• Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    ...and yet they do indeed use these words. How can that be, if your account is right?Banno
    I believe that fact is wrong, but for the sake of argument, let's say it is right. Would this not suggest that we have Innate Ideas, as per Plato and against Aristotle and Hume? That without the need of experience, every man, blind or sighted, already knows the idea of colours a priori? Well this still would not change my point that words point to things, in this case, to ideas that we know a priori; am I wrong?


    I read up on this a bit. This is indeed astonishing. "She was able to enjoy music by feeling the beat and she was able to have a strong connection with animals through touch".

    But I am not sure if she would have been able to perceive the animals' colours; although she may have been able to somewhat perceive the tone of the sounds from the vibration frequencies.
  • Banno
    3.8k



    Notice that Mr Edison is quite able to use colour words correctly. Of course, there are some things he cannot do, as he acknowledges; and lots that he has trouble making sense of.

    But does he know the meaning of our colour words? He uses them correctly in most cases, so I think we have to say yes.

    You could finesse this all you like, but it would come down to showing the basic distinction between you and I in our attitude to meaning; I say it is use, you say... it is something mystical in your head?

    And notice that your argument above, for some sort of innate ideas, simply falls apart when you talk to a blind person. Edison's use of colour is not innate; nor is it complete. But it is there for you to see.

    And this post should be read in a tone of voice that is somewhat contemptuous of the able bodied telling the disabled what they can and cannot do.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    this still would not change my point that words point to things, in this case, to ideas that we know a priori; am I wrong?Samuel Lacrampe

    Yes. What is pointed to by Edison's use of "red"?
  • Pattern-chaser
    655
    And this post should be read in a tone of voice that is somewhat contemptuous of the able bodied telling the disabled what they can and cannot do.Banno

    :up: The autistic community gets impatient with ablism too. Thanks for your words. :smile:
  • Banno
    3.8k
    If true, then indeed the flavours must have one thing in common,Samuel Lacrampe

    That's just not true.

    A red sports car and a red sunset need not be the same colour.

    Yet they are both red.

    Therefore there is nothing that both uses of "red" point to.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    ... Did you watch the video? :brow:

    He literally says "What is [color]? I don't know. [...] I don't have any concept of what it is. There is this whole part of vocabulary, of language, that doesn't mean anything to me. Over the years people have tried and tried to explain color to me and I just don't understand it."

    If I had know about this video before, I would have showed it to you to prove my point; that we get meanings from experience, and to experience is to experience something.


    He uses them correctly in most casesBanno
    I am starting to think your position is merely that people can use words in a sentence that is grammatically correct, even if they don't understand the meaning of the words. If that is all you are trying to say, then no dispute here.


    And notice that your argument above, for some sort of innate ideas, simply falls apart when you talk to a blind person. Edison's use of colour is not innate; nor is it complete. But it is there for you to see.Banno
    Banno, please try to understand your opponents' position prior to arguing against them. Right now, you are attacking a straw man, because I said that it was your fact, which I disagreed with, that suggested the existence of Innate Ideas. This is not my position. I side with Aristotle and Hume who claim that we obtain our ideas and meanings from experience, and this video proves my point.


    What is pointed to by Edison's use of "red"?Banno
    'Red' points to this, which he has not apprehend. That is his whole point. He said "When somebody says 'something is red' to me, I don't quite get it. [...] Stuff I picked up from hearing about it". He says he does not understand, but can repeat what others told him.


    A red sports car and a red sunset need not be the same colour. Yet they are both red.Banno
    Red comes in many shades. They both have some shade of red.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    And this post should be read in a tone of voice that is somewhat contemptuous of the able bodied telling the disabled what they can and cannot do.Banno

    If this is about my statements about blinds, these should be taken as statements of facts, not statements of judgement. Anyways, if I have offended you, then I apologize for that, for my intent is not to offend.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    But there is a thing, a being, as defined in my previous post. To side with philosophers like Aristotle and Hume, we apprehend meanings by observation. And to observe is to observe something.

    A blind man born blind would not know the meaning of the words 'colour' or 'blue' or 'bright'.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    The meaning of the word 'blue' in common language is literally this. How could he know this meaning? How would you describe it to him? Note that talking about its light wavelength would not cut it; because that is not its meaning in the common language. Even before people knew about wavelengths, they knew the meaning of the word 'blue'.Samuel Lacrampe

    I understood you to be claiming that any and every word points to something - which you call a "being"; and further that this "being" is in some way individual, giving the meaning of the word.

    It would follow that if there were someone who could not understand what some given word pointed to, then that person could not understand the meaning of the word; and that therefore, they would not be able to use the word.

    So I present you with a video of a man using colour words, correctly, despite his inability to see what the word might point to.

    Now to my eye this falsifies your theory of meaning.

    You now have the choice of finessing your theory using ad hoc material; or you can accept the falsification.

    He literally says "What is [color]? I don't know. [...] I don't have any concept of what it is.Samuel Lacrampe

    Quite so; and yet he uses colour words

    I am starting to think your position is merely that people can use words in a sentence that is grammatically correct, even if they don't understand the meaning of the words.Samuel Lacrampe
    So one move open to you is to suggest that Edison can only use colour words syntactically, but without the semantics that can only come from knowing what the words point to. Of course, that would be to negate the evidence of his correct use of the words; an ablist insult that I'm sure you would not commit.

    Would this not suggest that we have Innate Ideas, as per Plato and against Aristotle and Hume?Samuel Lacrampe

    You misunderstood; the notion of innate ideas was yours, I was just pointing out that Edison obviously learned to use colour words, and was not born with an understanding of them.

    'Red' points to this, which he has not apprehend.Samuel Lacrampe
    (lost link in the quote)

    So "red" points to a web page? You don't mean that. Nor do you mean that "red" points only to that shade of red, which will be different on your computer than on my laptop, and even on my laptop varies as I move from room to room.

    There is no being to which the word "red" points, and in virtue of which it gains a mythical thing called a meaning... All there is, is the different and changing ways in which the word is used.

    Yes, you are copying Aristotle and Hume. I'm copying Wittgenstein and Austin.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    I understood you to be claiming that any and every word points to something - which you call a "being"; and further that this "being" is in some way individual, giving the meaning of the word. It would follow that if there were someone who could not understand what some given word pointed to, then that person could not understand the meaning of the word; and that therefore, they would not be able to use the word.Banno
    You are correct about my position.

    They would not be able to use the word meaningfully. They can say the word (from hearing other people use it), but not understand it; which is precisely what Mr Edison says. The key distinction is between saying vs understanding. Before I learned to speak english, for it is not my first language, I could sing along to a few english songs, though I would not understand what I was saying at the time.


    You now have the choice of finessing your theory using ad hoc material; or you can accept the falsification.Banno
    I continue to choose finesse. :wink:


    So one move open to you is to suggest that Edison can only use colour words syntactically, but without the semantics that can only come from knowing what the words point to.Banno
    If this means roughly the same as being able to use words in a sentence that is grammatically correct but not understanding it, then yes, that is what I am saying. But don't take offence. Mr Edison said it himself:
    "There is this whole part of vocabulary, of language, that doesn't mean anything to me. Over the years people have tried and tried to explain color to me and I just don't understand it. [...] Stuff I picked up from hearing about it." You seem to be bluntly ignoring the testimony from Mr Edison himself, and I don't understand why.


    You misunderstood; the notion of innate ideas was yours, I was just pointing out that Edison obviously learned to use colour words, and was not born with an understanding of them.Banno
    You are misquoting me. Here is the full quote:
    I believe that fact is wrong, but for the sake of argument, let's say it is right. Would this not suggest that we have Innate Ideas, as per Plato and against Aristotle and Hume?Samuel Lacrampe
    From the full quote, you should be able to pick up that this is not my position, and that I am deducing it from a fact that you brought up. Moreover, I already clarified this in my last post. Shall we move on?


    So "red" points to a web page? You don't mean that. Nor do you mean that "red" points only to that shade of red, which will be different on your computer than on my laptop, and even on my laptop varies as I move from room to room. There is no being to which the word "red" points, and in virtue of which it gains a mythical thing called a meaning... All there is, is the different and changing ways in which the word is used.Banno
    No, I don't mean that. And thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Gotta celebrate those small steps towards progress.

    There is a being which is pure red, close to this, and then there are different shades of red which are composed of pure red and other colours. Pink=red+white. Brown=red+black. Orange=red+yellow. Purple=red+blue. Finally, green has no red in it. The fact that some things are red (to a more or lesser degree) and some things are not red is sufficient to demonstrate that 'red' points to a being with essential properties.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    Have a look a this.


    Do you really take Mr Edison's use to be nothing but syntactic?

    To what does the word "purple" point, for Tommy?

    It can't point to a archetypal purple swatch, as you suggest with red and blue.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    There is a being which is pure red, close to this...Samuel Lacrampe

    red.jpg

    This is your theory in a nut shell? An essence of red, a Platonic Form of red, something like these examples, but not actually these examples; and while these examples exist in the world, the true form exists... where? in your mind? In my mind? Somehow, shared between minds? Think of the ontological and epistemic complexity here.

    And you offer this as somehow simpler that the claim that we just use the word to talk about different colours.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    The fact that some things are red (to a more or lesser degree) and some things are not red is sufficient to demonstrate that 'red' points to a being with essential properties.Samuel Lacrampe

    That's not right. Not by a long shot. Not even close to cogent.

    But the fact that we use the word "red" to talk about a range of different colours might be sufficient to convince a reasonable person that there is no one thing to which the word "red" points.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Do you really take Mr Edison's use to be nothing but syntactic?Banno
    Yes. Not only is it possible, it is asserted by Mr Edison himself: "In this video, I have no idea what I am talking about." He says purple is his favourite colour by association with Prince, which he likes. Whatever purple is, it must be good because Prince is good.


    To what does the word "purple" point, for Tommy?Banno
    Nothing. The word is to him meaningless. That is the point. As he stated in the previous video, he knows a colour is a physical property of objects which we perceive with our eyes (and later our memory), but cannot go any further than that. Thus the blind can know the material cause but not the formal cause of colours.

    Again, these videos prove my point, and appear to disprove yours, namely that words need not to point to beings we experience, in order to be meaningful. If you are correct, then how do you explain Mr Edison's statement: "There is this whole part of vocabulary [colours], of language, that doesn't mean anything to me"?


    It can't point to a archetypal purple swatch, as you suggest with red and blue.Banno
    As purple is not a basic colour, it has more than one essential property: red and blue. But purple still has an archetype or form. We know this because, again, we observe some colours to be more purple than others. And for a thing which degree does not go to infinity, a more and less implies a most. Like an arrow aimed closer to the target until it hits the bullseye.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    This is your theory in a nut shell? An essence of red, a Platonic Form of red, something like these examples, but not actually these examples; and while these examples exist in the world, the true form exists... where? in your mind? In my mind? Somehow, shared between minds? Think of the ontological and epistemic complexity here.Banno
    "In the mind" insofar that the subject has apprehended the object. Otherwise, only in reality. Where? In no physical location because forms are not physical, but that is a great discussion for another time. :wink:


    And you offer this as somehow simpler that the claim that we just use the word to talk about different colours.Banno
    As per Occam's Razor or Law of Parsimony, we should side on the theory that is the simplest AND can explain all the data. My theory is not simpler than yours, but explains all the data, which, correct me if I am wrong, is not the case with yours. How does your theory explain the fact that some statements are true and some are false?

    A statement is said to be true if its meaning or message is reflective of reality. In order to do that, the meaning of the words, which the statement is made of, must point to things in reality too. E.g. the statement "This apple is red" is true only if the thing I am referring to is truly an apple and is truly red.


    Side note: how do you upload images and videos directly to the post?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    But the fact that we use the word "red" to talk about a range of different colours might be sufficient to convince a reasonable person that there is no one thing to which the word "red" points.Banno
    Not so. That range of colours must have that form of red to a more or lesser degree, in order to truly call that range red. "This has red" is true. "This has red" is false. Therefore the former range must have a thing which the latter range does not have; and this thing must be defined, that is, must have limits, because it does not appear in the latter range.
  • Banno
    3.8k
    The word is to him meaningless.Samuel Lacrampe

    SO the only possible conclusion is that one does not need the meaning of a word in order to be able to use it correctly.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    That's right. Correct in the sense of grammar or syntax; not in the sense of knowledge, understanding, or truth. Have we reached an agreement on that point?
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