G.E. Moore’s Sense Data and the Material Object

25 Aug

Finally back to writing and thinking now. I was on a bit of a vacation for about a week from school, where I went fishing, just hung out, and just worked a bunch. Enough about my life, because one thing I loath is a blog talking about one’s life events that never lead toward a logical or philosophical concept or belief. This writing being my official return to activity here, is about G.E. Moore and questions and information in his Information of Sense Data. There is a particular question about sense data that I have interest in.

Sense data and sensations are two different things that Moore used to influence epistemological debates and thought. Sense data is the data our perceptive senses gather when seeing a material object. If one states to be seeing a seashell, the sense data about it would be things gathered by the senses. For example, sense data of observation of the shell would include patches of white and pink (color from sight), about as big as my head, and a jagged amorphous shape. Color is one that is important because of the fact that size and shape can be stated to be within the material object while color is only what our brain perceives of the object and what its surroundings causes it to appear to us. The sense data we have about a material object allow us to be able to draw a picture of it how we see it and be accurate. Sensation is Moore’s term for apprehending the sense data and is nothing of my concern  about the relationship between the material object observed and the sense data that goes with it.

An early teacher of mine was talking one on one with me about the effects of light upon certain surfaces and used an example of when he went to a clothing store for specifically black socks. The store worker helped him with what he wanted and presented ‘black’ socks to my teacher. My teacher rebutted by saying that,”No, these socks are clearly blue. I need black socks.” The store worker came back with saying that those socks ‘are’ black socks, and they only appear blue because of the light bulbs in the ceiling producing light with fewer colors in its spectrum than most natural light. The light coming from the bulbs in the ceiling reflected off the socks making the socks appear to be blue, when really they are black. I might have gotten the colors in this story mixed up, but it is beside the point I strive to make, and it does not matter. What only matters is that in one setting the socks are one color , in another setting the socks appear a complete different color. If one thing can appear different in different settings, it leads me to question whether or not the sense data of an object will always coincide with the actual object. Furthermore, I think that sense data can easily overlap when material objects are in close proximity of each other making confusion because of how far sense data goes far away from the object it is derived from.

It is my imperative reason for this writing to state that I think sense data has very very little connection with the material object in question. And because of this, the sense data is not confined to certain things, and can become loose in shape, and often easily relocated away from the object it is assigned to. As I said before, I think sense data can overlap with other sense data, causing a lot of confusion. When sense data overlaps, and is confused, the object it is connected with is hard to discern. I find this true from personal observation of certain sense data that relocates from the object it supposedly comes from. Whether or not certain sense data comes from certain objects is something difficult, and almost impossible to figure out, but we can make suppositions about the matter. An example exemplifying the relocation of sense data is church windows with red glass in it having real sunlight shined through it projects a red patch on the wall of the inside of the church. This is a red patch among the wall of other sense data where the object does not relocate the sense data. The patch on the wall does not include an object, it only is sense data. Another example would be light shining on a person standing in a field, he casts what we call a shadow. It is a patch of darkness among lighter patches. The object of this sense data is upright and erect, while the sense data is laying flat on the ground. This clearly is relocation of sense data because when sense data is not relocated it is in the same spot as the object. Such as, a flower with red color, along with green surroundings. The color of the flower is in the same spot as the color, and is not relocated to other locations.

I present these things because the epistemological phenomenon we experience sometimes can distort and hold back our destination to understanding the world. The mind misconceives things, and even when it does not misconceive things the world is confusing because of the way our mind sees it. First, we may have difficulty understanding the world with our epistemological characteristics because of the fact that the material object (stated by Moore) cannot even be known to exist or seen. The only thing we know exists or see is the sense data. Second, we may have difficulty understanding the world because of how the sense data is not organized by any means. The sense data is somewhat sitting with its possible object, but often the sense data is relocated to further our quest for understanding. Sense data can be especially confusing concerning what object is where and associated with what sense data in an example where a man dyes some glass a green color, and holds  the small piece of glass up to his cheek face to look at it. So the man’s face is not mostly covered, but a smaller patch of red exists amidst all the whiter patches (patches of color was Moore’s term to describe specific sense data). If the small piece of red glass was specifically over his nose, you would see all the beige skin color patches everywhere in the immediate area, and then in the middle you would see a reddish lighter nose. This is overlapping (not relocating) sense data because the nose before the red glass was a white beige skin color patch just like the rest of the face, but when the red glass is put over the nose, the nose’s sense data is no longer, but many questions are posed as to what object lies under the red glass, and what sense data would accompany it. I believe the sense data to overlap and relocate  to be another part of our difficulty in understanding the world as specifically and purposely done by God when the creatum was created. Not to take a religious curve at the end of a big discussion on sense data. I have many epistemological questions and this is the beginning of my formal course towards epistemological understanding.

Thanks for the support. Glad to be back..finally…

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One Response to “G.E. Moore’s Sense Data and the Material Object”

  1. ultrasound technician September 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    this post is very usefull thx!

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