So how does this model deal with disagreements about what is perceived? Via norms that function much like the standard meter length bar that used to be held in Paris. If you want to check whether the apple is red, find a normally-sighted person and ask them.
— Andrew M
Like that blue/gold dress? — Marchesk
The dress itself was confirmed as a royal blue "Lace Bodycon Dress" from the retailer Roman Originals, which was actually black and blue in colour; — Real colours of dress confirmed - Wikipedia
Because you're describing your perceptions and experiences as private and inaccessible to others. That's the Cartesian theater model of perception.
— Andrew M
That our perceptions and experiences are private and inaccessible to others is a fact, which empiricists should respect I think. I cannot read your mind and you cannot read mine. René Descartes did not invent this fact. — Olivier5
Yes, I do consider it as a possibility. Do you consider it a possibility that there could be differences in our colour vision (yours and mine), however slight? — Luke
But, again, if how the colour of the apple appears to a normally-sighted person was public (and not private), then we shouldn't need to ask them in order to find out. — Luke
Your reference to "how the colour...appears to a...person" is all that I mean by qualia, so why do you get to avoid "the Cartesian theatre model of perception" but I don't? — Luke
I can't directly show you my perceptions or sensations, and neither can anyone else.
That's a Cartesian view of perception and experience.
— Andrew M
Why must it be? — Luke
I don't disagree, but that's not showing me your perceptions or sensations. Maybe you're colour-blind and you perceive it differently to me. You can show me the object you are looking at, but that's not showing me how it looks to you. — Luke
I agree, it is potentially discoverable and comparable - I'm not trying to argue for anything supernatural. However, it remains private until then. Anyway, it's not really the privacy that's at issue here, but whether there is, in fact, some way that things seem to a person, i.e. some "inner" phenomenal experience. That's the definition of qualia given by Dennett, and what I understand eliminative materialists consider as somehow unreal. — Luke
I have long considerd the hard problem to be a question of why, rather than how. Namely: why do we have phenomenal experiences at all? That question would not seem to be answered by a complete "map" of how all phenomenal experience corresponds to the body/brain. — Luke
A problem with this might be that a perceptual difference needs to be noticeable in order to...get noticed, and therefore some perceptual differences could remain undiscovered and private. — Luke
I'd add that the 'view form nowhere' argument seems to me to be non more than sophistry. Consider instead that third person speech is the view from anywhere... that it is phrased so that perspective is irrelevant.
That's pretty much how the Principle of Relativity insists we phrase things. — Banno
I understand that you want to argue against the "view from nowhere". I'm not trying to argue for it, but I don't think that you can just stipulate having a perspective as a pre-condition. But perhaps I'm not understanding your point. — Luke
I can't directly show you my perceptions or sensations, and neither can anyone else. — Luke
We can do that, but it's not directly comparing our perceptions or sensations. Consider Locke's spectrum inversion: Since we both learned colour words by being shown public coloured objects, our verbal behavior will match even if we experience entirely different subjective colours. It seems to me more likely that what "straight" and "bent" looks like to you will be the same as what they look like to me, but the same issue could apply if only as a matter of degree (or perhaps if I had some sort of condition or brain malfunction that made me see differently than most people). — Luke
I don't disagree that our minds have a physical basis, but I don't see why the same "privacy in practice" doesn't equally apply to everyone, including statistically "normal" people. This could be another case of spectrum inversion, in principle. — Luke
What I'm arguing for is that our experiences are not radically private or ineffable (which our public language attests to)
— Andrew M
How does our public language attest to the fact that you see the same colour as I do when we both refer to "red"? How can our public language help to show me your sensations? — Luke
and also that we represent the world from a particular perspective (since our public language reflects the natural distinctions we make when we observe and interact in the world).
— Andrew M
I don't believe that it is a "particular perspective", unless you mean some ideal, statistically normal "average person" - which is not a view from nowhere, but not a view from somewhere, either. — Luke
Yes, but could B&W Mary know what yellow looks like before seeing it? — Marchesk
A logical condition of what? Or, what do you mean by a "logical condition"? — Luke
I take it there is a particular way things seem to you at particular times, including the way things look, sound, smell, taste and touch. Simply because science cannot directly observe this particular way things seem to you, and/or simply because no direct intersubjective comparison is available, does not make these into "ghostly entities". — Luke
It is only a subject who has a perspective of the world (object), so how can this be a rejection or replacement of the subject/object duality? It seems more like a bolstering of it. — Luke
So where does the red come from? — Marchesk
Philosophy Bites Podcast
The podcast is only 15 minutes. The two hosts interview Keith Frankish about his position on the hard problem. — Marchesk
The hard problem arises as a result of positing an ontological division between one set of features and the other. That is, a solution becomes impossible in principle because it has been defined that way.
— Andrew M
Seems that way to me as well. Dennett also pointed it out. — creativesoul
Wouldn't you say that having a perspective (or being conscious) is a bodily process or function like any other? — Luke
I think you and I might have different conceptions of a human perspective. Yours is apparently stripped of all phenomena leaving only an abstract point-of-view singularity. Whereas I see little difference between having a perspective and being conscious (in the first-person), with all that that entails. — Luke
Do you consider observation to be a part of a perspective? — Luke
I think that human aspiration or human digestion could be said to have physical existence? — Luke
As I see it, the first-person/third-person division excludes the possibility of a physical explanation
— Andrew M
Why does it? — Luke
If these are properties of the apple, rather than properties of your perception (or rather than some relation of the two), then it would seem to imply that the apple is objectively spherical and objectively red. Which is fine, but how do you deal with things like seeing illusions where there is a discrepancy between the properties of the object and the perception of the object? — Luke
:up: Perspective is an attribute of rational thought. Do non-rational animals entertain perspectives? I think not, because they are not capable of abstraction. — Wayfarer
I have to draw attention again to the equivocal meaning of ‘substance’ in this context. ‘Substance’ in normal usage means ‘a particular kind of matter with uniform properties’. ‘Substance’ in the philosophical sense means the fundamental kinds or types of beings of which attributes can be predicated.
So I think what you are actually saying here, is not 'substantial', but 'material' - you're contrasting material particulars with abstractions. — Wayfarer
The individual substances are the subjects of properties in the various other categories, and they can gain and lose such properties whilst themselves enduring. There is an important distinction pointed out by Aristotle between individual objects and kinds of individual objects. Thus, for some purposes, discussion of substance is a discussion about individuals, and for other purposes it is a discussion about universal concepts that designate specific kinds of such individuals. In the Categories, this distinction is marked by the terms ‘primary substance’ and ‘secondary substance’. Thus Fido the dog is a primary substance—an individual—but dog or doghood is the secondary substance or substantial kind. — Substance - SEP
They [abstractions] depend on (are not separable from) concrete particulars. They exist, to the extent that they do, because the concrete particulars that they are predicated of exist.
— Andrew M
But that leads to the question of what 'dependency' means. If you consider such concepts as fundamental logical laws or arithmetical principles, there are at least some that are understood to be 'true in all possible worlds'. Basic arithmetical principles, such as number, are applicable to any and all kinds of particulars; '3' can be predicated of people, apples and rocks. So I question this notion of 'dependency'. — Wayfarer
The main point to keep in mind is that the term substance in our translation of Aristotle is standing in for ousia, which we can think of as the gold medal winner in the ontological olympics. With this understanding of ousia, we can see that it has the ontological status that Plato attributed to his intelligible forms. So now we can articulate the ontological dispute between Plato and Aristotle. Plato thought that the entities that deserve the title Ousia, the most fundamental entities, are suprasensible, intelligible forms. Aristotle, by contrast, thought that the most basic realities are those that serve as subjects for all the rest. And these are such ordinary entities as human beings, and other animals. — Substance and Subject - Susan Sauvé Meyer - University of Pennsylvania
If a perspective is no different to aspiration, perspiration and digestion in terms of their inseparability from human activity, then why does a perspective differ in terms of having substantial existence and properties? — Luke
But we don't observe a perspective. — Luke
What I'm questioning about the analogy is your statement that we have a perspective just like we (or other objects) have a reference frame, and yet neither of these has substantial existence. I think I'm still not sold on what you seem to be implying: that we can have them without them existing. — Luke
I should probably make clear that I have no interest in preserving 'res cogitans' or the human perspective as a non-physical substance. I am looking for a purely physical explanation, but one which retains the first-person perspective and the reality of its properties/qualities. — Luke
Their perspective is not a "thing" that has any existence separate from that human activity. But we can consider it separately (i.e., in an abstract sense).
— Andrew M
In the same way that e.g. breathing, perspiration and digestion are not "things" that have any existence separate from human activity? Or, in the same way that the game of chess and economic markets are not "things" that have any existence separate from human activity? — Luke
Does separability from human activity help to decide whether these "things" are physical or real? — Luke
Are perspectives identical to reference frames, then? Is a perspective also "an abstract coordinate system that measurements are made relative to"? If it's not the same, then in what way is it comparable? — Luke
All of these features are part of the world as we perceive it. Without that perspective - our primary point of reference in the world - nothing is distinguished or defined at all.
— Andrew M
'Perspective' implies or requires an observing mind, does it not? I mean, it is something I'm in complete agreement with, but it seems to me that it is more often than not overlooked. — Wayfarer
That has to do with the speed of light and inertial frames, not perceivers. Perceivers are only used for thought experiments to show their clocks and measuring-rods are different, but there's no need for that. Happens for any objects and events. — Marchesk
As with the train speed example, there is no "view from nowhere".
— Andrew M
But there is, because life evolved long after the universe was around, and science can detail the universe in places where there is no life and no perceivers. — Marchesk
However, if you're arguing from a Kantian/correlationist position and not a realist one, then that's another matter. I'm pretty sure Dennett is a realist/physicalist, as is Chalmers, except for consciousness.
I'm not sure the consciousness debate matters for Kantians, since the empirical world includes all the colors, sounds, etc. So I get why you would deny Nagel's "view from nowhere". The consciousness debate seems to only matter for physicalism, pun unintended. At least that's how Chalmers approaches it, with his talk of supervenience and p-zombies. — Marchesk
A human being has a perspective of the world. The distinctions we make and our representations of the world presuppose that human perspective. But that perspective doesn't itself have properties (qualia) or a substantial existence (res cogitans), contra dualism.
— Andrew M
To echo Marchesk’s post, if we have perspectives - if our perspectives exist - yet they do not have substantial (physical?) existence, then what type of existence do they have? — Luke
However, if that perspective is is coloring in the world, adding sound, taste, smell and various feels, then we're still left with something that needs to be explained, because the rest of the world isn't colored in, doesn't have feels and tastes and what not. It's only that way to a perceiver. So somehow the perceiver adds those sensations to their interaction with the world. The hard problem remains in some form until there is some way to account for these sensations. — Marchesk
And yes, perceivers are part of the same world, not walled off from it, but still the question needs to be answered: from whence comes the colors, sounds, etc? — Marchesk
this just comes down to whether one accepts the philosophical subject/object distinction or not. As I've mentioned before, I reject it.
— Andrew M
You cannot actually reject anything if you are not a subject. — Olivier5
Absolutely, and I want to say your use of "shiny" is not coincidental. — Srap Tasmaner
That's a demonstration of something, but not of something anyone really needs. Back to the rough ground, and to tools that will improve with use on rough ground, and that means no glass-soled boots. — Srap Tasmaner
apples don't look red in the dark, yet they are red
— Andrew M
Okay, whatever. It makes no philosophical difference that I can see to my perception of red. — Olivier5
That is, apples don't look red in the dark, yet they are red
— Andrew M
That's two different meanings for the word "red". One is how it looks to us, the other is having the property of looking red to us under normal lighting conditions. That is to say, the chemical structure of the red apple's surface is such that it reflects visible light of a certain wavelength. — Marchesk
As someone with nominalist inclinations, I still find this charming, right down to the note of pragmatism: — Srap Tasmaner
However that use is derivative from situations where we observe an object in normal lighting which is where color distinctions are originally made. That's the reference point in the world. Without that reference point, you have to contend with the private language argument.
— Andrew M
That I do agree with! — Janus
For colors, the looking and the being are dentical. — Olivier5
An apple that receives no light cannot absorb part of the visible spectrum and reflect the other. It has the pigments to do so but not the light that would be playing with the pigments.
There's more: in the absence of light, maturing apples will become pallish, not red. So apples need to sense some light in order to even bother producing pigments to color that light. The same apply to leaves: if kept in the dark for a while, they will lose their green chlorophyll and turn white. — Olivier5
You want to privilege one usage of the term over the others, and that says more about your own preference than it does about common usages. — Janus
What colour it is is how it appears under some specific "normal" conditions; what's the problem with that? — Janus
No, the apple appears red to the colourblind person, just as it does to us "normal" people. That is to say it appears as a colour that he calls red, just as it appears to us as a colour we call red. It just so happens that those two colours, those two appearances are not the same. — Janus
Further, we find on analysis that the term "appears" doesn't designate subjective "appearances". It is instead a term that lets us say how two different situations are, in some sense, similar.
— Andrew M
This can't be right because you have said that the apple appears different to a colourblind person than it does to a "normal" person. — Janus
You haven't said what it would mean (beyond the merely conventional usage) to say that an apple is red when no one is looking at it or when it is in the dark. — Janus
Sellars went through all this in "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" too: "looks" talk, as in "the apple looks red to Andrew", is logically posterior to "is" talk. There's no way even to make sense of it otherwise. What does it mean to say that an apple looks red except that it looks like it is red? — Srap Tasmaner
The word "red" picks out a physical aspect of the apple, not how it appears (which is a qualifier meaning "seem; give the impression of being", not a reference to a mental entity or mental experience).
— Andrew M
The apple appearing red came long before optics. — Marchesk
Here's a neat quote from Austin that gives an idea of how he thought about ordinary language:
"First, words are our tools, and, as a minimum, we should use clean tools: we should know what we mean and what we do not, and we must forearm ourselves against the traps that language sets us." — Banno
As I've already agreed, the common usage of the term 'red' is fine. — Janus
The apple is nonetheless red, but the animal is unable to perceive that.
— Andrew M
That the apple is not red to some animals implies that it is not red tout court, but that it has the constitutional potential to appear red to some animals. — Janus
For all we know it may appear as some other colour we have never perceived to some animal. Would you then say that the apple is that nameless colour tout court? Or if the apple is grey to an animal that has no colour receptors does it follow that the apple is also grey tout court? What I think you are missing is that colour is relational, not inherent, whereas the potential to be coloured is inherent. — Janus
Fair enough, apologies for not reading the thread. — Olivier5
A signal calls for an action, typically. That's why it's urgent. It comes at a certain moment, when a certain action is required and not before. In this case, the apple turns red when it is ripe, i.e. when the fruit and its seeds are ready for cumsomption by animals. So basically the tree is calling an animal as a sort of taxi, when it's ready, to transport its kids to a new neighborhood (the seeds, that will be excreted a few miles away). The cab fare is the sugar in the fruit. — Olivier5
Isn't the domain of ordinary, everyday experience precisely what is categorized under 'folk psychology' by eliminative materialists? Isn't it precisely that which is to be superseded by properly-formulated scientific expression? — Wayfarer
"That there are features of the environment that are naturally distinguishable by normally-sighted human beings in decent lighting (whatever the physical details of that happen to be)." is basically the same story I told without specifying as many details as I included. — Janus
However, when you say unreflectively that an apple is red that should not be taken to imply that the apple is red when no one is looking at it, because colours are qualities that exist only by virtue of being seen. It is not wrong to say that apples are red, but it is merely shorthand for saying that we see apples as red.
An animal that has no red photo-receptor cells in its retina cannot see red, and so for that animal apples are not red. If humans had been lacking red photo-receptors then we would never have said that apples are red. So, beyond the context of ordinary communication, it seems to make no sense to speak of apples being red tout court. — Janus
Do you mean that under the 'normal' range of light temperature and intensity the constitution of what we call a red apple is such that its surface will reflect that part of the electromagnetic spectrum such as to appear red to any creature with the requisite visual system or something else? — Janus
Ordinary language has naive realist assumptions. I really don't understand the obsession with ordinary language philosophy. Ordinary language has all sorts of assumptions baked into it. Why take those at face value? — Marchesk
Also, science doesn't say the apple is red, it says the apple reflects light of certain wavelength that we see as red. Important distinction. — Marchesk
Would apples be red in the world of the blind? — Janus
If the apple looks different to you than to me, then our experiences are different. That's a difference that is, in principle, discoverable.
— Andrew M
But not for creatures with sensory modalities different enough from us. — Marchesk
Experiences aren't limited to perception, and there is a limit to my ability to communicate what it's like to be me to you. We never fully know what other people experience. Their full feelings, dreams, thoughts, and being in their own skin is only something they experience. — Marchesk
Even with perception, if the difference is great enough, we can't always know. Some have suggested there are tetrachromatic females who have more vivid color perceptual abilities. Their ability to communicate what that's like to us would be limited by our 3 primary color combinations, if this is indeed so. I believe the evidence is still inconclusive, though. — Marchesk
"Red" doesn't refer to an experience, it refers to the color of the apple.
— Andrew M
Apples aren't red. They reflect light in a wavelength range we see as red. Red is part of the visual experience. — Marchesk
The equating of experience with qualia assumes dualism, which I reject.
— Andrew M
How? — khaled
Talk of the mind, one might say, is merely a convenient facon de parler, a way of speaking about certain human faculties and their exercise. Of course that does not mean that people do not have minds of their own, which would be true only if they were pathologically indecisive. Nor does it mean that people are mindless, which would be true only if they were stupid or thoughtless. For a creature to have a mind is for it to have a distinctive range of capacities of intellect and will, in particular the conceptual powers of a language-user that make self-awareness and self-reflection possible. — Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience - Bennett and Hacker