Tag Archives: external

Reductionism of Logical Positivism and Quine’s Rejection

16 Nov

The two dogmas of empiricism are rooted in the verification theory of meaning and meaning itself. Analyticity I have previously discussed, but here I want to discuss the other dogma of reductionism. Quine ultimately rejects meaning and rejects both dogmas. Reductionism, specifically radical reductionism, is the belief that “every meaningful statement is held to be translatable into a statement (true or false) about immediate experience” (Quine). Reductionism is generally the belief that statements of one kind are translatable into statements of other kinds. It is often thought in reductionism that one translation is confirmed or accepted as true (or later as the best). Quine rejects this dogma again by rejecting meaning. The verification theory of meaning of logical positivism is rejected because of the rejection of meaning. If the verification theory of meaning is rejected reductionism is rejected because one translation cannot be reduced down. Meaningful statements being able to be reduced down into statements about immediate experience cannot really be true because of the lack of ability to understand meaning.  Reductionism is simply is the translation between linguistic frameworks possibly from meaningful statement to statements about immediate experience. Reductionism carries the need to confirm a translation by verification of meaning. Quine rejects this: “My present suggestion is that it is nonsense, and the root of much nonsense, to speak of a linguistic component and a factual component  in the truth of any individual statement” (Quine). To ultimately simplify, reductionism is rejected by Quine because of his rejection of meaning (just like analyticity is rejected).

The main thing I want to do here is keep talking about Quine’s discussion of meaning and reductionism, and talk about philosophers partaking in reductionism in the early to mid 20th century. I think I am understanding reductionism and Quine’s rejection, but if I miss something please let me know.

Above is Bertrand Russell. In 1914 he published Our Knowledge of the External World which had Hard and Soft Data in it. Hard and Soft Data presented logic and sense data as the two hardest hard data as he presented soft and hard data based on logically and psychologically derivative and primitive. In this essay he presented sense data (as Moore and Royce did before him). While having his logic and sense data, he claimed that a process of reconstruction would be taking place from here on out. This reconstruction was the reconstruction of the language of physical objects into language of sense data. Physical objects are complicated when seen and to philosophically and epistemologically understand physical objects better, this reconstruction was presented by Russell. This is a form of reductionism because physical objects language has meaning, while sense datum language is based on immediate experience. I have exemplified these languages before, but physical object language would be exemplified by saying “I am seeing a red marker before me” and sense datum language would be exemplified by saying ” I see an elongated cylindrical red patch, with some black patches inside.”  This is a very early form of this reductionism Quine rejects.

Another philosopher and scientist taking up a reductionism is, above, Rudolf Carnap. In Der Logische Aufbau der Welt , Elimination of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis, and Empiricism Semantics and Ontology, Carnap’s quest for reductionism while granting the analytic is shown.  In the Aufbau and even the Elimination of Metaphysics Carnap has a desire to uphold a stricter set of linguistic frameworks where the correct framework is searched for. Looking for a correct framework is not upheld in his 1950 Empiricism Semantics and Ontology. The previous linguistic frameworks of the 1928 Aufbau are presented in the verification conditions including meaning. This is the build up from observation statements and protocol statements to thing language and physics language while accepting a geometry and a physics. Carnap’s reductionism is accepted in mainstream logical positivism at the time.  From that point Otto Neurath comes along and revises the protocol statements of Carnap’s verification conditions and the buildup of confirmation. Moritz Schlick later accepts his own reductionism.

In Empiricism Semantics and Ontology, logical positivism has sort of gone down from its peak, while Carnap and A.J. Ayer are both still trying to keep old positivist techniques. In this essay Carnap really softens his die hard reductionism, yet he still maintains a reductionism.  He states that a plethora of linguistic frameworks are to be accepted while not accepting a metaphysical doctrine at the same time. He maintains that a tolerance of linguistic frameworks is to be had while being cautious and evaluative of the frameworks presented. Unlike in the Elimination of Metaphysics and the Aufbau, in Empiricism Semantics and Ontology Carnap states that the framework that works best is the one to be accepted instead of the framework that is correct. This is still a ‘subtle’ reductionism.

Above is Moritz Schlick. He was the leader of the Vienna Circle and an influence in logical positivism. Taking into understanding Carnap (Empiricism Semantics and Ontology had not happened yet note) and Neurath and their influences on the verification theory of meaning, he had his own idea of it in his Foundation of Knowledge. He advocated a similar reductionism to Carnap and Neurath by keeping observation statements at the bottom of the whole thing, which become protocol statements (partly statements about sense data), which can be translated into thing language statements, physics language statements, and theoretical language statements. That statement can have a prediction made from it, and may or may not be confirmed. All of this grounded to the side in experience. This shows the reductionism because of how all of it is able to be reduced to statements about immediate experience.

 

A.J. Ayer is another philosopher advocating reductionism specifically because he advocates ‘cash value’ translations between sense datum language and physical object language. He does so in Phenomenalism and his expanded theory of perception.

I did not mention Neurath because all he spoke to was Carnap’s supposedly wrong understanding of the protocol statements.

Statements being able to be reduced down, or translated between each other is implying that most statements have meaning. This is what Quine uses to reject reductionism. The verification of meaning is involved here because it is implied that most statements have meaning and can be verified that way. After contemplating meaning more, I am thinking that we all grant meaning quickly, but I really do not think there is meaning. These languages each have their own set of rules of logic because rules of logic can be proven wrong and verified from one statement to the next. Because of this variation of logical rules I think that meaning is granted, yet no real justification for it is presented.

I think I have come to a general opinion about Quine’s rejection of the two dogmas.

I think I understood everything, and talked about everything correctly, but if I did not please tell me so I do not look foolish. Thanks again for the support.

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G.E. Moore’s Proof of an External World: If we cannot prove it, can we know it?

3 Nov

I have previously discussed Wittgenstein’s book On Certainty that he wrote towards the end of his life, where he gets his frustration out mostly by correcting Moore’s essay Proof of an External World (and A Defense of Common Sense).  I am looking at Moore’s essay and looking at beginning propositions of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and thinking about their arguments.  What Moore’s essay ultimately boils down to is him saying that he can know things without proving them. He bases that upon his idea of rigorously proving things along with other things.

Moore begins by saying that he can prove the entire external world by saying “I have one hand here, and another here.” He says this and then says that what he said conforms to a rigorous proof. “I can prove now, for instance, that two human hands exist. How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, “Here is one hand”, and adding, as I make certain gesture with the left, “and here is another”. And if, by doing this, I have proved ipso facto  the existence of external things, you will all see that I can also do it now in numbers of other ways: there  is no need to multiply examples” (Moore).  He then states that what he just said was a “rigorous proof” for the external existence of 2 hands. He proceeds even further to state what qualifications for a rigorous proof are: “Of, course it would not have been a proof unless three conditions were satisfied; namely (1) unless the premiss which I adduced as proof of the conclusion was different from the conclusion I adduced it to prove”, so in short, the conclusion is different from the discussed premise,”….; (2) unless the premiss with I adduced was something which I knew to be the case, and not merely something which I believed but which was by no means certain, or something which, though in fact true, I did not know to be so;” in short  you are certain about the premise, which certainty and knowing is the ultimate discussion about Moore’s paper, and I shall further discuss here later, “…and (3) unless the conclusion did really follow from the premiss” (Moore). So, to Moore, for a rigorous proof, the conclusion and premise must be different,  you are certain of the premise, and the conclusion follows from the premise. If, in ones argument, you can satisfy these three requirements, to Moore, you have proven what you have been trying to prove.

Going on in the essay Moore talks about why his proof is good, and how proving that something existed in the past external world helps him with his present proof. All of this leads up to the final paragraph of the essay where Wittgenstein and others get most of their food for argument. I will simply cite it and discuss it thereafter:

“But another reason why some people would feel dissatisfied with my proofs is, I think, not merely that they want a proof of something which I haven’t proved, but that they think that, if I cannot give such extra proofs, then the proofs that I have given are not conclusive proofs at all. And this, I think, is a definite mistake. They would say: ” If you cannot prove your premiss that here is one hand and here is another, then you do not know it. But you yourself have admitted that, if you did not know it, then your proof was not conclusive. Therefore, your proof was not, as you say it was, a conclusive proof.” This view that, if I cannot prove such things as these, I do not know them, is, I think, the view that Kant was expressing in the sentence which I quoted at the beginning of this lecture, when he implies that so long as we have no proof of the existence of external things, their existence must be accepted merely on faith. He means to say, I think, that if I cannot prove that there is a hand here, I must accept it merely as a matter of faith – I cannot know it. Such a view, thought it has been very common among philosophers, can, I think, be shown to be wrong – though shown only by the use of premisses which are not known to be true, unless we do know of the existence of external things. I can know things, which I cannot prove; and among things which I certainly did know, even if (as I think) I could not prove them, were the premises of my two proofs. I should say, therefore, that those, if any, who are dissatisfied with these proofs merely on the ground that I did not know their premisses, have no good reason for their dissatisfaction” (Moore).

The entirety of this ending section of the paper refers to what one says when saying “I know.” His opposition says that one only knows when it is proven, and when premises cannot be proven, the whole conclusion is proven. Responding to all of these oppositions to his proving qualifications and to how he gauges how he knows something, he ends up referring to Kant’s statement that when one cannot prove something, one does not know it, and must resort to having mere faith. Thinking back to Kant’s discussion of noumena, we cannot know of their existence and we must understand that there are ways of understanding things beyond empirical observation. Kant talks about faith when introducing noumena in that noumena cannot be really known. Moore talks about Kant when defending his argument (not necessarily the part in Kant’s work about noumena) by saying that if he has faith in his right hand being there, he can still know it.

Using again the phrase “what this boils down to”, what this boils down to is that what can be proven (proven rigorously beyond what Moore defines as rigorously proving in that the premises are proven in different ways to help prove even more the ending conclusion) is known, and what cannot be proven can be known in a way less strict sense (not with all the logical proofs) where we have faith in it, yet it is not really strictly Wittgensteinian defined ‘known’, yet Moore thinks with faith, one can ‘know’ in all forms of the word what cannot be rigorously logically proven.

Kant thought that faith did not lead to proving or knowing an external thing, Moore thought that faith led still to knowing external things, and Wittgenstein overwhelmingly trampled on Moore’s opinion here with his book On Certainty. I think that when looking at these few arguments about what it means to ‘know’ anything, the word ‘know’ should be thought of and use in the strictest sense especially when trying to understand the arguments and formulate individual opinions on them. Moore thinks of ‘knowing’ something as not having consistent proof (in my opinion) but having faith in things such as that there is a right hand here. Kant believes in faith being there for minimal understanding, but it doesn’t denote ‘knowing’. Finally, in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty he makes the word know, knowing, knowledge and any other words like it to be as strict as possible.

Here are only a few propositions in the book’s entire discussion about knowledge and certainty that stomps on Moore’s argument:

”  14.  That he does know takes some shewing.

15. It needs to be shewn that no mistake was possible. Giving the assurance “I know” doesn’t suffice. For it is after all only an assurance that I can’t be making a mistake, and it needs to be objectively established that I am not making a mistake about that.”

Wittgenstein goes on to cite Moore and say more things about his argument. One thing I want to make known about Wittgenstein’s argument is that he thinks that Moore’s use of know, knowing, and knowledge is redundant, repetitive, and does not help his overall argument. If you have a library near you, like a college library, it probably has a philosophy section and may have On Certainty by Wittgenstein, or if you have the means pick it up. To get Moore’s essay Proof of an External World go here:  http://faculty.uml.edu/enelson/g%20e%20moore,%20external%20world.pdf I say that because there are many arguments that Wittgenstein specifically picks on from Moore’s essay, and there are many other things to think about and discuss besides the single point I am going to make from here on out, so if you want a more wholly picture of Moore’s opinion and Wittgenstein’s opinion, read the essay and read some of the book (since I do not think reading all of On Certainty is necessary and if you want to read a whole book of Wittgenstein read Tractatus Logic0-Philosophicus).

First of all, my opinion is that Moore’s proof of an external world and his qualifications for a proof that he used are faulty in actually making knowledge of external things. It all comes down to that Moore does not feel the need to prove his premises, and then he says that having faith is proof of external things, and it is knowing external things. I am a large holder of faith in things I have not empirically observed and proven, the only reason being that I have not found a way to prove their external existences beyond faith. Faith is similar but not equal to knowledge, and I think that when one says that faith equals knowledge, it is merely a cop out in that that person will not take further efforts to come up with logical proofs for what one has faith in.

Its hard to say how much proof there is in faith, and how much knowledge there can be had in any faith at its face value. This is because faith varies from what faith is had in, how the faith is had, and a plethora of other factors that go into faith in one thing. If I have faith in God, which I do, I feel like I have total knowledge about Him yet I do not have logical rigorous proofs for it. I feel like I have full knowledge because of my intimate and loving faith in Him, but I want to create a logical process for further proof of things others might not see but I still have faith in. Moore just says that faith equals knowing things external, but that leads to ridicule from logically sensible philosophers and people like Wittgenstein. This tells me that faith feels sufficient for knowledge to those who have faith in something external, but if we want to show others about this thing and prove it to others for the entire benefit for everyone and ourselves, we need a logical process to create a rigorous proof for things’ existences like God.

In the end,  I hate to say this, but faith is not sufficient for true knowledge in its strictest sense. Moore is copping out philosophically when he says that faith is equal to knowledge.  Wittgenstein isn’t really getting there either when he tramples on Moore’s argument rather than just removing a few things, polishing it, and building upon it.

I do not know what that logical process towards a rigorous proof of external things not empirically observed would be, but I think it should be something philosophers and logicians should progress toward. It would be nice to have logically rigorous proofs for noumena and God, or even monads and forms. Then metaphysics would be generally more accepted rather than rejected. This is a difficult thing to just say should happen, but I think it should have efforts put toward it rather than just saying that faith is knowledge.

To actually figure out how  to prove external things that are phenomena or noumena, it is my opinion that our sensations should be analyzed more than they ever have been. I say this to mean that we should analyze sensations beyond just the six senses. I like to think of it in the way that we should look at our impressions  (using Hume’s term in the Origin of Our Ideas). Impressions being things entering our perception with most violence and force. Impressions are what I take to be emotions, passions, feelings, and sensations. For example, I find an impression to be the event that one has a direct or indirect conversation with God. I have not had a direct one, but others I know have. An indirect one I have had is where I ask Him for something in particular to really help my horrible situation out. After not getting it for awhile and asking Him again, soon after, it immediately occurs and I immediately realize why He waited until now and why he put me in the problem initially. Along with this understanding, I would have amazing emotional feeling because  I can feel the things that have happened before me, and I know from who they come. This is one example of an impression that I think should be examined further to get from faith in noumenal external things to actual knowledge in the Wittgensteinian sense.

I just think that faith does not denote knowledge even if it gives us real pure understanding.

Thanks for the support, and my apologies if this was too long.

Bertrand Russell’s Role in Progressing Epistemology

16 Sep

I previously did not think it was necessary to talk about the blue spectacles and the hard/soft data here, but now I am aware it is needed. I now before this one have 2 writings about Bertrand Russell, and with search engines asking for Russell’s role in epistemology, my 2 writings came up but I am sure that those are not what the person asking that question is looking for. This writing is. The notice of that search bringing my site up is the reason for this writing, when really I should have talked about these things in the first place given that the blue spectacles are totally awesome.

I also have 2 writings on G.E. Moore where he talks about sense data and patches of it. I discussed how, because of this sense data, I like to view everything I see as a big portrait. I said this not only because of what Moore said but because of Russell’s blue spectacles he discussed in Our Knowledge of the External World.  Not only does he discuss the blue spectacles, but he discusses shutting an eye, walking around a table and other things, just to discuss sense data.  Why all of these things? Because  along with Moore, Russell wants to state that sense data is the only way of making understanding of our perceptions.  If I see a red tulip, normally I would think, ‘oh its just a tulip’, but it is necessary to break common sense ordinary observation statements down to sense data statements. If I see a red tulip, I say, a few red patches there, adjacent to each other, and an elongated green patch below.

I used an object to state my argument. Moore used an envelope. Russell used the blue spectacles. I like Russell’s object the best because it supports the way we should all view and understand our perceptions. If you stand still and view the table, you see a few brown and black patches. If you walk around the table, you see a different set of sense data to be interpreted. You do not think about what you saw before you moved, you only analyze what you see now. Russell’s blue spectacles are put on, and you see everything with a blue hue, so if you are looking at a sea shell, you do not think oh, a white and pink sea shell sits beyond these blue spectacles, you think ‘ oh, a blue sea shell.’ Or at least, that is how an epistemologist would think. If you put the blue spectacles over a large white marker board, you would not think about what lies behind the blue spectacles, you would only think,’oh a huge white patch with 2 blue patches within it.’

Put these on, and then observe!!!  I think we should view the world as a portrait because if I am observing my yellow envelope somewhat through a green Mountain Dew bottle and some not, I see 2 yellow patches and a greenish dull yellow patch. I do not inquire what lies behind the green bottle.

The other part of Russell’s epistemology that led to his great role in it, was his hard and soft data.  I need to explain some things before going right into hard and soft data. Russell said that thoughts are either logical, or psychological, and they are primitive or derivative. So if something is logically derivative it is something that takes logical process and inference to understand it. If an idea is logically primitive it is something logical that one knows without having to go through an actual process of understanding and inference.  If an idea is psychologically primitive it is an idea caused by a fact from the sense that is asserted by a belief and that we need no process to understand and that we immediately understand. If, finally, an idea is psychologically derivative it is caused by 1 or more beliefs or an idea  not asserted by the fact of sense and often takes a process to understand because of how it is not asserted by the fact. These 4 definitions can be intersected with each other to have meanings of certain things

First, logically primitive, and psychologically primitive data cannot possibly be put together.

Second,  logically derivative, and psychologically derivative data can be put together. This is called nondata. For example, nondata is like electrons like to be next to protons. Nondata is not important and is arrived at by a lot of psychological and logical inference.

Third,  logically primitive, and psychologically derivative ideas can be put together to get soft  data Soft data is immediately inferred by logic, but takes more than just immediate observation to infer its existence. Soft data would be like when Russell walked around the table, and when more than one observation occurred (making psychologically derivative intuitions), yet he knew the table was still there with the many observations.

Fourth and finally,  logically and psychologically primitive data can be put together to get hard data. This is what is discussed most in epistemology. It takes one immediate logical inference, and one immediate psychological belief to get it. When Russell used the blue spectacles, he saw 2 blue patches. It is hard data because it takes no more than 1 logical and 1 psychological intuitions to understand that there are 2 blue patches.

To discuss some of this, soft and hard data are the only important ones to epistemology. This is so because it is often discussed if certain hard data can be proven wrong. Hard data can be said to be so hard because it involves immediate logic and immediate sense data. Russell discusses in ‘Our Knowledge of the External World’ that the hardest data is made up of 2 things: logic, and sense data. If the two can be inferred, you have hard data. Hard data for the most part cannot be disproved to be there. If there is a blue patch here, and we are immediately observing it, there is little one can do to disprove it, even if he declares your hallucination. Soft data can often be disproved because when Russell walked around the table, it can be postulated that the table no longer exists after that first sense data after he moves, and that new sense data of another item is present.

The above is Russell’s big role in epistemology. If you need more clarification of his philosophy read ‘Our Knowledge of the External World’ by Bertrand Russell.

Russell’s Logic as the Essence of Philosophy

14 Sep

Logic as Essence  of Philosophy is a lecture/essay by Bertrand Russell  that breaks all of the principles down to their bare minimums.  Russell does a lot for epistemology when he brings everything down to philosophy only mattering to logic and sense data. In this lecture he makes logic the bare essence of philosophy.

Logic is our rules for making judgments and thoughts and without it, we would not be able to get anything out of what we philosophize. We have observations, and we have a desire to make something out of them. Logicians like Frege establish formally these rules for philosophizing and the boundaries to maintain. Things we do not know about, we aim to define (I will get to what defining is later).

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that aims to help us understand the being around us, and what all this actually is. As I have said,  epistemologists and skeptic philosophers discredit and often eliminate metaphysics from existence. This is so for many reasons like we cannot perceive what metaphysics says, or we cannot test for what metaphysics says, or like here, reducing metaphysics to its logical components reduces the logical sentence to mere gibberish.

Russell calls logic the essence of philosophy, because whether it is metaphysics or not, any philosophical relation can be reduced to pure logical sentences. Metaphysics is just discredited among them because before it is reduced, it means even less than the other philosophies.  If I said ‘Socrates is a sycophant’  , I would be saying the same thing logically if I said  ‘ rooter is a beezer’. This is basically what Russell talks about in this essay of his, because anything can mean the same thing logically when it is stripped of all its meaning.

I bring Russell’s essay up for discussion just to lay some foundation in what metaphysics and epistemology do in fact have in common. My aim in my progressing writings is  to shoot down empiricism and positivism in their elimination of metaphysics, and defend metaphysics to its stronghold. Metaphysics and epistemology have this quality in common. A rooter could be either metaphysical or epistemological, but regardless of what a rooter or a beezer means, the logical sentence works. I feel little further need to explain this relation, in that I feel that my readers have a strong understanding and feel for logic without my need to explain it.  I just wanted to state that in regardless of what the sentence talks about,  if it confirms logically, both are the same regardless of what the words’ meanings are.

If theres pink shoes , then theres  fogoters. There are pink shoes, so there must be fogoters. This is a perfectly logical statement, yet we cannot know for sure if this true because we cannot know what fogoters are.  I push this concept so hard because I want to clarify that empiricists and positivists do not discredit metaphysics because of its logic, but because of its definitions. If the definitions known or not work well in the relation with one or more other things, it works great, but a metaphysician could assign a property with the name fogoter and have just created a frivolous philosphy, according to empiricists, Noumena is one thing that works well with logic, but the empiricists and positivists thought noumena was the worst metaphysical concept and means nothing even though it works well when related to other things with logic. I used Russell’s lecture to base my discussion off of, and to lay some foundation for some writings that will be here in the future.

This thought brings me to address the actual defining of  A, B, C, D, fogoters, rooters, and beezers.  It is not until here where metaphysics begins to be discredited and eliminated by the positivists and empiricists.  We can assign a letter like A to the first spot to mean anything, but when we define it, metaphysicians use relations with these undefineds and make properties out of them. For example, Kant defined a principle  X as noumena giving it its proper definition (which if you do not know it, it doesn’t matter for the moment) and noumena defines other things, and the things defined refer to other things as well. Heidegger uses Dasein to define his undefined, with the same thing happening too X as soon as it is defined.  It all works out agreeably until the variables are assigned definitions, and at that point, disputes are had and philosophy divides itself.

One of the bigger problems of metaphysics is that a newly defined term is often needed to be set forth to say what a metaphysician means. Empiricists and positivists dislike this action. After stating what i have said before this point, I want to portray metaphysics as a plethora of definitions that are scattered about, and then I want to further organize that beyond this writing to arrange all of the conflicting metaphysics together like Carnap began to organize the analytic and synthetic definitions.  I want to arrange metaphysics this way because of what a definition of any term causes.

The taking upon the action of defining a term is something that puts you in an infinite  regress of referrals. Lets define the word ‘braggadocio’ to help understand how defining something puts us in an infinite regression. Braggadocio:  empty boasting; bragging. If someone does not know what  bragging means we must define bragging. Bragging: to use boastful language. Now that we know that boasting and bragging are somewhat the same, what is language? Language: a body of words and the systems for their use common to apeople who are of the same community or nation, the same  geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. Okay, so what if we don’t know what words or common means. Then we would define those, and so on, and so forth.

I state that defining things puts us in an infinite regression because this sets the stage for a metaphysical buildup to have a stronghold instead of speculative things based on faith. I want to create a metaphysical buildup just like Carnap did so in an epistemological way. Faith is a great thing to have, but when people ask you your reasoning and you tell them faith, you will be laughed at. I want to find another way of reasoning metaphysical properties. Just like Kant said concerning noumena: “….for we are not entitled to maintain that sensibility is the only possible mode of intuition….”

This was only a preconcerning discussion about my intentions and thoughts. I did however want to root some things in this essay by Russell (even if most of this writing goes beyond what the his lecture actually adresses).

Thanks for the support, and do not get mad if more than half of this lecture was not actually about Bertrand Russell’s philosophy.

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…