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Saturday, January 30, 2010

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Bill,
the premises are:
1. A concept C is included in a concept D just in case, necessarily, everything that falls under D falls under C. C is included in D if and only if D analytically entails C
2. When we speak of the being (esse) of a being (ens) we are referring to its sheer existence
3. being is included in every specific difference
The conclusion is:
4. "rational" analytically entails "existence"

My question: does that mean that Sherlock Holmes is rational, it analitically entails that Sherlock Holmes exists?

Aresh,

You are missing the pont completely. I am not affirming (3), I am denying (3). No concept is such that being or existence is included within it. The post is directed against Lukas Novak and those scholastics who follow Duns Scotus in maintaining that being is a higehest genus. That is arguably the worst metaphysical mistake one can make.

The original argument is subtle and difficult. You must study it carefully to understand it. Bear in mind that it is a reductio ad absurdum. It reduces to absurdity the notion that being is a summum genus.

Duns Scotus most certainly does not maintain that being is the highest genus, or any genus. Scotism accepts the Aquinas argument quoted above in all its details.

Lukas Novak is certainly not a Scotist, since by his own admission he denies many of the principle distinguishing features of Scotistic metaphysics.

Bill,
Sorry, you are right! The argument states that:
- Either being is the highest genus and therefore everything that falls under the concept of "rational" must fall under the concept of being; but then this contradicts the definition of "rational" as "specific difference"
- Or "rational" doesn't analitically entail "being"; but then "being" is not the highest genus

Michael,

You are right about Scotus. Novak misled me! Indeed, I just found a text I had underlined in which Scotus says that being is a transcendental and outside any genus.

Well, it has not yet happened to me that an entire post by a renowned philosopher were directed against me :-) By way of a reply, I would like to offer a link to my paper where I have recently dealt exactly with this argument that dr. Vallicella is making. The paper is located here:

http://www.skaut.org/ln/docs/aporiageneris.pdf

Unfortunately, the server seems to be down today, but I hope that in a day or two, at the latest, the paper will be available there.
(alternatively, I can e-mail the paper to anyone on-demand).

To express my postition very shortly: if we define conceptual containment in the way dr. Vallicella did, then I believe that ALL (or most) differentiae do include their genera. Nevertheless, this does not mean that this can be discovered by means of definitional analysis of the differentiae. My main point is that conceptual inclusion as defined above is broader than inclusion defined in terms of "sheer analysis". This general fact was well known in scholasticism but it was never applied on the problem of being.

As for thomism: the thomists believe that being is not a genus because they believe not just that it is contained in every differentia, but that being includes every differntia. Really, they do! According to them, "being" has not just universal extension, but also comprehension. This is because they believe that "being" is inseparable from any concept whatsoever, and interpret that inseparability as mutual. It is this notion of all-inclusiveness of being that underlies the thomist theory of the analogy of being. Being is analogical, according to them, because it cannot perfectly prescind from the differentiae. Mere "abstraction by confusion" is possible, which yields a merely analogical concept.

Scotus, on the other hand, claims that being is separable from every concept, mutually. The reason why being is not a genus is not, like in thomism, because it is inseparable from differentiae and therefore included in them and including them, but because it is contracted not by differentiae but intrinsic modes. Otherwise it is in all things like an ordinary genus. In late scotism however this doctrine of contraction of being by intrinsic modes was (on recognition of its weaknesses) further developed and pushed even nearer to the "genus" status (at least in one case, John Punch, quite explicitly).

One last remark concerning the meaning of "ens" in Aquinas and Thomism. There is some controversion whether the original Aquinas's meaning of "ens" was "existentialist" or "essentialist", that is, whether only actually existing things fall under Aquinas's concept of "ens" or whether possibilia are counted in too. At any rate, the later thomism (certailny at least since Cajetan) leaned towards the "essentialist" reading, distinguishing "ens ut participium" and "ens ut nomen". "Ens ut participium" has the existentialist meaning "that which exists"; "ens ut nomen" has the essentialist meaning "that which is capable of existing", or "that which has a real essence". It was the latter meaning of "ens" which was considered to be the object of metaphysics, the transcendental, etc.

The existential meaning of "ens" is not a problem. It is clear that it is not included in any concept (except God). The essential meaning is the problem, because every consistent first-order concept is a concept of something capable of existence, therefore "ens ut participium" IS included in every such concept. This is what puzzled all the classical thinkers from Aristotle to Leibniz. And this is the problem I attempted to disentangle in my paper.

Lukas

Two apologies: First: I don't know why most of my post appeared bold, but I suppose it is my fault... Second, the "ens ut participium" in the penultimate sentence is a slip for "ens ut nomen", of course. I should go to sleep, I suppose...

Lukas

Lukas,

Thanks for the link. I will definitely look at your paper when the server is back on online. I take it that it the same paper you mentioned in an earlier thread. I hope by 'renowned philosopher' you were referring to Aquinas and not me!

You write, >>The existential meaning of "ens" is not a problem. It is clear that it is not included in any concept (except God). The essential meaning is the problem, because every consistent first-order concept is a concept of something capable of existence, therefore "ens ut participium" IS included in every such concept.<<

We agree that existence is not included in concepts. That was my main point. But I would go a step further and say that existence is not included in the concept of God either! But of course it depends on what exactly is meant by 'concept.' For me concepts are mind-dependent. If existence were included in the concept of God, then I would be able to establish the existence of God merely by analyzing my concept -- which is impossible. So I say that no concept is such that it includes existence. Of course, essence entails existence in God. But I distinguish essence from concept.

I don't agree that "every consistent first-order concept is a concept of something capable of existence." For reasons given in other recent posts, conceivability does not entail possibility. The mere fact that I have a concept which is free of apparent contradiction is no guranatee that in reality there is a possible being corresponding to this concept.

Now in the quotation from Aquinas above, what do you take him to be talking about? Existential being or essential being?

A few replies:

For me, (objective) concept is an aspect or "metaphysical part" of some reality "as conceived", i.e. as existing as the object of a mental representative act (formal concept). An essential concept is therefore just the essence of a thing, or an aspect of the esence of a thing, in its "being conceived" or intentional being. Therefore, IF an essence of X implies existence, then sufficiently comprehensive concept of that essence implies existence, too. Thomas agreed that it is in principle possible to infer God's existence from the concept of God; it is only impossible for us due to our imperfect knowledge of God's essence (and therefore inadequate concept of God). But it seems to me that Thomas was wrong, that one can arrive to a concept of God which can be shown to entail existence. Scotus's proof of God's existence goes along these lines.

Regarding consistence and possible existence: I agree that the fact that I have a concept without APPARENT conctradiction is no guarantee that its object can exist. But it is because I cannot in that case be sure whether the concept is REALLY consistent. It is very difficult to make sure that a concept is really consistent, because, as I mentioned in another post, a concept may (and as a rule does) imply or include much more stuff than you can find out by sheer definitional analysis. For example, the concept of being "includes" or necessarily implies all the coextensive transcendentals, but they are in no way part of the definition of being. This, BTW, is the main problem with proving the existence of God a priori: we must first make sure that we are using a consistent concept of God, or else we may all the way be working in an inconsistent system, where anything is provable.

Regarding Aquinas - as a matter of fact I think that he didn't have the distinction clearly on mind, but most naturally I would interpret him as speaking in the essentialist sense, because he says in effect that being is included in every concept, which only makes sense in the essentialist interpretation.

Lukas

Dr Novak (I realize your name has diacriticals; you will forgive me for omitting them),

What you wrote above is helpful in making your position clear. There is a distinction between subjective and objective concepts, and you are talking about objective concepts. It is therefore reasonable for you to maintain that there is no distinction between an objective concept and an essence.

But now it seems you bypass or ignore the 'Critical' problem (Kant): How do you know that subjective conditions of thinking have objective validity? You seem to just assume a sort of isomorphism between mind and reality. Thus my mental act of conceiving has as its object or accusative the objective concept (= essence) of the thing to which my mind is directed. One wonders whether this isomorphism can be just assumed.

I grant that if I had a perfectly adequate concept of God's essence then I would be able to know a priori that God exists in a manner analogous to the way I know a priori that a round square (an item that is both round and not round at the same time, in the same respect, and in the same sense of 'round' in both occurrences) does NOT exist. But I deny that it is possible for finite minds like ours to have such a concept. So I maintain that existence is radically transconceptual: no concept of ours -- and what other concepts do we have access to? -- is such as to include or contain existence. Thus the ontological argument aus lauter Begriffen in Kant's phrase is bound to fail. Existence cannot be grasped as if it were just another quidditative determination (Bestimmung). This is one of my fundamental tenets, and among the scholastics I could draw on Thomas, Gilson, and many others for support.

And just as I question the inferential move from concept to actual existence, I question the move from concept to merely possible existence. It seems once again that the "critical problem" (Kant) cannot be ignored.

It appears that we are reading Aquinas in wildly different ways. You say that, for him, "being is included in every concept." But being insofar as it can be included in a concept is not *the genuine article* but a sorry substitute. It seems to me that Aquinas has in his sights genuine pound-the-table existence, that which makes a thing BE as opposed to being nothing.

Dear dr. Valicella,

Absolutely no problem with the diacritics :-)

Regarding the "critical problem": in this context - ontology or metaphysics - I have taken for granted certain general epistemological assumptions. Namely: 1) epsitemic realism (reality is there independently of our cognizing it); 2) Objectivism (reality is shaped independently of our subjective way of cognizing it; 3) Receptivism (cognition means that the real objects affect our cognitive faculties; thus reality itself becomes the object cognized; or in other words, reality itself enters our mind, in a certain way (called "intentional existence)).

Thus, I don't assume any isomorphism between mind and reality. I assume that mind is capable of grasping reality itself (not any isomorphic picture of reality). The objective concepts are the reality-as-grasped, reality-as-in-our-mind.

Of course all these assumptions require argumentation on the level of epistemology; which is a much more fundamental level of discussion than any discussion on ontology. But it seems to me that to make these assumptions is a necessary condition of the possibility to genuinely discuss any ontological problem at all. For any genuine disagreement about ontology is a disagreement concerning the makeup of reality itself. If for example I said that X has a property P and you denied it, either we were both assuming that we are truly speaking of the real X out there and were in disagreement concerning its real condition of having/lacking the property in question, and thus we were both assuming that we CAN, by means of our cognitive acts (represented in speech), grasp reality itself, - or else the one of us who denied for himself such a capability would implicitly deny that he is speaking of the real condition of the real X, which would void the object of disagreement.

Put in a very simple way: If we are to discuss God and his nature, we must first assume that we are able to talk of God Himself at all, and not just of our image of God hopefully isomorphic to the real God, or of some result of the aplication of our a priori apparatus to some un-formed cognitive input, or whatever. So I would say that this realist epistemological commitment is an integral part of the classical theology, and therefore I took it for granted. If it is wrong, then we have to scrap not just the doctrine of Trinity, but the enitre traditional theism which assumes that the proposition "God exists" has an objective validity, i.e. it succeeds in referring to a real being and in ascribing to it real existence "out there".

Regarding the transconceptuality of existence: I agree with you that in certain sense existence is thus "transconceptual" - that is, abstractive cognition always abstracts, in certain way, from existence (this is why defend the essentialist interpretation of the notion of being). But I am reluctant to derive such fatal consequences from the fact as you seem to do.

For obviously, we are capable of speaking of existence, we can conceptually distinguish actually existing things from merely possibles, and we can even make existence a subject of a true proposition, namely "existence is transconceptual". Now: regardless of what the saying that thusly conceptualised existence is a mere "sorry substitute" means, it certainly does not compromise the litteral truth of the proposition "existence is transconceptual", and therefore it does not compromise the capability of the term "existence" to refer to the real article, not the substitute - or else the sentence would not say what it purports to say.

Put shortly: If the "transconceptuality of existence" (TE) thesis is true at all, the sentence must succeed in expressing it. If it does succed in expressing it, then the TE-thesis is harmless.

So it seems that the TE does not preclude us from certain way of conceptualising existence and utilize this conceptualization in speaking truly of existence itself. I can't therefore see the reason why TE would make it a priori impossible to arrive a priori at a conclusion of the kind "X actually exists". But never mind - this seems to be just another stray branch of discussion not necessarily connected with the problem of Trinity itself. I don't think anything of what need to be said of Trinity hinges on the truth or falsity of TE.

But regardless of the problem of TE, it seems to me that the realist assumptions I made (and which seem to me necessary to make) imply that the "move from concept to merely possible existence" is principially justified. Why? Simply because it is not a move at all. Receptivism means that the entire comprehension of our concepts comes from the reality. The relations between our concepts are just conceptualised relations in reality. Thus conceptual consistence is nothing else than conceptualised real consistence, that is, capability of real co-exepmlification of the conceptual notes in one object. Given the receptivist conception of rational cognition, there can be no other consistence or inconsistence than reality-based; there is no other meaning to "consistence" than this.

But again, it does not seem to me that this particular point is crucial for further discussion of the Trinity. The task of an apologist is to show for any given attempt to prove impossibility of T that it fails. And I can't imagine any possible argument that would show that T is impossible without showing that it somehow implies inconsistency.

Regarding Aquinas and being: Certainly you are right that when Aquinas is speaking of "esse" or "actus essendi", what he has in mind is that which makes things BE, the "genuine article". But when speaking of "ens", he seems more often than not to abstract from the actus essendi: he for example many times reassert's Aristotle's dictum that benig (ens) is divided into act and potency (that is, into actually existing and merely potential being). This shows that his usual notion of "ens" is "essentialist". Yes, I know Gilson disagrees - but the mere fact that Thomas employs the "essentialist" notion of being does not imply that he has nothing to say about the "esse", that which makes things be.

Well, and now I suppose that after writing so much I should Dear dr. Valicella,

Absolutely no problem with the diacritics :-)

Regarding the "critical problem": in this context - ontology or metaphysics - I have taken for granted certain general epistemological assumptions. Namely: 1) epsitemic realism (reality is there independently of our cognizing it); 2) Objectivism (reality is shaped independently of our subjective way of cognizing it; 3) Receptivism (cognition means that the real objects affect our cognitive faculties; thus reality itself becomes the object cognized; or in other words, reality itself enters our mind, in a certain way (called "intentional existence)).

Thus, I don't assume any isomorphism between mind and reality. I assume that mind is capable of grasping reality itself (not any isomorphic picture of reality). The objective concepts are the reality-as-grasped, reality-as-in-our-mind.

Of course all these assumptions require argumentation on the level of epistemology; which is a much more fundamental level of discussion than any discussion on ontology. But it seems to me that to make these assumptions is a necessary condition of the possibility to genuinely discuss any ontological problem at all. For any genuine disagreement about ontology is a disagreement concerning the makeup of reality itself. If for example I said that X has a property P and you denied it, either we were both assuming that we are truly speaking of the real X out there and were in disagreement concerning its real condition of having/lacking the property in question, and thus we were both assuming that we CAN, by means of our cognitive acts (represented in speech), grasp reality itself, - or else the one of us who denied for himself such a capability would implicitly deny that he is speaking of the real condition of the real X, which would void the object of disagreement.

Put in a very simple way: If we are to discuss God and his nature, we must first assume that we are able to talk of God Himself at all, and not just of our image of God hopefully isomorphic to the real God, or of some result of the aplication of our a priori apparatus to some un-formed cognitive input, or whatever. So I would say that this realist epistemological commitment is an integral part of the classical theology, and therefore I took it for granted. If it is wrong, then we have to scrap not just the doctrine of Trinity, but the enitre traditional theism which assumes that the proposition "God exists" has an objective validity, i.e. it succeeds in referring to a real being and in ascribing to it real existence "out there".

Regarding the transconceptuality of existence: I agree with you that in certain sense existence is thus "transconceptual" - that is, abstractive cognition always abstracts, in certain way, from existence (this is why defend the essentialist interpretation of the notion of being). But I am reluctant to derive such fatal consequences from the fact as you seem to do.

For obviously, we are capable of speaking of existence, we can conceptually distinguish actually existing things from merely possibles, and we can even make existence a subject of a true proposition, namely "existence is transconceptual". Now: regardless of what the saying that thusly conceptualised existence is a mere "sorry substitute" means, it certainly does not compromise the litteral truth of the proposition "existence is transconceptual", and therefore it does not compromise the capability of the term "existence" to refer to the real article, not the substitute - or else the sentence would not say what it purports to say.

Put shortly: If the "transconceptuality of existence" (TE) thesis is true at all, the sentence must succeed in expressing it. If it does succed in expressing it, then the TE-thesis is harmless.

So it seems that the TE does not preclude us from certain way of conceptualising existence and utilize this conceptualization in speaking truly of existence itself. I can't therefore see the reason why TE would make it a priori impossible to arrive a priori at a conclusion of the kind "X actually exists". But never mind - this seems to be just another stray branch of discussion not necessarily connected with the problem of Trinity itself. I don't think anything of what need to be said of Trinity hinges on the truth or falsity of TE.

But regardless of the problem of TE, it seems to me that the realist assumptions I made (and which seem to me necessary to make) imply that the "move from concept to merely possible existence" is principially justified. Why? Simply because it is not a move at all. Receptivism means that the entire comprehension of our concepts comes from the reality. The relations between our concepts are just conceptualised relations in reality. Thus conceptual consistence is nothing else than conceptualised real consistence, that is, capability of real co-exepmlification of the conceptual notes in one object. Given the receptivist conception of rational cognition, there can be no other consistence or inconsistence than reality-based; there is no other meaning to "consistence" than this.

But again, it does not seem to me that this particular point is crucial for further discussion of the Trinity. The task of an apologist is to show for any given attempt to prove impossibility of T that it fails. And I can't imagine any possible argument that would show that T is impossible without showing that it somehow implies inconsistency.

Regarding Aquinas and being: Certainly you are right that when Aquinas is speaking of "esse" or "actus essendi", what he has in mind is that which makes things BE, the "genuine article". But when speaking of "ens", he seems more often than not to abstract from the actus essendi: he for example many times reassert's Aristotle's dictum that benig (ens) is divided into act and potency (that is, into actually existing and merely potential being). This shows that his usual notion of "ens" is "essentialist". Yes, I know Gilson disagrees - but the mere fact that Thomas employs the "essentialist" notion of being does not imply that he has nothing to say about the "esse", that which makes things be.

Well, and now I suppose that after writing so much I should shut up for a while... Best regards!

I apoogise for double posting! I am always struggling with the system to accept my text...


Actually, there was no double-posting. The Typepad system is the best I have found so far, but there is a serious design flaw: apparently, one is 'timed-out' after only a few minutes. I'll have to see if anything can be done about this. But you have figured out how to get the system to accept your comments: make a copy, paste into a new browser, make a slight alteration in the text, and it should work. Sometimes it takes time for the upload to occur. Try giving it a little time before pasting into a new browser.

You made a good point, and I accept your correction: in scholastic epistemology there is an identity, not an isomorphism, between mind and reality. Thus what exists in the mind -- in the mode of intentional inexistence -- when I know a thing is identical to what is in the thing apart from our cognitive activities.

Dr Novak,

Note that the boldface has been removed. I surmise you tried to bold some text and then forgot to turn off the bold command by typing: left angle bracket, single forward slash, b, right angle bracket.

I can see that you are a very mature and penetrating thinker. You have thought systematically about these question. What is your academic rank at Charles University, if I may ask?

>>But it seems to me that to make these assumptions is a necessary condition of the possibility to genuinely discuss any ontological problem at all.<< Permit me a quibble. There is another way to do ontology and that is by examining the "ontological commitments" of theories taken to be true. This is the way of Quine. I don't think much of Quine, however, and I am not advocating a Quinean approach.

I also think it is true that one can raise the 'critical problem' without going all the way with Kant. You mention Epistemic Realism, Objectivism, and Receptivism as three pillars of your epistemology. I am strongly inclined to accept the first two. But couldn't one do that while rejecting the third? One could be a critical realist. (Nicolai Hartmann is an example of this. Have you read his Metaphysik der Erkenntnis?) If so, the critical problem could still be raised within the context of realism.

More later.

Trying to keep it short:

1) Thank you for the compliment! I feel embarassed... I am an assistant professor at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ch.U., beside having the same position at the Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia, Budweis.

2) Certainly one can "do ontology" by examinig ontological commitments of theories. But this is always a hypothetic endeavour: "if T were true, then...". I imagine true ontology as more ambitious than that. :-)

3) I certainly believe that one can, and should, rise the "critical problem" even as a realist; and I even believe that it is systematically the "first" problem of philosophy. This is one of my main quarrels with the neo-scholastics who usually take the "critic" as a special and derived part of metaphysics. I have not studied Hartmann, but from the little I know of him it seems to me that I agree with the general intention but disapprove of the concrete execution, which seems to be too entrenched in the post-Kantian continental tradition (though representing a valiant attempt to extricate oneself from that tradition).

4) I suppose one can be a realist and objectivist without being receptivist (like Leibniz, for example), but it seems to me that only receptivist theory of cognition makes justice to the pre-theoretical notion of cognition. In other words, non-receptivist theories seem to me to redefine the concept of cognition in such a way that genuine truth and certainty become impossible. Therefore such theories appear to me pragamtically inconsistent, insofar as every theory implicitly claims truth.

5) In my browser, everything down from my "bold" post still appears bold, except the last two posts. There was not a double posting, but I succeeded in pasting my reply twice into the window inadvertently. If you are able to, can you please delete the first part of that overlong post of mine (up to the second "Dear dr. Vallicella")? I am sorry for my awful ineptitude...

Bill and Lukas,

In much texts I've read on epistemological "realism," the word and its cognates have been used differently by different authors and traditions. At least, it seems to me to be so. Now I'll try to disambiguate some of them.

(A) Direct realism in the sense of receptivism: intentional in-existence of all veridically cognized entities. It says, roughly, that when we have a veridical cognitive act of some entity X, then always X itself, not a copy or an image of X (even if X is an entity of the external world), somehow ("intentionally") exists in the congnizer.

Let's consider just concepts, from the Aristotelian view:

Concept is a basic element of our reason (as opposed to senses) which represents some aspect of reality.

Concept's object is that which is represented by the concept.

Now there are some distinctions.

Concept's material object is the concept's object with all that in reality (as opposed to cognition which does not cover the reality fully) belongs to the concept's object.

Concept's formal object is an aspect of the concept's object with all that in reality belongs to this aspect.

Further distinctions:

Formal concept (sometimes also called subjective concept) is a mental, psychical act by which a concept takes place.

Objective concept is a formal concept's formal object itself as (intentionally, not really) existing in reason.

Content of a concept is that which the concept's formal object has in common with the objective concept. (The objective concept differs from the formal object because the former has marks which the latter lacks, e. g., being non-particular /non-individual/ and abstracting from some features of the latter.)

-----------------

(B) Natural realism about external world: It says that the existence of the external world (or its particular external entities or features) is known incorrigibly, or evidently, or can be demonstrated with 100% probability, or the belief in it is properly basic.

Speaking for myself, I've been quite open to the view that the external world (and the externality of its particular inhabitants and features) could be demonstrated deductively and with strict certainty. I've seen few attempts offered by the Thomistic tradition which have been intellectually unsatisfactory to me, though.

The opponents of natural realists about external world are sometimes called critical realists.

--------------

(C) Anti-representational realism: no epistemological, mental, representational entities through which veridical cognition takes place. For instance, as once Bill wrote, "For Butchvarov, perceptual consciousness of an entity, as when I see it or touch it, is direct, which is to say: not mediated by sense data, sensations, ways of being appeared to, sense experiences, mental representations, ideas, images, looks, seemings, appearances, or any other sort of epistemic go-between. In perception one mentally confronts the thing itself, not something that represents it [but, again, the confrontation is not by any sort of epistemic means]. ... [Of course, it] is a plain fact that perceptual consciousness as we know it has a physical [or causal] substratum: I touch the table with my fingertips, see it with my eyes, etc."

The scholastics deny anti-representational realism. According to them, when we have a veridical cognitive act of some entity X, then always X itself in a certain way exists in us -- yet, at the same time, the in-existence happens by means of special, epistemic, mental, representational entities.

------------------

(D) Natural realism about the veracity of some cognitive acts: some kinds of cognitive grasping are demon-proof; do not argue for veracity of such grasp; one does one's best rather to show the radical skeptic what it is like to have such a grasp, even to induce it in him; if that fails, rational discussion is at an end.

The opponents are sometimes called criticals realist: they try to come up with some relevantly non-circular argument for the veracity.

--------------

I believe Lukas holds to (A) and (B), and denies (C) and (D). I guess Bill doubts all of them.

Recently, I recieved the best critique known to me of (A) and (C), suggested by an e-mail correspondent who is a Leibnizian scholar. Here it is, in his own words:

"1. It seems we must admit that sometimes the objects of our experiences exist only in our minds. This is the case whenever there is a gap between our experiences and whatever is going on outside the mind. One example:
During dreaming (hallucinating, etc.) I experience things that don't exist at all outside the mind, or if they do exist outside the mind, they aren't doing anything like what I'm dreaming (hallucinating) that they are doing.

2. It seems that when I am dreaming (hallucinating), I am directly
perceiving these mental objects. Or at least I can't think of any reason for supposing that I don't perceive them directly.

3. The question at this point is what to say about experiences that I don't take to be illusory. The disjunctivist might say that even though illusory experiences involve directly perceiving a mental object, non-illusory experiences involve directly perceiving an external object.

[This is discjunctivism about (A). The disjuntivist about (C) would analogically claim that even though illusory experiences involve representational entities, non-illusory experiences do not involve such entities.]

But here is one reason we might be suspicious of such an account.

4. Suppose I have an object that appears to have different colors when viewed in different circumstances (e.g., under different light sources). Let's say that it's true color is red, but that in some circumstances it appears blue, in others green, and so forth. Given that it's true color is red, it's tempting to say that when it appears green, the green is only in my mind and not a real quality of the object. And the same for all the other colors it appears to have under various circumstances. In other words, it appears that under these circumstances, I am not directly perceiving the red of the object, but rather the green in my mind. But what happens when I have a veridical perception of the object's color? Suppose the light source suddenly changes to one of the ones under which
the object appears to have precisely the color it actually has. The
disjunctivist would say that whereas previously I was directly perceiving not the true color of the object but only an apparent color in my mind, as soon as the light source changed I began to perceive the true color of the object, which is not something in my mind but something in the object itself. It seems odd to me that whether my perception is a perception of something in my mind or something outside my mind [or whether it happens with or without representational entities] could be contingent on something like the lighting conditions under which I am viewing the object. What is it about changing the lighting that allows me to penetrate
beyond these internal objects and directly perceive the external thing [or to perceive the external thing without representational entities]?

5. It would seem more plausible to suppose that even when I am perceiving the true color of the object, I am still directly perceiving something in my mind, but a something that happens to coincide with the true color of the object."

Wow.

This is one of my fundamental tenets, and among the scholastics I could draw on Thomas, Gilson, and many others for support.
I've never been considered among the scholastics until now.

(Forgive me, please, Bill, I just couldn't help it :) )

You are forgiven, my son. Go in peace and sin no more.

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