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Friday, February 24, 2023


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The problem with Direct Realism, i.e. accepting both (1) and (2) of the triad, and rejecting (3) is that there is some plausibility to the latter.

Indeed, Hume accepts (3) almost without argument or evidence. Clearly my "sense-impression" of the desk ceases to exist as soon as I shut my eyes. And the sense-impression, according to Hume, is identical with the desk itself.

I have been corresponding with Hume scholars who dispute my last claim.

Doesn't something disappear when I shut my eyes?

Joachim (in The Nature of Truth) also offers a negative argument in support of (3).

The only adequate answer to this defence of the correspondence-notion is the criticism of its assumption; and I shall enter upon that presently. But, in the meantime, it should be noticed that, even granting the assumption, some of the chief difficulties in the correspondence-notion are still unsolved. For, assuming the unchangeable and independent Real immediately given in sensation, what is to correspond to it, and what is the nature of the correspondence? Is the 'mental factor' (e.g. in a 'true' system of judgments) a complex tissue woven with mental schemata of synthesis out of psychical replicas of the Real given in sensation? Or are there no psychical replicas, no mental counterparts of the given Real? and is the 'mental factor' a mere form, a mere scheme of principles of synthesis? It seems necessary to adopt one of these two alternatives; and yet, whichever we choose, 'correspondence' is meaningless. For the 'mental factor' either is entirely, or essentially contains, a formative structure which just is not the structure of the Real. And 'correspondence', as we saw, requires identity of structure in the corresponding factors. (TNOT p.35)
Recall my conversion to neo-Idealism.

Mirabile dictu, we seem to be agreeing for once.

>>Doesn't something disappear when I shut my eyes?<<

Yes. We can call it the intentional object -- though this phrase has more than one meaning; we can call it the perceptual noema. Whatever we call it, what I see when I look at my desk is not the desk itself with all its properties (monadic and relational), nor is it even the physical surface of the physical desk existing in reality outside the mind.

For that surface has properties and parts that I do not see. The surface has some physical depth, say 1/16th of an inch. But I don't see the cellulose molecules in the surface, let alone their constituent atoms, and their constituents. And the surface has many more properties than the properties I see.

What I see, strictly speaking, is an incomplete item -- it is property-incomplete. What I see is an item that has all and only the properties I see it as having.

Call that item the perceptual noema -- but let's leave Husserl out of it so as to avoid exegetical quibbles. That noema is what disappears when I close my eyes.

So the surface-noema is not identical to the physical surface in the external world.

Actually my position is that all three are true, with equivocation on ‘this’. In the first it refers to the surface of the desk. In the third, it refers to the noema.


This is a picture
This is Olivia Colman
This is Queen Elizabeth II

Or even

This is a picture
This is William Boyd (the actor who plays Pippin in The Lord of the Rings)
This is Pippin

Arnauld makes a similar point when, arguing against the Calvinists, he says the term ‘this’ is ambiguous or vague. In the proposition “this is my body”, it refers to the body of Christ, not to the bread.

Your comparisons muddy the waters inasmuch as they conflate perception with Bildbewusstsein.

See: https://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2014/02/husserls-critique-of-the-image-theory-of-consciousness.html

And of course bringing in Transubstantiation muddies the waters beyond recognition. But if you would, where can I read about Arnauld's argument against the Calvinists?

I read a pseudo-etymology according to which hocus pocus derives from Hoc est corpus meum.

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