Tag Archives: G.E.

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.

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G.E. Moore’s View on Colors in Sense Data

25 Oct

I finally am going to begin to write more on here, as from here on out I will gradually have more time.

I am writing a paper about the absence of colors in material objects as another inference to not rely on our senses, and i am using G.E. Moore’s paper Introduction of Sense Data. There is a part where he discusses the three characteristics of sense data: color, size, and shape. He has different conclusions on each one, but the color is what I am interested in for my paper’s purposes.

To jump right into it, G.E. Moore states that color is the only one of the three things that can be thought to be a part of the material object that sets forth the sense data. Moore begins his discussion in the paper about the envelope and how everybody in different places of the room see a different color and a different image. The question that this poses is are all of those of the same envelope (along with other inferences and questions). “The colour might be supposed to occupy a part of that volume occupied by the envelope- one of its bounding surfaces” there after that is an indicator of a footnote, ” I should now say that any part of the surface of a volume is not a part of that volume, because it is not itself a volume” (Moore).  Moore discusses mainly the presupposition that colors seen in objects exist as a part of the object that it is sensed with. The envelope (a material object) occupies a volume, and it is thought that the color of the envelope is a part of the volume of the whole volume that the envelope occupies. The footnote to the sentence states that a surface of a volume is not a volume anyway, so its not a part volume of the whole volume. So, if a color is seemed to be a part of a material object, how can it be a part if the surface is not a part of the volume? If I look at a yellow marker, I cannot prove that the marker is yellow, just that it looks yellow to me at that time and place.

Moore continues by stating the many different colors that one may see in one object, like the envelope.  One holds it in the air in front of 10 people. Because of the light shining in from the windows,  the fluorescent bulbs on the ceiling, a slice of white light from the projector, and the shadows of people in the front row, let us say that the envelope being shown is exhibiting 9 different shades of yellow. Moore wonders (like others) if all of these colors are a part of the envelope. Moore thinks this not impossible, but highly unlikely. These 9 shades of yellow would not be able to be a part of one small object, in my opinion. If all 10 people in the room switched seats where each person sat in a general vicinity of the room, one shade of yellow would seem to move, and another shade of yellow would move to the spot of the envelope you immediately see. Moore does well in this part of the paper to prove that colors are not a part of the object they are seen in. My aim for the paper I plan on writing is to say that there aren’t any colors in reality at all, and colors are just manifestations of what our minds make of the real world.

One might also think that particles or atoms within an object make something the color that it is. Going back to my yellow marker, there are dyes in the plastic that encapsulate the sponge full of yellow ink. Dyes in objects being particles within it do not put color in objects. Dyes are particles within objects that merely change the way the object looks when certain kinds of light are reflected off it. A red dye being put in something only is done to make red appear when a few kinds of light are reflected off it.

My conclusion from all of this is that visual sense data is the most misleading thing one can rely on. I once was talking to an old instructor of mine from high school who was not discussing philosophy of any kind just certain kinds of photons in light. He said he went into a clothing store to get a few pairs of socks. Going into the store he sees a few pairs of socks he decides to purchase, and recognizes they are black ( the label of the socks were not big and he did not read the label at all). He buys them, walks outside and sees that he has purchased unwanted blue socks. So, are the socks black or blue? You can crap out some science about dies, spectra, photons, and other things but this instance disproves the idea that material objects have colors in them. Yes, its all light reflecting off particles in objects and dyes within objects, but for a simple color test put a bright object on the ground, like a yellow highlighter marker, make sure bright lights are on in the room, and stand over the marker so your shadow is over it. The color the marker now has is a dull darker yellow, that is not bright like it once was. Once again, without this silly test, turn all of the lights off and hold the marker, the marker is not yellow, but black. This I think is enough to say that material objects have no color in them.

In Moritz Schlick’s Structure and Content essay, in the section Inexpressibility of Content, Schlick states that one could not convey what green is to a blind man. A person with sight can see the many colors, but try to talk to someone and explain what yellow is. Yellow is the next color lighter than green. Whats green? It looks like the color of a frog? What color is a frog? and so on. The fact that we cannot express content (i.e. color) is good evidence to say that sense data is local, and often personal to small groups, or even 1 person. If sense data, and more specifically color, is so local how can it be real? When I discuss real, I mean discerning color from things like size and shape (referring back to Moore). If I was talking to a blind man like Schlick, and I wanted to tell him about this huge block of cheddar cheese in the Big House (Michigan stadium in Ann Arbor, MI), I could say there is a huge rectangle 100 feet high, and 24 feet wide,  I could firmly draw the skinny rectangle on paper for the blind man to feel. He would feel the lines connecting and eventually envision a large skinny rectangle. Knowing, that there is a large skinny rectangle on the football field, I could not tell him it is orange. Even if he gained sight right there, he might see a light orange, while I see a darker shade. The way visual sense data is local like it is always I think makes it: 1) not a part of material objects, and 2) ambiguous in all forms of trying to define and explain it. Even if I say orange, one might ask, what shade. Then that person might say, that looks yellower to me. All of this means that there is no color in objects (or at all) , and what color people observe in sense data is ambiguous in the strictest sense of the word.

This is all granted that there are material objects anyway, which I also plan to address.

Thanks for the support. Tell me what you think, are there true colors in material objects?

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.

Ludwig Wittgenstein’s On Certainty: The Specialized ‘I Know’

1 Sep

Wittgenstein’s proposition filled book On Certainty is a late work of his discussing many things, mostly discussing the many things about and against G.E. Moore’s Introduction of Sense Data/Proof of an External World. Moore discusses sense data among other things about the world ( I have 2 writings about Moore’s writings, in the G.E. Moore category to your right), and at the beginning of the book, as well as being the theme of the rest, Wittgenstein questions the claim to know something.

When Moore continuously began his statements with I know, Wittgenstein refutes not the exact propositions Moore has, but that he uses ‘I know’ with too much liberty. ” We just do not see how very specialized the use of ‘I know’ is” and “That [Moore] does know takes some [showing]” (Wittgenstein).  After reading this it is known that saying that one knows is quite a statement in that knowing something is a large feat to accomplish.

The feat of accomplishing the knowledge of any proposition is large and amazing because of how much doubt that one must go through to signify the knowledge of something. According to Descartes, one must take into consideration all possible doubts there are about something before declaring knowledge of truth or falsity about it. To go through the processes of coherence or correspondence about something to declare truth or falsity would be one thing that would eventually allow a person to use the specialized phrase I know. I think it must be established that if we claim to know something, and are asked to show how and why, that we should be able to produce evidence about why it is true. Wittgenstein states that if we know something, we should be able to maintain all evidence to show that it is evident. It is not my opinion, but according to Wittgenstein (and Descartes for that matter) and his solipsist values, one can know only one thing: that oneself exists.  With these solipsist values, Wittgenstein can easily be understood in the reason why he states that ‘i know’ should be reserved. With these solipsist values, the only thing he claims to know is that he exists and Moore throwing around I know for other propositions can only be leading to falsities unless it is for sure that something is true or false.

Wittgenstein in On Certainty goes further into further testing before saying ‘I know’ by stating that a hand outside him may or not be there based on sensory sight.  He goes on with the hand to discuss his feelings on the matter.For me, to know that my hand exists is to test how solid it is, find all its functions,  decide where it originates from, and where in the spatiotemporal continuum it exists.

So, it is my goal here to arrive at a conclusion as to whether this hand I have is true or false in its existence. I want to give evidence as to its existence, and then form a reductio to further prove the point. First, I want to note that this hand is a part of and not separate from me. Regardless as to whether the body, mind, self, and soul are existent in parts within me, the hand is something that is my own, and it is a part of me. One of the things that can be known in the universe to exist is oneself. I KNOW I exist (Wittgenstein and Descartes thought so too).  And if it is known that I exist, all parts of me exist too. My hand is a part of me, so given that I exist, and parts of me exist with I, including my hand, my hand has this evidence to exist. Secondly,  my hand performs functions that have little to some impact on the world around it. Right now, it types simultaneously with the other hand in a writing about philosophy that will be posted on a website for anyone to read at their leisure. Also, my hand does other functions like washing, eating, and performing a plethora of other functions. Regardless of the function that the hand performs, it puts an impact around the world around it and something changes to a degree. As I am about to say further down the road in this writing, things that do change and impact have hard evidence for existence. I could go further in looking for further evidence but these 2 things are enough for me to say I KNOW that my hand exists. Wittgenstein would not endorse my thought process and he would still think that my use of ‘i know’ would not be specialized enough and that it is to loose in use.

Another example of proving something to knowledgeable certainty is the proof of my friend Scott (he is imaginary, and may not even be a person if you humor me).  Scott is a part of the creatum, and was created by God (I have further things to know to exist later, including the creatum), and if this is so, he can be assured to exist almost to the point of I know. Also, Scott is a terrorist and  places bombs in buildings. Lets say Scott put a bomb in building Z in town X, and building Z explodes killing a quarter of the population of town X including those in large proximity to the exploding building. Scott affected the world with this bomb and killed a lot of people, and had an effect on the world. Between these two things, we can know that Scott exists.

The knowledge of existence of a thing is not what Wittgenstein limits full knowledge to. The justified and evident use of the specialized ‘I know’ can be applied to anything in question in progression to knowing it. I choose however to turn toward the somewhat knowledge and full knowledge of the existence of things because of how delicate the argument is.

After reading Wittgenstein’s thoughts on using ‘I know’ so limitlessly, I was sent into a storm of thought into the justification and evidence of the existence of the below 5 things. I apologize that this writing has gone from the proving with evidence on anything to just the existence of things. But this website is for unbounded thought about the cosmos regardless the setting.

1) Oneself We can know that oneself exists because we think, and we know we exist. We also can be aware of this because we are a thinking thing that are contemplating the issue in the first place. Second of all, oneself has an effect/affect on the world around it, and each person that defines oneself makes a difference. Third, God recognizes and embraces our existence.

2) God We can be sure that He exists because he causes 99.999% of the effects in the cosmos, and he has more impact than is conceivable. He created the cosmos, and each individual person. Because of His effects and creations, we can be sure that He exists.

3) Creatum God created the creatum with all of the living things and earth within it. All of the things inside the creatum cause things within the cosmos, and we can know it to exist. We are within it, so it exists.

4) Spiritual World God and His angels, nor Satan and his demons are here in full creatum form, therefore since we know of Satan’s deception and God’s love, they must exist somewhere.  These worlds have revealed themselves to us in other ways therefore these worlds can be known to exist.

5 Causing Things If something causes an effect, and creates a small to large domino effect, the causer can be known to exist. This overlaps upon all the other 4 things known to exist, and this is one of the justifications just as well as it is a fifth category.

Thanks for the support. The above 5 things were quickly justified and were not done in detail. My main aim was to discuss that saying that we know something is a bigger action than we think and we should not throw the phrase  around so much unless they overlap and reside within the 5 things known to exist, or unless you can come up with other justifications for existence.

G.E. Moore’s Sense Data and of the Hallucinative Forms

30 Aug

After explaining sense data in the previous writing on Moore’s sense data, I feel it is necessary to address the forms of sense data that do not usually come about, and even may not even be connected to an object.

This is just a brief discussion about sense data’s objects that it comes from. When Moore introduced the sense datum he exemplified and explained most about the actual sense data, and little of where it comes from. Epistemology from Moore to Russell and on can lead to and often involve rejection of metaphysics and theology (like the Vienna Circle), making the relation between sense data and its material object not something searched for. I am concerned with both epistemology and metaphysics and where the sense data comes from concerns me more than the sense data itself mostly because the sense data itself is easy to understand, but its source is something difficult and ambiguous.

Moore even stated that sense data comes from a variety of sources that either may or may not have an object. After understanding Moore, the sources of sense data I state to exist are similar and almost equal. Sense data generates from one of these things: 1) material objects 2)redistribution of color without object 3) the mind’s images. I mainly am concerned with the third category in this brief discussion because I discussed sense data of material objects and redistribution of color in my previous writing about Moore’s sense data. My reason for having concern with the third category is because the first two categories exist because they reside with an outlining object. A tulip resides in category 1 because there is an outline to it that is the flower and the color within it (yellows and greens) are the sense data that is represented to our minds.  The mind’s images do not work the same way and are wholly ambiguous in nature.

The mind is a complex entity and does many complex processes causing confusion within us by many ways of doing so. A mirage known to come before one thirsty and tired in a desert can create any image the mind chooses and we will believe the image to be a true object when really it is only imaginary. After not sleeping for days the same thing will happen. After taking certain harmful narcotics the same thing (in a more extravagant way) will happen. One with schizophrenia will have the same thing happen to him but in a more scary and different way. All of these things appear to us in the same form as sense data in that a tulip actually existing will look just as clear in color and shape as a miraged bottle off water. These pseudo-sense data being unusual are ambiguous and I know not what to think of them because of the fact that I know not where their sense data originates from.

I choose to equate a material object’s sense data with a hallucination or schizophrenic image because in both states of mind both look exactly the same in color and clarity. The only inference I can possibly make is that for hallucinations of all forms no sense data is present. After going through logic and epistemological contemplation, (I actually did go through a lot of thinking metaphysically even about it), I do not see any possibility that true sense data exists unless an object lies beneath.

No sense data can be perceived unless an object lies beneath.

I say this boldly and confidently because all hallucinations being compared to true object originated sense data are faulty and inconsistent. Sense data obviously exists when objects push the data strongly through consistency and clarity. Even though all hallucinations are always as clear and visible as object sense data, the hallucinations appear less frequently for the object it portrays and is very inconsistent. The hallucination can be clearly discerned from the object sense data. If we can see the clear distinction between real sense data and sense data of the hallucinative form, we can decide which is truthful and which is false. My philosophical statement is that the hallucinative form of sense data has no object behind it and therefore is false in nature and origin. The mind, however, is complex enough to deceive us with these sense data of the hallucinative form, and making this distinction is a must.

For this, it was necessary to speak only to sense data of the hallucinative form while a person is awake because when one is asleep it is easy to understand the state one is in because of clarity and usualness of the data being perceived. I felt the need to discuss the hallucinative sense data and to discern it from the true sense data Moore states to exist. We all have stayed up to late and seen something unreal, and some of us may have even taken a hallucinogen narcotic, and some of us may be (not myself) schizophrenics, so I felt it necessary to understand what is true amidst all our perceptions.

Thanks for the support. Longer writings on Deleuze, Berkeley, Locke, Heidegger and more to come in the near to more distant future.

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…