree - itself. In this sense, then, I disagree. Touching the tree isn't touching the tree. This just points at the problems with language that arise from informality of usage.

    Again, see my comment above: we have direct experience of observables; it's just not in the way you think qualifies as direct experience. Let me put this another way by asking you a question: what would need to occur for you to believe we have direct experience of observables...of say, a tree?numberjohnny5

    It's that "direct experience" that's throwing me. The only way I make sense of it is if the "observables" are the raw material of the perception, before it is put into order by the mind - but in no way to be confused with the thing itself. In this sense we do have direct experience of the "observables": we create them! As to direct experience of the tree, I'm with Kant (as I understand him): as a practical matter the tree is green and leafy and rough to the touch, and if it's a pine then it has a distinctive smell, and so on. And I don't doubt that the tree really is this way. As to knowing it in scientific sense, then no.

    This short essay was posted in another thread; it covers this ground:

    http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/11/the-continuing-relevance-of-immanuel-kant.html.
  • numberjohnny5
    174
    By "mental apparatus" I'm thinking you mean mind.tim wood

    Yes. Just to clarify, we also have a sensory apparatus that detects externals/light-as-external/etc. Perception involves the combination of sensory and mental apparatus. Knowledge is mental only.

    By "knowledge experience" I'm thinking you mean just that which is the reflection/awareness/consciousness of the experience - or that which is added to the experience-in-itself that makes it intelligible to consciousness - or something along these lines.tim wood

    Yes, more or less.

    But the perception of the touching. Therein lies the problem. In this sense touching is like seeing.tim wood

    It's just employing two different "modes" of perception simultaneously: touching and seeing.

    You're defining seeing, and touching, as the entire process, and presupposing that what ends up in your mind is what's out there.tim wood

    "Seeing" and "touching" is just referring to the process of experiencing some object via two "modes" of perception.

    And again, saying stuff like "what ends up in your mind is what's out there" confuses/gets wrong what's actually going on, in my view. None of the tree is ending up in your mind when you touch or see the tree. Your sensory apparatuses properties and your mind's properties is being affected by the tree's properties (when touching) and the light's properties interacting with the tree and your mind (when seeing).

    What we have learned to call a tree is out there. All we have to work with is perception of the tree (whether by seeing or touch or any other sense) - in short, an image.tim wood

    Like a mental construct of sorts?

    I suppose the image is more-or-less accurate within the limits of my perception; I do not suppose it is the thing perceived (nor do you, I gather),tim wood

    I take it you're a representative realist? As I've said, I'm a direct realist. In my view, we perceive observables directly. We do not perceive an image/mental construct of what is supposedly an observable. If that were the case, we wouldn't even begin to be able to verify whether our mental construct or "image" (if that's how you're using it) matches the "thing itself". Which means the representative realist holds a solipsistic position.

    nor do I suppose my image is exactly accurate, with respect to the thing - the tree - itself.tim wood

    What would "exactly accurate" refer to? What does it mean to have an "exactly accurate" image to a thing itself?

    It's that "direct experience" that's throwing me. The only way I make sense of it is if the "observables" are the raw material of the perception, before it is put into order by the mind - but in no way to be confused with the thing itself. In this sense we do have direct experience of the "observables": we create them! As to direct experience of the tree, I'm with Kant (as I understand him): as a practical matter the tree is green and leafy and rough to the touch, and if it's a pine then it has a distinctive smell, and so on. And I don't doubt that the tree really is this way.tim wood

    The observables are the facts/states of affairs that we observe/perceive. The whole act of experiencing some object/observable is "processual", so what we are perceiving is continually being processed and changing/affecting our mental experience of some object/observable, moment by moment (as long as we're observing it, of course). Processing/experiencing a fact/observable/object is just our mental apparatus/phenomena (like qualia) interacting with external phenomena (like trees). So we don't actually create the external phenomena. Rather, our minds are causally affected by and process external phenomena via our mental apparatus.

    As to knowing it in scientific sense, then no.tim wood

    By "scientific" I take it you mean empirical observations in lieu of theoretical/hypothetical support?

    I think we can know things empirically (in the knowledge by acquaintance sense) since I buy direct realism.

    (Btw, all experience is from a perspective; there is no "view-from-nowhere" experience or knowledge of some x.)
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    How do birds "share these sensations, these feelings"?

    As I suggested to ND I think it might be in their tweet.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/131491
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    I have watched a pet cat do something that, it seems to me, required a lot of all kinds of mental capacity. (It had learned how to open a door.

    Pets can be quite crafty, I think they learn (mimic) this from us, but I think it is more associative reasoning then conceptualized reasoning. So a is to b as b is to c rather than a implies b and b implies. c.

    As an aside. It is interesting that song birds learn their song from their parents, and if they don't learn it for some reason they can still sing but they will not attract mates. Scientist indicate that their songs change over time for an entire population as a whole based on the recording scientist have made.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    I take it you're a representative realist?numberjohnny5
    From http://www.philosophyzer.com/direct-realism-and-indirect-realism/:
    "Direct realism is often referred to as naive realism or common sense realism. It is a philosophy of the mind based on the theory of perception that claims that the senses provide us with direct awareness of the external world. The world derived from our sense perception should be taken at face value. In other words, objects that exist in the world have the properties that they appear to us to have."

    "Indirect realism was argued by Kant, in his book ‘A Critique of Pure Reason’."

    That makes me an indirect realist. People have a problem with Kant because they don't understand him. They suppose he's saying you cannot know anything about the world because of the idea of noumena, and how can he then talk about knowing the world if he's already argued that it cannot be known. Kant supposes two kinds of knowledge (maybe more than two, but at any rate at least these two). The first is scientific knowledge, and he works this all out in Critique of Pure Reason. This kind of knowledge he requires to meet certain criteria while at the same time resolving the materialist/idealist division.

    The other kind is practical knowledge, which is not so constrained. Never for a moment does he doubt that - or argue against - the tree is a tree, or that it is as it appears. From the standpoint of science, Gewissenschaft, he requires that science give a scientific account of the tree as tree, not as a pratical matter, but as a scientific matter. And he finds that science, because it works from perception/appearances, cannot.

    The observables are the facts/states of affairs that we observe/perceive.... (like trees).numberjohnny5

    Maybe here I can open the clam. I can observe/perceive - see - the tree only in so far as I can see it. If it has an ultraviolet or infrared "signature," I won't see it. And to be sure, what I do see is just my seeing of it. It seems to me an unwarranted assumption that my seeing somehow is the same as the thing itself. As a practical matter, I suppose I do see the tree as it is. As a scientific matter, concerning the tree as it really is in itself, then I don't. If you argue that I do, then how do you demonstrate my error, assuming I (seem to) make one. It seems to me the best you can do is offer an account of a different "seeing."

    In sum, between us (I think) we agree that if we perceive a chair in the right location beneath us, we can sit in it without getting into a metaphysical muddle. It's a chair. The tree is a tree. Both are as they seem to us. We have a practical attitude towards them, with which they agree - or we with them.

    But is the tree really green? This is just a teaser of a question that like an iceberg conceals ninety percent of it's substance out of sight. And in an iceberg-like manner, it's radically destructive of non-critical thinking, because it asks its, "Is it really..?", all the way down.
  • tim wood
    1.3k
    Pets can be quite crafty, I think they learn (mimic) this from us, but I think it is more associative reasoning then conceptualized reasoning. So a is to b as b is to c rather than a implies b and b implies. c.Cavacava

    Can you be crafty without being intelligent? And I do not find any convenient handle by which to grasp the difference between associative and conceptualized reasoning. Crows can apparently count up to about seven. Border collies manage sheep. A border collie that was a pet instantly understood a game I created on a field. My cat, to open the door, had to develop a unique behaviour that it never saw.

    (The door was an interior door properly hung by a carpenter; that is, if open it would swing slowly shut. Being old, the latch was too stiff to catch. There was also a space under the door between it and the floor. The cat figured out to lie on its side and hook the door from underneath, pulling it towards her. She then jumped out of the way and slipped through he opening just created just before it swung shut again. There was another cat that observed this trick numerous times, but never caught on to it.)
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    The difference between associative reasoning and conceptualization (I think) is similar to the "distinction between the substitution of the name of an attribute or adjunct for that of the thing meant, for example suit for business executive, or the track for horse racing" (the definition of metonymy), things that occur in proximity and are connect by that proximity. Conceptualization has to do with metaphor, a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable... how a can imply b.

    Humans think by both association and implication, while animals thinking is in my opinion confined to the associations they have learnt which can lead to amazing results such as your cat's feat. Not all animals are created equal, some are smarter then others. Animals are intelligent in many ways, but they are not intelligent in the same way as humans.

    In the case of animals I think the metonymic link has to do with feelings like pleasure and pain.
  • ff0
    120
    Does a human person know that it's beautiful? And secondly, could there be a higher form of being that observes and apprehends a beautiful quality in us which we are incapable of seeing?Noble Dust

    I say yes. We 'look down' on ourselves. As we age we become more sophisticated, more sensitive to all the different ways that humans can be beautiful. And we can look 'down' on our younger selves with a mixture of contempt and longing. As cultures we age too, and so we can look back/down in a similar way. Sometimes we can see the past of ourselves or our culture as a stronger, more beautiful kind of living. Then we strive to undo the false learning, etc., that cut us off from this stronger beauty.

    *Feuerbach pays quite a bit of attention to this issue. The Incarnation is a symbolic confession for him that (the hu-)man is the God or supreme value for (the hu-)man.
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