Chapter 2

The Tension Between Exportation And The View That Objects Phenomenally Look To The Left And Right Of Me

In this chapter I will defend the following principles:

The Belief Exportation Principle: Necessarily, for all subjects S and objects x, if a singular term referring to x occurs within the scope of ‘believes that’ in a true ascription of belief to S, then x is believed by S to be some way.

The Phenomenal Looking Exportation Principle: Necessarily, for all subjects S and objects x, if a singular term referring to x occurs within the scope of ‘phenomenally looks’ in a true ascription of a state of phenomenal looking to S, then x phenomenally looks some way to S.

The Seeing Principle:

Necessarily, for all objects x and y, and all properties F, x phenomenally looks F to y only if y sees x.

The phenomenal looking exportation principle and the seeing principle together entail the relational phenomenal looking principle. It is the relational looking principle with which I am principally concerned in this chapter.

The Relational Phenomenal Looking Principle: Necessarily, for all objects x, y and z, all relations R, if x phenomenally looks to y to bear R to z, then y sees z.

Suppose that one is looking at a particular building, A, and that one does not see the Eiffel Tower, and that one says ‘A looks to me the same height as the Eiffel Tower’. Supposing that ‘the Eiffel Tower’ is a singular term, then the relational phenomenal looking principle entails that A does not phenomenally look to one the same height as the Eiffel Tower, where ‘the same height as the Eiffel Tower’ is within the scope of ‘phenomenally look’.

Suppose that I am looking at an object, B, that is to the right of me, and I say ‘B looks to the right of me’. Supposing that I do not see myself, then the relational phenomenal looking principle entails that the object I see does not phenomenally look to the right of me, where ‘to the right of me’ is within the scope of ‘phenomenally look’.

The relational phenomenal looking principle entails that, when I do not see myself, objects do not phenomenally look to have the following properties:

• • • •

Being to the left of me Being in front of me Being far away from me Being circular at a slant from me.

1

Exportation For Belief

In ‘Quantifiers and Propositional Attitudes’, Quine argued that if (1) is true, then (2) is true (Quine, 1956):

(1) Ralph believes that Ortcutt is a spy. (2) Ralph believes z(z is a spy) of Ortcutt.

That is, if Ralph believes that Ortcutt is a spy, then one can export the name ‘Ortcutt’ from within the scope of the ‘believes that’. By contrast, (4) does not follow from (3).

(3) Ralph believes that there exists a spy. (4) There exists a spy such that Ralph believes z(z is a spy) of that spy.

In general, it seems that if a subject S believes that T is F, where ‘T’ is a singular term, and ‘F’ is a predicate, then it is possible to export ‘T’ from within the scope of the ‘believes that’. Thus, in general, if S believes that T is F, then T is believed by S to be F.

Let us express the intuition here in its most general form:

The Belief Exportation Principle: Necessarily, for all subjects S and objects x, if a singular term referring to x occurs within the scope of ‘believes that’ in a true ascription of belief to S, then x is believed by S to be some way.

I will assume that a singular term is one that contributes only its reference to the proposition expressed by sentences containing it. I will also assume that proper names, demonstratives and indexicals are singular terms. A Fregean would deny that proper names, demonstratives and indexicals are singular terms, as we have defined ‘singular term’. Later I will discuss a version of the belief exportation principle that a Fregean could accept.

1.1

Kripke’s Example

There is an example, attributed to Kripke, that could be used to challenge the belief exportation principle (thanks to Ofra Magidor for bringing this example to my attention). Soames

discusses the example in (Soames, 2003, p411-412), and below I paraphrase his description of the example.

Suppose that I have one false belief that I express using the sentence ‘S’. I introduce a name, ‘PU’ via the following reference-fixing description:

(5) The object x which is such that, if S, then x is Princeton University, and if not-S, then x is Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail.

I think ‘S’ is true, so I think ‘PU’ refers to Princeton University. However, ‘S’ is false, and ‘PU’ in fact refers to Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail. Thinking that Princeton University is an institution of higher learning, I form the belief that PU is an institution of higher learning.

Suppose that (6) is true. (6), together with the belief exportation principle, entails (7), and (7) entails (8).

(6) I believe that PU is an institution of higher learning. (7) PU is believed by me to be an institution of higher learning. (8) Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail is believed by me to be an institution of higher learning.

Soames thinks that (8) is false, and his solution is to reject (6). Soames does not challenge the inference from (6) to (7), and therefore he does not himself take Kripke’s example to

undermine the belief exportation principle. In another work he takes the belief exportation principle to be ‘intuitively compelling’ (Soames, 2005, p261).

Soames’s own solution is to reject (6), and to argue that (5) is not sufficient to introduce the name ‘PU’. He uses Kripke’s example to argue that there are some restrictions on the use of descriptions to fix the referents of names. (Soames, 2003, p416).

Robin Jeshion has discussed Kripke’s example, and she regards (8) as acceptable. That is, she does not think that the example undermines the belief exportation principle, nor that (5) is an unacceptable way of introducing a name. (Jeshion, forthcoming).

However, one could use the example to challenge the belief exportation principle. One might hold that it is intuitive that (6) is true and intuitive that (7) is false.

I will consider two responses to this challenge to the belief exportation principle. The first response is that (9) follows from (6):

(9) I have a belief about PU.

If (9) does follow from (6), then it no longer seems objectionable to suppose that (7) follows from (6). However, in the context of the current challenge to the belief exportation principle, it seems question-begging to suppose that (9) follows from (6). After all, in (9) ‘PU’

has been exported from within the scope of the belief-ascription in (6), so the move from (6) to (9) employs a variant of the belief exportation principle.

The second response is as follows. We are assuming that names are singular terms. We have said that singular terms contribute only their referents to the propositions expressed by sentences containing them. Let us suppose that ‘Bob’ is a very well-known name for Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail: speakers know that ‘Bob’ refers to Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail. If ‘PU’ is a singular term, then (6) is true iff (10) is true:

(10)

I believe that Bob is an institution of higher learning.

If (10) is true, then it does not seem so objectionable to suppose that (11) is true:

(11)

Bob is believed by me to be an institution of higher learning.

And (11) is true iff (8) is true, since Bob is Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail.

Let us call the view that names are singular terms Russellianism. If Russellianism is correct, then (6) entails (10). One might think that this consequence is implausible, and thus reject Russellianism in favour of Fregeanism, the view that names contribute modes of presentations of referents to propositions expressed by sentences containing those names. According to a Fregean, (6) does not entail (10), since the names ‘Bob’ and ‘PU’ are associated with different modes of presentation.

Thus, in reply to Kripke’s example it seems that there are three options. Firstly, one could, as Soames does, argue that (6) is false. Secondly, one could, as Jeshion does, argue that (7) is acceptable. Thirdly, one could endorse Fregeanism and argue that (6) does not entail (7). Endorsing Fregeanism does not involve abandoning the belief exportation principle, but it involves the denial that there are any singular terms. This denial removes the theoretical interest of the belief exportation principle.

A Fregean who denies that (6) entails (7) may accept that, ordinarily, it is possible to export proper names from within the scope of attitude ascriptions. A Fregean may say that (6) does not entail (7) for a reason that is peculiar to the situation. For instance, a Fregean may say that (6) does not entail (7) because I do not know which thing ‘PU’ is, or because I am not acquainted with Saul Kripke’s left thumbnail as ‘PU’.

Let us suppose that a Fregean holds that names, demonstratives and indexicals belong to the same semantic category. Let us say that they are all singular terms*. A Fregean may accept the following principle:

The Belief Exportation Principle*: Necessarily, for all subjects S and objects x, if there is a singular term* ‘T’ such that (i) (ii) ‘T’ refers to x; ‘T’ occurs within the scope of ‘believes that’ in a true ascription of belief to S;

(iii)

S knows which thing T is;

then x is believed by S to be some way.

The belief exportation principle* is like the belief exportation principle, except that the belief exportation principle* concerns singular terms*, and a condition of knowledge-which has been added to the antecedent of the conditional in the principle.

In what follows I will assume the belief exportation principle, though my argument does not depend on the assumption of this principle instead of the belief exportation principle*.

2

Exportation For Phenomenal Looking

Analogues of the belief exportation principle apply for desires, hopes, fears and assertions. If a subject S desires that John open the door, then John is desired by S to open the door. If S said that John opened the door, then John was said by S to have opened the door.

Phenomenal-looks statements ascribe mental states to subjects: they ascribe the mental state of being phenomenally looked to by a certain object. Given that analogues of the belief exportation principle seem to apply in general to ascriptions of mental states to subjects, it seems that there is a prima facie reason to think that an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies to states of being phenomenally looked to. This analogue of the belief exportation principle is the phenomenal looking exportation principle.

The Phenomenal Looking Exportation Principle: Necessarily, for all subjects S and objects x, if a singular term referring to x occurs within the scope of ‘phenomenally looks’ in a true ascription of a state of phenomenal looking to S, then x phenomenally looks some way to S.

One might argue that there is a reason why the belief exportation principle holds, and why analogues of it hold for hopes, fears and desires, and that this reason does not support the phenomenal looking exportation principle. I shall now consider some arguments of this form.

2.1

Propositional Contents

One might argue that the belief exportation principle and analogues of it apply only to states with propositional contents, such as beliefs, desires, hopes and fears. As we argued in chapter 1, phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a property. Therefore states of being phenomenally looked to a certain way do not have propositional contents.

It might be argued that this difference between states of being phenomenally looked to a certain way, and states of belief, desires, hopes and fears, explains why the belief exportation

principle and analogues of it for desires, hopes and fears are true without the phenomenal looking exportation principle being true.

However, it is not clear why the fact that beliefs have propositional content would explain why the belief exportation principle is true. David Lewis held that beliefs were relations to properties rather than propositions, but there seems nothing about this theory in itself that rules Lewis out from accepting the belief exportation principle. (Lewis, 1979). The claim that (13) below follows from (12) is supposed to be pretheoretically plausible, and is not based on a particular theory about the belief relation.

(12) (13)

John believes that Sally is tall. Sally is believed by John to be tall.

Thus, this argument does not seem to undermine support for the phenomenal looking exportation principle.

2.2

Conceptual Representation

Let us introduce the term ‘represents’ as follows. If one believes, desires, fears or hopes that Sally is tall, then one is representing the property of being Sally and the property of being tall. If Sally phenomenally looks tall to one, then one is also representing the property of being tall.

We can introduce ‘conceptual representation’ as follows:

Conceptual Representation:

For all subjects s, states w and properties F, w of s conceptually represents Fness only if s’s being in w entails that s has a concept of being F.

A state represents a property Fness nonconceptually iff it represents Fness, but does not conceptually represent Fness.

Let us suppose that beliefs, desires, fears and hopes represent properties in a conceptual way, and states of being phenomenally looked to represent properties in a nonconceptual way. One might defend the following principle:

The Conceptual Representation Principle:

For all kinds of states K, if K represents properties conceptually, then this fact explains why the belief exportation principle, or an analogue of it, applies to K.

If the conceptual representation principle is correct, then the argument for the phenomenal looking exportation principle is undermined.

According to one account of the nature of concepts, the conceptual representation principle is false. On this account of concepts, the concept F is the ability to think about F things as F things. Thus, the concept dog is the ability to think about dogs as dogs. It follows from this account of concepts that thoughts by definition represent properties in a conceptual way.

A thought is a mental state to which an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies. If S thinks that John opened the door, then John is thought by S to have opened the door. However, if thoughts represent properties conceptually by definition, then this fact cannot explain why an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies to thoughts. Therefore, if the conceptual representation principle is correct, a different account of concepts from the one suggested above is required.

I will now present an additional problem for the conceptual representation principle. Intuitively, the state of saying that p is one to which an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies. However, I shall argue that the state of saying that p represents properties nonconceptually. If there should be a common explanation of why the belief exportation principle is true, and of why an analogue of the belief exportation principle for the state of saying that p is true, then we should reject the conceptual representation principle.

It seems that one can say that p without having concepts that characterize the proposition that p. If an eight year old child, say, wanting to impress her chemistry teacher, utters the sentence ‘water has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom’, a sentence which she has committed to memory from a chemistry textbook, it seems intuitive that she says that water has

two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom, even though she may not have the concepts hydrogen atom and oxygen atom. The basis for this claim is that it seems legitimate for the teacher to reply ‘what you just said is quite right, but do you understand what you just said?’. That is, one can say that p without being able to entertain the proposition that p.

If the child had said ‘water has two oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom’ it would have been legitimate for the teacher to say ‘what you said is not quite right’ which presupposes that the child said that water has two oxygen atoms and one hydrogen atom.

Thus, the state of saying that p, for some p, seems to represent properties nonconceptually. It also seems that an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies to the state of saying. If Jack said that Sally is tall, then it seems to follow that Sally was said by Jack to be tall. If these points are correct, then it seems that we should reject the conceptual representation principle: there seems to be no connection between a state’s representing properties conceptually and a state’s satisfying an analogue of the belief exportation principle.

2.3

Knowledge Which

An objector might defend the following principle:

The Knowledge Which Principle: For all subjects S, if ‘T’ is a singular term, and if one can export ‘T’ from within the scope of ‘believes that’ in a true

belief ascription to S, then this possibility is explained by the fact that S knows which thing T is.

Consider again (12) and (13):

(12) (13)

John believes that Sally is tall. Sally is believed by John to be tall.

According to the knowledge which principle, if (12) entails (13), then the explanation of this fact is that John knows who Sally is.

Consider now this principle:

The Nonconceptual Representation Principle: For all states K, and all subjects S, if K is a state of being phenomenally looked to, then since K represents properties nonconceptually, what S knows is irrelevant to the question what properties K represents.

We now consider an objector who claims that the combination of the knowledge which principle and the nonconceptual representation principle entails that there is no reason to think that the phenomenal looking exportation principle is true.

The objection is that the possibility of exportation of singular terms in cases of belief reports is explained by states of knowing which, but states of knowing which are irrelevant to the ways that an object can phenomenally look to a subject.

It is not clear what the argument is for the knowledge which principle. The fact that John believes that Sally is tall does not seem explanatory of the fact that Sally is believed by John to be tall. Thus if the objection is to stand, further argument for the knowledge which principle is required.

Secondly, we argued above that the state of saying that p, for some p, represents properties nonconceptually, and that an analogue of the belief exportation principle applies to the state of saying that p, for some p. If this argument is sound, and if the explanation for the ability to export singular terms from within the scope of ‘says that’ in true ascriptions of what is said is the same as the equivalent ability in the case of belief reports, then it seems we should reject the knowledge which principle.

Therefore, this objection to the phenomenal looking exportation principle is not convincing.

2.4

Consequences of the phenomenal looking exportation principle

The seeing principle is as follows:

The Seeing Principle:

Necessarily, for all objects x and y, and all properties F, x phenomenally looks F to y only if y sees x.

The seeing principle seems to be intuitively plausible. The seeing principle and the phenomenal looking exportation principle together entail the relational phenomenal looking principle:

The Relational Phenomenal Looking Principle: Necessarily, for all objects x, y and z, and all relations R, if x phenomenally looks to y to bear R to z, then y sees z.

The relational looking phenomenal looking principle entails that, when I do not see myself, objects do not phenomenally look to bear relations to me, such as being to the left of me, or being to the right of me.

Suppose that I see two objects, A and B, and I say (14):

(14)

A phenomenally looks to me to the right of B.

One might think that, since I see B, (14) satisfies the relational phenomenal looking principle. However, A’s being to the right of B is a three-place relation between A, B and me: it is a matter of A’s being further to the right of me than B is. According to the relational

phenomenal looking principle, A phenomenally looks to stand in this three-place relation to B and to me only if I see myself.

The relational phenomenal looking principle rules out objects phenomenally looking a certain distance from me when I do not see myself. Suppose that I see two objects, A and B, and I say (15):

(15)

A phenomenally looks to me further away than B.

One might think that (15) satisfies the relational phenomenal looking principle since I see B. However, A’s being further away than B is a three-place relation between A, B and me: it is a matter of A’s being further away from me than B. According to the relational phenomenal looking principle, A phenomenally looks to stand in this three-place relation to B and to me only if I see myself.

Some have argued that shape constancy is a feature of visual perception. According to some philosophers who endorse this claim, when a circular coin is at a slant from me, it phenomenally looks circular and at a slant from me. However, it is a consequence of the relational phenomenal looking principle that, if I do not see myself, then the coin does not phenomenally look at a slant from me.

Some philosophers have argued that the property of being red is an observer-relative property. According to these philosophers, an object’s phenomenally looking red is a matter of

the object’s phenomenally looking to cause a certain kind of experience in me. However, the relational phenomenal looking principle has the consequence that, if I do not see myself, then objects do not phenomenally look to cause a certain kind of experience in me.

3

Responses To The Argument

In this section I consider two kinds of fall-back positions that one might defend in the light of the above argument, and also an objection to the above argument.

3.1

Modes of Presentation

Consider the following sentence:

(16)

S believes that A is to the left.

According to view that we can call propositionalism, belief is a relation between a subject and a proposition. I will assume propositionalism in what follows. According to a Russellian, a proposition is a structured entity containing objects, properties and relations. Thus the proposition that Sally is tall contains Sally and the property of being tall. According to Russellianism, if (16) is true, then what S believes is a proposition containing A, the relation of being to the left of, and S. Thus, according to Russellianism, (16) is elliptical for (17):

(17)

S believes that A is to the left of S.

According to a Fregean, a proposition is composed of modes of presentations of objects and properties. The same object may have different modes of presentation. Thus, according to a Fregean, the propositions that Hesperus is a star and that Phosphorus is a star are distinct. A Fregean could argue that there is an indexical mode of presentation to the left which picks out the relation of being to the left of whatever subject is entertaining that mode of presentation.

If (16) is true, a Fregean could argue that the proposition that S believes is composed of the modes of presentation A and to the left. A Fregean could thus deny that (16) is elliptical for (17).

Consider the following view:

The Property View: Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a property.

If the property view is true, then (18) entails (19).

(18) (19)

A phenomenally looks to me to the left. A phenomenally looks to me to the left of me.

The phenomenal looking exportation principle clearly applies to (19).

However, one could defend the Fregean view:

The Fregean View: Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a Fregean mode of presentation of a property.

According to the Fregean view, if (18) is true, then A stands in the phenomenal looking relation to me and to the mode of presentation to the left, and thus (18) need not entail (19). I will discuss the Fregean view below.

Fregean modes of presentation are most naturally thought of as concepts, in the nonFregean sense of ‘concept’. Thus, if a subject is entertaining the Fregean mode of presentation to the left, then she has the concept to the left.

Let us now define the nonconceptual mode of presentation view.

The Nonconceptual Mode Of Presentation View: Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a nonconceptual mode of presentation of a property.

Peacocke has argued that, in addition to Fregean modes of presentation, there are nonFregean modes of presentation:

‘We shall not do justice to the fine-grained phenomenology of experience if we restrict ourselves to those contents which can be built up by referring to the

properties and relations that the perceived objects are represented by the experience as possessing. We must, in describing the fine-grained phenomenology, make use of the notion of the way in which some property or relation is given in experience. The same shape can be perceived in two different ways, and the same holds for the shape properties, if we regard them as within the representational content of experience. Ernst Mach’s example of one and the same shape that can be perceived either as a square or as a regular diamond is a familiar example.’ (Peacocke, 2001, p240-241).

In an earlier work, Peacocke elaborates on his example of the shape that can be perceived either as a square or as a diamond:

‘Intuitively, the difference between perceiving something as a square and perceiving it as a (regular) diamond is in part a difference in which symmetries are perceived. When something is perceived as a diamond, the perceived symmetry is a symmetry about the bisector of its angles. When something is perceived as a square, the perceived symmetry is a symmetry about the bisector of its sides.’ (Peacocke, 1992, p76).

Peacocke argues that the content of visual experience is nonconceptual, and so we should not think of the ways in which properties are given in experience that he refers to as Fregean modes of presentation. Rather, we should take Peacocke to be introducing the notion of a nonconceptual mode of presentation of a property.

The view that emerges from the above two quoted passages is a combination of the property view and the nonconceptual mode of presentation view.

The Property and Nonconceptual

Mode of Presentation View:

Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects, a property and a nonconceptual mode of presentation of that property.

This view emerges from the passages as Peacocke suggests that the content of experience consists both of properties and nonconceptual modes of presentation of those properties.

A consequence of the property view is that (18) entails (19). This is also a consequence of the property and nonconceptual mode of presentation view. According to the property and nonconceptual mode of presentation view, (18) expresses the proposition that A stands in the phenomenal looking relation to me, to the property of being to the left of me, and to a nonconceptual mode of presentation of the property of being to the left of me.

It seems that there are two views which will allow the inference from (18) to (19) to be blocked: the Fregean view and the nonconceptual mode of presentation view. Consider this passage from Gareth Evans:

‘It is not necessary… that the subject possess the egocentric concept ‘to the right’ if he is to be able to have the experience of a sound as being to the right.’ (Evans, 1982, p159).

Many who defend the view that (18) can be true even when I do not see myself find Evans’s point above compelling. Given that Evans’s claim seems inconsistent with the Fregean view, I shall focus on the nonconceptual mode of presentation view below.

There is a question about how one should decide whether or not there are two nonconceptual modes of presentation of the same property. For instance, suppose that an object phenomenally looks red1. According to the nonconceptual mode of presentation view, the object stands in the phenomenal looking relation to some nonconceptual mode of presentation of the property of being red1; let us call this nonconceptual mode of presentation red1*. There is question about what the criterion is for determining whether there is a second nonconceptual mode of presentation of being red1, say F*, which the object may stand in the phenomenal looking relation to.

Frege provided a sufficient condition for introducing Fregean modes of presentation. If it is possible rationally to doubt that A is B, then ‘A’ and ‘B’ have distinct Fregean modes of presentation. However, it is not clear that this condition can be appealed to here: there is no reason to think that what one can rationally doubt is a constraint on nonconceptual modes of presentation.

Peacocke’s remarks in the passages quoted above suggest the following necessary condition on there being two nonconceptual modes of presentation of the same property.

The Phenomenal Condition On Nonconceptual Modes of Presentation: Necessarily, for all objects x, y and z, and all properties F, if there are two nonconceptual modes of presentation of being F, F* and F**, then there is a visual phenomenal difference between x’s

phenomenally looking F* to z and x’s phenomenally looking F** to z.

According to Peacocke, there is a phenomenal difference between an object phenomenally looking square and an object phenomenally looking diamond. If this is correct, since being square is being diamond, the claim that there are two nonconceptual modes of presentation of being square satisfies the phenomenal condition on nonconceptual modes of presentation.

The way that Peacocke characterizes these phenomenal differences is in terms of which properties are perceived. He says that ‘[w]hen something is perceived as a diamond, the perceived symmetry is a symmetry about the bisector of its angles. When something is perceived as a square, the perceived symmetry is a symmetry about the bisector of its sides.’ (Peacocke, 1992, p76).

The natural view that emerges from this quotation is that an object may phenomenally look to have a single shape property from t1 to t3, but phenomenally look symmetrical along one axis from t1 to t2 and phenomenally look symmetrical along a different axis from t2 to t3. It is not clear why Peacocke rejected this view and preferred to account for the phenomenal difference in question by introducing nonconceptual modes of presentation.

However, there might be other reasons to introduce nonconceptual modes of presentation. John Campbell, for instance, argues that cases of objects looking to the left and to the right provide sufficient motivation to introduce modes of presentation.

‘Although vision provides a great deal of information about oneself, information whose most direct articulation uses the first person, this is not because the visual information itself already employs the first person. Rather, the egocentric frame used in vision employs monadic spatial notions, such as ‘to the right’, ‘to the left’, ‘above’, ‘in front’ and so on, rather than relational notions, such as ‘to my right’, ‘above me’, ‘in front of me’, and so on.’ (Campbell, 1994, p119).

Let us assume the phenomenal condition on nonconceptual modes of presentation. Suppose that an object can phenomenally look tallerTB, where tallerTB* is a nonconceptual mode of presentation picking out the property of being taller than Tony Blair. Suppose that, at t1, one sees Bill Clinton and one does not see Tony Blair, and suppose that Bill Clinton phenomenally looks tallerTB to one.

Suppose that at t2 one sees Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, and that Bill Clinton phenomenally looks taller than Tony Blair to one. Let us suppose that at t1 Bill Clinton stands in the phenomenal looking relation to you and to the nonconceptual mode of presentation tallerTB*, and let us suppose that at t2, Bill Clinton stands in the phenomenal looking relation to the nonconceptual mode of presentation taller than Tony Blair*.

What kind of visual phenomenal difference might one notice between Bill Clinton phenomenally looking tallerTB and Bill Clinton phenomenally looking taller than Tony Blair? Certainly, when one comes to see Tony Blair, there will be visual phenomenal differences owing

to Tony Blair phenomenally looking to have a colour and a position. However, what kind of visual phenomenal difference might one expect to notice that is due in particular to Bill Clinton standing in the phenomenal looking relation to the nonconceptual mode of presentation taller than Tony Blair* as opposed to the nonconceptual mode of presentation tallerTB*? It is not obvious that there is such a visual phenomenal difference, and, given the phenomenal condition on nonconceptual modes of presentation, it would follow from this that there are not two different nonconceptual modes of presentation of the property of being taller than Tony Blair.

Similar problems apply when one considers nonconceptual modes of presentation of the property of being to the left of me; let us call one such nonconceptual mode of presentation to the left*. Suppose that, at t1, subject S does not see himself, but does see an apple, and the apple phenomenally looks to S to the left. Suppose that, at t2, S sees himself and the apple, and the apple phenomenally looks to S to the left of S. What kind of visual phenomenal difference might S notice between t1 and t2? Certainly, when S sees himself, there will be visual phenomenal differences owing to S phenomenally looking to S to have a certain colour and a position. But what visual phenomenal difference might S expect to notice that is due in particular to S standing in the phenomenal looking relation to the nonconceptual mode of presentation to the left of S* as opposed to the nonconceptual mode of presentation to the left*? It is not obvious that there is such a visual phenomenal difference, and, given the phenomenal condition on nonconceptual modes of presentation, it would follow that there are not two different nonconceptual modes of presentation of the property of being to the left of S.

This result is consistent with there only being the nonconceptual mode of presentation to the left*. However, if the defender of nonconceptual modes of presentations allows that an object can ever phenomenally look to bear some relation to another object, it is not clear why they would deny that an object can phenomenally look to S to be to the left of S when S does in fact see himself. It seems more plausible that the lack of visual phenomenal difference identified in the above paragraph between t1 and t2 is explained by there being no nonconceptual mode of presentation to the left*.

The above considerations suggest that phenomenal looking is not a relation between objects and nonconceptual modes of presentations. Thus we may assume that (18) is elliptical for (19):

(18) (19)

A phenomenally looks to me to the left. A phenomenally looks to me to the left of me.

3.2

Temporal Properties

This objection is best phrased in the terminology of the content of experience as opposed to the terminology of the ways that objects phenomenally look. The objector argues as follows. There must be a time index in the content of experience. After all, if my experience represents that this apple is green, my experience is not made veridical by this apple being green at some time in the past or future. My experience is veridical only if the apple is green now. Therefore

my experience represents that this apple is green now. And ‘now’ picks out a relation to a time. If t1 is the time of the experience, the content of my experience is: this apple is green at t1. So we can say that ‘this apple phenomenally looks green at t1’ reports the content of my experience.

But, the objection continues, the sentence ‘this apple phenomenally looks green at t1’ does not satisfy the phenomenal looking exportation principle. Assuming that ‘t1’ is a singular term, we cannot export it and say ‘t1 phenomenally looks to S to be some way’, since S does not see t1.

One way to respond to this challenge would be to allow that the apple phenomenally looks green now, but deny that ‘now’ picks out a relation to a time. One could defend nominalism and continue to describe events as happening ‘now’, but deny that there are entities, times, that events stand in the ‘occurring at’ relation to.

However, I will not pursue this nominalist line of response here. My answer to this challenge is to deny that objects phenomenally look to have properties such as being green now. Suppose that, at t2, we ask the following question about some apple A:

(20)

Was A, at t1, the way it now phenomenally looks?

According to the objector, if, at t2, A phenomenally looks green, (21) reports the way A phenomenally looks at t2:

(21)

A phenomenally looks green now.

The objector holds that ‘now’ in (21) is within the scope of the ‘phenomenally looks’. Since ‘now’ in (21) picks out time t2, the objector holds that if (21) is true, then the way A phenomenally looks is being green at t2.

However, when we ask (20), we are not asking whether the apple is green at t2, which is the time at which we ask (20). If, at t2, the apple phenomenally looks green, then (20) is asking whether the apple was green at t1. Thus the natural reading of (20) is incompatible with the objector’s claim that, when an object phenomenally looks green, it really phenomenally looks green now, where ‘now’ is within the scope of the ‘phenomenally looks’.

The objector argued that a time index should be included within the content of experience because otherwise the experience could be made ‘accidentally veridical’ by the apple being green at some point in the past or future. Call this the accidental veridicality problem. The accidental veridicality problem is removed if we use the terminology of the ‘is the way it phenomenally looks’ instead of ‘veridical’. Suppose that we ask (22):

(22)

Is the apple the way it phenomenally looks?

In asking (22), we are clearly asking whether the apple now has the properties that it phenomenally looks to have, and so there is no danger of how the apple was yesterday or two

years ago affecting the answer to this question. One can avoid the problem of accidental veridicality by distinguishing between (22) and (23) and (24):

(23) (24)

Was the apple the way it phenomenally looks? Will the apple be the way it phenomenally looks?

Each question will receive an answer that is unaffected by the answers to the other questions, and thus the accidental veridicality problem is avoided.

3.3

Definite Descriptions

The belief exportation principle and the phenomenal looking exportation principle are constraints on singular terms occurring within the scope of certain mental state ascriptions. Given our definition of a singular term, on which a singular term contributes only its reference to the proposition expressed by a sentence in which it occurs, it is plausible that definite descriptions are not singular terms.

Moreover, it seems plausible that definite descriptions cannot always be exported from within the scope of mental state ascriptions. It does not seem, for instance, that (25) entails (26):

(25) (26)

S believes that the F is G. The F is believed by S to be G.

Someone might exploit the fact that definite descriptions are not exportable from within the scope of attitude ascriptions and argue that whilst (27) might not be true, (28) may well be true:

(27) (28)

O phenomenally looks to me to the left of me. O phenomenally looks to me to the left of the subject here.

Call the appeal to definite descriptions to avoid the main argument of this paper the definite description fall-back option. ‘Here’ in (28) is a singular term, and, by the phenomenal looking exportation principle, is exportable. If ‘here’ refers to the exact region that I occupy, then it seems that if I do not see myself, then I will also not see the reference of ‘here’, in which case ‘here’ will not be exportable from within the scope of ‘phenomenally looks’ in (28). If ‘here’ refers to a larger region than the one that I exactly occupy, then there will be occasions in which another subject exists in that region, and the uniqueness condition implied by the definite description ‘the subject here’ will not be satisfied.

A defender of the definite description fall-back option might refine their position and argue that (29) may be true:

(29)

O phenomenally looks to me to the left of the subject at the centre of this region of space.

We suppose that the reference of ‘this region of space’ is large enough so that, if the subject can see any region of space, she can see this one. We also assume that the subject can see regions of space.

There is initially an issue of refinement. ‘The subject at the centre of this region of space’ presumably means ‘the subject centred on the central point in this region of space’. However, there is no point which is the exact centre of a given human being, and therefore no region of space which has a human being centred on its central point. A defender of the definite description fall-back option could solve this problem by arguing instead that (30) may be true:

(30)

O phenomenally looks to me to the left of the subject part of which occupies the point at the centre of this region of space.

Suppose that I am a woman and am pregnant with a baby developed enough to be a subject. Suppose that the reference of ‘this region’ in (30) happens to be one whose central point is occupied by a part of my baby. If the central point is one that is also occupied by a part of me, then the uniqueness implied by ‘the subject part of which occupies the point at the centre of this region of space’ will not be satisfied.

If the central point is one that only a part of my baby occupies, then the uniqueness of ‘the subject part of which occupies the point at the centre of this region of space’ will be satisfied, but whether O is the way it phenomenally looks to me will depend on which direction my baby is facing in, which is implausible.

To avoid these problems, what region is picked out by ‘this region’ would have to be sensitive to whether one is pregnant or not, how big one’s baby is if one is pregnant, and so on. It seems implausible to suppose that facts about the position properties that objects phenomenally look to have are sensitive to facts about whether one is pregnant, and facts about the size of one’s baby if one is pregnant. Thus the definite description fall-back option is an unattractive view.

3.4

Exporting Predicates

Suppose that (31) expresses the same proposition as (32):

(31) (32)

A is red21. Red21ness is a property of A.

If (31) expresses the same proposition as (32), then, given propositionalism, which we introduced above, (33) expresses the same proposition as (34):

(33) (34)

S believes that A is red21. S believes that red21ness is a property of A.

Since ‘red21ness’ is a singular term, then by the belief exportation principle, (34) entails (35):

(35)

Red21ness is believed by S to be a property of A.

If (33) entails (35), then one can export predicates from within the scope of ‘believes that’ in true belief ascriptions. If this is true, then one should be able to export predicates from within the scope of ‘phenomenally looks’ in true ascriptions of states of phenomenal looking. That is, if (31) expresses the same proposition as (32), then it seems that (36) expresses the same proposition as (37):

(36) (37)

A phenomenally looks red21 to S. A phenomenally looks to S to have red21ness.

Since ‘red21ness’ is a singular term, then, by the phenomenal looking exportation principle, (37) entails (38):

(38)

Red21ness phenomenally looks to S to be a property of A.

By the seeing principle, (38) entails (39):

(39)

S sees red21ness.

The argument against the phenomenal looking exportation principle is as follows. The phenomenal looking exportation principle together with (36) entail (39). However, (39) is false. Therefore we should reject the phenomenal looking exportation principle.

One might try to avoid this argument by arguing that (39) is true. There is a sense of (39) which is true, the sense in which (39) is true iff some object phenomenally looks red21 to S. However, this is not the sense of ‘sees’ in sentences such as ‘S sees that apple’, and it is the latter sense of ‘sees’, which we may call the literal sense of ‘sees’, that the seeing principle employs. Thus this way of avoiding the argument is not available.

One might argue that, even in the literal sense of ‘sees’, (39) may be true. Suppose that ‘red21ness’ in (37), (38) and (39) refers to a trope that A has, or to a universal which is wholly present in A. One might think that on this supposition, (39) would be true. Some philosophers have claimed that one can see property instances as well as objects.

However, this option does not seem viable, since it seems that (36) can be true without A being red21. In such a situation there would be no property instance of red21ness in A to be seen. If an object can phenomenally look red21 without being red21, then (36) does not entail (39).

Another way of responding to the argument against the phenomenal looking exportation principle is to endorse ostrich nominalism, and hold that properties do not exist (Armstrong 1978 introduces the term ‘ostrich nominalism’). If properties do not exist, then it would seem that (31)

does not express the same proposition as (32), and that (36) does not express the same proposition as (37). Ostrich nominalism would therefore block the entailment from (36) to (39).

Hence, if ostrich nominalism is true, then we can defend the phenomenal looking exportation principle, and the conclusions of this chapter stand.

In the section on modes of presentation above we discussed the property view and the nonconceptual mode of presentation view:

The Property View:

Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a property.

The Nonconceptual Mode Of Presentation View: Phenomenal looking is a relation between two objects and a nonconceptual mode of presentation of a property.

If ostrich nominalism is true, then neither the property view nor the nonconceptual mode of presentation view is true. An objector may wonder how one would argue that (18) entails (19) other than by defending the property view:

(18) (19)

A phenomenally looks to me to the left. A phenomenally looks to me to the left of me.

Our response to this objector is as follows. The phenomenal character principle, introduced in chapter 1, entails that, if an object can phenomenally look to the left without phenomenally looking to the left of me, then what it is like for me for an object phenomenally to look to the left is different from what it is like for me for an object phenomenally to look to the left of me. In the section above on modes of presentation, we argued that there were certain constraints on this phenomenal difference, and we argued that it does not seem that these constraints are met.