Representing and Knowing

David Banach TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION INTRODUCTION . . 1

PART I - MODELS OF REPRESENTATION CHAPTER I - MODELS OF REPRESENTATION AND OBJECTIVITY. 1.1 - The Physical-Visual Model of Representation. . . . 1.2 - Models of Objectivity . . . 1.3 - The Elements of an Alternative Model of Representation . . . CHAPTER II - HISTORICAL MANIFESTATIONS CHAPTER III - THE CASE AGAINST THE REPRESENTATIONAL MODEL OF EPISTEMOLOGY . PART II - AN ALTERNATIVE MODEL . . . CHAPTER IV - REFERENCE 4.1 - Representing without Similarity .. . 4.2 - Reference apart from Correctness. The Intuitive Case . . . . . . . 4.3 - Representing and Referring . 4.4 - Putnam contra a Putnamian Theory of Reference CHAPTER V - CONCEPTS . . . 5.1 - Why do Concepts Present such a Problem? . . . 5.2 - What are Concepts? 5.3 - How Concepts Work . . . 5.4 - Why Concepts aren't Representations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . 59 61 64 71 80 88 88 91 95 101 107 107 114 119

13 13 16 24 36

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CHAPTER VI - AGENCY, OBJECTIVITY, AND TRUTH . . . . . . . 6.1 - Agency . 6.2 - Objectivity . . . . . . 6.3 - Truth . . . . . . .

PART III - THE ALTERNATIVE DEFENDED CHAPTER VII - HEGEL'S INSIGHT AND FOUR PROBLEMS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE . . . . . . . . 7.1 - The Opening Arguments of the Phenomenology 7.2 - Hegel's Insight . . . . . . . . 7.3 - Indexicals . . . . . . . . 7.4 - De re and de dicto Knowledge . . . . . . . . . 7.5 - Literal Meaning and Figurative Language 7.6 - Putnam's Model Theoretic Argument . . . . . CHAPTER VIII - PUTNAM . . . . . . . 8.1 - Metaphysical Realism . . . . . . . 8.2 - Putnam's Arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8.3 - Internal Realism CHAPTER IX - REPRESENTATION AND REALISM . 9.1 - Putnam and the Perspectivist Fallacy. . 9.2 - Representation, Truth, and Generality . . 9.3 - Properties and Objects . . . . 9.4 - Inadequacies of Internalism . . . 9.5 - The Objectivity of the Self and the Motivation of Realism . . . . . BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

123 125 133 138 141 146 148 161 162 167 175 191 192 198 202 213 225 232

to Donald Watts for introducing me to philosophy and showing me, by example, what it is

Both are attempts to make our representations come alive. Both illustrate the power that our representations can have over us. 243-255) The story of Pygmalion and the history of epistemology have much in common. and these are thrust into prominence by their selection.INTRODUCTION Pygmalion had seen these women spending their lives in shame. Pygmalion looks in admiration and is inflamed with love for this semblance of a form (Ovid. have the tendency to attribute properties to representations by themselves that they have only in virtue of our interpretation of them. and. Compare this to the everchanging complex of properties that makes up a real woman. Yet. All of us. our interpretation of the representation has a complexity and a motility not found in the representation itself. This clarity and simplicity is enhanced by the fact that the physical representation is static and unchanging. and. whom you would think living and desirous of being moved. passivity. The representation has a simplicity and clarity not found in the object or our interpretation of it. Physical objects that can serve as representations are a prime example of this. Our interpretation introduces a tangled morass of . takes us in and attracts us by the allure of its simplicity. The object is represented by only a few of its properties. providing opportunities for contemplation and control that the object does not. giving simplicity to the representation. with wondrous art he successfully carves a figure out of snowy ivory. and we take it as representing a real woman. Metamorphoses X. The representation in comparison is passive and unchanging. The face is that of a real maiden. the physical object. So does his art conceal his art. And with his own work he falls in love. clarity. providing clarity. by its externality. most of all. if modesty did not prevent. disgusted with the faults which in such full measure nature had given the female mind. An ivory statue of a woman has physical similarities to real human forms. giving it a beauty more perfect than that of any woman ever born. Meanwhile. the representation. like Pygmalion. But the ivory itself has none of the other properties of humans even though it conjures up these properties in its role as representation. he lived unmarried and long was without a partner of his couch. Likewise.

g. In fact (and this is the real point of this discussion) it cannot even be a representation without these other properties. on the other hand. Pygmalion's statue has an attractiveness in virtue of the properties discussed above. It promises to make the clarity. are internal to us. beliefs. it is simply an object. warmth. but on its own. not just the shape of a woman. properties that it has as a simple physical object. with its own life. all of which are of dubious quality. The physical representation. Apart from the interpretation of an observer with certain abilities and concepts. Yet. however. It is only these other properties (e. but finding it cold and unresponsive will pass on. but these all seem to be added by us in our interpretation. passivity. and personality) that give the representation vivacity. The drive to attribute properties to representations themselves that they only have in virtue of our interpretation is due to an attempt to have our cake and eat it too. through its own power. The statue must represent a woman. these similarities will not allow the statue to represent a woman. associations. The attempt to make our representations come alive is the attempt to combine the vivacity of our representations as interpreted with the attractiveness they have as objects. is external to us. however. and the power we have over representations in virtue of their passivity loses its flavor if it is not power over something external to us. and memories into the representation. these properties retain their attractiveness only if they also represent the other properties of the woman. A dog passing the statue in the museum may note the similarity and pause to sniff the statue. Without these other properties the representation cannot come alive. and externality of the object come alive not through our intervention. The simplicity and clarity of the representation have no allure if they are imposed by us. The ivory statue has certain physical properties that are similar to those of a woman. and its promise is empty. The representation cannot of its own power call up any properties that it does not possess. is doomed to failure.opinions. This attempt. as derivative from our life. The properties of the . suppleness.. and reflect ourselves as much as the object represented.

namely the part that it is similar to. does not represent itself. The object that is completely similar to the sun. they simply instantiate them. then.statue do not themselves lead on to other properties of the object not instantiated in the statue. The dog does not take the statue as a representation of a woman. In order to represent an object. For example. Even if the similarity between the representation and the object is made complete. The argument here is simple. The point here is not that there cannot be similarities between the statue and the woman. Similarity. It no more represents yellowness or roundness than the millions of other things that are yellow or round. in virtue of its similarity to an object. For it does not represent those properties it simply instantiates them. The statue by itself cannot. similarity itself does not establish representation. a round yellow piece of plastic cannot itself represent the sun with all its other properties. because it requires an interpreter with certain abilities and dispositions to call up the other properties of the sun. This requires something that the statue itself cannot supply: it requires the activity of an agent with abilities and concepts that allows them to connect the properties present in the statue to the other properties of women. This requires an interpreter with knowledge of the other properties of the object and with dispositions to associate these other properties with the properties present in the representation. Thus it cannot represent the whole object. represent the other properties of the object. the representation must call up properties of the object other than those the representation possesses. Nor can it represent part of the object. call up the other properties of the object. and (2) they do not represent the properties to which they are similar. because it simply instantiates these properties. It is itself. because: (1) the similar properties themselves do not. nor that there cannot be enough of them. the sun itself. But the representation cannot by itself in virtue of its similarities call up the other properties of the object. The point is that similarity is not representation. This . is not representation. Nor can it represent just the yellowness and roundness of the sun. by themselves.

representations cannot serve as vessels that are infused with representative power and which can then function on their own to take the place of interaction with the object. It is still the humans. Of course. Second. then is neither necessary nor sufficient for representation. Communication does involve representation. similarity often does play a role in representation. And a dead representation is no representation at all. representations do not serve as substitutes for objects in virtue of their ability to represent them apart from any interpretation. people do. Similarity. objects only have representative qualities insofar as they are interpreted. This is representation as the encoding of information. Therefore. There is a common sense of the word "representation" that is tied to this view of communication. and objects do not interpret themselves. when this activity ceases the object ceases to be a representation. however. That is. Similarity is not necessary either. This involves taking information and placing it in a new medium in which it takes another form and from which it can be retrieved. representations do not come to life by themselves. Often by decision or convention we allow something to represent an object to which it is not similar. Similarity to the object it is meant to represent cannot make the representation come alive. that do the associating that allows the objects with the similarities to serve as a representation. The moral of this homily on the myth of Pygmalion is twofold: First. as when we decide to let an arbitrary letter of the alphabet to stand for a person. This is to confuse representation with communication. No gods will breathe life into our representations as they did to Pygmalion's.argument shows that similarity is not sufficient for representation. Examples of this are the storage of a visual image on a . Objects do not represent. We must bring them to life ourselves. We call objects representations only in virtue of our activity of interpreting them. As Hume saw. Representation requires the activity of an agent. but we do not communicate by bringing representations to life and then passing them on to others. similarity is one of the principles according to which humans tend to associate things.

as anyone who has had a computer disk without the appropriate software to read it can attest. All of these are popular models for representation. His production of the statue was an act of representing a real woman in ivory. It seems in all of these as if the information is stored or represented in virtue of the physical properties of the representative medium. The information itself is not present and intact in the new medium. A chair factory does not represent chairs. Representations. it is only as a part of a causal system allowing the reproduction of the original form of the information that these objects can be thought of as encoding information. but it does not do the job itself.photographic negative. although it may be useful for a creature that can represent. and the encoding of genetic information on DNA strands. The very same physical object with all the same properties would not be an encoding of information if the causal system. It may be useful to an interpreter who can interpret the reproduced information and use it to represent. as the dog in the museum shows. even as situated in the causal system the object does not represent or encode information unless it can be interpreted. did not exist. Pygmalion created his statue through interaction with real women. and this requires previous interaction with women as well. therefore. A causal system that reproduces information does not represent. The status of the piece of ivory as a representation depends upon this act. however. a system for encoding information does not itself represent. Second. cannot take the place of objects and interaction with them. Thus. the storage of information on computer disks. it is a way of representing real women. it makes them. do not have a life of their own: First. and as such it presupposes independent access to . in this case computers. The ability of the ivory to represent a woman to other people does not rest within the ivory itself. Here if anywhere it seems as if the representations do their work by themselves. Even these representations. The ivory is not a substitute for real women. They must themselves perform an act of interpretation to allow the ivory to represent a woman. but in the abilities and knowledge of the people who interpret it.

we can still hold that we know by representing. a representation cannot serve as a substitute for an object. I show how this view of representation affects a representative model of knowledge. This dissertation is an attempt to apply these two morals to explain the role that representations play in knowledge. This model of knowledge has been so closely tied to the attempt to make representations come alive that some have argued that when we see that the attempt to make representations come alive must be a failure. but we can know through their mediation. then we will see that the Representational Model of Epistemology is itself a failure. a container into which information is poured to be stored for future use or passed on to someone else. Even after we see that representations cannot come alive by themselves. The representations may not be able to do it themselves. This entire dissertation is an attempt to defend this thesis by. Therefore. I will call the basic thesis that we know by representing the Representational Model of Epistemology. we need to look more closely at the model of representation attacked in this introduction and at what type of view of . sketching the outline of a theory of representation that takes the two morals above seriously and takes the act of representing as the basic unit of analysis instead of separating the representation from its situation in the context of this act. It is the purpose of this work to show that this is not so. No object can represent in virtue of its own properties apart from the activity of an interpreter. Before we begin these formidable tasks. however. Next.real women and knowledge of their other properties on the part of the person who is to interpret it. first. I argue that the Representational Model of Epistemology escapes the traditional objections raised against it when it incorporates this view of representing and that this version of the Representational Model of Epistemology is preferable to non-representational models of knowledge.

or how we can represent external objects if the intrinsic properties of the representations cannot do the job alone. Chapter Five deals with concepts or predication. John Searle's argument against literal meaning.knowledge it leads to. Chapter Six attempts to spell out the view of knowledge and objectivity that this theory of representation leads to. In Chapter Three. and Putnam's model theoretic argument. especially. Chapter Seven considers Hegel's argument against Sense Certainty. are by far the most clear and thorough of the objections to the Representational Model of . I argue that all these problems are related and can be solved by the view of representation presented in Part Two. that make the attempt to make representations come alive seem plausible. It is the special properties of our concepts. Chapter Four is an account of reference. This chapter and the chapter on reference are the most crucial in the work. These three chapters comprise the second part of the dissertation. These three chapters comprise the first part of the dissertation. The second part spells out in more detail the alternative view of representation being put forth in this dissertation. In particular we will need to see what type of model of objectivity it leads to. the problem of indexicals. Chapter Eight looks in detail at a series of arguments by Hilary Putnam. I examine the basic objections to the traditional version of the Representational Model of Epistemology. Chapter One attempts to do these things. it seems to me. We will also need to see what a view of representation that takes the morals of this introduction seriously would look like. and Chapter Nine attempts to reply to these arguments. It does this by centering upon the model of agency or the application of concepts that this view of representation leads to. In Chapter Two. de re and de dicto belief. It examines the sets of dispositions and abilities we have to represent things in certain ways. Putnam's arguments. The third part attempts to defend the views set forth in Part Two by using them to reply to a set of related objections to the Representational Model of Epistemology. in particular the objections raised by Richard Rorty. I look at some of the main manifestations of these models of representation and objectivity in the history of philosophy.

.Epistemology. But before we move on to these topics. let us get clear about the models of representation and objectivity involved. Consequently. much of the argument for my view of representation depends on its ability to answer Putnam's arguments.

The statue represents the woman only in virtue of the complete interpretation of the situation by the observer and the access that he has to both the statue and the woman. I look at the model of representation attacked in the Introduction and at the model of objectivity that this view leads to. as the paradigmatic case. for example. I sketch the basic elements of a theory of representation that does not attempt to make the representation come alive through its own power. It then uses this case to interpret visual and mental representation in general. Given the alluring nature of the object. We perceive their similarities. for example. along with some alternative views of objectivity.CHAPTER I MODELS OF REPRESENTATION AND OBJECTIVITY In this chapter. and we can perceive the correspondences between the statue and the women. but it is one that is bound to be incompletely analyzed. our statue and the woman it was modelled after. Take. Visual representation is then used as the model for all knowledge or cognitive representation. such as a statue. In this case both the object and the representation are contained in the same perception. Finally. how the elbow of ivory maps onto the elbow of flesh. Thus we can take the ivory as representing the flesh. We see the woman in terms of the statue. it is natural to leave out the part that the observer plays in this situation and attribute the representative qualities .1: The Physical-Visual Model of Representation The model caricatured in the Introduction is what I call the physical-visual model of representation. 1. This is a paradigmatic case of physical representation. I call it this because it takes representation by a physical object. Imagine looking at an object and a physical representation of that object. giving special emphasis to properties of the woman that correspond to the statue. This allows us to see. we project the properties of the woman onto the statue guided by the perceived similarities.

The fact that this projection is an act of the observer. We only have direct access to the representation. It is not possible to perceive both the object and the representation as it was in the case of physical representation. the representation must be connected to the other properties of the object by itself. Since there is no way for the observer to gain independent access to the external object. Thus. Perception is the only way in which we contact the world. is seen as a representation or picture. through its own intrinsic characteristics. it is the similarities that guide the projection of the properties of the woman onto the statue. After all. To do this we would need to experience both our internal representation and the external object and use a comparison of the two to guide the projection of properties. Thus. In the case of the statue we had independent access to the real woman. dependent upon his ability to interact perceptually with both the statue and the woman. There is no way to ascertain the correspondence between internal representation and external object. The visual perception. There is no way to use the similarities of the visual percept to the object to guide the projection of the properties of the object onto the representation. . The characteristics of the situation that made the status of the physical object as representation possible are excluded by the nature of perception.of the statue to its similarity to the woman. When a perceptual experience is seen according to the paradigm of physical representation. it is seen as an internal object rather than a process of interaction with the external object. the physical-visual model of representation is committed to the attempt to make our representations come alive. It is this simplified analysis of physical representation that is taken as the paradigm and applied to visual perception which is then used as the model for all forms of knowledge. It cannot be compared to the external object through some mind's eye that experiences both the image and the external object. is easily overlooked. But we do not experience both of these. then. there is no way to gain access to the properties of the external object other than those instantiated in the internal image. our internal image is our experience of the external object.

Therefore. One can see immediately that the Representative Model of Epistemology will have problems assimilating this natural view of objectivity. then it seems that it will be impossible to have objective knowledge.e. I will call views of objectivity that take this difficulty seriously perspectivist models of objectivity. The history of modern philosophy is the story of the realization that this is impossible. one is left with the problem of attempting to make representations come alive. nor through the interpretation of an observer with access to both. not being subjective. The most natural model of objectivity. i. All of the characteristics of the original situation of physical representation that allow it to represent are abstracted out before it is used as a model for visual perception and cognitive representation in general. is what I call the external model of objectivity.Seeing the visual percept as a representation that must represent the object in virtue only of its similarities and not through its connection to the object. it seems as if the intervening medium of the representation will always make it subjective. I call them this because taking this difficulty seriously seems to involve . 1. The representation cannot help incorporating the properties of its medium and the point of view from which it is formed. This view simply holds that objectivity is a property of representations which they have in virtue of reflecting properties of the object they are meant to represent and not properties of the representing subject or the representing medium. In general it is the property of not being determined by a particular subject or point of view.2: Models of Objectivity Objectivity is the characteristic we aim for in knowledge. Thus. This model of knowledge holds that we always know through the mediation of representations. to make them represent in virtue of their own properties. makes it impossible for the visual percept to represent at all. and the one tied to the Representational Model of Epistemology. If knowledge is always through the mediation of representations.

a perspective or medium of representation that contributes nothing to the content of the representation. The perspectivist model of objectivity aims at the God's eye view. On the physical-visual model. when the representation must do its job itself. If mental representations are seen on the model of physical objects. The perspectivist fallacy is the argument that if a representation has properties that are due to the medium of representation or the point of view of the representing subject. at . one that guarantees that it will be objective. then any distortion at all ruins the entire representation since we can never check the representation against the object to see which features correspond and which do not. if because of perspective or medium the representation does not completely correspond[2] to the object it cannot represent it at all. If all we perceive is our own representations. anything less than complete correspondence makes the representation subjective and unable to represent the object. As we saw. There are two ways of trying to achieve this special type of representation: The first of these I call the dialectical method.) The elements introduced by the perspective and medium pollute the entire representation. It is easy to see how this type of reasoning would be attractive to someone who held the physical-visual model of representation.accepting a form of argument I call the perspectivist fallacy. If we perceive only representations. then any properties of the representation that do not exactly correspond to the external object make it impossible for us to know the object at all.[1] It argues that representation necessarily introduces subjective distortion because of the influence of the medium of the representation and the perspective of the perceiver. then it cannot be objective or reflect the object and not the subject. it cannot call up any of the properties of its object other than those it possesses. What is needed is a representation that shows no effects of the perspective from which it is formed and whose content is unaffected by its medium. they become barriers standing in the way of our knowledge of external objects rather than ways of getting at these objects. Therefore. This is the method favored by Plato and Aristotle. (See the argument on pages 4-5.

This is what I call the foundational method. As more beams are added the strength of each beam is decreased. and synthesis of many perspectives. again. At the limit of this process is the perfect representation or the God's eye view. ensures their versimilitude. An objective system of representation is then built through . the result will be a representation whose dependence on any one perspective is minimal and the dependence of the representation on the object increases. a God's eye view. If we look at many perspectives and try to synthesize representations with various different types of medium. comparison. This analogy makes the dialectical method intuitively clear. This method is comparable to the building of a certain type of platform. This lessens the load on each beam and decreases the degree to which the platform depends on each beam. It is the attempt to get a non-perspectival perspective. This is the method favored in Modern philosophy before Kant and in early analytic philosophy. and you will have a platform not being held up by anything. and it also shows the fundamental incoherence involved in the attempt to get a representation that does not reflect any perspective or medium. In order to reduce the load carried by any particular beam upon which the platform rests. Imagine also that each beam that is added is somewhat thinner than the previous beams. The second way to attempt to achieve the God's eye view is to try to get it right away and then build the rest of your body of knowledge upon these special representations. the number of beams is increased. This view attempts to reach an objective representation gradually through the examination. a representation that isn't a representation. This can be attempted either through arriving at the special representations through a special method which ensures the objectivity of representations or by taking representations which have a special causal relationship to their objects which. Here the attempt is to find a set of representations that reflect the object exactly and which cannot be distorted by perspective. and as each beam is added all the existing beams are replaced with beams of the same size. The hope is that by adding more and more beams the weight supported by each beam will approach zero.least on the standard reading of them.

Plato redefined the object of knowledge as an abstract entity. however. by recognizing that representations are active in cognition. I will discuss some of the historical manifestations of these two methods further in Chapter Two. formal aspect of objects. still consists in not being caused by peculiarities of a particular perspective or representative medium. The result of seeing the failure of these two methods by someone who accepts the perspectivist fallacy is usually the abandonment of the external model of objectivity. is if the representation constructs its object in accordance with certain constraints that are not just due to the peculiarities of my particular representation. redefines the object of knowldege as a construct produced by the cognitive process itself. The internal model of objectivity gives a strange twist to the perspectivist tendency to redefine the object of knowledge. is not a causal result of their being caused by the object and not the subject. on this view. or not merely caused by the peculiarities of our constitution. Knowledge becomes a relation between elements internal to our system of representations. objectivity is redefined in terms of the internal properties of the system of representations. Objectivity. the problem with this method is explaining how we arrive at the foundational representations. but are common to all rational creatures as such (or to all members of a cultural or scientific community). As in Kant. any representation reflects some perspective and some medium so it cannot reach outside of itself to something beyond representations. The only way that the representation can be objective.logical deduction and/or induction from these foundational representations. Given the perspectivist fallacy. The objectivity of our representations. It is a result of our representations constructing their objects in accordance with constraints that are shared by some set of knowers. The internal model. Here objectivity no longer involves accurately representing an external object. There is no longer any problem in . and hence not merely subjective. Aristotle as a universal. Of course. Objectivity becomes a stability or intersubjectivity of this system.

Consider how an artist represents things using a paint and canvas. Our representations are objective. Yet her medium is neutral with respect to the representation of certain properties of the object. then. attempt to do this and add some sticks and stones to the name calling. since the objects become internal to the system of representations. they impose no important constraints on the two dimensional geometric shape placed upon the canvas. the perspectivist fallacy. Objectivity. I use this term simply to remind us that this argument scheme. Her medium and the perspective from which she views the object place certain constraints on her representations. if they merely reflect other perspectives and other representations rather than external objects. must be the determination of objects according to conceptual constraints that are not simply individual. But objectivity can no longer be determination by a mind independent reality. The best proof of this will be to provide an alternative to the physical-visual model of representation and to show that on this alternative the influences of perspective or medium of representation do not make it impossible to objectively represent the object. calling the perspectivist line of argument a fallacy does not make it one. however. it is just as easy to paint a circle on the canvas as it is to paint a . is suspect. then.comparing our representations to their objects. of course. private. In particular. I will be attempting to show that this implication of the failure of the attempt to make representations come alive that does not follow. While the type of canvas and paint determine the texture of the representation and that it will be two dimensional. The vital step in the move from the failure of the physical-visual model of representation to the internal model of objectivity is. especially Chapters Four and Six on reference and agency. get some idea of what might be wrong with the perspectivist fallacy by considering a simple analogy. and subjective. Part two of this work. It is this view that I call the internal model of objectivity. which is so pervasive in discussions of foundational epistemology. the mind determines reality. Of course. We can. but which are common to a community and define a common reality for them.

the next section outlines the elements of view of representation that makes such an explanation possible. If representing is always an act. Therefore. all of its properties need not be determined by that perspective or medium. The act of representing is the basic unit of the analysis. What we are calling the . reflects the object and not the medium of representation. then we need to analyze the act and find out what elements are involved and how they function. whether it is square or round. the geometrical shape of the representation. The medium is neutral with respect to these properties. 1. not something done by the representation itself. Some of them may be objective and really reflect the object. It shows that it is possible for a representation to reflect the object even though it is in a medium and from a perspective that introduce distortions into the representation.square. While a full explanation of this will have to wait till Chapter Six. The other elements may be analyzed out of this act. It needs to be shown further how one can distinguish the objective properties of the representation from those that are distorted by perspective. but they only have their representative qualities in virtue of their situation in an act of representing. Even though the representation is in a certain medium and from a certain perspective. idea. then the attempt to make representations come alive is without hope. Such an analysis can form the outline of a theory of representation that takes seriously the realization that representing is something done by an agent. or piece of language cannot represent in virtue of its own properties or their similarities to other objects. The mistake of the physical-visual model was to abstract the representation from the act of representing while still thinking that it maintained the properties that it had only as part of that act. It is objective.3: The Elements of an Alternative Model of Representation If the argument of the Introduction is sound. This simple example shows at least that it is possible that the perspectivist fallacy is a fallacy. An object. Representation always involves the activity of an interpreter.

The flesh figure is mapped onto the ivory figure according to the correspondences that obtain between them. We saw that representation involved the projection of properties of the object onto the representation. The mode of interaction or presentation through which the source is to be represented will be called the destination. nor necessary for. we can realize that other things such as actions. As we saw in the earlier example of physical representation access or interaction with both the object and the representation is required. the projection of properties. or a piece of language.g. the emotional. a perceptual experience. In this example. the visual. he does it in virtue of either some knowledge about the other properties of women and a tendency to associate them with the properties present in the statue or through the joint presence of the woman and the statue in his perceptual experience. but only these things as interpreted. It is the agent that performs this projection. In the example of the statue. it is sometimes just a matter of the decision of the agent or convention. as the end product of the representing act. The projection of properties here is not any real transfer of properties. and the sexual to name just a few) are projected onto the single destination mode of presentation. It is not these things by themselves that are representations. a great many modes of interaction with women (e. It is simply the . Often no similarity at all is involved in the projection. that are not normally regarded as representations. Representing always involves at least two separate modes of interaction or presentation of an object one of which is projected onto the other. This projection of properties is the essential element of representation. Once we see that representing does not depend on similarity. As we saw it can be a physical object. It should be noted that the similarity is neither responsible for. this projection was made on the basis of similarities. as when we let x's represent defensive players and o's offensive players. can play the same role in the representing act. an image.[3] The mode which is to be represented by being projected onto the other mode will be called the source.representation is the finished product of the act of representing. the tactile. which in this case happens to be the ivory shape. In our example using the statue.

that is. They are neither modes of interaction nor modes of presentation of objects. Rather. We never have access to our concepts directly. they are not themselves representations. and feeling toward her in certain ways. These cognitive structures of the agent do the representing. For example. . This is true of all the things we characterize as dispositions. The projection of the properties is not determined by the ivory figure. they determine how we will use other things to represent objects. Concepts are the actual cognitive structures that do the representing. Although we must characterize concepts in terms of how they cause us to represent. They are the active structures that lie behind acts of representing. The ivory figure is perceived as a woman. they cannot re-present anything to us. Since they are never present to us themselves. To call them complexes of dispositions is simply a way of saying they are sets of embodied potentials for entering into certain acts of representing. Concepts are not representations. associations.[4] It is determined by the set of abilities. we know them only through what they do. They are complexes of dispositions to represent in certain ways. We will have to wait until Chapter Six for a satisfactory account of concepts. It is these representing structures that are most often referred to in our normal use of the word "concept". They are the mental potentials for such acts. and beliefs of the agent. they are not acts of representing.application of modes of perception of women which involve the ascription of various types of properties to the ivory figure. We know them only by what they do and how they cause us to represent. and to identify them with certain neural and bodily structures is simply to point out that our ability to represent is somehow embodied. a concept of a particular woman consists of a number of structures for representing her in various ways: ascribing certain properties to her. acting towards her in certain ways. but we can give an introductory exposition here. although the destination does impose constraints upon the projection. We are not directly aware of our concepts.

The concepts and the instructions in the automaton are never present to us. in the way we are of their expressions such as images. There may be information encoded in concepts. Hence our concepts cannot re-present things for us in the way these things do. just as we could characterize the dispositions in the black box by seeing what they do. This is exactly how concepts work.The consideration of a simple analogy will help show why this is so. and thoughts. physically and neurologically embodied. or our embodied potentials to represent. that do the representing. It is not a representation itself. They do the representing. but we never have access to it. Of course we are able to trace out the structure of our concepts quite well by exercising them and seeing how they cause us to act. Imagine that you have bought the dime store plastic model kit for Pygmalion's statue. than we do in the case of the black box automaton. it is more appropriate to say it mirrors the structure of our concepts than that it represents the world.) The point here is simply that we are never directly aware of our concepts. as we shall see. In a sense they must contain instructions or procedures for representing just as the automaton does. This is what we do in conceptual analysis. The automaton is the active agent that performs the representation of the woman. they cannot represent anything for us. in some sense. They are the active structures. Imagine that the kit comes with a black box automaton that puts the model together for us. They are not themselves a representation of a woman. for. . These instructions provide the directions for representing a woman in terms of the plastic pieces the kit provides. perceptions. We have no more access to these instructions in the case of concepts. (This is why language is so useful in conceptual analysis. they are not representations themselves. however. Let us change the example slightly in order to make it more similar to our concepts. We never actually get to see the instructions. It comes complete with plastic cement and a twelve page set of instructions. We are aware of our concepts only as represented through their activities.

(4) An actual interaction or type of interaction leading to the activation of one of these structures. None of them can represent in isolation. this should not be taken to indicate that there is not a tremendous amount of processing. these structures can be activated by actual interaction with the world or they can be activated by our concepts. (3) The concept or representing structure. essential to our well-being and efficient perception. The first of these is exemplified best by the coordination of sensory modalities and is most important for knowledge. both the source and the destination mode are modes of interaction actively engaged in interaction with the object. (2) The felt character of the activation of these structures. In this type. but closely related.We were able to analyze out four basic elements necessary to representation: (1) the source. (3) An entire path of activation for one of these structures. These are modes of interacting with or presenting an object. using a single term for these related things will save the confusion of introcucing four new technical terms. (2) the destination.) As we shall see in Chapter Six. Hopefully. There are two major types of representations. for example one of the sensory modalities such as sight or touch. types of things: (1) neural structures defined in terms of their connections to efferent and afferent neurons as described above. Representing involves projection of the source onto the destination. In this first type of representing . All of these require situation in an act of representing in order to function. and (4) The finished product of the act. This is the destination interpreted by concept in terms of the source. This is the primary meaning. These are properties such as redness. I shall use the term 'mode of interaction' fairly loosely in this work to cover four different. (Although I concentrate here on modes of interaction that are neurologically processed. the representation. What I have been calling a mode of interaction can be seen as a neurologically embodied structure defined by its connections to sensory and motor neurons that define ways in which we can cognitively interact with the world. that is done within the sense organs and elsewhere outside of our nervous system.

the modes of interaction are activated by engagement in interaction with the world. to the destination which is a mode of interaction actively engaged with some domain. That is. What is common to all instances of this type of representation is that they involve the application of modes of representing in the source to the destination. of our ability to objectively know. In most cases. It connects our interactions with the world and allows them to isolate out domains of interest that can be referred to. hence. This type of representing is what is called direct referring in Chapter Four. as was shown in the example of interpreting or creating the statue with the woman model present and mapping the perceived properties of the woman onto the ivory. . This type of representation is integrative. in this case the same object is usually interacted with in both the source and destination modes. The object as seen is represented to us through our act of touching the same object. Most often this type of representing plays its role within the context of more complex acts of representing that involve the application of concepts as one of the modes of interaction involved in the act of representing. however. It forms the basis of our ability to refer. In reaching out to grasp something that we see we are projecting our motor abilities onto our sensory interaction with the world. This is not always the case. however. This type of representing. This allows them to take properties that are presented by interaction with an object as re-presenting other properties that are not present by applying the dispositions to connect these properties that are included in the concept. rarely occurs in isolation. and. It involves the application of a concept. So. The second type of representation is a kind of conceptualization of the destination in terms of the source. The prime example of this type is sensory-motor coordination or coordination of any two of our sensory modalities. and even if it did we would hardly be conscious of it. the object interacted with is the same in both the source modes and the destination modes. which includes dispositions to represent a domain in certain ways. however. they take concepts or representing structures as their source modes.

we project our tactile mode of interaction with the world onto our visual mode. For example. In perceiving. is not a perception at all. You do not see patches of color. for. but as re-presenting a woman's hair and its softness and felt properties. we usually do not do this in virtue of an interaction with a real woman at the same time we are looking at the statue. the circular shape we see is the same circular shape we feel. Since representations cannot serve as vessels in which we can encode information about the . and visually perceived texture of human hair with its softness and felt texture. This concept is a set of abilities to connect various properties or modes of interaction with women. This second type of representation is exemplified by perception. most of us have a concept of women that includes a disposition to connect the color. and you see these objects in virtue of the projection of the tactile. We apply our concept of the woman. This would allow us to see the statue not just as a piece of stone with the shape of a woman's hair. These other properties are often represented with a vividness that leads to responses such as Pygmalion's. as Hegel saw in his arguments against Sense Certainty in The Phenomenology of Mind. and other properties of the objects onto your visual interaction with the world. such as a bare patch of red. to the statue. where the representation is mistaken for interaction with the real thing. shape. All perception involves this type of representation. Look around you. Perception involves connecting the various sensory properties into an object and seeing the object as the causal nexus of those properties. This type of representation is especially important for communication. We have interacted with many women in the past and have formed a concept of them. We attempt to represent the statue in terms of the instructions for representing given in the concept. with all its representing structures. It is our application of our perceptual concepts that allows us to do this. kinesthetic. a sensation of only one sensory modality. You see objects.When we interpret a statue as a woman. It includes abilities to connect the properties of women that the statue does not possess with those that it does.

sections 22-23 (pp. The destination is the medium of the representation. it does not connect these ways of interacting in an act of representing. Thus. representing is not the only way we interact with or are presented with the world. These things require representation. Part I. Even though we only consciously experience and know through representing. not by passing our representations along to them. Of course. and it will be used to explain how the failure of the perspectivist model of objectivity does not lead to an internal model of objectivity in Part Three. we saw in the Introduction that even a complete correspondence or similarity does not interpret itself. It is no easier to interpret the completely similar representation than it is to interpret the object itself. These interactions. A rock interacts with the external world. we communicate by getting people to represent the same way we did. This view will be developed further in Part Two. In fact. It is beyond the scope [4] [3] [2] . 75-76). We cannot impart our act of representation onto the object itself and pass it along to someone else. Therefore. representations cannot serve in communication by maintaining their representative powers during a transfer between people. A representation that was completely similar to the external object would not represent it. The remainder of Part One considers more fully the historical manifestations of the view under attack here and the standard objections to it. See Berkeley 1962. We can. exploit the concepts that we share with other people by imparting to objects characteristics that we know will activate those specific concepts or representing structures that caused us to have the representation that we did. representation requires that there be non-representational ways of interacting with the world. cannot be conscious. it will impose important constraints upon the type of objectivity that can be arrived at through this type of representation. however. [1] The most extreme and familiar instance of this fallacy is Berkely's argument that we cannot form a conception of material objects because whenever we attempt to do so we have a concept and not a material object independent of all conceptualization. it would simply be the object itself. This basic sketch of the elements and types of representation gives an idea of how we represent things without requiring that the representations do it themselves in virtue of their intrinsic similarity to external objects. hence it cannot know or experience. however. or conscious representations of the object. nor can they provide knowledge.world and transfer it apart from our interpretive processes. It is important to note here that these modes of interaction or presentation of the object need not be experiences.

A consideration of the the properties of the destination along with the sets of projecting dispositions we can expect others to have.of this dissertation to give an account of how the medium of representation determines the constraints on objectivity. therefore. I need only show that the medium does not make objectivity impossible. The characteristics of the destination are also what are keyed in upon by the the sets of dispositions which allow the projection of the properties of the source onto the destination. is important in deciding how we will choose to represent something for the purposes of communication. .

the world known by the mind literally is a different world than the world known by the senses. . The physical-visual model of representation and the principle that only like can know like play an important role in determining both of their ontologies. 5.A. of course. J.. Chief among these tendencies is the principle that like can only be known by like.. and only objects that could have a similarity to our representations could be objects of knowledge. A different world is known with the mind than is known with the senses. it is the realm of forms. Rather. 418a4." (De Anima II. I will attempt to show how certain tendencies in the development of epistemology can be seen as manifestations of something like the models presented above. Great philosophers do not hold stripped-down over simplified views such as those presented in the first chapter. . what has the power of sensation is potentially like what the perceived object is actually. Aristotle says.CHAPTER II HISTORICAL MANIFESTATIONS The purpose of this chapter is to give a brief sketch of some of the manifestations that the models of representation and objectivity presented in the previous chapter have had in the history of epistemology. In both Plato and Aristotle one can detect strong tendencies that could be characterized as exemplifying this model. The physical-visual model of representation seems to have originated with the Greeks with their tendency towards visual metaphors for knowledge. In Plato. Representations were seen as representing in virtue of a similarity to their object. Smith trans. My aim will not be to show that any of the philosophers I consider held any of the views caricatured above. "As we have said.)[1] Plato and Aristotle assume that we are capable of knowledge of the world and proceed to describe what the object of knowledge must be like in order for this to be possible. The general representations or concepts through which we know the world cannot be similar to particular objects as given through the senses.

both Plato and Aristotle hold what seems to be perspectivist models of objectivity. In knowledge the representation is identical to its object. for us to actually have the object of knowledge in our mind. III. This is the source of subject-predicate or substance-attribute metaphysics.[3] Aristotle says. Thus Aristotle has a different type of object for each sensory mode. which can only be perceived by the mind not through any of the particular senses. J.) This ontology allows the physical-visual model of representation to work quite well. and the form of the object itself. 5.[2] In Aristotle there are not literally two worlds. As we saw. 430a20) Thus. In fact. The problems with the physical-visual model of representation that lead to a perspectivist model begin with Plato's distinction between knowledge and opinion and his insight that knowledge is true . for if representation is a matter of similarity then the type of representation will determine the type of object it can represent. what actual sensation apprehends is individuals. objects that can be perceived by more than one sensory mode. We are actually able to get the form of the object into our soul and use it to represent the object. In Aristotle. then the structure of the world must mirror the structure of our representations. the special sensibles. it seems that the perspectivist model originates with Plato (although it has roots in his predecessors Parmenides and the Pythagoreans).A realm of general.." (De Anima II. 417b23. the common sensibles. abstract objects is necessary as the object of our general concepts and words according to the like represents like principle. Here the similarity of representation to object is carried to the extreme. Smith trans. It is possible.A. ".and these are in a sense within the soul. there are different types of objects for each type of representation. if the representation is to be similar to the world. 5.. on this view. (De Anima. while what knowledge apprehends is universals. the attempt to make representations come alive and the necessity that the representation be similar to its object which follows form this attempt shape the nature of the ontologies given by Plato and Aristotle. but each object is analyzed into matter and form.

objective knowledge is knowledge of universals. representations from a single perspective.[5] Both Plato and Aristotle have what I called a dialectical model of objectivity. With this move the object of our representations is no longer a sensible object. Here one moves into the realm of the higher forms and achieves unconditioned or completely objective knowledge. Objective representation requires justification. Knowledge from particular perspectives is vulnerable to the vagaries of the fleeting and everchanging phenomenal world. One begins with particular representations and through a dialectical process arrives at more and more general and. In Plato this process is pictured in the divided line. That is. Through the comparison and combination of sensible perspectives we can arrive at sensory experience of stable objects. For both. of course. and one gains access to the universals through the comparison and combination of different perspectives. or if it is a mere appearance due only to that particular perspective or medium. It can be found to be mere appearance or opinion.justified belief. This process terminates. but a form. more objective representations. It can turn out to be limited only to that perspective and found to be false when applied to other realms. (Republic.[4] Particular representations such as sensations are tied to particular perspectives. Book Six) At first we have images and appearances. In mathematics we can arrive ate representations that are not tied to any particular sensory perspective. Finally through the dialectical examination of the definitions involved one can make one's representations independent of assumptions that tie it to some set of perspectives. if it reflects the object and not the peculiarities of the perspective or the medium of representation. Since representations are seen as entities that stand between us and the world there is no way to tell if a representation from a particular perspective is objective. . it requires stepping out of the current perspective comparing it with other perspectives and forming a more general representation that encompasses all of these perspectives. hence. but which encompass all possible sensory perspectives.

(Posterior Analytics.originate the skill of the craftsman and the knowledge of the man of science. and when such persistence is frequently repeated a further distinction at once arises between those which out of the persistence of such sense-impressions develop a power of systematizing them. including its termination in a form that is a one that includes the many particular perspectives. particular sensory representations of an object from particular perspectives are retained in the mind and somehow compared and fused into a single representation which is identical to the form of the object.... In Aristotle the process is similar. however. Aristotle must find a way of making the dialectical process operate within sense perception. 100a11-14. Therefore. but Aristotle does not have two separate realms of sensible and pure objects. until the original formation has been restored. in some the senseimpression comes to persist. 99b36-100a9. .i.. 19. Induction. Aristotle describes the process well: But though sense-perception is innate in all animals. II. Only representations that encompass many . Mure trans.with the form of the Good. is the source of all the first principles or axioms from which scientific knowledge proceeds. (Posterior Analytics... but he does provide a vivid image: It is like a rout in battle stopped first by one man making a stand and then another. 19. So out of sense-perception comes to be what we call memory. Mure trans.) Aristotle manages to fit Plato's entire dialectical process.. which encompasses all possible perspectives. Here one has a representation that is not sullied by any distorting influences of medium or perspective. From experience again . His theory of induction or epagoge provides this way. II. for a number of memories constitute a single experience. the one beside the many which is a single identity within them all . In induction. The soul is so constituted as to be capable of this process.) Aristotle is not clear about how this happens.. The idea is still the same.e. from the universal now stabilized in its entirety within the soul. into sense experience. for Aristotle. and out of frequently repeated memories of the same thing develops experience. The universals which we have knowledge of are present in the sensible objects we perceive.

Descartes began to see the problems involved with the model of knowledge as representation seen on the visual model inherited from the Greeks and Aristotle in particular. A new method of paying attention to particular empirical experiences and facts and then building upon them to arrive at general laws was providing general representations of the world by deductively and mathematically building upon empirical foundations. for example. It turns out that. The soul was a different type of substance than the objects it had to represent.perspectives can be objective. There could be no reception of the form of the object into the mind as in Aristotle. The foundationalist move that began modern philosophy is a natural consequence of the scientific revolution. It would be natural to assume that these foundational representations have their correspondence with the world guaranteed by . the soul isn't so constituted as to make Aristotle's inductive process possible. Descartes tried to arrive at these through the use of a particular method. Locke attempted to show how some of our representations could be taken as justified in virtue of their causal origin in reality. Descartes was interested in attempting to find other ways of ascertaining that there was indeed a similarity between the representation and the external object. But on seeing that no independent access to the object was available. He saw that there was nothing about the representations themselves that guaranteed any correspondence with external objects. that using certain methods of arriving at our representations would guarantee that they corresponded to objects. He thought. for Descartes. This is due to the physical-visual model of representation which makes justification within perspectives impossible. The representations as modes of mental substance were separate from and independent of the material objects they were to represent. Early modern philosophy is the attempt to find representations that are self-justifying to serve as foundations for a general system of knowledge. His was the foundational approach to the perspectivist problem.

p. a colour or figure can be like nothing but another colour or figure. This begins with Berkeley's devastating arguments that nothing can be like an idea but an idea. The possibility of the similarity between mental representations and physical objects that is required by the physical-visual model of representation began to be questioned. and uses this thesis to show that the physical-visual model of representation cannot work. I appeal to anyone whether it be sense to assert a colour is like something which is invisible. I answer an idea can be like nothing but an idea. 8. This should . of which our ideas are the pictures or representations. In fact. although the model itself went unquestioned. be themselves perceivable or no? If they are. The rest of modern philosophy up to Kant is concerned with showing how the substance dualism of Descartes and the medievals makes it impossible for there to be a similarity between mental representations and physical objects. .some method or by their causal origin. then they are ideas and we have gained our point. 68) This argument assumes that the only things that we can experience are representations. The identification of similarity with representation is never questioned. even though it was impossible to justify these foundational representations in terms of other representations. and so of the rest. I ask whether those supposed originals or external things. whereof they are copies or resemblances. Berkeley argues: But. but if you say they are not. hard or soft. I. the model was (and is) so firmly in place that Berkeley (like Putnam. which things exist without the mind in an unthinking substance. as we shall see in Chapter Eight) uses his argument to show that the objects that we represent are themselves ideas or internal to our system of representation. yet there may be things like them . With Berkeley and Hume the problems involved in the physical-visual model of representation and the perspectivist model of objectivity began to become clear. (Berkeley 1962. The main concern is with finding better and better ways of making representations come alive and represent in virtue of their own properties. say you. which is a consequence of the physical-visual model of representation. like something which is intangible. though the ideas themselves do not exist without the mind... Again.

.. representations are not representations of themselves. Berkeley argues:[6] If you can conceive it possible for one extended movable substance.. Since. surely there is nothing easier than for one to imagine trees. ....... A representation of both the object and the representation is necessary in order for us to connect them....... say you...... .. rather than seeing that representations cannot be static entities such as ideas... I shall readily give up the cause. of course. on the perspectivist model. I beseech you..... and at the same time omitting to frame the idea of any one that may perceive them.. or. to exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving it.. more than framing in your mind certain ideas which you call books and trees.. it is necessary that you conceive them existing unconceived or unthought of. Berkeley is led astray by his perspectivism. . which is a manifest repugnancy. and nobody by to perceive them.. 75-76) But.. To make out this. One could only hold this strong version of the perspectivist fallacy if one thought that representations were static entities or objects that cannot on their own power reach outside of themselves.... It is this version of the perspectivist fallacy that leads to Berkeley's infamous argument that material objects do not exist because we can't form a concept of them that isn't a concept... i a park. 22-23. They represent objects.. or anything like an idea.. When we do the utmost to conceive the existence of external bodies we are all the while only contemplating our own ideas. but it does not show that you can conceive it possible the objects of your thought may exist without the mind.[7] . for any one idea. but what is all this.. Thus what is connected to the sign is a representation and not the object itself.... or books existing in a closet. so my conception of an unconceived object is not a conception of an unconceived concept. I.. (Berkeley 1962..... a representation from a particular perspective cannot reach outside that perspective.. But..have shown that the model is incoherent. it is impossible for our ideas to refer to material or extra-representational objects. pp. for instance... in general. but Berkeley took the problem as springing from the assumption of material objects.

they become the result of the activity of our concepts. or a representation of a representation of it. must become a matter of the internal properties of the representational system. refers immediately to an object. Kant saw that the primary cognitive act was synthesis or judgment.. Knowledge is still a matter of representing. instead of a matter of being determined by an external objects.[8] Apart from following Berkeley's and Hume's arguments to their logical conclusion. the active representations that do the structuring of our experience. however. (A137-138. Kant says: As no representation . Objects themselves become internal to the system of representations. but the representations are now of other representations instead of external objects.. and representation is still a matter of similarity between the representation and its object.The rejection of the external model of objectivity follows quickly from such arguments. Kant also made a revolutionary change in the traditional model of representation. It is characteristic of internalist views to retain the physical- . Kant made this move with his Copernican revolution in the definition of objectivity. 121) Objectivity. p. Kant 1966. the finished product of the structuring process and the objects of our knowledge. but to some other representation of it. Kant 1966. and objects or phenomena. B176-177. 48). in which a concept was applied to the manifold of intuitions synthesizing it into an experience. . Objectivity becomes a matter of being structured in accordance with certain a priori concepts or categories. Berkeley himself would have been an internalist if it were not for the role that God plays in his theory as the organizer and projector of all our ideas. since representations only refer to other representations. B93. the manifold of representations that are structured. This required three levels of representations: concepts. p. He saw that we are active in our representation of the world. no concept is ever referred to an object immediately.. p. Kant 1966. A judgment is therefore a mediate knowledge of an object.. B82. 54) Truth is still correspondence for Kant (A58. (A68. Kant retains a Representational Model of Epistemology. intuitions.

It has a formal structure and rules for the connection of different pieces of language in virtue of this formal structure.visual model of representation while rejecting externalism because of arguments concerning the possibility of representation. this model does allow us to know the world exactly the way it is since true representations are similar to their objects on this model. not a correspondence to external reality. In analytic philosophy after Kant. In language we have an object that has the form of a judgment. but must involve the application of concepts to experience in a judgment. yet is external to us. A linguistic representation is not just an image. not any pictorial similarity. (It is no accident that Kant's views are defended by transcendental arguments that begin by assuming the possibility of knowledge and experience. So. Kant had argued that knowledge cannot consist simply of ideas. The truth of a judgment reflects our success in bringing order to experience. It seems as if externalism is rejected in order to save the physical-visual model of representation. its correspondence is not pictorial similarity in any straightforward sense. There could be no pictorial similarity between mental ideas and physical objects. If it can be made to work. The correspondence between language and the world is a matter of structural isomorphism with the logical structure of the world. language became the candidate for the representation that could come alive. Language as an object has special properties that add to its allure. The importance of language as the medium of representation stems from an extension of Kant's attempt to avoid the problems brought on by Descartes' substance dualism. But in Kant the representation lost its externality. language provides a medium of representation whose ability to correspond to reality is not hindered by mentality and whose comprehensiveness is not . Language is also not limited in comprehensiveness of representation as a single idea is. The rules for the construction of language allow the creation of more and more comprehensive representations.) With Kant. ideas and particular images were no longer plausible candidates for the representation that could come alive.

Meaning and understanding had been separated. language represented in virtue of a structural isomorphism with the world. since private sensations cannot represent without themselves being interpreted. but there was no way of explaining how our grasp of these entities was the same. All the attempts in the philosophy of language to make language into a representation that represents in virtue of its own properties have sacrificed the ability to explain how language functions in communication. They were governed by formal laws of composition so that the senses of whole sentences were determined by the senses of the parts. mind-independent abstract entities. Language becomes a plausible candidate for the representation that is to be made to come alive if any can. By an argument analogous to that of Hegel discussed above. The alternative of Frege met with equally bad results. this made communication impossible.restricted by the concreteness of an image. Language may have been connected to public entities. the private language argument also showed that language cannot represent by itself through the mediation of private sensations. As Wittgenstein's private language argument showed. This relation obtained between private protocol statements and the world as experienced in the subjective sensations of a particular person. He held that language referred to objects through the mediation of their sense. in order to be understood. In the ideal language project carried out by Wittgenstein and the Logical Empiricists. Frege gave a public theory of meaning. It was language's formal structure that allowed it to map onto the formal structure inherent in the realm of senses and in the world of objects. these public senses had to be grasped in a private psychological act. This project made it difficult to explain communication in two ways: First. It was the sense that also allowed communication. The history of the philosophy of language beginning with Frege and Wittgenstein up to the present is the story of attempts to explain how this particularly alluring form of representation can represent in virtue of its own properties. Senses were thought to be public. but a private .

II. Second. 5 and 11. and tensed statements play in communication. (In Chapter One. Thus. they could not explain the massive role that indexicals. that a form can only be similar in part to the objects that fall under it to argue that representation is not similarity. One must be careful in discussing Plato to distinguish his early doctrines and doctrines that are found in his dialogues but which were not actually held by him from those views held by the historical Plato at the most mature point of his philosophic development. his . but these aspects of language cannot be explained by a theory that attempts to make language represent by itself. to be affected by its object the sensory faculty had to include its contrary. See De Anima. [4] Of course. it has the capacity to be affected by it and to become like it. demonstratives. In its dormant state it is only potentially like its object. due to the public nature of senses and the constraints imposed upon them by their logical structure. We will consider how this position would solve some of the puzzles in the philosophy of language in Chapter Seven. When a particular type of object affects the senses it extinguishes its contrary and the sensory faculty becomes actually like its object. each sensory faculty is composed of sets of contraries so as to be capable of being affected by the full range of sensible objects. often using arguments similar to those employed here.) This of course. in Chapter Five. again from the Parmenides. This doctrine should not be taken as a departure from the principle that like can only know like. In Aristotle's theory of sensation. that is. using a sail as an image. See De Generatione et Corruptione. Attempts to solve these problems have become a sort of cottage industry in the philosophy of language. Plato ends the Theaetetus with an argument against the position that knowledge consists of representation of the object along with an account or logos of its differences from other objects. and I use a version of the third man argument. II. but to know a sensible object its contraries within the sensible faculty had to be extinguished in the sensation. Whenever I attribute an idea to Plato here it will simply indicate that its historical influence originates with Plato's dialogues. (In fact. not that the man Plato actually held that view at some late stage of his philosophical development. It connects up to concepts or representing structures which we then apply ourselves in our particular context. [3] [2] [1] See De Anima. were criticized by him in his later dialogues. 323b 18 ff. 6. Aristotle argued against the doctrine that like can only be affected by like. What these failures should have shown is that language does not represent the world directly.theory of understanding. These types of words do not refer unless they are situated in the context of an act of linguistic representation. Many of the views I will identify as Plato's. I employed a version of the argument in the Parmenides. does not alter the fact that the historical origin of the influence of these ideas rests in the Platonic corpus. especially those related to his early theory of forms and the distinction between knowledge and true opinion found in his dialogues.

argument is similar to the one I use in Chapter Four against the thesis that correctness of representation determines reference. but to the model of representation used. this does not alter the fact that the origin of the historical influence of the idea that knowlege is true justified belief. or that opinion can be dialectically developed into knowledge by the comparison and synthesis of many perspectives. though it requires givenness. any objective representation at all requires a given external noumenal world for Kant. We shall see in chapters Eight and Nine that this is exactly the structure of Putnam's argument for internalism. [6] [5] In these quotes. not objectivity or truth. or representations that can be seen to be objective from within a particular perspective. Of course. the early Plato's. I argue in Chapter Nine that this is due to a confusion of generalizability with objectivity or truth. In Chapter Six. rests in the written work of Plato. I explain how on an alternative model of representation there can be self-justifying representations. Objectivity. [8] [7] . The inability to see how one could become aware that a representation from a particular perspective was objective is not due to its particularity. I will substitute bold face for the italics in the original. but this distinguishes Kant only from Idealism. or neither of theirs. still consists of accordance with internal constraints. What representations from particular perspectives lack is the ability to be successfully generalized. whether this view was originally Socrates's. and in quotes throughout the dissertation.) Again.

CHAPTER III THE CASE AGAINST THE REPRESENTATIONAL MODEL OF EPISTEMOLOGY I will attempt to respond to two different critiques of the role of representations in knowledge in this dissertation. is taken on in this chapter. or a new theory of knowledge. as we shall see in Chapter Nine. let us examine Rorty's critique of the Representational Model of Epistemology. . . Eight. is considered in detail in Chapters Seven. Pragmatists doubt that there is much to be said about this common feature. since if there is no alternative to the physical-visual model of representation then the Representational Model of Epistemology must indeed be rejected. While Rorty's may be the more powerful critique. It retains the traditional model of representation. given by Richard Rorty. but that truth and knowledge are not things that we need theories about. Rorty argues that the failure of the traditional model of representation has some important consequences.. The first of these. I attempt to provide such a model in Part Two. If an alternative model of representation that does work can be found then the Representational Model of Epistemology can be salvaged. and Nine. by Hilary Putnam. Before we look at that alternative model. does not work even if objects themselves are made representations within our scheme. The physical-visual model of representation. For pragmatists.. "truth" is just the name of the property which all true statements share. It seems to me that Rorty's is the more powerful critique. He argues that it implies not just that we need a new theory of truth. It argues that the failure of the traditional model of knowledge implies the failure of the Representational Model of Epistemology as well. but attempts to make it work by making the objects it represents internal to the representational system. it is much easier to respond to. Rorty characterizes his "pragmatic" view in this way: This theory says that truth is not the sort of thing one should expect to have a philosophically interesting theory about. Rorty's argument is simply that the traditional model of representation doesn't work. The second of these.

... xix) .. when it attempts to explain justification... on this view. but one cannot see language-as-a-whole in relation to something else to which it applies.... as one can exercise one's body to develop and strengthen and enlarge it. (Rorty 1983...... Nor do they have a "relativistic" or "subjectivist" theory of Truth or Goodness... within which we do our thinking and self-criticism and compare ourselves with something absolute. .. or certain actions or attitudes good or rational.the traditions. It is the impossible attempt to step outside our skins .. they do not invoke a theory about the nature of reality or knowledge or man which says that "there is no such thing" as Truth or Goodness.. xiii-xiv) Rorty sees that the traditional model runs into trouble when it attempts to distinguish between knowledge and opinion. the attempt to say "how language relates to the world" by saying what makes certain sentences true...... Rorty takes this as showing that this distinction should be done away with. We cannot escape the representational systems and the perspectives from which we always contact the world. (Rorty 1983. Philosophy... or for which it is a means to an end. (Rorty 1983. But there is no way to think about either the world or our purposes except by using our language..... p.... They would simply like to change the subject... His argument is a straight-forward version of the perspectivist fallacy.. He then goes on to argue that the attempts in the history of modern philosophy to provide foundations for our knowledge by providing a theory of representation or a theory of knowledge that ascertains the connection between our representations and the world all must fail... He assumes... that on the traditional model representations cannot determine their own relation to the world. Rorty says this of the attempt to inquire into the adequacy of language: The latter suggestion presupposes that there is some way of breaking out of language in order to compare it with something else... pp.. is.. impossible... When they suggest that we not ask questions about the nature of Truth or Goodness. p. so there is no way for us to ascertain the correspondence of our representations to the world beyond our system of represent`tions. linguistic and other. correctly... xvi) Rorty's argument is quite simple. because any such theory is itself a representation. One can use language to criticize and enlarge itself.

not representations and an external world.whether the idea of epistemic or moral authority having a "ground" in nature is a coherent one.. nothing counts as justification unless by reference to what we already accept. a practice that goes on within our conceptual systems. 178) Rorty answers this question in the negative: ". We only experience representations. which explains the relation of our knowledge to the world. knowledge can no longer be viewed as a relation between representations and the world..Rorty objects to the attempt to use an empirical theory of the relation between representations and the world as a foundation that will guarantee the correspondence of our representations to the world." but whether it makes sense to suggest that it does . pp. so justification by providing an account of how our representations connect up with a world beyond our representations does not make sense. To attempt to provide a foundation for our knowledge by providing another theory. but whether a practice of justification can be given a "grounding" in fact. The question is not whether human knowledge in fact has "foundations. p. 141-142) This argument of Rorty's is a weak1 version of the perspectivist fallacy. pp. the issue is not adequacy of explanation of fact.. is to confuse explanation with justification.. It argues only . there is no way to get outside our beliefs and our language so as to find some test other than coherence." (Rorty 1979. and . 178) Rorty argues that the attempt by Locke and others to provide a foundation for our knowledge through giving a theory of representation was a confusion of justification and explanation. p. Justification is a practice within our representational systems. knowledge is a relationship between persons and propositions.. because of the failure of the physical-visual model of representation. 140-141) An explanation of the causal origin of our representations is itself a representation. (Rorty 1979. He says: .. (Rorty 1979. It can no more determine the relation between another set of representations and their object than it can determine its relation to its own noumenal object. It is to fail to see that. (Rorty 1979.

the very model of representation that Rorty attacks. He says that demand for a theory of reference is ". is impossible according to Rorty since we have no access to objects except through representations. It holds that it is even impossible to refer to anything outside of our perspectives our representational systems. because this theory is itself a representation within the system.. Rorty's argument depends on the very model of representation that he attacks. (The similarity to Berkeley's argument here is not accidental. It provides no more access to external objects than does the original system for which it was to provide foundations. particular perspectives and representations become a bridge to the external world. Only if one thinks that objects are static entities will one think that it is impossible for a representation to determine its own relation to reality from within a particular perspective. for some transcendental standpoint outside our present set of representations from which we can inspect the relations between those representations and their object. not a barrier that keeps us from it. Becoming self-conscious about the perspective we are in by providing a theory of representation will not allow us to avoid the distorting influences of our perspective and gain knowledge of objects outside the system. In Part II we see how an alternative model of representation of this type avoids the perspectivist fallacy.) But. Rorty also holds a version of this. If representation is seen as an act in which we contact the world. 1 . the perspectivist fallacy has no force apart from the physical-visual model of representation. The Representational Model of Epistemology fails because it is impossible to provide a theory of representation which is not itself a representation.. There is also a strong version of the perspectivist fallacy. as we saw." (Rorty 1979. 293) This. which is stressed by Putnam in his arguments. p. of course.that it is impossible to have objective knowledge of objects outside of a perspective or representational system from within that system or perspective.

It is this ability that allows us to represent objectively and to transcend our present state of knowledge in a way that is not totally determined by that present state. This chapter. An account of what knowledge is. This chapter will address the particular problem of how a representation or a concept can be about an object without resembling it.CHAPTER IV REFERENCE Part II spells out some of the details of a model of representation that avoids the criticisms of the previous chapter. I held that representing was a matter of re-presenting one mode of . for our ability to represent and our ability to know by representing rest upon our ability to refer. In this chapter I will be giving only a preliminary sketch of what correctness consists in. It will attempt to explain what representation can be if it is not similarity and how such a model of representation can be used in theory of knowledge. therefore. It is this ability that makes the perspectivist fallacy a fallacy. must bear much of the burden of the defense of the thesis of this dissertation. 4. or how it is that we come to be aware that our representations are correct. It is the thesis of this chapter that referring is an act that we perform and that we are able to perform this act independent not only of any similarity between our representation and the object. but also independent of the correctness of the representation in general. In Chapter One. will have to wait until Chapter Six. how there can be reference independent of similarity. that is. and we need to see what correctness of representation could be if it is not iconic resemblance. For even if nothing can be like an idea but an idea. independent of its correspondence. this does not mean that ideas are about nothing but ideas.1: Representing without Similarity In order to argue that we are able to refer independent of the correctness of our representations we first need to remind ourselves of what representing without similarity is.

therefore.1 To become conscious of them we would have to connect their appearance with the interaction through which they arose. we would not be conscious of them. interacts with the world in essentially only one way and is changed by that interaction. however. In fact. The mere visual impression of an object onto our eyes and nervous system is not a representation. It is essentially a connection of one mode of interaction with another by a projection of one onto the other. Concious perception. Representing is not a matter of having static atomic impressions through interacting with the world. where we project all of the sensory properties of the object from past experience onto our visual interaction with the object and see objects with all their various properties instead of merely seeing patches of color. be discouraged by arguments that our impressions cannot be similar to external objects. A camera is not conscious of the images projected within it. We should not. It does not matter that our individual impressions cannot be similar to the external . in the simplest of cases.interaction with the world in terms of another. A rock. that such an impression on one sensory modality does not even constitute an experience. Representation is not a matter of the similarity of impressions with their object. we would not be conscious of it. Representing. A paradigmatic example of representing is visual perception. to complex abstract concepts such as circularity. If we interacted with the world only through isolated impressions of one type. Representation is essentially a matter of making connections between impressions or interactions with the world. following Hegel. involves the connection of modes of interaction. It is a process or act of connecting interactions with the world. for example. is not simply a matter of having changes impressed upon us by interaction with the world. Even if the impression of objects on our senses produced tiny replicas of the objects in our brains. and in particular conscious experience. These modes of interaction can range from unconscious physical interactions of our bodies and sense organs with the world. I argued in Chapter One.

world because of the particular perspective they embody.) that allow me to pick the type out. It is not the particular properties that are connected in an act of representing that correspond or fail to correspond. it is the connections. the correctness of my judgment that the type on this page is black does not consist in any similarity between my experience of its blackness.2 The objective representational content of an act of representing. therefore. Particular properties only enter our consciousness embedded in an act of representing. i. In both cases the act of representing connects properties that are manifestations of things that are really connected. Rather. . This connection is correct if it connects two modes of interaction (and the properties these modes of interaction make manifest) that either interact with the same thing or interact with different things which are actually connected. In the second case the modes of interaction are involved with different things which actually happen to be connected.e. etc. length. For example the blackness and the texture of the type are most likely manifestations of the same chemical structure which has different ways of showing itself depending on the type of causal interaction involved. light or touch. Correctness of representation or correspondence is not a similarity of the phenomenological character of an impression to the object. This is the case in my connection of the color of the type with its spatial position on the page. and the actual line of type. rests in the connections made within it and not in the similarity of the character of particular elements within the representation to its object. connected with other properties. In the first case the two modes of interaction and the properties associated with them are different manifestations of the same thing. what is correct is the connection I made in my judgment between the blackness and the other properties of the page of type (spatial position. shape and combination of the letters. Correctness of representation is a matter of the correctness of the connections made in the act of representing. We are only able to isolate and give our attention to particular properties such as redness through a complex process of abstraction. For example. its phenomenological character.

then a representation that is not similar to an object is not false of that object. We will need to look more fully at this type of correspondence and how we can become aware of it in acts of knowing in Chapter Six. 4. it involves connecting modes of interaction that have a common causal nexus in the part of the world interacted with in the act of representing. The absurd falsity of this statement is inexplicable apart from the fact that the person has retained their ability to isolate out a domain of interest and refer to an object. it cannot refer to that object. but this general account will allow us to see how our ability to refer is independent of the correctness of our act of representing. . yet they do not have the slightest idea what it is they have succeeded in referring to. I will concentrate exclusively on his views. The statement is not absurd at all apart from this successful reference. It seems to make it impossible to have false or incorrect representations. staring at it intently.2: Reference apart from Correctness. and pointing at it." They have made an absurdly false statement. The Intuitive Case.In general the correctness or objectivity of an act of representing consists in its having made connections between modes of interaction with the world that are caused by the things interacted with. If it were not clear that the person was talking about the cup. Even on the most cursory examination the position that reference depends upon similarity or correctness seems beset with insuperable problems. That is. Consider this example: A person under the influence of LSD is holding a cup. Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke have suggested a theory of reference that begins to account for this separation of reference from representational correctness. They declare: "This dog is a beagle. If reference is similarity or correctness. Putnam's is by far the more sophisticated theory. Cases such as these strongly suggest that reference depends on a set of abilities that are independent of the correctness of our representations. It simply is a representation of something else. we might assume they were talking about some real beagle which was not present.

L3). Yet he still held that meaning or sense determined reference. analogously to the argument above. then any statement of the form 'Lemons are Ln' is analytically true. A causal chain leads back from the present use of a word to an original ostensive definition or baptismal event in which the name was originally applied to the immediately present object. necessarily. that this claim made error impossible. He saw that sentences might have different representational or information content and yet refer to the same thing. (Putnam 1970) Holding reference to be determined by representational content makes statements of that representational content analytic truths. It does not seem. therefore. is a matter of being in the appropriate causal relationship to the object. This causal chain most often goes through the many uses of the term that have interceded between my uses and the original use. L2. then.Frege was the first to make the distinction between representation and reference. Our ability to refer independently of correct representation. If an object does not have property Ln then. then. It was this claim that Putnam was concerned with refuting.3 He still held that correctness of representational content is how reference was established. and most importantly. for example. Any representation that does not include these properties does not refer to lemons at all. If. We now need to see what Putnam took as the basis for this ability to refer independently of representational content. Putnam (1975) advanced a type of theory that has come to be known as a causal theory of reference. is the basis of our ability to be in error. . not of having a correct representation of it. the reference of 'lemon' is determined by the list of properties that we represent lemons as having (let these be properties L1. that we can be mistaken in our ascription of these properties to lemons. The basic idea of a causal theory of reference is that reference is determined by a causal relationship of the appropriate type between a use of a word and the object or natural kind to which it refers. of our ability to correct our errors through further interaction with the object of the representation. it is not a lemon. Reference. Putnam first argued.

We are able to refer to objects that we have never interacted with in virtue of belonging to a linguistic community that contains certain experts who have interacted with the objects and have knowledge about them that is not readily available. whether an object is the same as the set of objects .. it would be a mistake to attribute the crude type of causal theory described above to him.4 First. Reference can be established through the mediation of an introducing event in which a description of the object or natural kind is given. by someone is necessary for reference. Thus. if and only if X ".Although Putnam's theory does involve some type of causal interaction with the object as an important component in reference. 225). language is not an individual matter. pp. p. (Putnam 1975. all acts of referring need not be tied by a causal chain to the object referred to. bears a certain sameness relation (say. Second. Putnam's theory diverges on this point even more from the crude version of the causal theory of reference sketched above.. It seem to me that there are three main characteristics of his theory that preclude this reading. If I am introduced to the term 'water' in association with a particular instance of water that I have interacted with. 238-239) That is. (Putnam 1973. Putnam holds that it is not necessary for there to be a causal chain between a particular use of a term and the object to which it refers. X. for Putnam. 227) Thus. it is more appropriate to say that the nature of the object determines the reference for Putnam than it is to say that a causal chain does. I am then able to refer to innumerable bodies of water that I have never interacted with in virtue of their having the same nature as the water with which I have interacted. p. For Putnam argues that the sameness relationship that determines the set of objects referred to by a representation is interest relative. or x is the sameL as y) to most of the stuff I and other speakers in my linguistic community have on other occasions called 'water'.5 (Putnam 1975. while a causal interaction at some time. 200) This is possible because. p. There is a division of linguistic labor." (Putnam 1975. Putnam holds that 'water' refers to a particular substance. x is the same liquid as y.

hence a part of the reference of that term. Third. (Putnam 1973. if the term 'unicorn' was introduced to a community in a fleeting encounter with a rhinoceros. For example. the description that is used to introduce us to the term must be correct enough to lead us (the linguistic community) to an interaction with the appropriate object or type of object. Therefore the set of objects isolated as a domain of interest in an act of referring is not determined by any unique causal relationship between the act and the set of objects. even though you were causally related to the rhinoceros in what seems to be the appropriate way. you did not succeed in referring to it because of problems with your representation of it. depends upon what is important in that particular context.6 (I will argue in the next section that this is not an exception to our thesis that reference is independent of correctness of representation. in Putnam's theory the representational content sometimes does play a role in referring. although some type of interaction with members of the set is necessary. The domain isolated out and referred to depends upon our interests and the context of our act of referring. your description of the animal (as a horned horse) would be so faulty that it would not allow you to isolate the animal out for interaction in the future. In the next section I will attempt to answer these remaining questions within the framework of the model of representation that we have discussed so far. whether D2O (heavy water) will be considered water will depend on whether one is interested in drinking it or using it in a chemical experiment. 201) For example. Nor is it clear exactly how it is that we refer if it is not in virtue of some special causal relationship between our representations and their objects. it is not quite clear what type of causal theory of reference one is left with after making Putnam's concessions.you usually refer to with a term. When we are introduced to a term in an introducing event. . p.) While it is clear from the preceding discussion that Putnam's theory is not a crude version of the causal theory of reference. So. and.

therefore. The act of representing does this irrespective of the correctness of the connection made within.3: Representing and Referring It seems to me that the term 'reference'. and all semantic reference is derivative from Intentionality. acts of representing that are so actively engaged make a connection between two modes of interaction as giving rise to properties that spring from a common causal nexus in the world. is a general term encompassing three more particular types of reference: direct reference. This is not true of all acts of representing. All reference. it is only true of representations of the first type distinguished at the end of Chapter One. The person on LSD who says of the coffee mug "This dog is a beagle. is derivative from direct reference. as it is generally used (by normal people.8 At any rate. they do succeed in isolating the cup as the causal nexus of the properties they connect. Acts of representing in which both modes of interaction are actively engaged in interaction with the world in this way are also acts of direct referring. and semantic reference. Such an act of representing directly refers even if the properties or modes of .4." isolates an object as the common causal nexus or ground of the two properties just as effectively as I do when I say "This cup is a coffee mug. not philosophers). Direct reference is accomplished in acts of representing that connect two or more modes of interaction both of which are actively engaged in interaction with the external world. In doing so they isolate out a domain of interest or an object as the causal nexus of the two sets of properties connected. These terms are explained below. They pick out an object or part of the world as the common nexus in virtue of which the two modes of interaction are connected. Even though they completely misconstrue the information that arises from their interaction with the cup. Intentionality7. The relationship of these three types of reference is simple: All Intentionality is derivative from direct reference." We know where to go to prove them wrong just as precisely as we know where to go to prove me right.

Intentionality. It is also a property. however. Once he is distracted from the cup he will probably have no memory of his earlier claim and will be bewildered if you ask him "Could I have a drink from that beagle?" The type of reference that we are most interested in. is not the type established in acts of direct referring. they have this property in virtue of including dispositions that lead to the performance of acts of direct referring upon specific domains or types of domains of interest. The two modes of interaction need not even interact with a single unified object. so it is natural that the activity of Intentional concepts should also be Intentional. In these interactions the things are isolated out as domains of interest in an act of direct referring. The reference established in acts of direct referring is passed on only in those cases where the act leads to the formation of concepts with Intentionality. derivatively.) Concepts are complexes of dispositions to make connections between modes of interaction in acts of representing. of acts of representing that do not directly refer if those acts of representing are the expression or application of Intentional concepts. .interaction connected in the act really do not spring from the object as their common causal nexus. We are interested in Intentionality.9 The reference established in an act of direct referring does not outlast the act itself. Some concepts (most of them) have Intentionality.. like all forms of reference. Intentionality is a property of concepts. as was the case with the person on LSD. since this type of reference does not outlast the act. (Recall that on this view concepts are merely the active structures that do the representing. Concepts are about things in virtue of leading to direct interactions with those things. i. We now need to see how this can occur. whether the connection made is correct or not. The simple act of connecting the two modes of interaction isolates out what the two modes interact with as a domain of interest whether in fact it forms a common causal nexus for the modes or not. It would also probably be the case with our friend on LSD. therefore. This was the case in the brief glimpse of the unicorn/rhinoceros.e. is derivative from direct referring.

then.) Thus. Signs . such objects cannot represent by themselves.Most of the modes of interaction that are involved in representing the world are channeled through our sense organs. My concept of the cup is Intentional and has as its object this cup because it includes these dispositions to channel these two modes of interaction into the same domain of interest. As we saw. or Intentionality in concepts. the outer surface of our body. and I also have the ability to reach out and touch it with my hand. also has a great many other such dispositions that could lead to direct reference to the cup apart from the particular ones exercised in this example. Concepts make connections between modes of interaction. For example. they require the interpretation of an agent with certain concepts. concepts have Intentionality in virtue of including dispositions to orient the body and sense organs in such a way as to bring about the connection of modes of interaction in an act of direct referring. is a matter of that concept being formed in interaction with that domain in an act of direct reference in a way that allows and leads the concept to be reapplied to the same domain. (My concept of the cup. The appropriate exercise and combination of these abilities lead to acts of direct referring. and language. We possess a number of basic abilities to orient our sense organs. is. of course. I have the ability to direct and focus my eyes on the cup in front of me. as the etymology of the word 'reference' would suggest. such as statues. I can also combine these activities in an act of direct referring. The role of reference. Semantic reference is a property that signs have. maps. our body. and the relative position of parts of our body with respect to objects and to manipulate objects with respect to their orientation to our sense organs and body. they are the active structures whose expressions are acts of representing. The Intentionality or reference of a concept to a domain of interest. and the proprioceptive receptors that allow us to perceive the position of our body. Signs are physical objects or activities. to lead the application of the concept back to the domain of interest from which the connection made by the concept arose.

They are immensely useful for the communication and storage of information. Semantic reference is wholly derivative from connection with Intentional concepts. are ways of getting us to reproduce particular acts of representing. seeing language as not being itself a representation but as a conventional device for reproducing acts of representing by accessing particular concepts solves many of the puzzles that have troubled recent philosophy of language. While Intentionality ultimately depends on direct reference. as we saw. The person on LSD may be able to refer to the cup again even though they think it is a dog by simply reaching out to the same area of space in which they had found it before. Therefore. the abilities that lead the concept to acts of direct reference and account for their Intentionality do not themselves depend on direct reference. (As we shall see in Chapter Seven. is clearly independent of the correctness of the connection made in the act of isolating the domain of interest. Signs. are not themselves representations. then. Often. we also need to see if these abilities are in any way independent of correctness. They. it is independent of correctness. concepts are led back to interaction with the same domain with the . For one class of Intentional concepts this also seems unproblematic. Direct reference. Insofar as all reference is derivative from direct reference. but they are not themselves representations. therefore. whose reference in turn is derivative from the acts of direct referring from which they spring and to which they lead back. however.) We now need to see how reference described in these terms is independent of correctness of representation. Many concepts are led back to interaction with particular domains of interest simply by the inclusion of basic abilities to reorient the body and sense organs the way they were originally.have meaning and reference in virtue of being conventionally or naturally associated with certain Intentional concepts which in turn are dispositions that lead to particular acts of representing. In one sense this in non-problematic. along with their associations to concepts. and they do not themselves have reference.

We now need to see what kind of causal theory of reference we are left with on this view. although he does have a lover. Sometimes. not a single type of static causal relationship. at least in the sense that it leads back to a domain with reference to which it can be verified or falsified. referring is a process. some act of direct referring. even if the part of the representational content that leads back to the object is correct. It only requires that it lead back to the original domain. What makes it accurate to call this view a causal theory of reference at all is that it holds that reference requires some interaction with the object.help of cues that are contained in the content of the act of representing that the concept expresses. This. This interaction is clearly. As an act. I can refer to a building or location. however. For example. it may lead you to the location even though the large oak tree you saw is clearly not the largest you have ever seen and the restaurant one block north of it is a Burger King. this does not rule out the remainder of the content being blatantly false. even if I have never interacted with it. the description plays an essential role in leading the concept back to interaction with the object. if my concept of it includes the ability to represent its address or exact spatial coordinates. even though the content plays an essential role in in fixing reference. referring is an act we perform. it . however. First. First of all. that description may lead you to the intended person even though it turns out that Charlie is not married. this does not require correctness. does not imply that Intentionality is dependent on correctness of representation. Thus the representational content need not be correct as long as it leads you to the right place. Intentionality is also independent of correctness. this role does not require correctness of that content. an interaction. Therefore. sometimes the description plays an important role in fixing reference. not a static relationship between a representation and an object. In this sense. Second. as Putnam pointed out. If someone tells you to find Charlie's wife. For example if your description of a location is 'one block north of the biggest oak tree you've ever seen next to the McDonald's restaurant'.

have the properties they do only in the context of a wider process. it cannot determine reference independently of the correctness of representation. both are acts. there is no one type of interaction that is referring. there is no one type or natural kind of causal interaction that is reference.takes time. Second. He develops this into two main objections to causal theories of reference: (1) If a causal theory of reference is just another theory. a way in which we represent certain aspects of the world. but they. We can analyze out particular acts of representing or experiences. Yet we seem to have no problem in achieving either of these results (nor in failing to achieve them). not a property they have in virtue of their causal relations at any one moment. like the components of an act of representing. just another representation. it is necessary here to at least sketch out the general outline of his main argument and my responses. altering the concepts in the interaction. in his later work. It is something organisms do. provides a critique of the type of causal theory of reference he once held. Just as their is no natural kind of interaction in which putting a basketball through the hoop consists. it is always part of a dialectical process of representing the world according to concepts. An essential part of isolating out a domain of interest is connecting different modes of interaction at different times and attributing them to a domain as their common causal nexus. Referring is an act that requires time. There are as many types of interactions that can establish reference as there are acts of direct referring. Its ability to determine reference depends upon its . Neither activity is a static relation that can be characterized generally. and reapplying the concepts in a subsequent act of representing.4: Putnam contra a Putnamian Theory of Reference Putnam. Putnam's main line of argument is that causation is essentially a theoretical notion. Although I will discuss Putnam's arguments as a critique of Metaphysical Realism in great detail in Chapter Eight. 4. Such an act cannot occur in isolation.

(Putnam 1981. Before I begin to respond to the first argument. 1981a.18) This does not make reference independent of correctness. p. 211-214) I will answer each of these arguments in turn. pp.. (Putnam 1976. for the theory of reference must be correct to refer determinately itself: Notice that a 'causal' theory of reference is not (would not be) of any help here: for how 'causes' can uniquely refer is as much of a puzzle as how 'cat' can. 46. there would be too many causal relations.ability to correctly represent the appropriate causal relationship. But this. He says. the notion the materialist really uses when he employs 'causal chain'.. of course is not the . "The problem is that adding to our hypothetical formalized language of science a body of theory entitled 'Causal theory of reference' is just adding more theory. in his philosophical explications is the intuitive notion of an explanation.126) (2) Putnam also argues that causation is essentially an explanatory notion and that it does not make sense to ascribe causal relations to things apart from our conceptualization of them. What counts as an explanation depends on the context. to determinately fix reference. (Putnam 1981a. p.. Putnam says: . But this notion is certainly not physically definable. 213) Even if we could ascribe such obviously explanatory notions to things in themselves. or too many explanatory chains. p." (Putnam 1977. I should point out in passing its similarity to our favorite example of the perspectivist fallacy. on the metaphysical realist picture. So Putnam seems to argue that a theory of reference as independent of representation and theorization is impossible because we can't give a theory of reference that isn't a theory. p. Berkeley's argument that we cannot conceive of material objects because we can form no conception of them which is not a concept. Putnam's first argument does have force against those who think that by adding a representation of the reference relationship to our system of representations we can make it come alive and represent apart from our interpretation. etc.

. Determinate outcomes arise in the act of applying concepts to the world in acts of referring and representing. To do these things requires concepts. and they make their own relations to the world as they go. When we ask for the cause of something we want an explanation of why it is the way it is. action does not require determinate representation of the outcome. People without a causal theory of reference refer just as well as those of us that have heard of it. It seems that Putnam is right that our normal notion of causation is an explanatory one. and concepts are by their nature indeterminate. Representations are not mental entities that stand as a veil between us and the world and thus require a unique reference relation to allow us to gain access to the world. Thus. yet the result is determinate. But the expressions of these concepts are indeed determinate.10 You need not have a determinate representation of how the ball will go through the hoop to make a basket. They need no pre-existing relation to carry them across the veil of ideas. Reference is not a matter of having a representation of the relationship between ourselves and a domain. There is. one type of explanation that is so common that it has come to be called by the name of the more general notion. Representing and referring are acts by which we directly interact with the world. the fact that the theory of reference provided here is itself a theory does not prevent it from explaining how reference is possible. This argument seems to rest on an ambiguity in our notion of causation. causation. There is no veil of ideas. We now need to answer Putnam's second argument. You need not have a determinate representation of exactly the molecules of water that will be included to scoop a cup of water out of the lake. nor need they already have a representation of the domain to isolate it out in an act of referring. hence. Nor need you know exactly how many crumbs will be included to cut out a piece of cake. One need not already have a representation of the relationship to make it.view espoused here. however. It is a matter of making a relationship in an act of representing. Concepts are not representations and.

This is explanation by physical interaction. we do not have to pick out the interaction from the list of possible ones. of course. There are too many relationships between a ball and a basket to pick one out as scoring a basket. In this sense. and Putnam is right to point out that this type of causation cannot be given a physical account (nor a mental one for that matter). It is an actual interaction whose force can be felt and which can be referred to apart from any explanatory role it might play. It is the act of referring and representing itself. The billiard ball moved because another ball hit it. Any explanatory account of the interaction. what is felt is the interaction. I suppose is in some oblique way the source of the adage that what a person who is unable to grasp the force of some explanation needs is "a whack on the side of the head". Any account would pick out certain features of the interaction as felt or experienced as particularly relevant or salient for some explanatory purpose. we simply have to enter into it. The interaction does not explain the felt force. This sense of causal interaction is not a causal explanatory chain. (The interaction as felt has a force not exhausted by any explanation. Luckily. would not exhaust or adequately represent the felt interaction itself. The interaction is not itself an explanation or representation of the reference. which. The role that the interaction plays in the theory of reference advanced here is not an explanatory or representational one. causation is not just an explanatory model or account. Of course. I would feel the force of this interaction without being able to explain it at all or using it to explain some other change. There are too many relationships between ourselves and a cup .11 If someone were to sneak up behind me and give me a whack on the side of the head. there are too many relationships or interactions going on in an act of referring to allow us to pick out just one as being "reference".) It may be more appropriate to call the theory advanced here an interactional theory of reference to distinguish it from cause in the sense of explanatory chain. yet this does not hinder us in putting the ball through the hoop (though many other things might).

just as spatial perspective defines a point in space. we can see that no matter how distorted our perspective it still can isolate out a domain of interest. the causal or interactional theory of reference advanced here holds that referring is an act of isolating out a domain of interest by connecting two modes of interaction with the world and attributing them to the domain as their common causal nexus. then there is an aspect of the representation that is . This theory of reference is the answer to the strong version of the perspectivist fallacy. Thus. yet we scoop the water out just the same. The interaction allows us to refer to the object. Once we see that referring is an act that can be accomplished independent of correctness of representing. it is not the interaction that we have to refer to. This rested on the view that reference depended on correct picturing. If correctness of representation is a matter of the correctness of the connections made in an act of representing. We do not have to pick out which act of referring we are going to do. rather than the similarity of the properties that arise from the particular modes of interaction. Only if we are able to direct our activity to a domain apart from the correctness of our particular perspective will interaction with that domain be able to constrain our representation of it from that same perspective. This ability is the basis of a non-perspectivist external model of objectivity. If the modes of interaction (and the properties they manifest) connected in the act of representing really do have that domain as their common causal nexus. Recall that the strong version held that it is impossible from within a perspective or from a system of representation to refer to anything outside of that perspective or system of representation. then we can begin to see how there can be objective representation without similarity. Nothing is like an idea but an idea. We have also seen the beginnings of the answer to the weak version of the perspectivist fallacy in this chapter. we just have to do it.of water to specify one as scooping out that cup of water. After all. Particular pictures are so distorted by perspective and representative medium that they cannot picture anything outside of that perspective.

This seems to be true of our ability to refer to the dark side of the moon before we were able to interact with it.A. then we can verify our falsify our propositions with respect to it. 6 5 4 3 2 1 It seems to me that an extension of the division of linguistic labor over time can explain how we are able to form meaningful propositions about unicorns in cases such as these. however. we are able to make propositions concerning them whose reference depends upon our ability to interact with them in the future. 99 and Nagel 1974. Thesis. This can be so even though the particular quality of the properties that arise from our modes of interaction is completely dependent on our peculiar physical and conceptual makeup. p." (Banach 1985) for a full account of Putnam's views on reference. Thesis (Banach 1985) that this division of linguistic labor can be extended to operate over time. or meaning. We need to know more about what they are. "Putnam's Causal Theory of Reference. Objective content lies in the connections between these properties and feeling of those connections in an act of representing. These are only the manifestations of particular modes of interaction. Their arguments can be generalized to all types of representation. It is not always possible to verify or falsify a representation with what we can interact with at present.caused by the object and not by the subject.A. I will follow John Searle (Searle 1983) in capitalizing Intentionality to distinguish it from intentions in the 7 . then it turns out that our attempt to refer was a failure. Both Frege and Putnam are concerned with linguistic representational content. how they work. See Nagel 1965. why they are not representations. The particular type of representation that allows us to abstract particular properties is discussed in detail in the next chapter. The objective content of acts of representing lies not in the properties involved in the representation. If we never find one. We will see how it is that we can become aware that the connections made in an act of representing are caused by the object and not the subject in Chapter Six. If we find one that meets our description. I owe this line of argument to a similar line of argument used by Thomas Nagel in another context. p. Reference is essentially a matter of determining where one goes to verify or falsify a representation. and why they have caused so much trouble in the history of philosophy. We cannot always be sure which of these cases will obtain. Even though we are unable to interact with unicorns at present. so that we are able to refer to objects that we cannot presently interact with in virtue of our future abilities to do so. See my M. I have argued in my M. But first we need to find out more about concepts. 174 note.

Thus it is analagous to responding to the dumb person who has just had an operation repairing their vocal cords and says "I can talk! I can talk!" by saying "But this is circular. It may seem attractive here to say that such an act of direct referring creates objects by connecting modes of interaction. but this would be misleading. It may be thought that this account assumes the ability to refer rather than explaining how referring is possible. It does create a domain of interest." Thus the fact that we have to talk (and refer) to point out and explain the abilities we have to talk and refer does not amount to a circularity in our argument. One would be quickly disabused of the notion that the sum was an object with respect to these properties by exerting a force on one ball and failing to see the other move. Modes of interaction with the world need not always be actively engaged in interaction with the world to operate. even if what we are talking about is talk or what we are representing is representation. simply Berkeley's old version of the perspectivist fallacy.) 11 . of course. It simply shows that we have to talk to talk. The sum was obviously not the common causal nexus we took it to be.sense of intending to do x. This is the basis of memory. (See the last Chapter for an account of how the perspectivist fallacy is just a misunderstanding of the nature of representational self-reference arising from the attempt to make representations come alive. p. This view of objecthood will be discussed more fully in the last chapter. If the connection made is correct. for you've simply stated what you set out to show. The objects referred to in acts of representing are always objects relative to the connection made in that act. as the common ground of those properties. 10 9 8 I argue in Chapter Six that action. To see this as circular is. therefore. the attempt to see that domain of interest as an object has failed. take the merological sum created by my attempt to see two identical billiard balls as a single object by taking them as a whole to be the common causal ground of both their motion and the force exerted on them.47) But what is involved here is not circularity. For example. If the connection is wrong. but a type of self-reference that is unavoidable when we try to talk about or represent the possibility of representing. an ostensive one. Representations that connect two concepts are often not actively engaged in interaction with the world. To see this as circular is to confuse the type of argument given here. in general. Putnam sometimes makes this charge. and is. a circular argument. (Putnam 1981. but in cases where the domain of interest is not the common causal nexus of the properties arising from the modes of interaction it is an empty claim to say we have created an object. imagination. and we have to represent to represent. does not require a determinate representation of the outcome of the action. with a demostration within a representational system. it is more appropriate to say the object was discovered. and conceptual thought (of which more in the next chapter).

how they work. The recognition that we have these abilities results in some very important conclusions for the theory of knowledge. The fact that we have memory of actual experiences that seems to be identical in content. 5. rests in concepts.CHAPTER V CONCEPTS Concepts are the active structures that do the representing. but a vivid impression of it in our mind. This chapter considers concepts. and abstract thought free of dependence on actual perception. and why they are not representations. it becomes very difficult to see how anything can be like an idea but an idea. to actual experiences of the world seems to imply that the phenomenological content of our experiences is not dependent on our actual interaction with the object. all knowledge in posse.1: Why do Concepts Present such a Problem? Some of the peculiarities of the operation of concepts account for much of the plausibility of the attempt to make representations come alive and to take representations as mental pictures. as potentiality. a mental picture or idea. (Hume appears to be the clearest example of this. what they are. the ability to enter into knowing relationships with the world. All knowledge rests in the possession of concepts. While all knowing is done through representing.) This also implies that what we are looking at with our mind's eye when we are actually perceiving is not the object itself. if not in feel. of course. In particular. imagination. This. led to the view that perception impresses ideas or pictures into our mind that we can call up and look at with our mind's eye when we have a memory. concepts account for memory. Combine this view with a mind-body split and it becomes very difficult to see how our perception can accurately represent or picture reality. Memory shows us that the phenomenological character of our .

[2] Having such abilities allows us to think of things that are not present and to think of abstract properties such as redness or triangularity. as Berkeley and Hume showed. in the following sections. how abstract ideas can mirror particular reality. however. and in imagination it seems as if our concepts are active. is Kant's Copernican Revolution. was the leap that Kant made. there can be no abstract images. and abstract thought without regarding concepts or . With this it becomes much more difficult to regard concepts or ideas as pictures. they are our own constructions. are not attributes of the object as it is by itself. The abilities of imagination[1] cause even more problems for the attempt to see representations as pictures. it is no great leap to the realization that the images in perception are also a result of the activity of concepts. of course. of course. When concepts are seen as active and as representations. It is even less clear. This. Mind is active. For in imagination we see that the phenomenal properties we get in perception can be called forth and combined at will. With this move we see that the images we get in perception are not even impressions upon our mind. Imagination frees our representative powers from their ties to sense perception.perceptions. It is the source of the internal model of objectivity. The fact that we can have the same perceptions with or without interaction with the object shows that the phenomenological content of our perceptions is subjective. It becomes clear that the mind is not simply a wax tablet for the impressions of sense. the properties we perceive. to give an account of concepts that allows us to account for memory. They are representations of reality constructed according to other representations. General or abstract ideas must be abilities to make and manipulate many pictures. but are impressions upon our mind which retain indelibly the contributions made by this medium. This. due to our constitution and not the object.[3] The veil of ideas is doubled[4] in thickness. imagination. Once it is seen that in our imaginings the images produced are the results of the activity of our concepts. concepts. I will attempt. They no longer even seem to be pictures. it becomes necessary to regard them as representations of a world that we construct.

ideas as pictures in the mind and without leading to an internal model of objectivity. This will require taking concepts as active abilities, as Kant did, but not as representations, as Kant did.

5.2: What are Concepts? Concepts, as we have seen before, are more or less discrete networks of dispositions to represent domains of interest in certain ways. They are dispositions to connect modes of interaction in acts of representing. Many such dispositions pertaining to a single domain of interest can be grouped together into one concept by connection with the set of basic abilities that direct our activity to that domain of interest and tend toward direct interaction with it. The discreteness of these clusters is only relative, since there is no reason why a single disposition to connect two modes of interaction cannot be connected with more than one set of basic referring abilities. Thus my disposition to represent a person perceived by my senses as having blonde hair may be part of my concept of my mother, my father, and the numerous other people who I know to have blonde hair. It would have been highly wasteful for the mind to have duplicated this disposition anew in each concept in which it appears. Thus, it makes sense to assume that it is a single disposition with connections to many different sets of basic referring abilities, and, hence, a member of numerous overlapping clusters of dispositions that make up various concepts.[5] Thus we would expect the boundaries between concepts to be fuzzy; we would expect concepts to affect each other, and we would expect the particular operation of particular dispositions to vary with the conceptual context they are operating in. Once we are freed from the illusion that representations must connect properties that are pictures or images of certain aspects of reality, we can see that concepts can connect varying types of interactions including perceived properties, actions, feelings, emotional responses, and other concepts. Thus my concept of my mother is a complex set of

dispositions to perceive her, act toward her, emotionally respond to her, and think about her in various different ways. It seems to me that this view of concepts is closer to our normal pre-reflective view of concepts than are the philosophical views of concepts as list of properties or abstract pictures. Concepts on this view must be physically and neurologically embodied structures. There is nowhere else for them to be. It is simplest to see the dispositions of which they are composed as neurological connections between neural structures that are usually activated by bodily and sensory interaction with the world.[6] These neural structures are what I have been calling modes of interaction. I call them this because they are defined by their connections to sensory and bodily receptors and motor neurons, hence they provide for and control all our cognitive interaction with the world. Concepts also have another characteristic without which it is (at present) impossible to explain their operation. The operation of concepts gives rise to consciousness. It is impossible, on this view, to give an account of how concepts work without considering how they affect and are affected by the contents of consciousness.[7] Although it is rare in contemporary discussions of knowledge to consider the role of consciousness in knowledge, it is not surprising, at least to me, that knowledge and representing require consciousness. I for one would be a much less efficient knower if I were not conscious (or at least if I were less conscious than I usually am). Therefore, saying that concepts involve dispositions cannot simply be a shorthand way of saying that they are structures that do things. (Although, since we do not normally have access to the actual neural structures involved, we must describe concepts in terms of what they do.) The dispositions must be viewed as what I call teleological tendencies. They are teleological not only in the sense that they have an object or are directed at some goal, in this case the connection of the two modes of interaction. These tendencies actively pursue their object, and, most importantly, they have a particular subjective character that guides and drives the tendency towards its completion or expression. That

is, there is a way that the disposition feels when active and the consciousness of this feel is instrumental in guiding the activity of the organism to the expression of that tendency. Consider a simple example: I have an itch. This can be seen as a disposition to connect my visual and tactile location of the itch with my specific motor abilities known as 'scratching'. The fact that I have such a disposition does not explain why I in fact scratch the itch or how if I am unsure of the exact location of the itch how this disposition guides my activity to find the right spot to scratch. It is the subjective character of the disposition or teleological tendency that drives the disposition towards its expression and which guides it along the way. Scratches that miss the spot don't feel as good as those that hit the spot (literally and figuratively). Thus, in the process of its interaction with the world the teleological tendency drives itself towards its own expression. As we shall see in the next chapter, agency and the possibility of knowledge, or the awareness that we are engaged in an act of objective representing, require that our concepts have these characteristics. Before we move on to that, we need to see more about how concepts operate in memory,imagination, and abstraction and why they are not representations.

5.3: How Concepts Work The sketches in this section will be radically incomplete. I will not pretend to know how memory, imagination, or abstraction actually work. I will however begin to sketch how an account of them might be given according to the model of concepts outlined in this chapter. First we need to get a bit clearer about what a mode of interaction is, how it is activated, and how they are combined with or projected onto one another. As noted earlier, what I am calling modes of interaction are neural structures defined in terms of their connections to efferent and afferent peripheral neurons. Their activation involves the manifestation of properties, feelings, memories, associations, etc., in the case of afferent

such as a dog. For example. In the technical terminology of Chapter One. which is what an animal without our conceots. Representing involves the connection of these structures or the projection of one onto the other. On the model presented here. when I see visual images on the television. This is connected to tactile modes of interaction by concepts. What we call the property redness is the result of a complex process of abstraction from already finished experiences. The tactile properties are re-presented in terms of the visual ones. might see. They also show us that these structures can be activated independent of actual interaction with the world. The experienced result is my visual perception of the tactile properties in my experience of the object or scene. the primary mode of interaction is the destination. I project the other types of properties I associate with these images onto my visual sensation and see people doing things instead of flickering images of light. The point of calling it a projection rather than simply a connection is to emphasize the fact that the activation of one of the modes of interaction is primary in time and leads to the activation of the other in virtue of their connection by a concept. one way of viewing concepts are as autonomous activators of groups of modes of . so these tactile structures are activated apart from actual input from tactile peripheral neurons. we have no access to what they actually contribute to the experience apart from this abstraction.modes of interaction and various types of bodily actions and movements in the case of efferent modes of interaction. It should be noted that what we identify as properties are not the individual contributions of each mode of interaction to the finished experience. This causes the projection of the tactile modes of interaction onto the visual mode of interaction. For example. Memory and imagination show us that our perception involves the activation and connection of modes of interaction. my eyes activate a visual mode of interaction. Since we only become conscious or have experiences after modes of interaction are connected. the secondary is the source.

and these often result in images. This was caused in an act of direct referring. various different types of activations within that diffuse cluster can bring about the activation of this concept and result in the representing of the memory. It should be noted that nothing in this model requires the storage of the original experience. Concepts tend toward the activation of the modes of interaction independent of activation of these structures from interaction with the world.[9] It should be noted that this metaphorical projection of concepts is itself an act of representing which takes as its source the concept to be projected and its destination the new cluster of concepts and. Imagination can be explained (in only its roughest outlines) in a similar manner. the set of referring abilities that unites the cluster as relevant to a specific domain.[8] An important aspect of this ability is the way in which we are able to take connections or concepts in one cluster. among other things. without much trouble on this model: We have an experience. . although superficially. This resulted in a concept connecting these two modes of interaction and tending toward their joint activation independent of stimulation from the external world.interaction. relating to one domain of interest. (Of course. we must assume that concepts have a mutually inhibitory effect on each other to prevent too many of them from activating too many structures at once. Concepts tend towards their expression in acts of representing. and apply them to another domain by connecting that concept with the referring abilities that refer the new cluster to the new domain. What imagination shows us is that the activation of these concepts is under our control to some degree. what is stored is simply the ability to engage in that act of representing again. where both modes of interaction are directly in contact with the world and were activated by that interaction. Since this concept is a member of a cluster of concepts relating to that domain in virtue of connection with certain basic referring abilities. It involved an act of representing or connecting the activation of modes of interaction. in particular.) Memory can be explained.

5. When I light upon a red object the activation from the interaction reinforces the activation from my concept.[11] This ability to actively attempt to see the world in terms of a concept and then have the connections aimed at by the concept either reinforced or inhibited by interaction with the world forms the basis of our ability to gain objective knowledge of the world. Take for example our seeing an object as red. The other properties and knowledge are represented in terms of the sensory experience.Abstraction is also a type of representing that takes a concept as one of its modes of interaction. That is.4: Why Concepts aren't Representations . When I experience non-red things this activates other modes of interaction. In abstraction a sensory experience is represented in terms of a single property. Luckily. we try to see things we are interacting with as red. It seems to be the exact converse of normal perception. among other important things. we need to see why concepts are not representations. where a direct sensory mode of interaction is the destination and a concept by which the sensory interaction is connected with other properties and knowledge is taken as the source which is projected onto the sensory interaction. I feel it as a satisfaction[10] or frustration of my teleological tendencies. I know that I have found the red object I was looking for. This is a very important ability. all the while activating the red mode of interaction. Therefore. I am aware of all this activation and inhibition. Here a concept that attempts to connect a mode of interaction whose activation we experience as redness with another mode of interaction is the destination. It allows me to find the red ball on the desk. I interact visually with objects on my desk. and the mutually inhibitory effect of the modes of interaction inhibits the activation of the red mode of interaction. We attempt to project interactions onto this concept. Before moving on to a more detailed discussion of this in Chapter Six.

it should be noted that none of this means that we cannot analyze our concepts. it becomes no easier to see them as representations. review the three main considerations that rule out concepts as representations. Of course. Let us. Once again. First there is a problem about the ontological status of concepts. then. we can begin to get an idea of what they are. I would like to see it as an independently accessible conclusion that supports this model. it does not make it any easier to see how concepts represent. It . the most simple argument is that if the model of representing presented here is correct. then representing is essentially an act. Therefore. not the acts themselves. or play around with them in our heads. they cannot be representations. Even if they were to find a tiny image of a horse on one of the slides. concepts cannot be representations because they are the active structures that do the representing. The other alternative seems to be that they are abstract entities. Even if when. Besides the metaphysical extravagance involved in this thesis.There are three main types of considerations that make it impossible for concepts to be considered representations. there is no reason to take this as a representation of the horse apart from an act of interpretation than there is to take a footprint as a representation of a foot apart from some act of interpretation. because there can be no similarity between images and objects as they are in themselves. It seems a fairly safe principle that what we are never conscious of cannot be a representation. If they are particular images. It is slightly ludicrous when one is asked for a representation of a horse to present the asker with a set of slides of the neural structures that carry out our visual and mnemonic representing of horses. and we are never conscious of concepts. they are no longer accessible to our view. Abstract objects do not interpret themselves any more than particular ones. make new connections between them. Putting them behind the scenes as dispositions or abilities makes it impossible for them to ever re-present anything to us since they are never present to us. But rather than derive the conclusion that concepts are not representations from this model of representing. When concepts are finally seen as active abilities. through neurology.

Second. but only to its redness. The application of concepts requires an Intentionality based on the inclusion of referring abilities. not a particular object. This presents a number of problems in taking them as representations. For how is the application of the concept to the schema determinately accomplished? It should require another intermediary. a concept that can apply itself cannot be a representation. it seems that concepts as opposed to images are irreconcilably general and indeterminate in their application to particular things. the project seems to land one in a representational counterpart of Zeno's paradox. Since these must be independent of representational content. then it seems that they can only represent general objects. it becomes difficult to explain how these concepts can be both pictures with similarity to their objects[12] and active agents that construct images. If. after all the schema is only half similar to the . Yet. My concept of redness is not similar to the red ball. Since we are also aware of the operation of concepts. even though we are aware of how they are guiding us towards their satisfaction and of how close they have come to this satisfaction. although not of their content. As we saw. if they are taken to represent in virtue of similarity. we can also effectively guide their operation. Apart from the dubiousness of the ad hoc assumption that there can be entities that are half way between abstract concepts and particular sensuous images.means simply that any access we have to concepts is through what they do. how they cause us to represent. On one hand. on the other hand. we are only aware of a particular expression of the general potential or concept itself. through the felt character of the teleological tendencies that make them up. then it will be impossible for concepts to apply to anything to which they are not completely similar. It represents an abstract object in the realm of forms. if the application of concepts depends on their correctness or similarity. Kant's solution of providing an intermediary faculty of Imagination to schematize the concepts will not do. they are seen to represent in virtue of having been active in the construction of the objects they represent.

So the attempt to provide mediation between general concepts and particular images will not solve the problem of application for Kant. One can avoid an internal model by taking concepts as the active structures responsible for representations. If the representation constructs the object.[13] How it is the schemata perform their function remains an "art hidden in the depth of the human soul. . The next chapter explains how this is possible. they can apply in particular circumstances by producing acts of representing without having another representation outside of them that determines their application. Objectivity becomes dependent on concepts rather than the other way around.concept. it is clear that the external model of objectivity must go. B180-81. They are formed in interaction with certain domains and include within themselves dispositions to refer back to those domains. the true secrets of which we shall hardly ever be able to guess and reveal. there is no hope of its content being caused by the object. for there will always be determinate particular aspects of the image that are not in the schema. Thus. p. The third problem is a fairly obvious one. I am assuming for this argument that no one would accept an internal model of objectivity unless forced to by lack of alternatives. Plato's gradation of the forms from the Good down to the most particular form did not help him with the problem of participation. rather than representations themselves." (Kant 1966. Why shouldn't it require another schema half way between the concept and the original schema? But the real problem lies in the move from schema to particular. If concepts are seen as both representations and active in the construction of what they represent. A141. 123) The obvious alternative to Kant's view is to see concepts as sets of abilities that include abilities to refer to a particular. Such concepts can apply themselves because they are not representations that can only apply in virtue of their similarity to particular objects.

Chapter Ten). (2) Metaphorical projection of concepts implies and requires reference that is based on basic referring abilities that are independent of the content of the concepts involved. at least as the physical is now understood. (Kant 1966. The Kantian notion of imagination is related to the attempt to solve problems peculiar to Kant's system. which then go on to determine the next stage in the process. there has been recent work on neurological and mathematical models of cognitive activity that seems to correspond closely to the models presented here. not connection to new concepts. the matrices to the dispositions or concepts. This would require giving an account of the necessary connection between the mental properties and the physical properties that allows one to see how they spring from a common causal nexus. (Hume 1928) [3] [2] [1] See Kant's 1st Critique. but simply the extension of existing ones into new domains by connecting them with new clusters and the referring abilities that define them. The normal uses of the word make it an ability we have in virtue of our concepts. The concepts then act differently or metaphorically when exercised in their new context upon their new domain. How agency is possible without assuming a homunculus or transcendent governing agency will be discussed in Chapter Six. [4] It should be noted that this claim. Abstract ideas were seen as using concrete particular ideas. A68. At present I am convinced by Thomas Nagel's and Donald Davidson's arguments that it is not possible to give such an account in purely physical terms. (See Nagel 1974. especially pp. Chapter Ten). B93. not a mediator between concepts and sensation. 1987 and Patricia Churchland 1986. These models also agree with the view presented here in seeing the content of cognitive activities as resting in the connections made between the states of neural activation. 1986 Chapter Three. Although I became aware of this work too late for it to be incorporated into the content of this chapter.By imagination I mean simply the ability to creatively construct and manipulate images. but having their content or meaning consist in a habit or custom of thought that could produce other particular images at will. just another way of connecting concepts. like most of the description of the working of concepts in this chapter and throughout this work. [9] [8] [7] [6] [5] . 2021. Hume actually arrived at a theory of abstract ideas similar to this. Section 7. Without the establishment of domains independent of conceptual content. 54). (See Rumelhart 1986 and Patricia Churchland 1986. (See Paul Churchland 1986. It may be possible in the future to give a physical account of what we now describe as the contents of consciousness and its operations. p. These neural sheets can be identified with what I have called modes of interaction and the connections can be identified with the dispositions that make up concepts. and Davidson 1970. Paul and Patricia Churchland have presented some recent work in neurology that takes neural sheets and the connections between them as the basic units of cognition. It is actually tripled. and Lakoff 1987. is an empirically testable hypothesis about how neurologically embodied connections between modes of interaction operate as coordinated wholes. A group of researchers in cognitive science called the Parallel Distributed Processing Group (PDP) have provided mathematical models in which states of neural activation represented mathematically as vectors are transformed or connected to other states through weighted connections mathematically represented as matrices or tensor functions. Two things should be noted about this type of metaphorical elaboration of concepts: (1) I do not think it involves making new concepts. The vectors correspond to the modes of interaction. metaphorical projection would be a wholly conceptual matter. we must count the sensible manifold as a level of representation as well. Part I. Book I. For convincing accounts of the prevalence and importance of this type of representing see Lakoff and Johnson 1980. What makes it metaphorical is the connection of old concepts to new aspects of reality. Johnson 1987. See the Treatise.) This can mean simply that the dominant teleological tendency in our makeup at a particular time determines the activation of certain of our concepts.

while I go on happily trying to put my elbow in my ear. The directedness of the activity towards a goal and the guidance of that activity towards the goal by the subjective character of the process are necessary for knowledge to be achieved. It is also unclear how this characterization of schemata is coherent with Kant's general strategy in the Schematism. the right connections might be being reinforced like mad. however. I must connect it with the tendencies to continue the reinforced activity. [11] This explains the necessity of consciousness for knowledge. I must be conscious of this. B176. [12] Kant sometimes speaks of schemata as procedures for the construction of images instead of representations half-way between images and concepts. how there can be a procedure for determinately applying concepts to particular images.[10] I use the word satisfaction to distinguish it from particular feelings. Satisfaction is not. as the utilitarians thought. It is no more clear. If I were not conscious of it. 121) for his statement of the principle that a concept must be homogeneous or similar (gleichhartig) to any object it represents. See the passage referred to in the above footnote for a fairly unambiguous indication that schemata are to serve their function by being homogeneous or similar to both concepts and images. For it is not just the fact that the desired connections are reinforced when I scratch the right spot. that is. this is what adding consciousness to the analysis adds. p. a particular feeling that we can call pleasure. Pleasure or satisfaction is a way of feeling the particular phenomenological character of our interactions as an expression or culmination of a teleological tendency. [13] . See Kant 1966 (A137.

transitory. we will have to see how a concept can be applied to a domain in a way that allows the representation that results from the application to be caused by the domain and not the concept. therefore.1: Agency Traditional views of agency have been concerned with explaining how humans can act in a way that is not determined by the chance and indifferent happenings of the physical world. The combination of topics in this chapter should not. In order to take the thesis that representation is an action seriously. we will have to see what is involved with agency or the application of concepts. Therefore we must begin by seeing what agency. Agency according to this traditional view is a type of causality that our reason has with respect to our material existence. therefore. something we do. In order to see how an act of representing can be objective. forms. or the application of concepts. and principles. be surprising. We will find that it will not do simply to apply traditional notions of agency to the new model of representing.CHAPTER VI AGENCY. OBJECTIVITY. and indifferent goings on in the material world. for the assumptions of the physical-visual model of representation and the perspectivist model of objectivity are built into the traditional view of agency. They have mainly taken the view that we are able to act freely in virtue of our rationality. able to act freely and to direct our lives in a way that will have a value independent of the particular. defines an aspect of our nature that transcends the material world providing us with both freedom from its chains and shelter from its travails. Our rationality is seen as something transcending the physical world and. Kant says: . 6.1 Reason. can be on this view. by virtue of its commerce with abstract ideas. AND TRUTH The main thesis of this dissertation is that representing is an act.

Freedom would then be the property this causality has of being able to work independently of determination by alien causes. and one is dependent for their welfare on their ability to use reason to guide their action in a way that isn't prey to every passing pathological whim or fancy. emotions. Kant's solution is to invent another type of causality. the notion seems to have internal inconsistencies. to see if they lead us to a more promising view. The positive conception of freedom is action in accordance with law or principle that the agent as a rational creature makes for itself.(Kant 1964. p. So.Will is a kind of causality belonging to living beings so far as they are rational. is our own physical constitution. 446. The noumenal self is seen as causing the empirical self. agency. sensations. Let us look at the shortcomings of this view of agency. for Kant. This wouldn't make sense unless the self were split in two. it can hardly be used to explain acts of representing. and feelings. and not the other way around. This representation then exerts a causality upon our physical being to guide its action in a way that frees it from physical determination. but the causality of our true self upon its image in the empirical world. .. 114) This is only the negative definition of the freedom our rationality has from constraint by material things. then. the causality it is able to exert on the material world seems a mystery. not to mention the inconsistencies with . besides being an ad hoc solution to the problem.. self-causality. In which case it doesn't seem to be self causality at all. so that included in the things that constrain us are our passions. One of these material things. Once one separates off reason from the causal effects of the material world. causation is a concept used to relate two different things or temporal states of things. getting back to affect the material world becomes difficult.2 Thus. involves the formation of a representation of the action to be brought about. The first problem stares one in the face immediately. This problem becomes extremely pressing if the split between the material realm and the transcendent realm cuts one in half. If reason is transcendent. Since this view of agency presupposes the ability to form determinate representations.

it is also made impervious to adjustment to constraints and learning from interaction. and will never determine a particular action in all its details. is to make reason a faculty that deals with timeless objects and to argue that man's true nature is to be realized by making himself timeless as well by contemplation of the timeless entities. It seems. Thus the effect of the scientific revolution on philosophy is Hume's critique of the role of a transcendent reason in morals and science. Kant's move is to keep reason transcendent. it cannot be the causation of a transcendent reason. such a static picture or representation cannot be wholly determinate. To learn from experience reason cannot be transcendent. Phenomenal objects become another level of representation for Kant. If there are no longer passive . They would not exhibit intelligence. that whatever agency is. This has important implications for the theory of knowledge. For as we saw. He replaces the veil of ideas with a veil of phenomenal objects. If reason is to be transcendent it cannot be altered by its actions on the material world. moving others but never moved. Once one sees this there are two ways that one can turn. like the eromenos. In making agency free from possible determination by particular situations. the ability to creatively respond to the constraints of the situation. An agent that simply acted out predetermined representations would seem stupid and stiff to us. at least on the traditonal reading of Plato and Aristotle.other aspects of Kant's doctrine. Kant saw that understanding. if reason is to be kept transcendent some barrier must be formed between the direct interaction of concepts with the world. They would be unable to respond to unanticipated details and changes in the situation. the beloved. This is only natural. The Greek response to this. was active in experience. to keep it out of the fray.3 This allows the concepts that structure experience to remain representations. but it sets the phenomenal objects constructed by the concepts up as a barrier between concepts and the world. Neither can it be the causality of a representation either transcendent or immanent. then. or the faculty of concepts.

ideas to fit the bill, the passive effects of the activity of our concepts, phenomenal objects, will have to do. The other alternative is to bring concepts down out of their transcendent realm and make them interact directly with the world. This is the view urged here (and the one urged over two hundred years ago by Thomas Reid). Once representing becomes a way of interacting directly with the world, and concepts become dispositions to enter into such interactions, our activity becomes a way of contacting the world rather than a way of building a barrier between ourselves and the world. Agency, then becomes a matter of the activity of concepts, as discussed in the previous chapter. It requires that concepts be dispositions that have a subjective character that actively drives the concept towards its expression. That is, concepts as dispositions to connect modes of interaction through joint activation, must be able to and tend to activate the modes of interaction they connect independent of contact from the external world. It also requires that we be able to control the activity of these concepts. This control need not require a homunculus that oversees and controls the activity of our concepts. It can simply mean that the total network of my concepts (which after all is me) with its system of inhibitory and reinforcing connections determines which of my concepts will be active and which will not. On this view, each of us is a set of physically embodied potentials. Many of the potentials that make us what we are arise from the combination and organization of physical structures, rather than from the potentials inherent in the particular structures by themselves. Conscious organisms are organized so that their activity is primarily an expression of their own complex potentials rather than those of the environment and the simple potentials of their physical components. (They do this mainly by taking and exploiting energy from the environment.) Their freedom consists in this, and their agency consists in their activity being the expression of their own complex potentials rather than the environment or the particular potentials of their components. Concepts act in and of themselves through the expression of the potentials

embodied in them. We, as a system of concepts, act, through the expression of the potentials that this system has as a whole. The fact that we are a person simply consists in the fact that process by which one state of this total network passes on to the next has a coherence in virtue of the connections within the network and that my experience of this process has a unity in virtue of its continuity. Both of these conditions can be interrupted from without. The price of making reason vulnerable to outside influences is making the self open to dissolution by circumstances beyond our control. This should not be surprising; we are not immortal after all. Agency, then, is the active tendency of our concepts to express themselves guided by the subjective character of their activity. This ability of our concepts to act autonomously, i.e. apart from activation from the external world, as expressions of their own potential, can be disturbed by interaction with the external world. In this lies the possiblity of our having objective representations.

6.2: Objectivity It is the ability of the application of our concepts in acts of representing to be satisfied or frustrated that makes it possible for us to arrive at objective representations. In our application of our concepts to the world, the connections they tend to make can be reinforced or inhibited. This allows us to engage in a dialectical process of interaction with the world that allows us to arrive at representations that make connections that are caused not by our concepts, but by the world. We are able to come to have objective representations even though the phenomenological character of our representations is determined by the perspective from which it arises. It can do this because the representational content of our acts of representing lies in the connections made in them, not in their phenomenological character. In an act of representing we connect modes of interaction and attribute them to

a domain of interest as their common causal nexus. If that domain is in fact the common causal nexus of the activity of the modes of interaction, then the representation is true. We can come to be aware that our acts of representing are true, we can know by representing, through the peculiar characteristics of our concepts and their expression in agency. Our concepts are clusters of teleologicl tendencies to connect modes of interaction in acts of representing. This means that they are not only capable of doing this upon prompting of the outside world; they tend to do it on their own. Their subjective character drives and guides them to acts of representing, just as an itch leads to a scratch. This means that they can connect modes of interaction by jointly activating them apart from their activation through interaction with the world. The application of a concept to the world involves taking two or more modes of interaction and applying them to a domain of interest which they isolate. These modes of interaction will be being activated by the operation of the concept which tends toward their connection. It will be attempting to represent the domain as the common causal nexus of the activation of the two modes of interaction. It does this by interacting with the domain through the modes of interaction while activating them. The joint activation of the modes of interaction by the concept can be either reinforced or inhibited by the interaction with the domain. For example, consider an attempt to find a red book on a desk. Imagine that we have two modes of interaction: one whose activation we experience as the visual shape of a book, the other's activation is experienced as the color red. Imagine also that we have a concept that includes two sets of dispositions: one set tends to activate both of the modes of interaction above, the other directs our sense organs so as to apply the pathways that are able to activate these two modes of interaction from the outside to the various objects on the desk. The concept works to attempt to have a representation of a red book by jointly activating the two modes involved. In the interaction with objects on the desk the joint activation of the two modes can be reinforced or inhibited through the pathways

Such acts of representing are self-justifying in the sense that it is not necessary to go outside of them to become aware of their objectivity. The connections made in such an act are objective because they are determined by the domain interacted with and not by our concept. We are aware when we have arrived at such an act of representing in virtue of its subjective character. It will act to do this guided by the subjective character of the experience. their phenomenological glow. rather than some particular quality added onto the experience. But there is no need to describe this glow in detail. The amount of joint activation provided by the concept alone can be viewed as the neutral level. In previous discussions of this view. The concept aims at . If it is able to settle on a way of interacting with the domain that reinforces the activation produced by the concept. They bear on themselves the mark of their objectivity. then it has arrived at an act of representing that satisfies the teleological tendencies that make up the concept. Only if the domain activates the same connected set of modes of interaction as the concept will the connections made by the concept be reinforced and satisfaction be felt. They cause pleasure because we find the world in accordance with our concepts even though our concepts did not cause it to be so. it feels good. In other words it is the very objectivity of the connections that makes them satisfy. We all know what it feels like.4 This seems an accurate way of describing the satisfaction as the overall character the experience has as the fulfillment of the teleological tendency. The concept will tend to interact with the domain in ways that reinforce the joint activation of the modes of interaction. it has been described to me as a phenomenological glow theory.from the senses. They can be described in terms that apply to Kant's reflective judgement. we feel this reinforcement as the satisfaction of the teleological tendencies whose expressions guide our activity. If we light upon an object which activates both the book mode and the red mode.5 In such an act we have represented the domain as having connections which it in fact does.

This is what the perspectivist model of objectivity would expect. satisfied. If they were completely passive.3: Truth The view of truth implied in the previous section is a correspondence theory of truth. They are themselves windows onto the world. can be objective.6 6. but a view nonetheless.going above that level and is frustrated by any diminution. If we were completely active. What makes objective knowledge possible is the fact that our agency is embodied and involves active tendencies that go to the world attempting to represent it in a certain way but which may be frustrated. What makes our concepts capable of arriving at knowledge is the fact that they are both active and open to alteration in the application. Single perspectives and individual acts of representing. or altered in the process of interaction. The connections that are made in a particular act of representing can be caused by the domain with which it is interacting and not the perspective. The particular properties that modes of interaction give rise to in an act of representing are determined by perspective and the type of sensory apparatus we have. We would simply take whatever connections were forced on us. . however. we could never make objective connections because they would always be due to our activity. but the connections between the effects of a domain on these modes of interaction can be caused by the domain and not our activity. Perspectives are not windowless rooms from which there is no escape. It is important to note that objectivity is arrived at here not through moving out of the perspective to take up new ones from which the original perspective can be judged. Only a reinforcing activation caused by an interaction with a domain that is a common causal nexus for the activation of the two modes of interaction can provide satisfaction by raising the level of joint activation above the neutral level. we might have objective representings but we could never be aware when we were having them. They give a limited and incomplete view of the world.

We want the connections we make in representing to form a coherent network. Goodness of concepts is a matter of whether they work or not. It is the causal force of this interaction that makes the connection made in the act a result of the object and not the medium of representation. What this shows is that there are various types of goodness for various types of cognitive objects. it is commonly admitted that the ordinary notion of truth is of a correspondence. then there is little more that can be said to recommend the concept. Such an interaction results in the co-respondence of the object and the representation. The objectivity lies in the relationship of the act to the domain with which it interacts. That is. The pragmatic and coherence theories may be correct in their domain. it seems as if something like a pragmatic theory is correct. it seems that a coherence theory fits best. . If we concentrate on the act of representing as a whole and its relation to the domain with which it interacts. The objectivity and truth of an act of representing does not consist in the satisfaction it gives rise to (although this is how we come to be aware of its truth). Depending on the elements stressed in an analysis of an act of representing. If we concentrate on the concept involved and whether it produces satisfaction or not.The act of representing that produces satisfaction co-responds with reality. the domain of interest responds to interaction the same way as does the act of representing initiated by the concept. If we concentrate on the particular properties or concepts that are connected in an act of representing. both activate the set of modes of interaction connected in the representation. It seems to me that the word truth most appropriately applies to representations. correspondence seems to be the best theory. The connection made in the act of representing really does have the domain as its common causal nexus. Nor does it consist in a coherence between elements within the act of representing. both make the same connection between modes of interaction. each of the three traditional theories of truth can seem plausible. Do they produce satisfaction? If so.

but they are not correct theories of truth. Truth is a property of representations. Neither concepts nor the modes of interaction that make up the elements of a representation are themselves representations. This chapter, then, provides an answer to the weak version of the perspectivist fallacy. It gives an account of how an objective representation can be formed from a single perspective. Cognitive activity from within a perspective can arrive at representations that are not determined by that perspective because it involves the application of concepts that actively attempt to make connections between modes of interaction that isolate out a domain of interest and direct activity towards it that results in interaction in which the concepts can be satisfied or frustrated. Perspectival interactions with the world are interactions nonetheless, and their results will contain aspects that are due to the object interacted with and not the perspective. This is fortunate, since they are also the only type of interaction it is possible to have with the world.

See Nussbaum 1986 for an excellent discussion of how this motivation helped to shape the view of reason arising out of classical Greek philosophy. It is somewhat ironic that freedom takes the form of binding oneself to a principle. It is true that the principle is of our own making, but it comes to us in virtue of a rational nature we share with all rational creatures. So the moral law, though we make it anew, comes to us a little stale. Like used underwear, the moral law is yours now but bears the imprint of its previous owner, in this case all rational creatures. Some may opt for the chains of pathological determination; at least they are my chains. Thus Aristotle's metaphor for the unmoved mover, pure contemplation, to whom all things move as the lover moves toward his beloved. It moves but is not moved. See Metaphysics 1027a 24-26.
4 3 2

1

S. Marc Cohen applied this name to it. Although he did not mean it as a kindly characterization of my view, I have taken to the term as an accurate description of my view.

Incidentally,this view explains why knowledge is valued for its own sake apart from its uses. The more we know, the more often the conceptual tendencies we attempt to impose on the world will be satisfied, to our pleasure.
6

5

See Chapter Nine for an account of how such single perspectives are necessarily incomplete and unable to yield general knowledge. Although these single perspectives are not generalizable and, hence, not as useful, they are still objective. To deny their objectivity is to deny the only basis that general concepts can have.

CHAPTER VII

HEGEL'S INSIGHT AND FOUR PROBLEMS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE In this chapter I consider four closely related problems in the philosophy of language along with an argument of Hegel's. This argument of Hegel's pinpoints the cause of the problems from the philosophy of language and points the way to their solution. Hegel's argument and all of the problems deal with the inability of representations to connect themselves to the world determinately when they are taken as static entities that must represent through their intrinsic similarity to their objects. What Hegel's arguments show so nicely is how the problems that arise concerning the determinate reference of representations stem from an incoherence within the physical-visual model of representation itself. Hegel also shows how this model, when faced with these difficulties, leads of itself to an alternative in which representation is viewed as an interaction with an object in which we see various properties as springing from the object as their common causal locus. The recognition that the physical-visual model of representation, of itself, leads to this type of model of representation is what I call Hegel's insight. It should not be too surprising if one considers that this model takes physical representation as a paradigm for representation but then goes on to give an incomplete analysis of that paradigm. There will be a tension within the model between the paradigm and the analysis that will lead to problems and finally to a revision of the model to make the analysis consistent with what actually goes on in the paradigm cases of representation. This is what goes on in the dialectic of Hegel's arguments. The problems in the philosophy of language can be viewed as part of a similar dialectic leading to a view similar to the one presented here. They lead one to a view in which language, by itself, is not seen as representing the world. Language, through connections solidified by nature

and convention, simply activates certain concepts which then get us to represent the world ourselves in certain ways. Thus, it is not surprising that language is indeterminate in its representation; language itself does not represent the world at all. It activates concepts which can be applied in various determinate acts of representing, depending on the context of the application. The next section contains an exegesis of the opening arguments of the Phenomenology in Hegel's own terminology. Those who find Hegel to be for the most part unintelligible (and I must admit that I fall into this class) can safely skip to the next section where I give a summary of the argument in modern terms borrowed from Charles Taylor. For those willing to brave the Hegelianisms, however, it is worthwhile to go through in detail the dialectic in which the physical-visual model of representation develops itself into a view very much like the one presented here.1

7.1: The Opening Arguments of the Phenomenology Hegel, in the two chapters I will consider in this section, and throughout the Phenomenology, employs a unique methods of critiquing the various positions he considers. Instead of using outside standards and principles contrary to the position considered, the criticism comes from within the point of view being criticized. The view itself upon reflection finds itself to be unsatisfactory or contradictory. As Hegel makes clear in the introduction, (Hegel 1967, p. 140) Consciousness operates according to a model or criterion of knowing. It can test this model within itself by checking to see if what it is actually doing in knowing fits the model under which it is working. In this way, Hegel will show that assumptions that are internal to the physical-visual model of representation will themselves imply its failure. In the first chapter of the Phenomenology, "Sense Certainty", Hegel examines a stage of consciousness in which the model of knowledge in operation is one in which knowledge is immediate apprehension of the object through sensation. In this type of

knowledge the object is apprehended in its totality, unaltered, and free from any conceptualization. ( Hegel 1967, p. 149) While this type of knowledge seems at first to be the richest, most concrete form of knowledge, it is in fact the poorest and most abstract type says Hegel. This type of certainty says of its object only that it is; it contains only the being of the object but nothing about it. (Hegel 1967, p. 149) There are two elements to this certainty. There is the object of which we are certain and the I, or the representation we have of the object through which we know it. The essential element in this duality is the object. It is in virtue of the object that our representation is knowledge. (Hegel 1967, p. 150) The object is the same whether or not it is known; it is independent of the I or the representation of it. This is a central tenet of the Representational Model of Epistemology when it uses the PVMR as its model of representation._ These elements in sense certainty are not simply observations by Hegel; they are found in sense certainty itself. They are part of the model of knowing which sense certainty has within itself. What Hegel does next is to see if in fact this is the model that is actually followed in sense certainty. Sense certainty is made to criticize itself from within by considering whether its knowledge actually fits the model that it uses. (Hegel 1967, pp. 150-151) The object in sense certainty is known merely as pure being; it is pure This. Since the knowledge is unmediated and unconceptualized, it can be indicated only by the demonstrative. What self-critical sense certainty must ask itself is what this pure demonstrative, or pure This, is. (Hegel 1967, p. 151) The This is equivalent to the here and now, so this question takes the form, "What is the Here and what is the Now?" Any statement answering this question, for example "The Here and Now is Carbondale at night.", will lose its truth in other places and times. Truth or knowledge however must be able to be said or written down. Knowledge, properly so called, must be able to be expressed linguistically without any loss, according to the model. (Hegel 1967, p. 151)

what it means is the particular. a form knowledge must be able to take. when seen on the physical visual model. sense certainty moves to the next stage. Sense certainty in examining itself. 157. not immediate. has two main stages. Sense certainty is not done away with. 154) Here Hegel shows that even indexical representations. Sense certainty changes its model to accord with its findings. (Hegel 1967. In the second stage. Sense certainty in trying to know in this way finds itself in self-contradiction. The argument in the second chapter. perception. The essential element. (Hegel 1967. finds that the model it had of knowledge was faulty. cannot determine their own reference. pp. instead of the unmediated particular. "Perception". even the knowledge of the pure This. a universal in which particular properties and descriptions. are unified. Sense certainty cannot say what it means to be the object of knowledge. pp. It finds. the object. 151-152) In examining itself.160) With this. In the first it is argued that the object of perception as a unified thing with distinct properties is self-contradictory and that the object cannot be seen as merely a particular thing with properties nor as merely properties in a universal medium. moves from the object to the immediacy of my experience. sense certainty found itself to differ from the model it had of itself. Its representation could not determinately refer to a particular object in the way the model required. Sense certainty now takes the I or the representation as the essential element. the immediate cannot be said. cannot be immediate. it is . p. however. is found to be a universal just as the Here and the Now were. what it says is the universal. the force of its truth. however.The knowledge of sense certainty. Unmediated knowledge of particulars is found to be impossible. was found to be universal. the intended Here's and Now's. When the immediate fact of the I is put into linguistic form. (Hegel 1967. pp. It finds that the essential element is neither the object nor the representation. it loses immediacy just as the This did. (Hegel 1967. Even the This is a universal. 153-154) The I.

166) Any action on the part of consciousness would alter the truth. (Hegel 1967. (This. the whiteness of a piece of salt excludes its blackness. Hegel calls this moment the Also. The object. of course. This moment Hegel calls the One. 167) After setting forth this model. In perception. p. pp. The object is seen as a thing with many properties on this model. In these cases any contradiction is attributed to the perception. It is pure passive receptivity. But before we can examine these arguments. has merely to take this object. in order to have knowledge. for example. Perceptual consciousness. again. on this model. They have this determinateness in virtue of their negation of the other properties. but yet they are independent and do not affect each other.argued that the object of perception is essentially reflected into self. (2) The thing is also a unified particular with properties which exclude their opposites from this unity. p. here called the perceiving. is a central thesis of perspectivist models of objectivity. (Hegel 1967. the relation between these two other moments. is seen as essential and indifferent to whether it is known or not. The criterion of truth on this model is selfsameness. and an object. and truth is attained by apprehending the object as selfsame. These properties interpenetrate. Each is what it is in virtue of its not being the others. Hegel then follows his normal procedure of checking to see if the actual experience of . we have a representation. The object has three moments: (Hegel 1967. p. Each of these properties are distinct and determinate. Perceptual consciousness may at times fail to apprehend the object correctly because of this.) The object is always selfsame. (3) The thing is also the properties themselves. we need to examine the model of knowledge which perceptual consciousness is operating on. 163-166) (1) It is a collection of properties in a universal medium. again. as. The representation can be as well as not be and the object would remain the same. to do nothing but apprehend what comes its way. 163) We now have to look more closely at this object to see how this model of knowledge works. (Hegel 1967.

p. Perceptual consciousness finds. The particular qualities require attachment to a One in order to be properties. The properties of the object are seen as both universal and determinate. Perceptual consciousness is aware of the object as purely one. these properties require a One. This is the first stage of the argument. 168) Perceptual consciousness finds itself tossed back and forth. As we saw. excluding its opposites. Consciousness.perceptual consciousness follows this model. but attributes it to itself. The thing is a particular substance or substratum which only has manifold properties in affecting our diverse sensibilities. however. But the property is also determinate. upon reflection. p. the property belongs to the object as community or Also. as a particular. It then attributes the manifold of properties to its own workings. As determinate the property belongs to the object as One. Perceptual Consciousness has found that its conception of the object is self-contradictory in that the two moments of the object. (Hegel 1967. 168169) Perceptual consciousness begins by regarding the object as a One. The particular thing requires properties to characterize it. pp. does not attribute this contradiction to the object. 169-170) These manifold properties. and the properties require particular things in order to be properties. one straightaway gives way to the other. And the property is only determinate in relation to other properties in the universal medium or Also. consciousness cannot form both of them into a static conception of the object. that its conception of the object is self-contradictory. The thing as One without properties does not exclude others from itself. it attempts to strip the distortion introduced by its own workings to get to the object as it is in itself. 167) As universal. (Hegel 1967. Since it is aware of its own effects. and as we saw in the first stage of the argument. The particular One requires . It is also aware of the properties in it as universal. yet. necessarily require each other and. the Also and the One. first it considers the object as a One then it is driven to consider it as an Also. pp. (Hegel 1967. are determinate. (Hegel 1967. however.

171) Consciousness is able to look back upon these last steps and realize that the thing itself. The objects is seen as represented by the collection . (Hegel 1967. On this model knowledge is seen as a relation between a representation and an object. (Hegel 1967. p. The thing is a One for itself and an Also for another. a movement between being for itself and being for another. in the first two chapters of the Phenomenology. interpenetrating properties. Consciousness comes to see that unmediated knowledge is impossible. Three main argument structures were used in this critique: In the first. a bundle of atomistic properties. p. The thing has become a movement between being for itself. the One. The thing. The simple impression of a representation onto the mind in sensation does not itself make the sensation intrinsically represent a determinate object. (Hegel 1967. 172) The thing is seen to have an essential reality for another as well as for itself. (Hegel 1967. Representations are seen as sense impressions or perceptions that have no intrinsic connection to their objects. It has become what Hegel calls unconditioned absolute universality. 170) The thing becomes an Also. gives an account of consciousness's self-critique of a model of how representations function in knowledge. The thing is seen to be a movement between these two moments. p. Any unity or particularity we perceive is now due to the workings of consciousness. 175) So then. In the second. and being for another.properties. The thing is no longer indifferent as to whether it is known or not. they are not due to consciousness. and these properties are inherent in the thing itself. manifests itself in this twofold movement. Perceptual consciousness has given way to the Understanding. It has a manifold of independent. the Also. we have seen that Hegel. therefore takes on the characteristics of the universal medium. p. and the representation can no longer be or not be with thing remaining the same. it comes to see that the conception of the object as a thing with many properties is self-contradictory. The representation is independent of the character and the existence of the object. and not just its way of perceiving it.

each building upon the conclusion of the other. The first of these is called the Metacritical move (Taylor 1983). Taylor puts the arguments in a modern context. makes them a more straightforward critique of the physicalvisual model of representation. it comes to see that the object must be seen as the causal locus that stands behind the various properties that we represent the object as having for us. In this move one sympathetically takes up the PVMR and tries to make it work. Taylor interprets Hegel's critique of PVMR using these notions as follows: Hegel had made the Metacritical move in having natural consciousness take up the model of . by taking them out of their Hegelian language. consciousness tried to represent according to the model and found that it could not. and it is made clear how they constitute a critique of the physical-visual model of representation and how they suggest an alternative model. Taylor looks at these arguments as transcendental arguments.of properties as perceived and as the substrate that stands behind these properties. and. p. these arguments are put in a contemporary context. they try to represent according to this model. That is. Secondly. one sees that it can't work as the model for all representation. Taylor introduces two main notions in order to facilitate the understanding of these arguments. by which these arguments criticize the physical-visual model of representation (PVMR). (Taylor 1972. In the next section. By taking the model seriously. The three arguments from the preceding section are seen as a series of transcendental arguments. 7. 159) A transcendental argument starts with some undeniable fact of our experience and goes on to argue that experience must have certain features in order for this fact to be as it certainly is. In the third.2: Hegel's Insight In this section I will look at the interpretation given of the preceding arguments by Charles Taylor. This is what goes on in the arguments in the previous section.

Here the representation is formed in the passive apprehension of the object which is here a thing with properties. things and properties cannot be separated in consciousness. finds itself to be impossible. This is the model with which the next stage begins. To represent according to this model we must attempt to form representations from experience which is devoid of any conceptualization. for the domain that is pointed to must be defined in some way and this can only be done by bringing it under concepts. it can only point to its object. where the representation is formed by the pure unmediated receptivity of the object in experience. But even such a bare demonstrative representation is universal and can determine no definite reference. Therefore. p. The starting point of the first transcendental argument is that all knowledge must be linguistically expressible. representable. What the model is left with is simply a particular which can be only pointed at and many universal descriptions of it. (Taylor 1972. (Taylor 1972. Expression of such knowledge automatically brings it under a description or universal. (Taylor 1972. and thereby have particular definite reference. in which case the representation would no longer be unmediated. The first model encountered is that of sense certainty. 183) Both the thing . it will alter the model in ways suggested by the difficulties encountered. there can be no unmediated knowledge of particulars. and if it cannot. 159) Consciousness will try to represent according to the model. i. and that the distinction between particular things requires that they have properties. The dual starting points for the second transcendental argument are that the identification of properties requires that they be seen as belonging to particular things. p. The attempt to get representations from pure passive reception.e. 162) Since knowledge must have this characteristic in order to be knowledge. The representation of the object formed by unmediated passive sensation can have no content.representation that he wished to critique. p. To have content the representation would have to include a description of the object and bring it under concepts.

(Taylor 1972. which it must be according to the second argument. as they are after stage one of the argument. then the object must be seen as an oscillation. The object had to be for me as well as for itself in order for me to know it. representation requires causal interaction with the object in which we represent it in terms of its causal effects on us. That is. Hegel's argument exploits a property that representations have when taken to be static . then it is essential to my representation or perception of it that I interact with it. because our representation of the properties requires that we attribute them to an object beyond the properties we represent. Representation was found to require interaction with the object. if the One and the Also are both necessarily presented to consciousness as the nature of the object. we couldn't have experiences of objects with diverse properties.and its properties must be an object of perception. It argues that if the thing and its properties are to be part of the same experience. pp. p. This makes my representation of the object dependent on my interacting with it. If a thing is to be perceived as both a particular thing and a collection of properties. 174-182) The critique of the PVMR essentially amounts to this: representation was found to be impossible on the models examined in the first two chapters of the Phenomenology. unless we perceived such objects as a causal locus in this way. It is essential that it be for me as well as for itself. Representation requires the connection of properties that arise from interaction with an object as all springing from the object as the common causal locus of these properties. The thing and its properties as an object of experience is the model on which the next argument operates. 174) In Hegelian terms. or force. It is necessary to our experience of either the properties or the thing that the other be present in experience. then the thing must be grasped as the causal locus of the properties. In more simple language. such as softness and redness. The attempt to represent the object through a passive reception of its properties fails. or causal locus which accounts for the appearance of both the particular and the universal medium in consciousness. (Taylor 1972.

Hegel exploits this incoherence within the physical-visual model of representation. the same representation. he notices a trail of sugar running down . John Perry has devised an example that shows this: (Perry 1979) Perry is walking through a supermarket. This is a strange and unexpected phenomenon according to the physical-visual model of representation. they lead to a view of representation similar to the one presented in Part Two. Nor can the indexical be viewed as a single word with many meanings. according to Hegel's insight. Such representations are indeterminate in their reference. `here'.entities that are separated from any essential interaction with their object. for there is no non-indexical representation which can be taken as the meaning of the indexical in any of its particular applications. A single representation cannot correspond to two different objects. These expressions will represent different things when employed in different situations. But these representations must have a determinate correspondence to a single object or type of objects. 7. Therefore. Yet. It cannot be similar to all of the different objects which the indexical can represent in different situations. they can represent indiscriminately a number of different objects. where linguistic symbols are seen as the representations that must have a determinate correspondence to the world. in which objects represent on their own. in the case of indexicals. Examples of this type of expression are indexicals like 'I'.3: Indexicals There are a number of linguistic expressions that represent different things depending on the situation in which the expression is used. In the remaining sections. and 'now'. in virtue of a similarity to the object. without changing. represents different objects in different contexts. They cannot in virtue of their intrinsic similarity to the object determine their own relation to it. I consider these problems and how. This same characteristic of representations when seen in this way also causes problems in the philosophy of language.

Language refers to different things when employed under different conditions. Objects change with time. Perry" or "I am the one going around in circles" If. He fixes the bag of sugar. This element of indeterminacy is not limited to explicit indexicals. While this is a problem for a view in which objects are supposed to represent in virtue of their own properties.' refers now to a different object than it did in 1973. not me. A sentence that is true now. The problem is to find a representation that does not involve an indexical which Perry came to grasp when he fixed the sugar.S. and the stage of the objects' development that a linguistic representation refers to is not determined by any intrinsic property of the representation. may not be five minutes from now. Perry argues that it is impossible to find such a representation.2 In indexicals it seems that we have a hopelessly indeterminate representation. Almost all linguistic representation has an indexical element. It seems that indexicality is ubiquitous in language. So it seems that indexicals cannot be taken as equivalent to some set of non-indexical representations. Any candidate for such a representation such as "John Perry is making a mess" or "The person going in circles around aisle number eight is making a mess" would not explain Perry's action unless he also grasped representations that he would express as "I am J. After numerous circuits around the store he realizes that it is he who is making the mess.the aisle. The same representation will refer to different objects at different times. I would not act to fix my bag of sugar. On this view. for example. There is no set of timeless entities to which representations correspond. I were to come to grasp the first two representations without grasping the last two. He surmises that someone has a leaky bag of sugar and is making a mess. An example of this is the dependence of most factual statements on the time of their utterance for their truth value. Perry follows the trail of sugar to try to find the person who is making a mess. physical objects and events that act as signs do not represent the world. 'The president of the U. . it's Perry that has the problem. it is exactly what one would expect on the view presented here.

because it doesn't represent the world. We do so in virtue of the connections that these symbols have." one cannot substitute expressions that have the same reference for expressions in the proposition that is believed and still be sure that the expression will have the same truth value. and how we do it depends on the situation were are in. It is by activating our concepts and causing us to represent the world according to those concepts that symbols function in communication and information storage. For example. This. One cannot substitute 'the person who took the last beer' for 'Mary' in the above expression. we would expect the symbols to be indexical. On this view. but dispositions to represent in certain ways. they get us to represent it in a way similar to the way the person who made the symbols represented it. to our concepts.4: De re and de dicto Knowledge A central problem in the philosophy of language is referential opacity or the intensionality of relations such as belief and knowledge. Russell made this more explicit with . for John may also believe that the person who took the last beer is a jerk. They have no such ability. "John believes that Mary is keen. through nature or convention. we do so not in virtue of their ability to represent the world on their own. of course. it gets us to do it. They activate concepts which are not themselves representations. Determinate representation only occurs when the concepts are applied in a particular situation. They do not represent the world themselves. to hold in essence that there are two types of representation. 7.When we use them in communication or for the storage of information. This problem is what led Frege to distinguish between sense and reference. say Mary is identical to the person who took the last beer from the refrigerator. is possible because John may not know that Mary is the person who took the last beer. Language is indexical. The problem is that in statements of belief or knowledge such as. The same concepts applied in different situations result in different acts of representing.

it is unclear how there could be anything like de re knowledge according to this model. But the problem is of a different nature. The connection between representations and objects is determined by a correspondence between them. The problem that de re and de dicto knowledge present for the PVMR is of a different nature than that presented by indexicals. In cases of de re knowledge it is not possible that you would be unable to identify the object which you are representing. the representation is connected up to the object through direct contact with the object. representation is a matter of the correspondence or similarity of the representation to its object. which is essentially equivalent to de re knowledge or knowledge of the object. In knowledge by aquaintance. Second. Reference is supposed to be established through correctness of representation.his distinction between knowledge by aquaintance and knowledge by description. In such cases we are often unable to recognize or refer to the object that we are representing. as would be the case if you only knew the object through a description. de dicto knowledge or knowledge of a representation of the object. so it is unclear how contact with an object will establish a connection between the representation and the object that isn't dependent on the correspondence between the representation and the object. It has the only connection to an object that one can have according to the PVMR. This last expression would be knowledge by description. If a representation is true and has such a correspondence. not through the correspondence of the representation to the object. it is unclear how there could be any merely de dicto knowledge according to the PVMR. First. The fact that there seem to be these two types of knowledge raises two problems neither of which should arise on the physical-visual model of representation. it is unclear how it can fail to determine reference to that object. According to the PVMR. an indeterminacy of representation that makes de dicto knowledge incapable of determining reference. . The problem is caused by the same characteristic of the PVMR. such as 'the person who took the last beer'.

If only for the entertainment value. The problem for the PVMR is that according to it. My office is on the third floor. Again it seems a serious deficiency in our knowledge that I should have a true representation of the list of references and even an ability to refer to . I had been writing down a list of references when I was interrupted. In climbing the stairs to my office. I tried to find the list of references again. The distinction between de re and de dicto knowledge points out a real deficiency in knowledge by representation. then it should refer determinately to it. let us consider another example. The opposite is the case here. I sometimes mistakenly get off on the second floor and wander around for a short time until I realize my mistake. and when the interruption was over. A little while later. there should be no problem. The problem lay in the model of representation not in our actual ability to use indexicals to represent determinately. Once as I was walking up the stairs to my office I was relating just these facts to a friend. I started taking some notes on another project. It seems a serious deficiency in our knowledge that we can be in the process of enunciating a representation of a situation we wish to avoid and at that same moment fail to be aware that that representation refers to the very situation into which we are entering. I put aside the list. the problem was caused by the PVMR. and as I was explaining how I sometimes did such stupid things I got off on the second floor and looked around bewildered as I explained how I sometimes made this very mistake. when I discovered that the list of references was right in front of me on the back side of the notes which I had been taking. If a representation corresponds to its object. Let me give some examples that show how this distinction points out a real deficiency in the way we have knowledge and then explain how this problem could be expected according to the model of representation in Part Two. After a systematic search of the desk and its surroundings I was just beginning to entertain hypotheses concerning the vanishing of objects into other dimensions.In the case of indexicals. I had used the same sheet of paper for both.

but upon seeing that the only thing there was my notes on the other project. but this deficiency in knowledge by representation is taken as definitive of the human condition in both cases.) and comic in other instances (mistaken identities abound in Shakespeare's comedies).the object apart from the correctness of my representation (I had looked first in the same spatial region in which I had left the list. Searle says: I want to challenge. it is to be expected on the view presented here. It is to be expected that these two sets of dispositions should sometimes fail to be connected so that the knowledge contained in the connections that one set of dispositions tends to make will not be applied to the domains to which the other set of dispositions tends to make us refer. Reference is established independently of correctness of representation and is accomplished by a different set of dispositions than those that are responsible for the content of the representation.. sometimes makes it impossible to apply our knowledge when we most need to.. I continued my search elsewhere) and yet be unable to recognize the object when all my efforts and abilities are directed towards doing so.5: Literal Meaning and Figurative Language John Searle gives an argument (Searle 1979.3 Such deficiencies in the way in which we know by representing are tragic in some instances (Oedipus fails to recognize both his father and his mother though he had true representations of both and it was of greatest importance to him to do so. While such a condition is inexplicable on the PVMR. 7. Chapter Five). the independence of reference from correctness of representation. very similar to the one considered in the section on indexicals. The very fact that allows us to learn from experience and gain knowledge. the view that for every sentence the literal meaning . that language does not have a determinate literal meaning unless situated in a context in which a network of beliefs and background conditions allow it to determine definite conditions of satisfaction.

language will be figurative. Searle uses a number of simple examples to show this. Searle points out that statements such as this presuppose a gravitational field or an up-down orientation in order to determine conditions of satisfaction. While it is impossible to see how language could be figurative according to the physical-visual model of representation. what a piece of language represents and whether it is true or not will depend upon the particular context in which it is applied. it can direct an interpreter to represent the world in a number of different ways.. p. it will give rise to different acts of representing and. 117) His argument exploits the fact that. Also. i.e.of the sentence can be construed as the meaning it has independently of any context whatever. because language can be connected to more than one set of concepts. I shall argue that in general the notion of the literal meaning of a sentence only has application relative to a set of contextual or background assumptions . He also points out that there will always be borderline cases.3. as we saw in section 7. in which it will be unclear if the conditions of satisfaction are met. it is hard to see how it could be any other way according to the model in Part Two.. (Searle 1979.. have different meanings. One example will suffice here to get the point across. Thus. Searle argues that the prototypical example of literal meaning 'The cat is on the mat' does not have determinate conditions of satisfaction unless situated in a context of background beliefs and abilities. in different situations. all language is indexical in that it requires situation in a context in order to determinately represent a state of affairs. Since language does not itself represent the world but only activates concepts which tend towards representing the world in certain ways. . such as if the cat is half on and half off the mat. since the principle involved is identical to that in the argument concerning indexicals. In the hands of an artist who can exploit the various connections that our symbols have to our concepts. Only acts of representing are determinate on this view. This is because our concepts produce different acts of representing when applied in different contexts. Application of language to new domains will produce new meanings. hence.

It shows once more that the attempt to make representations come alive will be a failure. It should be no surprise. It argues that even an entire linguistic system taken as a whole cannot determinately refer by itself. In the same way. not to an ability to represent apart from our interpretation in particular contexts. then. That is. even this should not surprise one after seeing the structure of Hegel's argument. again. is that model theory. even if the the representation is as complex and comprehensive as an entire linguistic symbol system. should be unable to uniquely determine its own reference. it provides assignments of . should bring about the demise of the attempt. the most powerful tool at the disposal of the attempt to make linguistic representations come alive. We now need to look at Putnam's argument and see why this is so. however. Hegel's metacritical move was to attempt to represent according to the physical visual model. Putnam appropriates the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem from model theory and extends it to representational systems that include empirical representations. Model theory provides interpretations for formal systems.language can become a powerful tool in getting us to look at the world in novel and unexpected ways. But. What seems surprising. Putnam's argument is just another instance of Hegel's insight that representation involves interaction with an object in which different ways of presenting the object are connected and attributed to the object as their causal locus. The power of language is due to its indefinite connection to concepts.6: Putnam's Model Theoretic Argument Putnam's model theoretic argument can be seen as an extension of Searle's argument to linguistic and representational systems. it will be found that it is impossible to do so according to the presuppositions contained in the model itself. a collection of meaningless symbols and rules for combining and manipulating them. 7. that a formal system. the attempt to make linguistic representations come alive in virtue of their formal structure is seen to be impossible because of properties of that very formal structure.

The intuitive idea behind Putnam's argument is quite simple. or the attempt to spell out the meaning of linguistic items by assigning them an extension that preserves the truth of the sentences containing each item is sometimes called model theoretic semantics. It would show. Even truth cannot bridge the gap between representations and the world and determine a unique relationship between the representation and its intended object. . then. sets. upon which a native utters "gavagai". at model theoretic semantics. Even if we know that a statement is true we do not know what it is true of. that reference is not determined by truth. Yet they are not exactly sure what it is true of. If such an interpretation makes all the well formed formulas in a system of symbols true. Thus truth functional semantics. in a forceful way. it would show that reference is not determined by correctness of representation. although it has much wider application. Putnam's argument is aimed most forcefully. functions. The standard example here is Quine's gavagai example. because similarity cannot even determine reference. and relations to the various symbols in a formal system. that is. and they assent whenever the anthropologist says "gavagai" in the presence of a rabbit. It shows that representation is not just similarity. The natives repeat this when ever they see a rabbit. It shows that fixing the truth value of a statement in all possible worlds does not fix the reference of the linguistic items that make up the statement. But such an argument would have much wider implications than just the downfall of model theoretic semantics.individuals. by the intrinsic similarity of the representation to its object. then that interpretation is called a model. Such an argument would show that representations cannot come alive through their own properties. That is. The anthropologist is pretty sure that "gavagai" is true of the situations in which rabbits are present.4 An anthropologist encountering a culture with an unknown language sees a rabbit go by. It attempts to spell out the meaning of a linguistic system by spelling out a model for it. by defining an interpretation of it that makes all its statements turn out true.

had countable models. which stated the existence of transfinite numbers. electrical charge. language seen as a set of meaningless symbols cannot determine its own reference even if it is in some truth or similarity relationship to the world. that is. "There is a rabbit event. Various different models or ontologies could satisfy the theoretical and operational constraints imposed by our system of knowledge.". This shows that our linguistic representation of the world. of the system true. This is expressed in the system by a set of sentences stating the quantity of all physical magnitudes (mass. it will have numerous models. any satisfiable system. but even for a system which incorporated all of our empirical knowledge. . It showed that there would always be unintended models of any formal system. Any model must make all the theorems.". does not determine a definite reference or correspondence relationship to the world. It holds that any formal system that has a model. there is a stronger version of the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem which requires the Axiom of Choice for its proof that states that every system that has an infinite model has another model which is a subset of the first. Different interpretations will make the same system true. even if true. heat. The Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem is the expression of this fact for formal systems. The theoretical constraints are those imposed by the formal structure of the system.". i. Putnam shows that this not only true for the formal systems in number and set theory. or "There is the rabbit god. "There is an undetached rabbit part. so it is easy to see how the number of unintended models could multiply quite quickly. The operational constraints are the constraints imposed by the inclusion of our empirical knowledge of the world in the system .e. that is. or logical truths. This was a quite surprising result. since it showed that even systems in which you could prove Cantor's Theorem. In fact. The formal constraints imposed by the system do not uniquely determine its interpretation. has a countable (finite or equinumerous with the set of natural numbers5) model.Should it be translated by "There is a rabbit."? The point here is that an uninterpreted piece of language cannot determine reference.

217-218) and an example of the method in Chapter Two (pp. all possible empirical knowledge about the world. This model would be formally defined in this way: .) at all space-time points to some arbitrary accuracy. which requires a bit of work to understand. He does this in Reason. Putnam shows that even a representational system that includes all possible operational constraints. One model for this system would be one that assigned the symbols meanings in a world that consisted of only a circle and a square and in which. Truth and History (Putnam 1981). and one relation symbol. 33-35). and their relation at that instant. Putnam shows this by devising a method for constructing unintended interpretations that satisfy all the constraints from the intended model.gravitational force. It has no quantifiers.6 Rather than go through Putnam's example. I will then explain why Putnam's example had to be more complex and how it differs from the one given. a and b. Even such a theory would admit of different alternative interpretations that satisfied all the theoretical and operational constraints. I will give a simpler example that illustrates the same feature of representational systems that allows Putnam's argument to work. The operational constraints in the system are exhausted by the only three sentences in the system. at the only instant at which the world existed. R. p. their predicates. P2b. the circle was on top of the square. He does this by applying the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem to a formalization of an ideal empirical theory. and the only empirical knowledge possible would be of two objects. and aRb. Let the operational constraints and the sentences of the system . etc. Consider a very simple formal system. no variables. would not establish reference to a world beyond our representations. two predicate symbols. then. Let it contain only two constants. We can imagine that the world which it describes existed only for one instant. 3) Thus. giving a technical exposition of the general procedure in an appendix (pp. (Putnam 1977. P1 and P2. and no sentential connectives. be exhausted by: P1a.

But there is another model of the system as well. a german shepard and a beagle.y>} This interpretation makes our simple system true. A model which mapped our system into this world would be defined in this way: Dog Eat Dog World: a. P2. the german shepard is eating the beagle. A representational system can be used to represent one set of objects just as easily as another as long as both sets have the same formal structure as the set of objects that is taken to be the symbol system. (in fact. there are indefinitely many. Even when sentences expressing operational constraints are included in the system it . They need only have an isomorphism to the symbol system that allows them to be mapped onto the system in a one to one correspondence. hence it is a model of that system. properties.is eating. R. call it x. P2. defined as {y}.the circular object. they make the three sentences of the system true.a german shepard. defined as {<x.beagleness.the square object. R. b. At the one instant at which the world is existing.7 Any interpretation that mapped the above system onto a world with two objects each with one property and with one relation between them would be a model of the system no matter what the objects. defined as the set of ordered pairs {<x. call it y P1.squareness.Circle on Square World: a. P1.on top of. Each of these models maps the system onto a set of objects.y>}.circularity. properties. formally defined as {x}.german shepardness. call it x. formally defined as {y}.a beagle. or relation were. call it y. b. and relationships that satisfy the system.) Consider a world which consists of two dogs. It satisfies all theoretical and operational constraints imposed by the system. What this shows is that when a set of objects or symbols is taken as a representational system the relationship between the symbols and the objects they are meant to represent is wholly arbitrary. defined as {x}.

This would show that even if there is a single world with a determinate set of objects.still cannot uniquely determine a model. Putnam gives a general argument exploiting the property of symbols systems shown above and expressed in the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem to show that any symbol system. In this way a symbol can satisfy the same operational constraint (by being mapped onto the same objects) as an intended interpretation in situations where the operational constraint is operative. and relations. however. 217-218) The example that he gives (Putnam 1981.8 Even with this added complexity. yet which make the same set of operational constraints true by giving disjunctive definitions of the symbols that allow them to be mapped onto one subset of objects in one situation and onto another subset of objects in other situations. Putnam`s example is still just an example of the fact that a symbol system does not determine its own interpretation. pp. and these constraints allow multiple incompatible . Putnam. no matter how much information it contains. Putnam succeeds in getting interpretations that differ. while at the same time being a different interpretation (in virtue of mapping the symbol onto other objects in other situations). it supplies only the most meager of formal constraints upon its interpretation. So Putnam's example is of two different interpretations of a sentence that map the symbols onto the same domain of objects. 33-34) to exemplify the general procedure used in this proof works exactly the same way as the example above does. will admit different interpretations. pp. no representational system could determinately refer to any subset of the world. (Putnam 1981. His example is considerably more complex because of an extra constraint that he adds to his argument. is interested in showing that the LowenheimSkolem results hold even if we limit the interpretations to a single domain. different sets of objects. properties. because the sentences that express the operational constraints are themselves meaningless strings of symbols that can be interpreted by any isomorphic set of objects. In the example above the two interpretations map the system onto different worlds.

Putnam shows the same thing for the special case of linguistic representation. then. He says: Models are not lost noumenal waifs looking for someone to name them. however. applying to linguistic systems.9 Putnam's argument is a specific instance. Hegel sees the argument as leading towards a model of representation as a moment in a dialectic interaction with the world. were inevitable once we began to get precise about how exactly the formal structure of symbolic systems constrains their interpretation. and Putnam follows it in another direction. Formal systems are sets of meaningless symbols and can be interpreted as applying to any domain onto which they can be isomorphically mapped. follows the argument in one direction (at least for a little while). Putnam's use of these results shows that the attempt to make language the representation which can come alive and to see all cognitive representation as linguistic will be a failure in the same way that the attempt to make ideas represent in virtue of their phenomenological character or causal origin was a failure. of Hegel's argument that representations cannot be seen as selfexisting objects that determine their relation to their object themselves.interpretations. Hegel showed that the physical-visual model of representation. the domains or worlds into which they map our symbol systems are also constructions within the system. He holds that the argument shows that models are assignments within our representational systems. they are constructions within our theory itself. Putnam takes another route out of the problem. therefore. one in which representations can still be seen as representing something outside themselves. the attempt to see representations as objects existing independently of what they represent and yet as determinately referring by themselves. He still has a Representational Model of Epistemology. The results of the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem. They must be seen as one moment or aspect of a process of interaction with an object. and they have names from . and that. is incoherent. Hegel.

'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered. Putnam retains the physical-visual model of representation at the price of the external model of objectivity. It does not simply show that the physical-visual model of representation will not work if it is made to apply to extra-representational objects. p. signs do not intrinsically correspond to objects. as I maintain. But a sign that is actually employed in a particular way by a particular community of users can correspond to particular objects within the conceptual scheme of those users. We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description. the situation is quite different.52) and If. p. It seems to me that Putnam's conclusion is a result of failing to see the full power of Hegel's argument. Since the object and the signs are alike internal to the scheme of description.25) and For an internalist like myself. (We shall see in Chapter Nine that the same arguments he .birth. 'Objects' do not exist independently of conceptual schemes. because those labels are the tools we used to construct a version of the world with such objects in the first place. and knowledge cannot be a relation between representations and extra-representational objects. as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience. it is possible to say what matches what. independently of how the signs are employed and by whom. In an internalist view also. the objects being themselves internal to the representational system. Putnam solves the problem posed by the model theoretic argument by abandoning the external model of objectivity and the Representational Model of Epistemology. it shows that it does not work. then of course objects intrinsically belong under certain labels. (Putnam 1981. (Putnam 1977. Thus objectivity cannot be a matter of our representations being caused by the object. Representations intrinsically refer to objects because they were used in the construction of those objects. On Putnam's view representations intrinsically correspond to objects because they were used in the construction of those objects. 54) Thus. the factor independent of our will. (Putnam 1981. p. period.

pp. 16-17 for his application of the model theoretic argument to the thesis that all thought is done in a mental language. and pp. My argument does not depend on there being no solution to this problem. Truth and History is the general nature of his use of the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem and a particular example of his procedure given. 1960. 5 6 Putnam gives many versions of his model theoretic argument. Before we can argue that this is in fact what Putnam does and that there was an alternative model of representation open to him. would be a model of the system if it mapped R onto the identity relation. It is possible to know a thing under two descriptions. For the very fact that it is a problem that requires an intricate solution on this model shows something is wrong with the model. See Putnam 1977. we need to see more clearly what conclusion Putnam draws from his version of Hegel's argument and the arguments he gives for drawing that conclusion. pp. Putnam accepts the counter-intuitive conclusions involved in internalism. There may be some clever way to solve this problem within the confines of the physical-visual model of representation. 4 3 2 1 See Quine 1959. 8 7 Putnam (1981.raises against the external physical-visual model of representation can be brought against his internal version. pp. The isomorphism needed does not even require that the number of objects in the domain of the model be the same as the number of symbols in the system. but only in Reason. 9 . The structure of this problem is identical to Frege's problem with the morning star and the evening star. Physical objects could be expected to act as indexicals when employed in representing given the nature of their role in representation. or from two perspectives. an interpretation that mapped the system described above onto a world consisting of one object. The set of natural numbers is the set of positive integers from one to infinity. ix-xi. 33-35) gives an example of this procedure. indexicals are not even a problem. See also Putnam 1977. and not be aware that the two descriptions or perspectives are of the same thing.) In order to retain representations that intrinsically refer. On the view in Part Two. It is strange that Putnam's conclusions are a result of the retention of the very model of representation that he argues against. 125-126. and Putnam 1976. Putnam 1983. pp. 133-135. a red ball. pp. 130-131. It was a consideration of that dialectic that first started me in the direction of the view presented here and led me to see the various problems in the philosophy of language considered in this chapter as leading in the same direction. For example. but this does not affect my case against it.

(Putnam 1983. 'Verified' (in any operational sense) does not imply 'true'. we first need to see what his view is an alternative to and what led him to see an alternative was necessary. (Putnam 1981. He defines this view most clearly in Reason. On this perspective. etc.. He calls his solution internal realism. There is exactly one true and complete description of 'the way the world is'.the view that truth outruns even idealized justification . 49) Putnam also holds that this view has an important implication. To understand Putnam's view and his arguments for it.is incoherent. which he sometimes identifies with Metaphysical Realism: The most important consequence of metaphysical realism is that truth is supposed to be radically non-epistemic . even in the ideal limit. 8.CHAPTER VIII PUTNAM In this chapter I will look at Hilary Putnam's solution to the problems posed by the arguments of Chapter Seven and the arguments he gives for this solution. might be false. p. Truth involves some sort of correspondence relation between words or thought-signs and external things and sets of things. the world consists of some fixed totality of mindindependent objects. for it attempts to avoid relativism while making objectivity a matter of internal constraints.we might be 'brains in a vat' and so the theory that is 'ideal' from the point of view of operational utility. (Putnam 1976. 85) . inner beauty and elegance.1: Metaphysical Realism Putnam calls the view he is attacking Metaphysical Realism. 'plausibility'. p. Truth and History: One of these perspectives is the perspective of metaphysical realism. 125) Putnam even identifies this claim with metaphysical realism at times: I concluded that metaphysical realism . 'conservatism'. simplicity. on the metaphysical realist picture. p.

Therefore. This latter theory is the view Putnam espouses.. it is so vague as to include many possible views which it is difficult to see how his arguments against the view address. This. Let me examine his main definition. 71) One should note a number of troubling things about Putnam's definition of the view he will attack. It states that there is one true and complete description of the world. The second sentence states a view I will call epistemological realism. This view implies ontological realism. This to be distinguished from possible alternative views such as (1) Idealism. This is the view that reality is a bowl of mush. Epistemological realism is a form of the Representational Model of Epistemology. In particular. for the sharp distinction between what really is the case and what one judges to be the case is precisely what constitutes metaphysical realism. It should be noted that it is quite difficult to see how one could support any of these views except by empirical evidence. p. First.and . (Putnam 1981. It states that the world consists of some fixed totality of mind-independent objects. is a metaphysical statement about the nature of what exists. I call this last view the Oatmeal theory of reality. but it is not implied by it. the view that there is no mind independent reality.. and (2) the view that what exists is mind independent but has insufficient structure to differentiate itself into objects. His definition seems to include three separate positions: The first sentence of the definition states a view I will call ontological realism. it is unclear how any argument concerning the nature and possibility of representation could support any such view. of course. This is essentially the view that knowledge is a determinate relation between a description or representation and the extra-representational world and that we either have such knowledge or it is possible for us to have it. there will . you have to spoon it out yourself. It holds that we know by representing and that it possible to have a true and complete representation of the world. It says what exists is independent of our minds and that it has sufficient structure independent of us to differentiate itself into objects.

It will also hold." (Putnam 1976. This is Putnam's internal realism. I will attempt to show that Putnam's arguments against Metaphysical Realism do not apply to this alternative. that widely differing views could accept this claim. there is a determinate reference relation between representations and parts of the world. Yet. It will hold that the very nature of representation precludes completeness. In what follows. .) The view of reference given in Chapter Four also seems to be a version of semantic realism.. It will hold that there is a world of mind-independent objects and that we can know it by representing. however.be at least two alternatives to it. the act of direct referring makes a determinate relationship. This is the view that there is a determinate reference relation between representations and the world. there has to be a determinate relation of reference between terms in L and pieces (or sets of pieces) of THE WORLD. p. however. This view is most clearly expressed in "Realism and Reason": "Minimally. Putnam's arguments do not apply to this view of reference. The other alternative will retain ontological realism and the Representational Model of Epistemology.1 This is the view espoused in this dissertation. The physical-visual model of representation. Representing is seen as an act in which a domain of interest is isolated out and referred to. It may be helpful to define the position argued for in this dissertation in comparison to . however. 125) It seems. on the metaphysical realist model. As we saw in Chapter Four. (And this is almost certainly the view that Putnam intended by his definition. that it is impossible for us to have a true and complete representation of reality. the act of representing itself makes the relation. and along with it the external model of objectivity and the Representational Model of Epistemology.. There is no preexisting relation between the representation and the world that constitutes reference. with its claim that representations are entities that have a determinate correspondence or similarity relation to objects is an instance of semantic realism. The third sentence in the definition states a view I will call semantic realism. One alternative will reject ontological realism.

truth is a property of judgments. one that we become aware of in knowledge through justification. and partial truth is all we have. The view espoused here is very similar to Metaphysical Realism. (2) It holds a version of semantic realism (see Chapter Four) that Putnam did not appear to be aware of. On this view justification always involves further representation. Truth becomes an epistemic notion. the very relationship in which we become aware that it is true. but holds a closely related version of the Representational Model of Epistemology. It differs from it in only two respects: (1) It does not hold epistemological realism. is the very same relationship in which its truth consists. Truth. and. must always be justified itself. hence. The world. If. however. since most of the argument he gives for his position takes the form of objections to Metaphysical Realism. will always outrun the chain of justifying representations. the last justifying representation in the chain might always be false. It would be surprising if it were not. or the actual relationship between the representation and the object. then the very relation or act in which a representation becomes justified. of course. we should keep in mind that Putnam's definition of Metaphysical Realism allows alternatives that are not directly addressed by his . since it holds that there cannot be a true complete representation. It seems that this implication requires an additional assumption: that justification of a representation involves stepping outside of that representation to another which represents the similarity of the representation to its object. The very fact that there is an alternative to Metaphysical Realism that is not internal realism weakens Putnam's position considerably. After all.Metaphysical Realism.our knowledge will always be incomplete but partial truth will not outrun knowledge or justification as seen on this view. we have a view of representation in which there are self-justifying representations in the way explained in Chapter Six. a consequence he sometimes identifies with Metaphysical Realism. again. Another problem with Putnam's definition is that it is difficult to see how it implies the consequence that truth is radically non-epistemic. will always outrun our knowledge . So.

The problem is not that there can be no similarity. sentences.arguments. Putnam says:2 The trouble with this suggestion is not that correspondences between words or concepts and other entities don't exist. Recall that it showed this by showing how there could be alternative interpretations or mappings of any representational system onto the world. 8. in Chapter Seven. but that there are too many. It attempts to show that representations cannot determinately refer to extra-representational objects. you cannot single out a correspondence between our concepts and the supposed noumenal objects without access to the noumenal objects. He says this after giving an account of his use of the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem: "This simply states in mathematical language the intuitive fact that to single out a correspondence between two domains one needs some independent access to both domains. (Putnam 1981." (Putnam 1981. They are seen as ideas. words. pp. It is essentially an argument against semantic realism. This constitutes a critique of Metaphysical Realism. . or linguistic systems.2: Putnam's Arguments We have already seen Putnam's main argument against Metaphysical Realism. To pick out just one correspondence between words or mental signs and mind-independent things we would already have to have referential access to the mind-independent things. This argument rests on a view of representations as objects whose relation to their object is arbitrary.. Given that we have no direct access to the world there is no way for us to single out a unique correspondence between us and the world. because it would allow more than one true mapping of a language onto the world.. 74) Elsewhere he sets out the problem in a similar way: . but that too many correspondences exist. Let us now see what his arguments against metaphysical realism are. the model theoretic argument. 72-73) The premise that we are cut off from the noumenal world by a veil of representations is essential to Putnam's argument. p.

. We interpret it. But the world doesn't pick models or interpret language... do not interpret themselves.. words.. Even though Putnam saw that representations do not interpret themselves and that we do....for example.. etc..Early philosophical psychologists . He says this in diagnosing the problem that leads to the model theoretic argument: This is the fatal step.. To speak as if this were my problem. Either use already fixes the 'interpretation' or nothing can. This assumption is what lies behind his premise that we must have independent access to both the representation and its object in order to determine reference.is to accept a problem that can only have crazy solutions.. but only with other images.. The mind never compares an image or word with an object.... The idea of a comparison of words or mental representations with objects is a senseless one. signs.. and language in particular... .. 24) Thus. beliefs..... (Putnam 1977. He still holds that objects or mental signs are themselves representations rather than things we use to represent. Hume . So. how shall I single out an interpretation?' is to speak nonsense..namely its 'interpretation' .... If representation were seen as an activity of interacting with the world that uses objects. but..... yet lacks an interpretation.... So how can a determinate correspondence between words or mental representations and external objects ever be singled out? (Putnam 1983 p. they are used by us to represent things. Putnam sees that physical objects or signs cannot represent themselves..... p. Putnam sees that representations... judgments. now.. To adopt a theory of meaning according to which a language whose whole use is specified still lacks something . We interpret our language or nothing does. and our use of language is the interpretation. Putnam saw that it does not make sense to talk of a language or system of representations that has a program of use.pointed out that we do not literally have the object in our minds. he still remained strangely wedded to the model of representation that made the attempt to make representations come alive necessary... viii) This premise is essential to both his model theoretic argument and the internalist conclusions he draws from it. 'I know how to use my language. and mental images to re-present the world... there would be ...

The fact that talk about reference must itself refer does not make all such talk circular. however. let us review some of the arguments that Putnam gives against causal theories of reference that seem closely allied to the view expressed here. First. The argument. ..no need for independent access to the world. then. simply amounts to making the trivial remark that we cannot have a theory of reference that is not a theory. We have considered two of these arguments in Chapter Four already. however. We saw already that Putnam's first argument against the thesis that a causal theory of reference can explain how representations have a determinate reference was that this theory of reference was just more symbols which themselves had to have a determinate reference. this does not fix a determinate extension for 'refers' at all. The set of sentences that spells out the reference relation does not itself refer determinately. (Putnam 1977. is aimed at the attempt make a system of representations have a determinate reference by adding a body of empirical sentences about the the reference relation itself. This quote gives a good indication of what Putnam's argument is aimed at:3 The problem is that adding to our hypothetical formalized language a body of theory entitled 'Causal theory of reference' is just adding more theory. If 'refers' can be defined in terms of some causal predicate or predicates in the metalanguage of our theory. since each model of the object language extends in an obvious way to a corresponding model of the metalanguage. p. in each model M. Of course. 18) This argument. it will turn out that. unless the word `causes' (or whatever the causal predicate or predicates may be) is already glued to one definite relation with metaphysical glue. but . but we now need to look at these in more detail and see how they fit into his general argument for internalism. Putnam is correct to point out that such an attempt will not work.. We shall see shortly how Putnam uses this premise and his assumption that representations are objects which gain their reference through our use to arrive at his internalist conclusions. Representing is itself an access to the world. not a veil that keeps us from it. referenceM is definable in terms of causesM. then. unless one holds that .

. Putnam seems to hold such a view. as if he and he alone were in an absolute relation to the world). "causation". xi) Putnam argues that this reply assumes the ability to refer or single out a unique correspondence relation between our use of the word 'cause' and the real causal relationship: Here the philosopher is ignoring his own epistemological position. A causal theory of reference. He is philosophizing as if naive realism were true of him (or. This runs somewhat like this: 'You are caricaturing our position. it is the interaction itself.) A causal theory of reference of the type provided here points to an aspect of our interaction with objects in our acts of representing and uses it in an explanation of our . in the interactional theory of reference presented here (and in most causal theories of reference) it is not a representation or theory of the interaction or causal connection that is supposed to determine reference. We need have no representation of it at all. But how this can be so was just the question at issue. correspondence between the world and one definite relation in his case. What he calls 'causation' really is causation. the connection in our theory) between the terms "reference". p. as evidenced by his insistence that reference is impossible without independent access to the object. Putnam himself was aware that this is not what the causal theorists intended:4 At this point in the dialogue.. is trying to avoid such a view. A realist does not claim that reference is fixed by the conceptual connection (i. there is an argument that I invariably get from causal realists. But no one doubts that we in fact refer. (Putnam 1983.reference must be established by representing the sign and the object and mapping the one onto the other. As we saw in Chapter Four. equivalently. (Putnam 1983. p.e. somehow singled out. Or so he assumes. etc. (The premise that we do in fact determinately refer to objects plays an important role in Putnam's arguments for internalism. however. and of course there is a fixed. xi) This objection would be well taken if the causal theorist were trying to provide a demonstration to prove that we do in fact refer. however. the realist claims that reference is fixed by the causation itself. "sense impression". what is wanted is an explanation of how this is possible.

... Even if we allow causal relations between representations and their objects.. Neither provides a demonstration that the activity is possible... while Putnam's argument does show that a theory that attempts to explain how reference is possible by including a theory of reference in our symbol system will run into the same model theoretic problems... So. This is simply an application of the model theoretic argument to the causal relation itself... A representation does not have to represent or refer to its own reference relation to refer.. what singles out one particular correspondence R? (Putnam 1981. it will not apply to a theory that attempts to explain how various aspects of our interaction with the world allow us to refer..... Putnam says: Given that there are many 'correspondences' between words and things. there will be to many different relations to uniquely determine reference. 47) As we saw in Chapter Four. it simply has to enter into that relation.... the only proof of this would be to engage in the activity.. First there is the sound premise that reference is something we fix.. Putnam has another argument against the causal theorist.. p... even many that satisfy our constraints.. (Putnam 1981... A representation will have many different causal relations to many different things..ability to refer. this objection does not apply to the interactional theory of reference offered here.. there are. .. many different 'correspondences' which represent possible or candidate reference relations..... however.. as we have seen.... 46) . Interacting with the world in a way such that you isolate out a domain of interest does not require that you be able to determinately represent the domain of the reference relation beforehand... For. The force of Putnam's argument depends on the same assumptions as his general model theoretic argument.. They explain how the activity is possible. The fact that this ability is exercised in this very explanation does not make it circular any more than a talk about the anatomical structures that make speech possible is circular. p.. assuming a world of mind-independent. ... how will the representation know which is the intended reference relation.... discourse-independent entities (this is the presumption of the view we are discussing)....

But this is combined with the assumption that representations are still objects or signs. etc. We represent. beliefs. It is the act of interpreting one thing in terms of another. Representing is a way we interact with the world. Representing is an activity of conscious organisms. static entities that can only be related to their objects through our activity. Reference can be established within the representation. in the very activity of interaction with the world that is the representation. then our representations will form a veil between us and the world. (Putnam 1983. Thus. be impossible to refer. If our only access to the world is through such entities that are caused in some mysterious way by interaction with the world. but they are only representations when situated in the context of such an activity. judgments. Combine this with the first premise. words. Objects even when interpreted from without by an interpreter by being assigned or matched with a meaning are not representations. The idea of comparison of words or mental representations with objects is a senseless one. Representing is not something we do by assigning symbols an interpretation. So how can a determinate correspondence between words or mental representations and external objects ever be singled out. Yet. themselves. but only with other images. p. not the static result of some interaction we cannot be aware of. We sometimes use objects or symbols in this process. indeed. Putnam saw that objects or symbols did not interpret themselves. it is the connection of different modes of interaction. and it will.that signs do not represent by themselves but only when situated in a program of use. he did not see that this made it impossible for such objects. not objects. As Putnam says in the quote above: The mind never compares an image or word with an object. reference does not have to be established by an interpreter from outside of the representation by assigning it an object of which the interpreter is also conscious. to be representations. viii) If representations are taken as activities of interaction with the world. then the veil of ideas falls away and becomes a bridge of ideas. Thus .

It reinterprets the object of knowledge as internal to the representational system and. as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience. If it only makes sense to talk of objects within a theory and if we make objects through the application of our conceptual . it is not something we assign to the representation from outside by assigning it an interpretation. 8. Putnam's version of this model involves two theses: one concerning the ontological status of objects and one concerning the nature of truth. because it is characteristic of this view to hold that what objects does the world consist of? is a question that it only makes sense to ask within a theory or description. of course. as a part of it. Let us now see how these assumptions function in his arguments for internalism. .. As we saw in the last chapter. or what he calls internal realism. 54) This. We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description. it seems that Putnam's arguments rest upon the retention of aspects of the very model of representation that he is attacking by his realization that words do not interpret themselves. makes objectivity a matter of the internal properties of the system. (Putnam 1981. Putnam holds that objects are constructs within theories.reference goes on within the activity of representing.. 'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered. p. implies an Oatmeal theory of reality. 52) and If. (Putnam 1981. p. He says in describing his view: I shall refer to it as the internalist perspective. p. thus.3: Internal Realism Internal realism is in essence a form of the internal model of objectivity. Thus. as I maintain. 49) and elsewhere: 'Objects' do not exist independently of conceptual schemes. (Putnam 1981.

The second quote above is almost an exact statement of the Oatmeal theory: The world is a bowl of mush. . 54) and Just as the objective nature of the environment contributes to fixing the reference of terms. it is not just what happens to be accepted in the theory at any particular time.schemes. or any inputs which admit of only one description.some sort of ideal coherence of our beliefs with each other and with our experiences as those experiences are themselves represented in our belief systems.. is some sort of (idealized) rational acceptability . Putnam says: Internalism does not deny that there are experiential inputs to knowledge. .. 49-50) and I treat truth as an idealization of justification. in my view if it would be justified under epistemically ideal conditions. Internal realism is not a relativist theory in which there are no external constraints on knowledge. p. you have to spoon it out yourself. so it also contributes to fixing the objective truth conditions for sentences. (Putnam 1983. Putnam holds that truth cannot be acceptability within a system at any one time..in an internalist view. So then.. A statement is true. Truth can no longer be a correspondence to an extra-representational world. knowledge is not a story without constraints except internal coherence. Yet. independent of all conceptual choices. He says: 'Truth'. (Putnam 1981.. Putnam's internal realism involves the thesis that objects are constructs in our representational systems and that the noumenal world beyond our representations has no intrinsic structure. 86)5 Thus. p. This is the thrust of Putnam's article "Why there isn't a ready-made world". . although not in the metaphysical realist way. but it does deny that there are any inputs which are not themselves to some extent shaped by our concepts. then there must be insufficient structure in the world to differentiate itself into objects. it is an internal property of our representational systems. pp. . but acceptability under ideal conditions. The second thesis of internal realism is that truth is idealized rational acceptability.. (Putnam 1981...

..e. that ideal epistemological conditions can never be achieved.. (Putnam 1981. p. i. But the motive of the metaphysical realist is to save the notion of the God's Eye Point of View. hold further that there is more than one 'true' theory or description of the world. truth must be some idealization of justification. p. 84. however. (Putnam 1981. p. 49) and . even if conditions were as ideal as one could hope to make them. then incompatible theories can be true. if both a statement and its negation could be 'justified'. according to Putnam.. 125.(Putnam 1983. whether there is only one true theory. he also says:6 . 84) What is justified within a particular system can change as the system changes.the two key ideas of the idealization theory of truth are . (Putnam 1981. . p. p.. p. since the arguments for the theory of truth are relatively simple. 73) Yet. 84) Putnam holds.. Let us look at Putnam's arguments for this thesis before we look at those for the ontological thesis. He says: Many 'internalist' philosophers. 55. Putnam 1981. Putnam 1976.. Putnam's first argument is simply that truth is supposed to be something that doesn't change. there is no sense in thinking of the statement as having a truth value. p. p. therefore. To an internalist this is not objectionable: why should there not sometimes be equally coherent but incompatible conceptual schemes which fit our experiential beliefs equally well. the One True Theory. (Putnam 1981. (2) Truth is expected to be stable or 'convergent'. Putnam also has a more subtle argument for his theory of truth. 56) Thus. (Putnam 1983. it is an essential part of internal realism that truth be more than just internal justification. If truth is a matter simply of the conditions under which a statement can be . Putnam waffles (to the point of inconsistency) as to whether theories will converge under ideal conditions. 55) It is a regulative ideal or limiting concept that allows us to bring into question things that are justified at present and even our present standards of justification.. Putnam 1983. though not all. p.

it is to utter the sentence as representing something that is true or correct. But this is to deny that our thoughts and assertions are thoughts and assertions. (Putnam 1983. not because I mean to take issue with it. something weird had already happened. We now need to look at the arguments and motivations that led to Putnam's ontological position. We saw in Chapter Seven that Putnam's ontological theses are a way of solving the problem posed by the model theoretic argument. or correctness). p. the understanding of the language must determine the .. not just in the realist sense. and then. xiv) This notion of correctness requires a conception of truth that goes beyond assertability. had we stopped to notice. we asked what the possible 'models' for the language were. At this point. thinking of the models as existing 'out there' independent of any description. a movement of the larynx. that knowing the assertability conditions is knowing all there is to know about truth. he is denying that there is a property of truth (or a property of rightness. Putnam diagnoses the problem in this way: The predicament is only a predicament because we did two things: first. The question to be considered in the next chapter is whether these intuitions can be assimilated to an internalist metaphysics and epistemology. assertion becomes just utterance. then it seems that we can make no sense out of what assertions are other than physical acts or utterances. p. Putnam says: If assertion is to be taken in a suitable 'thick' sense. but in any sense. (Putnam 1983.. then we have to recognize that asserting is guided by notions of correctness and incorrectness. his view that objects are constructions within theories and the Oatmeal theory of Reality that this implies. we gave an account of understanding the language in terms of programs and procedures for using the language (what else?). xv) I have spent this time reviewing Putnam's argument for a realist theory of truth. then. but to show how deeply realist intuitions and arguments still have a hold on him. Without a realist theory of truth. On any view.asserted. For to assert something is not just to utter a sentence. however. insofar as I understand him at all. secondly. Thus Putnam says: If a philosopher says .

... the access cannot be through another sign.... The language. So understanding must determine reference. we only have access to representations. rather. This is the first premise of Putnam's argument for the ontological thesis of internal realism. ample evidence that Putnam held this view. at least for our purposes.. in Chapter Seven.. that meaning cannot be a result of intrinsic similarities between representations and their objects.. then use isn't understanding. We have already seen.. The standpoint of 'non-realist semantics' is precisely that standpoint. We need. a standpoint which links use and reference in just the way he metaphysical realist standpoint refuses to do. that is. even in a fixed context.. But even if an object does not represent on its own. must determine the reference given the context of use. As we saw earlier. p. . Assigning a sign a referent is only possible if we have access to both the sign and the object to which it is to refer... we must be able to refer.. but here is a representative quote: "This simply states in mathematical language the intuitive fact that to single out a correspondence between two domains one needs independent access to both domains.. . And to understand a language we must be able to determinately apply it. is committed to a theory in which understanding is determined by use.. therefore....... p. this seems to be a result of retaining a view of representation as something that signs or objects do. This is the second premise of Putnam's argument.. is that we never have access to the world. (Putnam 1977..... albeit only with our interpretation.... but it still lacks an interpretation. if the object is taken as a representation it will form a veil or barrier between us and reality." (Putnam 1981.reference of the terms... doesn't determine reference. 24) Putnam..... on the perspective we talked ourselves into. The reference of a set of symbols must be determined by a program of use in which the symbol is assigned an extension by us.. has a full program of use.. To understand a language is to be able to use it.... This is simply a result of the recognition that objects or symbols don't interpret themselves. that is. 74) The central premise of his argument. We must have immediate access to each of these. or.. we assign them a referent.7 Signs gain their reference by our interpretation... If the use... then...

As an indication of this consider this quote in which Putnam explains how he bases his semantics on constructive. intuitionist mathematics and how this avoids the model theoretic problems: 'Objects' in constructive mathematics are given through descriptions. of course disappears in Putnam's theory because objects become constructions within the theory. We will never see the world. so to speak. of the description of the model) has certain constructive properties is what is asserted and all that is asserted by saying the model 'exists'. In short. they will stand as intermediary objects between us and the world. when they are situated in an act of representing) We have already seen (in section two above) how important this premise is to Putnam's model theoretic argument. and sense is given through verification procedures and not through truth conditions. Objects and signs only have representative powers when we are using them to represent. Those descriptions do not have to be mysteriously attached to those objects by some non-natural process (or by metaphysical glue). The gap. (It should be clear by now why this is importantly wrong. It begins with the fact that we do refer determinately to objects and arrives at his ontological thesis as the only way in which this fact could be possible: . reference is given through sense. only these intermediary objects. even ones that only get their meaning through our interpretation.or. It has the form of a transcendental argument.If representations are seen as objects or signs. On the view put forward here representing is an activity of interacting with the world. p. Given these three premises we can now make a rough reconstruction of Putnam's argument for his ontological thesis. it never appears in the first place. rather. Rather the possibility of proving that a certain construction (the 'sense'. and it is this very same gap which Putnam's ontological thesis is a way of getting around. This what allows us to assign our signs a determinate reference. 21) It is this gap between the representations and the objects that allows the model theoretic argument to have force. (Putnam 1977. it does not form a barrier between us and the world. to which we have immediate access. The 'gap' between our theory and the 'objects' simply disappears .

signs do not intrinsically correspond to objects. it is possible to say what matches what. the situation is quite different. We have immediate access only to representations. (See Chapter Four. 2. 'Objects' do not exist independently of conceptual schemes. We do determinately refer to objects. Of course.independently of how those signs are employed and by whom. Since the objects and the signs are alike internal to the scheme of description. Therefore. this involves the assignment of a referent to our signs through their interpretation. (Putnam 1981. things as they are in themselves apart from our representation of them. But a sign that is actually employed in a particular way by a particular community of users can correspond to particular objects within the conceptual scheme of those users.1. 4. The theory of representation provided here does away with the veil of ideas making premise four false and allowing for an alternative way of explaining reference. the world apart from our description cannot already have structure apart from our activity. We have no immediate access to noumena. 3. it is the fourth premise above that I will take issue with. In an internalist view also. we spoon it out into . We can only assign a referent to a sign if we have immediate access to both the sign and the referent. The objects are constructs within the fully interpreted theory: For an internalist like myself.) In a transcendental argument such as this the presentation of an alternative explanation of the fact with which the argument starts is a serious objection. p.8 In Putnam's theory there is no problem of reference. We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description. since the conclusion only follows if it is the only explanation of that fact. 5. Reference must be fixed by us through our use. The objects to which we determinately refer must be internal to our system of representations. 53) Since we cut up the world by describing it. The world as it is in itself is a bowl of mush. If it only makes sense to talk of objects within a scheme of description. then there are no objects in the world as it is apart from our conceptual activity.

Thus. (Putnam 1976. Putnam.. 138) If the world we refer to with all its structure is a construct of ours within our theories....9 This is a view Putnam calls ontological relativity.... This..... The world that we refer to is of our own making. I would modify Kant's image in two ways. pp. Putnam uses as a metaphor a play in which we are both an actor and author: Kant's image was of knowledge as a 'representation' . seems committed to an Oatmeal theory of Reality.objects ourselves. But these are true stories... Putnam considers the possibility that someone might respond to his arguments by saying that we refer in virtue of some correspondence relation to noumenal objects.... in the last chapter. The authors (in the plural my image of knowledge is social) don't just write one story: they write many versions. A fictitious character can't also be a real author. but that there is no one privledged or intended reference relation..... Putnam could be expected to be unable to understand a position where the properties by which we describe an object don't automatically apply to the object. and that there are essential properties (Putnam 1981a). Where under different theories you have the same object or part of the world characterized differently. And the authors in the stories are the real authors. Putnam attacks the notion that there is a 'ready-made world' (Putnam 1981a). that there are self-identifying objects (Putnam 1981. This is just how Putnam responds: ... rejects the very fact from which Putnam's argument begins... The author is me...... 53-54). On this view reference turns out not to be determinate. instead of having a different object in virtue of the new theory. ....a kind of play.. I need to first consider a passage that may seem at first to argue against the interpretation of Putnam's ontological thesis given above. p. to a critique of internalism and a defense of the view of representation presented in Part Two... then. then the noumenal world cannot have any structure by itself... What we call the 'world' and what we call 'objects'. Before going on... so that in different models or theories a term may have a different reference. of course. This would be 'crazy' if these stories were fictions.. must be constructs in our theories and not the mush of the noumenal world... But the author also appears as a character in the play (like a Pirandello play)...... therefore.

The world that we refer to is neither a noumenal world with built in structure. essences. they are descriptions of the constructed world within our theory. xiii) This should be read as arguing that the thing we call the 'world' is not the noumenal world. I know what tables are and what cats are and what black holes are. it is the world as constructed within our representational systems. however. It is interesting to note the motivation of Putnam's rejection of ontological relativity. cannot be accepted. (Putnam 1983. 'built-in' structure. but the world as constructed within our theory. Consider the argument in the quote above from "Realism and Reason" (Putnam 1976). leads to the metaphysical fantasy of a 'ready-made world'.. It seems that . with self-identifying objects. p. then are not descriptions of THE WORLD. leads to the metaphysical fantasy of a 'noumenal' world. If one cannot say how THE WORLD is theoryindependently. or whatever. because to do so would turn the notion of an object into a totally metaphysical notion. xiii) Here Putnam explicitly rejects the interpretation that his rejection of ontological relativity leads him to accept a world with built-in structure. nor a noumenal world with no structure. without trying to 'fix' any particular one as the intended correspondence between word and object.. then the trouble with this entire discussion must lie at a deeper level. I cannot accept it for my own language. 133) These theories. and the modified picture of the mind or brain simply accepting a whole lot of different correspondences. then talk of all these theories as descriptions of 'the world' is empty. p. (Putnam 1976. p. But what am I to make of the notion of an X which is a table or a cat or a black hole (or the number three or . a mere 'thing in itself'. the noumenal world. so many properties of THE WORLD .. for it reveals much about the motivation of his internalism in general.. with no determinate relation to our experiential world.)? An object that has no properties at all in itself and any property you like 'in a model' is an inconceivable Ding an sich. (Putnam 1983. turn out to be 'theory relative' that THE WORLD ends up as a Kantian 'noumenal' world..This doctrine. Here are some quotes that indicate this as the correct reading: The fact is. It should not be taken as an admission that things in themselves have structure after all.. Putnam also says: If the picture of the language user that we have thus far discussed .

) Of course. really do apply to them. (Putnam 1976. He would have liked to have accepted them. the fact that objects mirror the structure of our representations. The properties that we represent an object as having really are in the object. 53-54). 220) and a version of self-identifying objects (Putnam 1981. Putnam's substance-attribute metaphysics. pp. yet he could not stand a theory on which we could refer to the world but not say how it was. Whatever objects are. "If one cannot say how THE WORLD is theory-independently. the very properties we ascribe to them in our representations. the properties that we refer to it by are really true of it. in particular. 133) Strange as it may seem. but this is only because Putnam had become convinced the versions of essentialism open to the externalist could not work because of the nature of reference and the veil of ideas. p. as Putnam says. the properties we apply to them. as he did before he was convinced that they didn't work. infer that this metaphysics is simply an implication of Putnam's internalism. one of the main assumptions behind Putnam's internalism is something like a subject-predicate or substance-attribute metaphysics. His rejection of ontological relativity shows that. therefore. it turned out that internal realism was the best he could do. Putnam was trying to be as good an essentialist as he could. is simply a result of the fact that objects are constructs within our representational systems constructed in accordance with our theories. ontological relativity10. the perspectivist fallacy. Thus. as we describe or represent them. He had an alternative to internalism. Objects really do have properties. then talk of all these theories as descriptions of 'the world' is empty. We should also discuss how Putnam's essentialism is caused by the retention of the physical-visual model of representation and. p. The structure of reality really does mirror the structure of our language or representations. Rather. it is a pre-assumption of Putnam's that leads to his Internalism. but . (He is quick to point out that this is not in a sense of any use to the externalist.the position that Putnam wants to retain at all costs is whatever it is that we refer to. But we should not. he does hold a version of essentialism (Putnam 1981a.

nor does he give an account of how this is possible on his theory. p. Assigning a sign the set of objects of which it is true does no explain how we come to understand the sign as referring to those objects. 85. p. then the same part of the world may be split up into different objects according to the model used. It only need be shown that if it were true then reference would be possible. 10 9 8 7 6 5 This is the alternative. Chapter Three for an excellent account of how this approach was seen to be mistaken. xi and Putnam 1981. is always determinate. The only reason one would have to believe that truth would be convergent would be that internalism is false and that all theories are constrained to converge by reference to common external objects. Also see Putnam 1981a. This is the position I will defend in Chapter Nine. but the number of models that can be applied to that part of the world will be limited. let us continue this discussion in Chapter Nine. It is not surprising that Putnam should be inconsistent on this point. Therefore. 207 for a similar quote. pp. Also see Putnam 1981. internal realism is incoherent at just the point where it tries to combine a realist theory of truth with an internal theory of justification. 97-119 for an account of this.this leads us into a critique of Putnam's assumptions from the point of view of the theory of representation presented here. which is inconsistent with a Representational Model of Epistemology. p. I will question whether it is consistent with his internalism and its Oatmeal theory of reality. 46 for a similar admission with respect to Hartry Field's causal theory. p. If one admits that the world does have intrinsic structure. such as the one sketched here. . I will defend in the section on properties and objects in Chapter Nine. Along with this recognition came the realization that a truth functional account of language understanding was inadequate. In fact. That is. since. It may be Quine's position that an object may be anything at all depending on the model applied to it (I am unsure even of this. and the world will constrain those models. 45-46. a God's eye view. This allows there to be some knowledge without requiring complete knowledge. but this is certainly not essential to the position. or a representation that isn't a representation. the reference of signs or objects taken as representations is not determinate. Also see Putnam 1983. An almost identical quote is at Putnam 1983. as I shall argue in the last chapter. See Putnam 1981. of course. See "Reference and Understanding" in Putnam 1978. 1 Such an alternative would require a theory of representation. will not attack Putnam on this point of his theory. that allows for there to be objective. pp. It should be noted that Putnam was quite unfair in his presentation of ontological relativity. 2 3 4 It should be noted that Putnam never gives a positive account of what the internal realist way of allowing the objective nature of the environment or experiential input constrain knowledge. I. however. my alternative need not be shown to be true to refute the argument.). The use of a sign in a particular act of representing. true representation from particular perspectives.

If I were inclined to name the type of realism defended here (one most often names a position in order to attack it). by its very nature. Intuitive Realism. Let me review them quickly: It was assumed that representations were objects or signs that gained their reference through our interpretation of them. Second. I will begin my consideration of the implications of an alternative theory of representation by looking at how the theory can be used in a critique of the assumptions that lead to Putnam's realism. is incomplete. 9. It was . Third.1 (Rorty 1982) I would take three central theses as characterizing intuitive realism. it can be objective and true.CHAPTER IX REPRESENTATION AND REALISM In this final chapter I will attempt to spell out the epistemological implications of the theory of representation presented in this dissertation and see what type of realism it tends to support. It is a rehabilitation of intuition as an essential form of knowledge. First. so far as it goes. I would use the name Richard Rorty applies to the views of Thomas Nagel.1: Putnam and the Perspectivist Fallacy We saw in Chapter Eight some of the main assumptions that led to Putnam's internal realism were. since we know the world only by representing it. although knowledge from particular perspectives is necessarily incomplete.) Not all knowledge is reflective. By intuition I mean any knowledge or representation from a single perspective. (I believe this is generally what we mean by intuition in both the Kantian and everyday senses. involving the comparison of different perspectives. because its main thesis is that objective knowledge is possible from particular perspectives. and the possibility of any knowledge at all rests upon knowledge from particular perspectives. the world that we talk about has a nature independent of our characterization of it. our knowledge. It seems to me that the term Intuitive Realism is appropriate.

132) We saw that this was due to his position on reference. he assumed that the properties or characteristics in our representation of objects really do belong to the object. he abandoned externalism. We also saw that Putnam assumed something like a subject-predicate or substance-attribute metaphysics. this story may retain THE WORLD but at the price of giving up any intelligible notion of how THE WORLD is. In particular. that we have no direct access to the world.." (Putnam 1976. through our representations. It arises from a misunderstanding of what representations are and how they function. the things to which we refer must be within our representational systems. and when faced with the choice of abandoning self-identifying objects and accepting ontological relativity or abandoning externalism." (Putnam 1976. He says: ". it is a misunderstanding of representational selfreference.assumed that we only experience representations. It seems an obvious fact that we do determinately refer. Putnam states the thesis in this way: "If one cannot say how THE WORLD is theory independently. Therefore. then objective knowledge will be seen to a require a step outside of the present representation to other representations from different perspectives. He was committed to some version of self-identifying objects. as these properties are represented. that they cannot represent by their intrinsic similarity to their objects. Putnam diagnoses the problem well and traces it back to Occam: . it depends upon the thesis that if a representation is from a particular perspective. that is. then all talk of these theories as descriptions of 'the world' is empty. then it cannot refer to anything outside of that perspective. This argument depends for its force upon the strong version of the perspectivist fallacy.. It is essentially a result of taking representations to be objects or signs. Once one sees that such objects cannot guarantee their own correspondence to the world. and we could not be referring if we contact objects only mediately. p. p. 133) We saw earlier that the perspectivist fallacy is a result of the attempt to make representations come alive.

. Putnam's version of the perspectivist fallacy is his argument that reference requires independent access to both the sign and its referent. .3 Objects do not determine their own relation to the world. 126-127) The point at which the physical-visual model of representation begins to unravel is representational self-reference. but a representation of the relation between the representation itself and the object. Therefore.. We saw. with the insight that knowledge is not just true belief. It was quickly seen that self-justifying representations were impossible on the traditional model.2 With this the problem of representational self-reference becomes central. Occam introduced the idea that concepts are (mental) particulars. Justification always requires another representation. is traceable back to Occam. so reference requires a representation of both the sign and its object in which the sign can be assigned to the object or interpreted. (Putnam 1976. pp. If concepts are particulars ('signs'). it cannot represent its own relation to its object. however. that if representing is seen as an activity of interaction with the world then it becomes possible to understand how there can be self-justifying . A sign cannot determine its own referent. but true justified belief. or by holding up yet another sign. which itself requires justification. from my point of view. the traditional model of representation begins to run into problems with the Platonic distinction between opinion and knowledge. and where one begins to be concerned with justification. how the sort of relation the metaphysical realist envisages as holding between a sign and its object can be singled out either by holding up the sign itself . where one begins to be concerned with the relation between the representation itself and the object. in a way.. there can be no knowledge from particular perspectives or representations on the traditional view.. then any concept we may have of the relation between a sign and its object is another sign. As Rorty saw so well. it cannot justify itself. and when they are taken to be representations they form a barrier between the knower and the world. But it is unintelligible. Since a sign cannot determine its own relation to its object. justification always requires another representation from other perspectives.The problem. Knowledge requires not just a representation of the object.

The perspectivist fallacy. to put it more precisely. Thus. they are not seen as symbols. they cannot justify themselves. Therefore. representations are seen as acts involving an interaction between the subject and the object. knowledge will always require stepping outside of one's . and the felt satisfaction represents the act of connection itself as being caused by interaction with the domain and not by the subject. since they are an act of isolating a domain by connecting modes of interaction with that domain. The connection of the modes of interaction represents the domain as their common causal locus. by connecting modes of interaction and attributing them to the object as their common causal origin. because the representation is seen as an activity and not an object.representations. but they also represent the relation between the act of representing itself and the world. on this view. or active tendencies to connect modes of interaction with the world. then. all representations are inherently self-referential. Thus. because they involve causal interaction with the domain to which they refer in which the tendency they express can be satisfied or frustrated. is mainly a misunderstanding of how representations work due to taking physical objects or symbols as a model for representation. because they are the expression of teleological tendencies that aim at their completion. by being an act of connection that can be caused by the interaction with the world. and that interaction with a domain of interest in an act of representing could reinforce or inhibit the connections made by the concept in a way that was felt as satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the tendency. Rather. Representations as described in Part Two not only represent an object. On this view objective knowledge is possible from within a single representation. Since such representations cannot come alive and determine their own interpretation. They refer to themselves. And they can justify themselves. they can interpret themselves (or. they are acts of interpretation). This is possible because representations are not seen as objects or static entities that somehow are put in some relation to objects. We saw that representation involved the application of concepts.

The view here is that all knowing is through representing and that representation from particular perspectives can be objective and forms the basis of all our knowledge. (Making objects internal to the representational system allows non-self-referential representations to refer. is due to a failure to see how representations can be (and essentially are) self-referential. This view implies that our knowledge is limited in two ways: First. Truth.) Before we see how this last ditch effort itself fails. His internalism comes about as a last ditch effort to save a model of representation and the determination of reference that his own arguments show to be deficient. The properties we perceive are the felt modifications that the object produces in us.perspective and forming a more general representation. The perspectivist fallacy. we never know objects as they are in themselves. then. This is essentially the problem with Putnam's argument that determinate reference requires independent access to both sign and object. and Generality One of the most important implications of the view presented here is that our knowledge is essentially incomplete. This view also holds that the content of all representation lies in the connections made within it. let us see some more implications of the view of representation presented here and how it requires a revision of some of the presuppositions that led to the dilemma faced by the traditional model. Since they include the interaction of subject and object. We can only . he makes the self-reference that is essential to representation impossible. But representations are not objects and they interpret themselves. 9. they can contain their own justification. not in the properties that are connected. rather than as an alternative account of representation. By taking representations to be objects (even objects that are only interpreted by us). it makes no sense to attribute them to objects themselves. We can only know objects as the causal locus of some set of properties.2: Representation.

But it is only representations that are selfjustifying. But it turns out that truth (by itself) is not very important. Generalizability requires the differentiation of essential connections from contingent ones. One of the main sources of the traditional model of representation and the troubles that go along with it is the tendency to see this limitation as a problem with representation. though true and objective. if what you want is to control and predict the world. only they co-respond with the domain with which they are interacting.know that certain domains have causal powers which are manifested as the properties we feel. The truth of a representation guarantees only that the connection made is caused by the interaction with the present domain. one . There is no way of being sure that our concepts will always produce satisfaction whenever they are applied to other domains. they connect properties as stemming from a particular interaction with a domain. or tendencies to represent certain domains in certain ways. Only representations are true. does not mean they will be so connected in other domains. Just because two properties were connected in one domain. it does not distinguish between those connections which are contingent and those that are necessary. one needs to know more than just whether a particular instance of the type of food was bad to eat one time.) Second. Generalizability is not a matter of truth of representation. All generality is a matter of concepts. (and most important for this section) a representation from a particular perspective. Just because my representation of the cat as being on the mat is true now. But this is not a matter of the correspondence of any particular representation with the domain with which it interacts. is tied to that perspective and cannot necessarily be generalized to other perspectives. only they can correspond to the world. does not mean it will be true five minutes from now. (This limitation is the topic of the next section. What is important for the purpose of controlling the world is the ability to apply the connections one has made in the past to present situations in the correct way. In order to know which foods are bad to eat or poisonous. One of the sources of epistemological dilemmas is the confusion of generality with truth. All representations are particular.

Let us call the first type of tendency representing tendencies and the second type referring tendencies. will tend to become generalizable. therefore. is limited to those perspectives and domains that we can isolate out given our modes of interaction with the world. Generalizability. Our knowledge. The world only determinately constrains us in particular acts of representing. The possibility of this will rest on our ability to have true representations. It is a result of the fact that representations are interactions with the world. but the generalizability of concepts is not truth. Generalizability is something we arrive at only due to pragmatic considerations. rests upon the ability to form concepts in which the representing tendencies are connected with referring tendencies that lead to interaction with domains in which the connections made by the representing tendencies are satisfied. our knowledge will be limited by the ways in which we can contact the world through our bodies and sense organs. then. The attempt to . The attempt to transcend these limitations leads to the problems of a perspectivist model of objectivity. Our concepts are constrained by the world only insofar as they lead to these acts. Our knowledge is inherently limited in this respect. Remember that concepts involve tendencies to connect certain properties and they also involve sets of tendencies to orient our bodies so as to directly refer to certain domains. then concepts. This is the confusion of generalizability with truth. Since representations are ways of interacting with the world. It is a matter of having concepts which tend to produce true representations. Since representations are embodied on this view. It is a result of our tendency to reinforce connections that produce satisfaction. the generalizability of their application in concepts will be constrained by the way they are embodied. It is not a result of a veil of ideas that stands between us and the world.needs to know if the bad symptoms are essentially connected to that type of food. If we imagine that concepts tend to reinforce those tendencies that produce satisfaction. But this is not due to a failure of our representations. This not a matter of having a true representation. in their normal operation.

The price of this. Retaining the distinction between truth and generality (that is. in the end. The only source of objectivity. This will involve seeing what view of properties and objects these views lead to. then the particular perspectives upon which these general truths rest are worthless as foundations. but since these are merely subjective on this view. 9. makes it necessary to see truth and objectivity as things that must be independent of particular perspectives and ways of interacting with the world. Therefore.see representation as something that goes on by itself. Only then is it possible to see how we can have general knowledge (concepts that are generalizable) that rest upon objective foundations (true particular representations). the distinction between representations and concepts) is essential. This attempt to identify generality with truth is self-defeating. they cannot be objective or true. If. on this view. is the admission that our knowledge is necessarily limited by the modes of representing allowed by our type of embodiment. The incoherence of the image I used for the perspectivist model is instructive here. is particular interactions with the world (only in these interactions are the connections made by our concepts constrained by the world). For particular perspectives and acts of representing cannot be general. we are left without any source of objectivity but internal constraints.3: Properties and Objects We have seen that Putnam is committed to a substance-attribute ontology. We have seen that on this view the content of representations lies in the connections . however. you are taking away the foundations of the platform rather than strengthening it. however. In attempting to so increase the number of posts holding up a platform that the amount of weight supported by any one becomes zero. We now need to see what type of ontology is required by the view presented here. apart from our embodiment and interaction with the world. only completely general representations can be true or objective.

which have become commonplace since Berkeley and Hume. Insofar as these statements have objective content. however. to objects. There are two reasons. such as the other ones that allow you to pick out roses or certain wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation. therefore. properties are tied to particular modes of interaction and the particular sensory and bodily connections that define those modes of interaction. We saw that this was due to our ability. with different sensory organs. we are not attributing redness to noumenal roses nor identifying it with a property that the object has independently of any mode of interaction.made within them and not in the properties which are connected. through our concepts. the same properties can be felt in the absence of interaction with the object (through imagination and memory). the property redness is the felt character of interactions with certain types of objects through our eyes and the neural apparatus connected with them. Nor. For example. For these reasons. to stimulate modes of interaction independently of their activation from peripheral neurons. Second. it does not make sense to attribute properties. or the way an object feels in a particular mode of interaction with it. The same objects manifest different properties when interacted with according to different modes. it lies in the connections made between redness and other properties. For example. we say that roses are red or that redness is a particular wavelength of light. We sometimes talk as if we are attributing properties to objects. Properties are simply the felt character of an interaction with a particular domain through a particular mode of interaction. Rather we are connecting redness up with . There is no reason to consider these properties as parts or attributes of the object. why it does not make sense to attribute properties to objects themselves and not just to our interactions with them: First. In making these statements. or as if we take properties as expressing objective characteristics of objects. does it make sense to take the properties connected in a representation as part of its content. Different organisms from different perspectives with different sensory apparatus will perceive different properties.

for it allows us to have knowledge of objects as they really are. If representations must be similar to their objects in order to represent. They are not single properties. It is also a fortunate misreading. Furthermore. they are ways of representing objects as being the common causal locus of two sets of properties. (This explains why primary properties. There is no reason to think that the structure of the object mirrors the structure of our sensory apparatus. usually visual and tactile. Thus representing often involves connecting one set of dispositions to enter into acts of referring (the subject) with another set of dispositions to represent a domain in a certain way (the predicate). This misreading is one that would be natural for one who held that representation occurs through the intrinsic similarity of the representation to its object. on this view. if representations generally have a subject-predicate structure. that the properties we perceive objects to have through our . it is simply representing the domain as the common cause of the set of properties. then objects must have a similar structure in order for our representations to mirror them. which are manifested by more than one sensory mode. For it so happens. The properties themselves are simply the felt effect of the activation of our modes of interaction by the domain. The subject-predicate structure of some representations. The substance-attribute metaphysics seems to be due to a misreading of the significance of the structure of representation.properties manifested through other modes of interaction. then the properties that make up representations must have their counterparts in the objects. however. Rather it results from the fact that the reference of our representations must be determined independently of the correctness of our representations in order to allow for the growth and correctability of our representations. This does not involve attributing the properties involved in the predicate to the domain. does not reflect the necessity of mirroring a world with a substance-attribute ontology.) A substance-attribute or subject-predicate metaphysics is tied up with the physicalvisual model of representation. were sometimes taken to be objective.

) Unfortunately. a view that would not work even if it were possible. . The price of retaining this is to make the world a construct of our concepts. Domains must either be or fail to be the common causal locus of properties connected in acts of representing. The view of representation given here requires that the world have structure apart from our representation of it. however. (In Plato and Aristotle. to mirror the world with our representations. He chooses an Oatmeal theory of the noumenal world in order to retain objects with properties and the ability to refer to them. rather than attributes that inhere in the object and which produce images of themselves on our senses. To be an object on this view is not to be a substrate with various properties. the world is seen as containing universals to become more like our concepts. it is simply to be the common causal ground of a set of properties (on this view. although it does require a reinterpretation of what the world is in order to allow this. The properties are causal effects on the subject seen as springing from a common source. We now need to see what view of objects one can have if one gives up substance-attribute metaphysics. even though the substance in which these properties inheres becomes a mysterious 'something I know not what'. This implication of the view makes it powerfully attractive for those like Plato and Aristotle. is giving up our ability to know the world as it is. The world must have sufficient structure to constrain the connections made in acts of representing in order for this view to work. For this model makes possible a knowledge of how the world really is.senses really do inhere in the object. these properties are the felt character of the interaction with a domain according to certain modes). The price of giving up a substance-attribute ontology. as Putnam sees. in Kant and Putnam the world become a construct of our concepts in order to allow determinate reference or objective validity for our concepts. who take the fact that we have knowledge of the world as given or as a starting point. the only reason to hold such an ontology would be if one held that we represent through the similarity of our representations to their objects. or Kant and Putnam.

as a domain connecting properties in a way discontinuous with its environment) will depend on how one is interacting with the domain. on this view.. There is a substantial structure that defines the object upon which attributes can be pinned. objects are defined by the set of properties of which they are the common causal origin. The very nature of representation. A domain which is an object causally reinforces the connection of modes of interaction in a way in which the environment surrounding that domain does not. A domain may connect one set of modes in a way that is discontinuous with the environment. a completely transparent object is continuous with the environment with respect to interaction by sight.e. however. But this makes the definition of objects dependent upon the modes of interaction operating. An opaque gas may be just the opposite: continuous with respect to touch and discontinuous with respect to sight. (At least not by means of these tactile interactions. Representing is the . Objects are discovered through representation. We take things like doors and desks to be objects because our bodies are so structured so that our bodily interactions with these connect properties in a way discontinuous with the environment.On the substance-attribute view. For example. On the view advanced here. But this is not so because objects are constructed by us in the act of representation. To be an object on this view is simply to be the common causal nexus of the activation of a set of modes of interaction. while discontinuous with respect to touch. while the way it connects another different set of modes of interaction may be completely continuous with the environment. precludes an Oatmeal theory of reality. not constructed.) Whether a domain is recognized as an object depends on how one interacts with it. What is recognized as an object (i. objects are defined independently of the particular properties they manifest. Discontinuities in the connections between properties experienced in interaction with domains is what defines objects. But a Martian whose body structure allowed it to pass as effortlessly through material objects as we pass through air would not recognize the same objects as us.

Concepts are tendencies that aim at their own satisfaction. which is to say that there is no substrate (a substrate that changes with the properties is a contradiction in terms). Which ones are picked out depends on the modes of interaction with the domain. then to say the world has mindindependent structure is to say that there are mind independent objects. though structured. Within a single domain there are many possible objects. This. The exercise of our concepts in acts of representing is our access to objects. It may not have a substance-attribute structure. Objects are defined by closed discontinuities in the causal powers of the world. they will not construct objects that frustrate them. The objects that we perceive objectively must be independent of our perception of them. of course. We experience the structure of the world only through its causal effects on us. the objects exist apart from our perception of them. only the myriad of structures that connect the various modes of interaction. A world that constrains our conceptual activity in this way must have structure. The properties define the substrate. the concepts determine only which of the pre-existing objects will be perceived. Yet. If to say that the world has structure is to say that there are discontinuities in its causal powers that from closed regions of space-time. does not cut itself into exclusive discrete and isolated units. It is not to say that there are determinate substrates onto which properties are grouped. does not mean that we have some non-conceptual access to objects. The satisfaction or frustration of particular representations is unintelligible apart from the constraint of external objects with structure. To say that the world consists of objects is simply to say that there are discontinuities in the way the world connects the various causal effects it has on us. and the objects we perceive depends upon what concepts we use. This is what it means to say that we know only by representing. but a world in which domains connect modes of interaction in ways that are discontinuous has structure.product of concepts which are tendencies that can be satisfied or frustrated. The world. The objects or closed discontinuities of .

One needs simply to interact with the world in ways that allow the discovery of these objects. One simply had to approach them in the right way to discover the structure. This view certainly abandons any possibility of knowing how the world is apart from its causal effects on us. In the same way. These pairs intersect each other at various angles. while hiding others from view.the causal powers of the world overlap in space and time. There are a number of pairs of parallel rows of lights. If one views these lights from ground level on a plane moving into position to take off. What objects one recognizes depends on the modes of interaction one has with the world. We isolate certain of these objects or closed discontinuities by representing the world according to only some of the possible modes of interaction with it. These structures are not created by the perspectives or by our activity. It is a reluctance to admit that the world may have a structure that our representations cannot mirror that accounts for the resistance to ontological relativity. It seems that this is basically what science does: it attempts to find new ways of approaching the world in order to get it to show its structure. As one moves to a position where one's line of sight is close to parallel to a runway. An image that I find helpful in understanding this view is of the runway lights of a large airport at night. in which lie the possibility of the discovery of many objects. they appear only as a tangled clump of lights as long as one is not looking in a direction close to parallel to any of the runways. they were always there. the structure of the runway emerges. each pair defining a runway. changing perspectives. As one moves around the airport. the world contains many discontinuities or structures. The view presented here is essentially a version of the ontological relativity that Putnam rejected because it retained the world while abandoning any intelligible notion of how the world is. different structures appear and disappear from view. A pair of parallel rows of lights pops out from the morass of lights. Yet the knowledge we have of how the world from its causal . That perspective on the airport allows one to see that runway.

Our empirical knowledge certainly seems to support the view that the world has a structure. This is certainly knowledge of how the world is. The second line of defense is to point out the incoherence of the alternatives. I have been explaining what ontological views are presupposed by the views of this dissertation. Yet simple points such as these. The next section explores the inadequacies of internalist views in more detail. If one thinks that we experience the world directly through representing it. If there were no cognizers around to provide the world with sufficient structure to produce objects it is unclear how anything could happen. any theory of the origin of the universe or of the planet Earth. then our experience will tell us about the world and not just our representations. 9.effects tells us what discontinuities there are in the world and what properties are connected as causal powers of the domains defined by these discontinuities. including the genesis of structures that made those cognizers possible. The first type of defense is empirical. not of things as they are in themselves. But this objection has force only if one thinks that what we experience are representations. There are two possible defenses of such ontological views. when taken seriously. almost all our theories imply the existence of objects with structure apart from our activity. seem to me to show the incoherence of internalist views.4: Inadequacies of Internalism . In particular. The standard objection to this defense is that empirical knowledge is only knowledge of experience. (Take. We have gone a long way towards discovering some of that structure. Views about how the world is apart from our representation of it cannot be defended by arguments concerning the nature of representation. It is at least enough for efficient control and adaptation to the world. for example. an internalist view holds that the world has no structure and contains no objects apart from our activity. Yet. In this section.) This point is so simple it almost seems to be in bad taste to bring it up.

Internalism attempts to solve the problem of reference by making the things referred to a part of the representational system. p. is self-referentially incoherent. Second. The arguments I use will be aimed at Putnam's internal realism. whether to objects or other words. as long as they still view representations as objects or signs. that objects are constructs within representational systems. so that a veil of ideas does not make it impossible to fix reference." (Putnam 1981. This solution seems plausible only as long as one doesn't attempt to get clear about what a scheme of description is and how reference is fixed within such a scheme. it is possible to say what matches what. All of these defects of internalism arise because it retains the very model of representation whose inadequacies led to the abandonment of external models of objectivity. I will argue that internalism. and especially Putnam's internal realism. Putnam diagnoses the problem about reference to external objects in this way: . These criticisms center on the internalist claims that objectivity is a matter of internal constraints. but most of them apply to other forms of internalism as well. 52) Reference becomes fixed by us by assigning our signs referents within our representational system through our interpretation of the signs. It still sees representations as objects or symbols or other static entities even though it sees that it is impossible for such things to represent apart from our activity. It has trouble explaining both how it can be possible and how it can be true without implying its own falsity.In this section I argue for the view of representation and its role in knowledge presented here by pointing out the inadequacies of its major rival. "Since the objects and the signs are alike internal to the scheme of description. I will argue that internalist views fare no better than externalist views in explaining how determinate reference is fixed. and that determinate reference of our concepts is possible because our concepts are active in the construction of their objects and have their application or reference fixed in this process. internalism. The criticisms fall into two main groups: First.

For how a determinate reference relation is determined between signs and other signs or objects within the system is just as much a problem as it was for external objects. p. How it is that unique reference relations are determined between signs and objects remains a problem whether the objects in question are external noumena or other symbols within the system. it was due to the fact that no object or symbol intrinsically represents any other object apart from situation in an act of interpretation. or constructed objects in a conceptual schemes. Here is the mind/brain carrying on its thinking/computing. i. For we could always make alternative interpretations that satisfied all the internal. the problem remains. formal constraints of the system. How do the thinker's symbols (or those of his mind/brain) get into a unique correspondence with objects and sets of objects out there. Of course we can assign a determinate reference in an act of interpretation. it only allows us to assign or make connections between items in our interpretations. (Putnam 1981. sets of physical objects or events that can be taken to stand for something else. cats. a problem with our view of representation caused the veil of ideas. The veil of ideas did not cause a problem for representation. take any of Putnam's model theoretic arguments and let the alternative models consist of signs within the system rather than external objects. Such schemes can only be sets of symbols.As we have seen. Simply being internal to the same representational systems does not establish any unique relationship between items.e. There are no built in semantic relations between objects whether the objects are cows. For the problem with representing external objects was not due to the fact that they were external. linguistic symbols. 51) If one substitutes "other symbols" for "objects" in the above quote. the problem is this: there are these objects out there.. mats. One can be comforted by the assurance that the other symbols or objects are internal to the scheme of description only if one does not worry too much about what such a scheme is. To see that this is so. but the determinacy of the reference lies . Our interpretation of the signs does not establish any determinate relation between them either.

in the act of interpretation. there is nothing but convention to make one interpretation preferable to another. This is true of subsets of a single system as well. Different symbol systems can be mapped onto each other in different ways while retaining the isomorphism required by their formal structures. there will be too many alternative relationships. the act does not impart any special properties to the object that allow it to refer determinately in the future. not in the object. This is exactly what Putnam's use of the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem shows: that even in cases where there can be some relation between sign and object. If the representation is taken to be a physical object then. even when we do have access to both object and representation. The object itself is indifferent as to how it is interpreted. But the problem did not lie in the veil of ideas. there is indeterminacy of semantic relations within single languages as well. there will be too many different alternative interpretations. This only shows that an act of interpretation has determinate reference. But on internal grounds alone. The fact that within a system we can agree by convention on an interpretation does not determine a unique reference relation between the symbols of the system. not that the symbol system does. but in the view of representations as physical objects. no determinate reference is established. Instead Putnam concludes that if only objects were internal to our representational systems we could make symbols come alive by picking out a preferred interpretation for them. the interpretation is wholly a matter of convention. Within the constraints imposed by the formal structure of the symbol system. There can always be alternative interpretations of the system. Putnam thought he could solve the problem of reference by doing away with the veil of ideas between representation and object. An example of the application of model theoretic arguments to symbol systems is the indeterminacy of translation. The moral of the model theoretic argument should have been that representations are acts rather than objects. The determinacy of reference lasts only as long as the act of interpretation. Thus even in cases where we can determinately interpret our symbols. .

54) There is no determinate relationship between any particular representation and the world. however. there is no semantic relation between representations and the external world it is not clear how interaction with this world can constrain the representations. (Putnam 1981. Internalism. p. this constraint takes the form of experiential "input". on the internalist view.This is what the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem shows whether the models are taken to consist of external objects or other symbols. to see how an entire representational system has a determinate relation to the world in which it can be constrained than it is in the case of a particular representation. The problem of how the external world can provide constraints to our knowledge without there being a determinate relationship between our representations and this external world becomes even more acute when one considers how it is that we construct objects or cut the world up by the application of our concepts.4 It is even more difficult to understand what guides the application of particular concepts to particular situations. It is no more easy. If there is no structure to the world apart from the activity of our concepts then why cannot any concept be applied in any situation? And if there is no determinate reference relationship between concepts and the world then what determines . In Putnam. Another inadequacy of internalism is that it does not avoid the problem that it set out to avoid: the problem of the relation of representations to extra-representational reality. It simply puts the problem off. The way that internalism avoids charges of total relativism and idealism is to retain the notion of an external world that somehow constrains our knowledge. It is difficult to understand how concepts are formed from experience since there is no determinate relation between the concepts and the world nor any intrinsic structure to the world which can constrain their formation. by making the basic unit of meaning the whole conceptual system rather than the particular representation. does not solve the problem of the relation of representations to the external world. This process is left completely obscure by Putnam. Since. Instead the world has input into and constrains the entire representational system as a whole.

138) While this is an intriguing and powerful image. one that requires concepts. He compares his version of internalism to a play in which the author is also a character in the play. Yet there are two classes of objects of which this cannot be true: subjects and conceptual schemes.their application in particular situations? The cornerstone of any internalist theory is the claim that objects are constructed by the activity of concepts upon unstructured reality. and these concepts cannot themselves be the result of the making activity which they structure. An examination of the status of the subject and the symbol system itself makes the incoherence involved in internalism clearer. but it seems impossible to give an intelligible account of how this could occur without ascribing some structure to reality and allowing some determinate reference relation between this structure and our concepts. according to internalism. if one tries to take it seriously one finds that it doesn't make sense. The seeming impossibility of making clear such a central tenet of internalism suggests that there may be an internal incoherency involved in the view. yet it retains a view of the role of representation in knowledge that can only make sense if the traditional model of representation works. p. just as the transcendental ego and the categories had to have special status for Kant. All construction of objects requires the application of pre-existing concepts. Can a conceptual scheme be a construct within itself? The subject that does the cognizing and the conceptual scheme must be given some transcendental status in order for the theory to work. For the only way the view could possibly work is if it is false and there is some determinate relation between the world and our representations that allows the world to constrain our representations. (Putnam 1976. Internalism cannot be true of the concepts that make internalism itself work. It only . A subject cannot be both the maker and the thing made. All objects are constructs within conceptual schemes. The image that Putnam uses for his view betrays this incoherence. for the construction of objects is a structured activity. Internalism recognizes that the traditional view of representation cannot work.

Putnam has gone through great pains to show that alternative theories can satisfy all the operational constraints imposed by the world. The central notion of the internal realist theory of truth is idealized justification. He has shown (Plantiga 1982) that internal realism implies that there exists an ideal rational scientific community.seems to do away with ready-made objects. Let X in the definition above be the sentence "An IRS does not exist.a sentence X is true iff. The intuitions that lead to the idealization of justification as the definition of truth are inconsistent with internalism. unless there is some determinate relationship between the conceptual scheme and the world under these ideal conditions which constrains the scheme in the interaction? It turns out that the only reason one could have to believe that internal realism is true would be if it was false. This type of self-referential incoherence can also be seen in the internal realist definition of truth. Putnam explicitly denies that there could exist such a community. I will give a shorter account which illustrates the method of his proof. Internal realism can be defined in this way: IR. Putnam 1983. 55. An IRS could not accept . Alvin Plantinga has devised a graphic way of showing the incoherence of internal realism. p. p. (Putnam 1981. they can arrive at a contradiction using IR. if there were an ideal rational scientific community (IRS) it would accept X. . Why should interaction with the world under ideal conditions cause different conceptual schemes to converge. at least under ideal conditions. 84) Plantiga provides a fairly involved proof of this implication of internal realism." If one assumes this sentence to be true. in fact it requires a special class of readymade objects to become intelligible. The only reason one would believe that under ideal epistemic conditions conceptual systems will converge is if one believed that under ideal conditions conceptual systems are constrained by a common external world. What other reason could one possibly offer for such a belief?.

p. Justification does not make sense without standards of correctness or truth. for doing so would make it true. justification and the internal realist theory of truth. but it is not clear that it makes sense to talk of justification if ideal conditions do not exist. or else they collapse into mere noise making. there must be an IRS. or the nonperspectival perspective. Standards of correctness as idealized limits that are not really possible cannot play this role. only make sense if there is reason to believe that justification procedures will cause convergence. we can never arrive at conditions under which our representations can correspond to reality.this sentence. internal realism must assume ideal epistemic conditions. This proviso ultimately makes the view unintelligible as a theory of truth. in which case the IRS would not exist. As we saw. incapable of corresponding with reality. For the type of idealization involved is not like that in science. but internal realism attempts to define truth in terms of justification. Perspectivist models of objectivity seek a God's eye view. then justification cannot even make sense. as Putnam points out (Putnam 1983. the perspectivist model makes all other particular representations merely subjective. in fact. If the conditions that make convergence possible are only ideals. What this shows is that in order to be made intelligible as a theory of truth. It is not as if internal justification and representation under ideal conditions were on a . conditions under which correspondence of representations with reality is possible. It is simply the identification of true representation with the God's eye view. as an idealization. For. In identifying objectivity with the God's eye view. a representation free from the distortions introduced by the medium of representation. In this way. If. xiv). along with the proviso that the God's eye view is impossible. then talk of justification of our assertions does not make sense. Internal realism takes this to the extreme. then. By a reductio ad absurdum. not possible in reality. justification and assertion require standards of correctness. It must assume. It still makes sense to speak of friction even if frictionless planes do not exist. internal realism is true to its perspectivist roots.

continuum of which truth was the limit. internal realism only makes sense if it is false. 9. Internalism. yet we know that our nature is not dependent on these conceptions. What others think of us is one of the most powerful . Ideal epistemic conditions are not a natural extension of internal justification standards. We all know of at least one object that is not a construct within a conceptual scheme: ourselves. is incoherent both in that it requires the existence of subjects and conceptual schemes which have a ready-made structure and in that it defines truth and objectivity in terms of conditions that are ruled out as impossible by its model of representation. ideal conditions for justification only make sense if justification is not entirely internal. It is not clear how any epistemic conditions can be more or less ideal for internal justification. We are also aware that even our own conceptualizations of ourselves do not exhaust our nature. There are many aspects of ourselves of which we are not cognitively aware. The affect that this has on what we are cannot be overestimated. the way in which we conceive of ourselves is affected by other people's conception of us and by our past conception of ourselves. The first type of incoherence above is suggestive of another type of argument against internalism. Again. and we can come to learn about these in various ways. especially of realisms in which particular perspectives are seen as providing objective knowledge. then. then the conditions under which the system is applied to external reality should not be relevant to justification. I will close with an account of how the view of representation presented here is motivated by these type of considerations. If justification is a matter of the internal characteristics of a system.5: The Objectivity of the Self and the Motivation of Realism One of the most convincing arguments against internalism springs from the nature of our knowledge of self. Of course. This type of argument also reveals much about the motivations of realism. Other people form conceptions of us.

I will have little trouble in picking out which person in a room is me. It is often said that realism is motivated by a need for firm foundations for our knowledge or for stability. of course. . It reveals an object with a nature that is determinate apart from external conceptualization and to which we are constantly referring apart from representations. None of us consider ourselves to be such internal objects. for we all attribute a reality to ourselves that is independent of the conceptualization of others. is true of my ability to refer to me. reveals an object that does not fit the internalist model. outruns any set of its expressions. for it can be conceptualized in various ways with more or less success. Thus our knowledge of the object with which we are most familiar. Horatio. ourselves. than are dreamed of in your representations. This. and this is not a product of any conceptual scheme. there is something that it feels like to be us at any particular moment. to paraphrase Shakespeare. The complex network of embodied potentialities that is us. whether it be the eye of another person or our mind's eye. Even if I know nothing about myself (say I am an amnesiac).considerations in human motivation. this does not make us constructs within other people's conceptual schemes. Their nature is not exhausted by our representations of them. The sense that we have of the felt character of the teleological tendencies or potentials that operate in us makes us aware that there is more of us than meets the eye. or in distinguishing myself from the furniture. I am also able to refer to this object apart from the correctness of my representation of it. Yet. The various representations that other people make of us and that we make of ourselves do not exhaust us. To use Thomas Nagel's terms. It is this conviction that the world outruns our representation of it that forms the heart of realism. This is true of all things we characterize as dispositions. there are more things in this world. by its very nature as a potentiality. This response to internalism seems especially powerful to me because it works upon what seems to me to be the strongest of the motivations for realism.

or model within a theory. then our idiosyncratic views of the world become merely subjective. The motivation for intuitive realism springs from the importance of particular perspectives and particular interactions with the world in all of our lives. and the particular all become less than real. the way that the Huron river looks to me as I float on my back on an a mid-summer's night. or by all members of a community or culture. Another person might describe the scene as a rinky-dink stream with lots of bugs and no place to get a pastrami sandwich. The private. with the stars reflected in the surface of the water and the dark background of trees mounting up to the sky so full of fire flies that it looks like the heavens have merged with the earth. If objectivity is a matter of those aspects of our conceptual schemes that are shared by some set of cognizers. if we can feel the force of the world determining our experience through its phenomenological feel. or species. for it insists upon radical incompleteness of our knowledge and on the relativity of the discovery of objects to modes of interaction with the world. Only if particular perspectives can be felt as objective. is not any social construct. Yet arguments about realism are often animated. The world that is important to us. they become merely subjective aspects of reality. On this view we cannot mirror the world with our representations. One rarely sees vehement argument about the transcendent reality of space and time or about the objective validity of the categories. one shared by all rational creatures in common. The real world becomes a common world. can find no place in an objective conception of the world on this view. can we regard our particular impressions of the world as objective and real. The main issue concerning realism is not the existence of a world apart . Anti-realisms make objectivity dependent on traits or modes of conceptualization that are common to a community.These motivations cannot be applied to intuitive realism. For example. the peculiar. the one whose reality we become excited in arguing over. culture. we can only know it through its causal effects on us. rational framework of experience. less than real.

and of particular places and events of significance to me whose objectivity and reality I want realism to preserve. the realist in science (as opposed to the scientific realist) is also interested mainly in preserving the objectivity and centrality of particular experiences of the world rather than in the reality of some objective constructs or theories. it is a striving for the objectivity of particular representations of the world from particular perspectives. are only minimally interested in these bleached out abstract versions of the world. not the reality of theories. totally objective aspects of reality. They are interested in their particular experiences of the world. their particular experiences of the world. almost everyone believes in that. egotists that they are. It is my particular experiences of myself. my friends. We want the value we get from particular experiences to reflect the world we live in and not just its subjective appearance to us. The issue is about the objective reality of our particular experiences of reality. Nor does it concern the existence of abstract. these are too boring to excite much interest in most people. It is the reality of facts that the realist in science fights for. Realists. nor is it the completely objective world that everyone experiences. . It is no surprise that realists sometimes take antirealist arguments personally. We want the reality of our personal worlds preserved. Thus. the real motivation of realism is a striving for what was impossible on the physical-visual model of representation.5 Likewise. The realist is rebelling against an internalist model in which the only representations of the world that are objective are those that can be shared by many perspectives or that are common to a whole community. my family. They are interested in maintaining the reality and objectivity of their world. The world that the realist is vehement about saving is not the noumenal world that no one experiences. These arguments threaten the objective reality of the only source of value in our lives: our particular experiences of ourselves and the world around us.from our experience.

for the interpretation of a sign. 4 3 For a discussion of a similar problem with Kant on empirical concepts see Schrader 1958. only what is accessible from many perspectives has objective reality on that view. but this does not alter the fact that the historical origin of the influence of these views lies in his writings. since all of our experience is from particular perspectives. that which makes it a representation. as Putnam suggests. no symbol system can refer to itself without a metalanguage or another set of symbols to determine its interpretation. most importantly on the nature of objectivity. There is no room for particular selves in a world constructed according to the internalist model. According to this type of realism. This is fortunate for us. This view is just as committed to the reality and objectivity of other people's perspectival views of the world as it is to my own. This type of realism leaves room for the objectivity of this self. A set of signs cannot contain a proof of its own consistency. they differ from his views on several major points. this type of self-reference is not really intelligible. on this view. since the connections made within them can be caused by the interaction with the world rather than by our activity. They can be objective. requires something outside the sign itself. This should by no means be taken as a form of solipsism. This result is what Godel's theorem shows for formal systems. In particular. On the traditional model of representation. If realism were not true. we share a common external world. they can reflect the world with which they interact. Plato criticizes this view in his later work. but only a part of itself (the language). particular representations can carry within them the possibility of their justification. When representing is seen as an active interaction with the world. We do not need a common conceptual scheme to avoid idealism or solipsism. 2 1 As noted earlier.This was impossible when representations were seen as objects that could not determine their own relation to the world. particular representations from particular perspectives can be objective. it is not clear that Nagel would accept the third of the theses given below. So. We are lucky that it does. for otherwise we would not be characters in a play of our own making. Although the views presented here as Intuitive Realism were influenced by Nagel. we would be lost characters in search of a play which could accommodate our particularity. 5 . Our self is defined by the particular perspectives it takes toward the world. in which case the whole system (language + metalanguage) does not refer to itself.

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