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Author(s): Wilfrid Sellars Source: PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association, Vol. 1976, Volume Two: Symposia and Invited Papers (1976), pp. 307-334 Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Philosophy of Science Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/192388 . Accessed: 30/06/2011 13:32
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Is Scientific Wilfrid
Ad van Fraassen
(1) This paper is an excellent example of putting a cart before the It was originally horses. conceived as a reply to my critics, of whom there have been many, and, in particular, to my fellow symnposiasts, whose careful of and sympathetic exploration disagreement with certain views of mine which are not inappropriately labeled 'scientific realism' have deserved a response which they have so far not received. (2) Many of the criticisms be construed as matters could, I believe, of detail and countered by a myopic strategy of confessing error here and claiming misunderstanding use there, all supported by a judicious of self-quotation, of course is not inappropriate. And, in moderation, I have made mistakes and, I believe, I have been misunderstood, and where the relevant substantial points are reasonably they should be noted for the record. If I do not face up to mistakes and clear away I can no longer hope to be an effective misunderstandings, participant in what is, in my opinion, one of the most significant of our dialogues time. aim in this paper is to place the And, indeed, my over-riding I shall discuss in that larger context which is the continuing topics over the complex of issues evoked by the phrase 'scientific controversy realism' to relate them to the views I would wish and, in particular, to defend today. (3) Yet there is no such thing as defending a sweeping metaphysical whole -- and realism in any of its forms is a paradigm of metaphysics -- without defending its parts. And if not all the parts -- and who can say which parts are small -- can be put together in one presentation, many of them can at least be mentioned or implied and in this manner brought to the subsequent discussion. (4) To switch metaphors, one enters into a metaphysical labyrinth by some door and by marking some beginning. I shall begin by considering some points made by van Fraassen in his critical study of my position.1 PSA 1976 Copyright Volume 2, pp. 307-334 ? 1977 by the Philosophy
The idea is to explain not particular that the aim of theories matters of fact."2 are. 606) in the following passage argument . micro-physical realism" which argues.. to believe this hypothesis because that enables us to underreasonable the uniformities exhibit stand why our sense-contents they do." ". function (6) Thus he points out that in the essay on "Phenomenalism" the with respect to what I called central thesis I attempt to establish obclassical phenomenalism is that the framework of sense-contents. I argued that it is exactly which the classical lawlike statements requires to define phenomenalist sense-contents which he invokes to supplement the gappy the conditional van Fraassen also notes and meager supply of 'observed' sense-contents. in van Fraassen's words. "hypothetico-deductive is analogous to a scientific "The framework of physical that objects acquainted only with sense data. argues5 that the phys"Against this Sellars ( p. is nothing more nor less than the but rather inductive generalizations." (p. in principle.. and to the All this is put briefly the perceiver's sensory apparatus. by the second page of his paper he is in position out that I describe a "second stage" of phenomenalism3 which takes its of of the objects from instrumentalistic interpretations inspiration of the It is the instrumentalist counterpart theory. to point (7) Thus. 607) (8) van Fraassen fails to call attention to the fact that in the the absence of passages to which he refers I argue that to establish of the necessary analogy "requires no more than" a bringing together of classical my refutation phenomenalism "with the standard account of and theoretical between observation the relationship framework. that according to my argument such generalizations concerning sensecontents as can be established are not unrestricted.. He proposes to ide-a that theories dispensible. and the extheory: we are directly It is of physical istence objects has the status of a hypothesis.." in to establish reasoning unrestricted lawlike statements by inductive such unrestricted sense-content terms." He continues. one on "Phenomenal"discuss the argument as it appears" in two essays. For the latter relation of inductive framework with theorems the correlation generalizations in micro-theory. but involve an unto a perceptual context of physical reduced reference including objects." In the course of his disbetween the ways in which the cussion he finds a puzzling inconsistency between observation framework and theoretical framework distinction in the two essays. known by "direct in that sense-contents are (supposedly) servational on which uniformities provides no basis in 'observed' acquaintance. ism" and one on "The Language of Theories. 607) to ical thing framework is not analogous to a theory and its relation to its of a micro-theory sense data is not analogous to the relation has as central constituent observation base."? and . for scientific from an essay of mine on "The Language of Theories.308 the "basic clue" to what he calls my "central (5) van Fraassen locates realism" (p. point.
so to speak. as I saw it. the fact would remain (and it is this fact which is at the center of van Fraassen's that if I was to refute the 'new phenomeattention) nalism" I must do so from premises which I accept. were trying to do.] that micro-physics ical thing language does not sustain inductive generalization. 609) of negatives makes this passage difficult to Although the multiplicity I take it that van Fraassen is imputing to me the view that interpret.7 Furthermore. point was one strand in The 'new phenomenalism' I had in mind was indeed inmy thinking. (11) To this question mulation of my argument -. to ask what I was attempting ver.F.note the clause "requires no more than" -make clear that I regarded the difference between my own account of theoretical and the standard account as irrelevant for explanation the purpose at hand -. the physical object framework comes relevantly closer than does the framework of sensecontents to providing the resources for autonomous generalizations. does not have (12) I had argued that the framework of sense-contents the resources for unrestricted inductive statistical generalizations. (9) I might have been making the historical point that the new phenomenalists I had in mind were themselves appealing to a supposed with respect to micro-theories analogy between what instrumentalists who accepted the standard account were doing. to And. the point of this. If I did not accept the 'standard account' how could I use it as a premise? Does not the very forI reply with another. well have questioned at first strange maneusight." (p. the framework of sense-contents even come close to having such resources. I would be arguing. to Thus my willingness rest the case on what was then the standard account of theoretical explanation simply implied that. it is reasonable establish by my argument. in what was instrumentalists spired by the arguments of scientific then the hey-day of the standard account of theoretical explanation. or non-statistical. for (10) But this historical point would be relatively uninteresting." whereas in disgeneralizations " Sellars3 refuses to say ital. indeed. cussing micro-theoretical explanation is not a theory on the grounds that the physv. and what they themselves in effect. that if they of this strategy the implications realized they would see that they were no better off than the classical I had already phenomenalists And I am sure that this historical refuted.309 to emphasize that I do not do so in a passage which is footnoted van Fraassen might accept the standard account of this relationship. (13) As van Fraassen sees it. .much as one might regard the difference between Newtonian and relativistic mechanics as irrelevant to a problem in engineering. in discussing hypothetico-deductive framework for a theory phenomenalism I require that the observation "sustain inductive in its own terms. the tenor of my argument was to the effect does not that.
that the answer ." (pp." of theoretical differs from explanation exactly how my interpretation the standard account. 608) designed to estabargument of my essay on "Phenomenalism" is exactly take to be the which phenomenalists lish that the 'sense-contents' of human knowledge are theoretical entities. however.." The passage contains two are not lawful "in a way which qualifications: (1) These objects leaves to theories only the job of deriving these laws from its postuand (2) These objects "come closer" lates and correspondence rules. persons in the physical world." qualification of the coherence of the two the above interpretation which justifies essays. I would disagree with his next statement.. answer . (WS)3 to be phenomena we thus report were meant [by phenomenalists of sense data. the main burden of van Fraassen's critical study concerns exactly this central topic. he does so. argued . And.." But in the passage which he quotes to support this I wrote ". framework we have in fact ly not give.. "The (16) Perhaps... 96) My negative really exist?" issues which I shall not discuss until the second part of this paper. (15) But before I turn to this topic it will be useful to note for that although van Fraassen also rejects future reference phenomenalwould definiteus "for reasons which Sellars ism. to exist as perceivers ourselves among physical objects presupposing Now in space and time.theouse I made of the observation in the argument against hypothetico-deframework distinction retical ductive phenomenalism is compatible with the views advanced in "The of They merely clear the way for a discussion Language of Theories. lawful in a way which leaves to theories only the job of detically riving these laws from its postulates I and correspondence rules. to the which concerns Cornman. the preceding remarks show at most that the dialectical framework -.310 the physical thing language does not "sustain inductive generalizations in its own terms. he tells "The observation He continues.. 96) namely [question]. objects involves answer to this question (p.. indeed.. 607-8) since it is he can scarcely suppose that I would disagree with this. is the behavior of macro-objects even statisimputation. is no. basic objects Indeed. For the moment I simply call attention the fact that in this passage I do not reject without qualification in its own terms of the "phys"even [merelyj statistical" lawfulness of the perceptible ical objects world. (14) Even if successful. is what as close as they do to conforming to statistical the negative answer to the first justifies (P." (p. retical entities.. then." to "conforming to statistical It is the latter laws." Do we know that the physical of the perceptible world ". for that very reason sense data are theoconstituted For the larger Once again I am surprised.." We make our observation is the language of physical reports objects. my in that there are no unrestricted reasons for asserting generalizations . and that the negative come objects together with the fact that theories explain why physical laws . which occur in my arguments against almost a paraphrase of statements phenomenalism.
as states Perceivers instance troduced in the first are.311 role I attribute sense-content terms are to be found in the explanatory in a sound theory of perceptual to sense impressions Notice experience. A sense impression on the facing side of an object which is red and rectangular a state of the perceiver which is brought is. then. Thus his argument against phenomenalism must have fictions. is a theoretical kind. which are specified terms of properties use of the by a systematic and their perceptible framework of physical as a objects properties Thus model. about in standard conditions by a physical object which is red and rectangular on the facing side. "And to my mind theoretical entities are namely. indifferent Is a theory which postulates sense-contents (to use a less loaded term) a The mere fact that it is a postulational good or a bad theory? theory is sufficient to discredit The bold claim that theoretical it. van Fraassen is clearly to the question. 608) the form Sense data are theoretical entities entities Theoretical are fictions are not constituted physical Therefore. are innot of 'objects." (p. entities as such are fictions is clearly intended as a direct challenge to the scientific realism he is about to examine. (18) Now just as one can hold that theories serve as instruments without being an instrumentalist. where the bracketed expression on the physical object language predicate A physical object which is red and rectangular It is this causal dependence of sense impressions which underlies the of the phenomenalist's claim that there are ('in principle') rejection in purely sense-content knowable lawlike statements terms. objects of sense data. having read the relevant is well aware of the fact that I would agree that what he passages. so one can hold that theoretical entities . objects. in the first respect. and in the second respect is a sense imof the pression [A physical object which is red and rectangular on the facing predicate on the facing sidej modeled side. Thus what he must be expecting me to disagree with is the sentence which concludes the above quoted passage. that van Fraassen. as ontologist's use the term. inductively (17) I asgume.' Sense impressions that I speak of 'entities' of perceivers. States of perceivers are not. And van Fraassen is quite right to claim that this is an argument I would not use. refers to as 'sense data' are theoretical entities. in terms of a causal theory relating are introduced Sense impressions to physical and are intrinsically characterized in perceivers objects.
re(20) Such a phenomenalist might put this by saying that ostensible enables us to explain why our sense conference to physical objects tents occur as they do. on that form of hypothetico-deductive phenomenalism which took its inwith respect to theoretical entities from an instrumentalism spiration which was in point of fact built on the standard account of theories. As I understand him. with respect to physinstrumentalism other forms of a phenomenalistic can easily be constructed. is to be perhaps. But familiar problems which have been raised concerning there remains the fact theories the Ramsey approach to scientific aside. within the limits position. that the instrunentalistic (21) Notice. but deny that these exfor physical objects expressions refer -. than in the case of other forms of instrumentalism. that. against hypothetico-deductive of this form character however. although. is that (19) Another point which should be noted for future reference in the essays discussed I focused attention by van Fraassen.e. as constants. many years ago amused themselves Philosophers invented or discovered? To this the Are scientific question: objects correct answer is that we invent them and discover that they do the work we require of something that is to count as real. James Cornman is attracted by this form of theoretical points out9 that my argument phenomenalism. . however. theoretical phenomenalism. genuine reference limited to terms which stand for items which are 'immediately apprehended' or patterns of such items. however indispensable. a defensible and is. an instrumentalism For a Craigian phenometo Craig's theorem concerning formal systems. is amenable to an approach which which are instrumentalism takes its cue from those forms of scientific would simply pick out physical by Bamsey. genuinely pressions.' of its assumptions. Modified the existence concerned to refute.312 (to use the material mode of speech) are made without holding that they with the are fictions. there are unrestricted generalizations would also merit the label 'theoretical This position phenomenalism. and correctly phenomenalism has not refuted it. turning them into variables object predicates of the total framework of relevant nomologpreceding the conjunction icals by their existential leaving phenomenal predicates quantification. nalism would presuppose as does the theoretical phenomenalism I was of purely phenomenal laws.on the grounds. without committing himself to the view that in purely sense-content terms. of theoretical along the phenomenalism is not one that can be justified which appeals lines of Craigian instrumentalism. i. Thus a phenomenalist ical objects might to sense-contents nomological pertaining grant that every unrestricted and irreducible referential an indispensable use of ostensibly involves and events. The phenomenalist inspired and for Ramsey treatment. more clearly and the ground for the unequal treatment accorded to sense-contents approach to objects would be what I have called a givenness physical sense and reference. that other things being equal..
Not only that. 612) Now I would be the last to claim that I gave an adequate account of but to say that I gave no positive account is. relevant "Positively passage." (P. and that is the crux of his case for scientific But one essential feature of the "levels picture" which I attack has been omitted. 612) that explanation eralization. let me attempt to justify that I gave a positive." After this brief characterization of (-P.313 themes. And this is a key point. we explain singular fact in terms of matters of empirical and then explain these generalizations empirical by generalizations. second reason for not pursuing this "secondary (24) van Fraassen's account of explanation. it must be mistaken. the claim (25) Before I develop these themes. "[Theoriesj explain why individual objects of various kinds and in various circumstances in the observation frame- . picture" explanation.. although I would also agree with this. explanation. He begins by commenting on my rejection of scientific "levels He writes.statistical or non-statistical hope to find the proper nomologicals -. my contention explain laws by explaining why the of the domain in question obey the laws that they do to the objects extent that they do. for what van Fraassen takes to be a "secondary argument" is.. on the contrary." argument" is that I give "no positive (p. Basically. of explanation with derivation. only to dismiss it as a "secondary" feature of my argument which he This feature is the equation by the "levels proposes not to pursue. is mistaken. says Sellars. by now familiar. picture" (23) van Fraassen speculates that my rejection of this equation is is explanation. 612) mentions it. 609) so."11 But what he fails to note is that the 'laws' in question to be inductively are stipulated established in the observation framework and that it is implied that there is a gap between what inductive framework can establish arguments in the observation and proper nomologicals either statistical or non-statistical. is that theories put. as van Fraassen speculates is derivation from the "right kind" of gen(p. "According to that picture. was not the point I was making. I believe. remarks on phenomenalistic (22) But enough of these anticipatory direct attack on my argument It is time to respond to van Fraassen's of the for scientific realism. account of explanation. thesis. though van Fraassen subsequently (p. And what he takes to be the primary argument is what I would admit to be a contrived to the main thrust attempt to give initial plausibility of the argument. 609)10 the "levels the ". means of theories. picture" he continues. a bit strong. explanation of inductive in the observation generalizations framework. In other words it is implied that only in theoretical frameworks can we -. by now also familthe theoretical My point concerns specifically iar. Nor was it. The key passage is the following. and I was rejecting the idea that in this case explanation at is derivation van Fraassen quotes the following all.in terms of which to provide satisfactory of particular explanations matters of fact. But algrounded in the idea that not all derivation it though I would certainly agree with this. irremediably picture realism. if inadequate. the primary argument. thesis.
614-5) and adds that "if such features were enough to convict the physical thing then microphysics would stand conlanguage of radical insufficiency. (28) Thus I can cheerfully agree with van Fraassen when he writes facts at a basic level." But if broadening and correction van Fraassen takes another look at page 7 of the essay to which he he would find exactly the same point made in almost the same refers. I neglect the fact that "science plays for according to van Fraassen. My remarks on quantum mechanics were of designed to make it clear that I was not ruling out the possibility statistical laws. What is relevant is that in acknowledging that in its I contemporary form QMhad no place for a deterministic substructure. issue between of "the adequacy of the physical us as the question thing framework. the manifest one is still in the process of developnent. tool for prediction and control." fact is (P. like the scientific one.314 work behave in those ways in which it has been inductively established that they do. I must elaborate a point which has already been made. van Fraassen refers to my essay on "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man"13 and claims that "Sellars has not done much justice to the role that science has within the manifest He [SellarsJ does say that it plays a role there of a image. and continuing generalizations of the schemes of classification. in a sense rightly. in its continuing finement of empirical and correlations. it [the manifest reimage] a second role as well. sees the central (27) van Fraassen. was simply reinforcing the point I had just been making in the prefor theoretical ceding paragraph." But to lay the groundwork for this claim.. 615) He then comments that "." Thus. victed too. 614) this autobiographical irrelevant. it is because a gas is -. a cloud of molecules which are behaving in certain theoretically defined ways that it obeys the empirical Boyle-Charles law. words. namely that what calls explanation is not the statistical as such. I was arguing that what calls for theoirreducibly retical is rather what I called the instability of empirical explanation formulated within the resources of the observation generalizations framework. not "Microphysics too countenances unexplained facts but statistical and the singular only universal regularities facts that the statisticians as exceptions.." (p. As any tool that may be put down or taken up as our purposes require it."14 I shall argue that the plausibility of his position is based on a subtle ambiguity in the phrase "physical thing framework.in some sense of 'is' toughly. (26) In his concluding remarks. And while no one today sees extant micro-physics as the . Although I was well aware (as van Fraassen assumes I was not) when I wrote "The Language of Theories" that "all the 'no hidden variable' QM] were based on assumptions which proofs [concerning were in no way necessary." classify (pp."[New italics (WS))12 It is this sense of 'is' which is explored in the concluding paragraphs of the essay to which all the rest was prologue. Often blunter tools are sufficient. It will be useful to take as my point of departure a reply to a comment made by van Fraassen on a reference I made to quantum mechanics.
. " (32) van Fraassen thinks that all that has to be made is a "methodo"We do not expect theories to 'save' our common. explain all singular 612) he is missing the point. 610) And he brings the issue between us. but that the modification servation framework of what might be called an image of the theory." something like what has been called the 'contamination' by theory of the observation framework itself. in a different . procedures within the observation framework yield generalizations which are unstable not which is a only in that they "break down" and "require modification... argue that theory explains explanation." improved generalizations (P.." into the obrequires the injection truism. it is not on that ground that it can be convicted. everylogical point.. and also to provide us with improvements: qualified that are exact. that I relate theoretical to singular matters of fact. and of the explanation generalizations as a matter of derivation via correspondence rules from a theoretical is inadequate. It is this theme which explanation directly was introduced in the passage quoted above to the effect that "it is because a gas is . by adding. izations are approximately true. that it obeys the empirical theoretically Boyle-Charles law. It is not that the "physical thing framework" doesn't sustain enough but rather that what inductive inductive generalizations. be an enough inductive generalizations base for a theory" it does "not sustain observation enough inductive . on the other hand. It is in this sense. (30) Thus. when van Fraassen claims to find the key to my argument in the idea that although the "physical thing framework" unlike the "phenomenalist framework" sustains to .. and not as a response to the above demand. that the levels on the conceptual autonomy of the picture with its stress of inductive observation framework.315 final theory." generalizations (p. matters of fact be capable of (31) Nowhere do I demand that all singular I do. why observable objects obey to the extent that they do empirical generalizations in the observation framework by identifying matters of singular fact in the observation framework with singular matters of fact in the theoretical framework and explaining the latter." for we ourselves have no confidence in their strict day generalizations. generalizations respect [that is] not enough to matters of fact(-P. as he sees it. to a focus.. 615) (29) The 'instability' I have in mind concerns exactly the fact that the of role of theory in what van Fraassen calls "the continual refinement and correlations" is not the purely external empirical generalizations one described but one which involves by the "levels picture. "But the autonomy of the physical thing language is preserved if we say that these are also expressed in that language.610) . inductive Roughly speaking. formalism." (p." generalizations it does sustain. Instead we expect theories to entail that these generaluniversality. it sustains of the framework of by a covert introduction It is for this reason theory into the physical thing framework itself. a cloud of moleclues which are behaving in certain defined ways..
presentation relevant to the issues van Fraassen has raised. propensity.not just methodologically content? respect to its very conceptual which can be rules or statistientail that but with (34) But what did I conceive the conceptual of the observation resources framework to be when I was discussing in these essays the very abstract and metaphysical issue of scientific realism. Thus what we perceive of a book is sides.316 (33) And. which Obviously I am working in a tradition perties from dispositional distinguishes (a) occurrent or non-dispositional or.obviously permit what might be called the direct ingression of theoretical concepts into the framework of perception and observation. A similar conclusion can be drawn if to conglomeration 'observe' a state of affairs is to respond to it in standard conditions. For . then to see the object is to see a of molecules. (36) In the second of the exploration What is realism. he has put his finger on a crucial issue. indeed. the problem. It should come as no surframework was perprise that the key to my concept of the observation The observable was the perceivable. tradition) in the larger context. of points directly (37) In the first part of this paper I shall be undertaking a detailed and its relevance to scientific problem of perception called for now is a brief. occurrent sensuous redness of the facing side. and by the manifestation of a reliable with a true sentence. Does the fact that theories-cum-correspondence put as follows: generate by derivation improved generalizations (universal cal) which can be expressed in the physical thing language -this language is autonomous -. causal properties.and by of perception and observation them loose I do not mean to imply that they have no role to play calling in a theory of scientific methodology -. But this can be interception. (35) Such loose constructions -. but we do not see of a brick its property of consisting of of whatever physical stuff it in point of fact consists -. we see of a brick (39) To put these distinctions the redness of its facing side. If a certain preted in such a way as to trivialize object is a conglomeration of molecules. place there is required we perceive its facing and what we a distinction between the object perceive of the object.15 (38) But it is also essential to note that the distinction between what we do and what we do not perceive of an object concerns not just what Thus we perceive the might be called its parts. beof the tween perceptible properties (the proper and common sensibles and the rest.whether baked clay or conglomerations of such and such molecules. and (b) within occurrent properties more broadly. but not the causal proof the facing side. if dogmatic. but also its properties. It is clear that I must have been so and observation as to rule out this direct inperception construing gression.
indeed. that it might be from the traditional view that thought that my account hardly differs of objects what we perceive are sensa which somehow 'belong' to them. one is taking there to be a physical But one may take there to be a physical certain object presenting features.and here we come to the heart of the property of consisting the matter -. a minimal account of perceive of the object. of objects are concepts of occurrent sensible On the other properties.the pink ice cube -. but not as it stands. so to speak. something to this idea. If one perceptually takes there to be a category of a physical object. a scientific a theory which is at present scarcely theory of perception. object of a specific brick. more than a promissory note. hand. The central feature of these concepts is that they make essential use of concepts of causal properties. belongs to the object. taking' Using the state which would be a for a perceptual phrase 'ostensible perception' of something as what it is if the believing were 'veridical' perception a perand the perceptual state properly hooked up with the object. may be. There is. For although I do hold that there are items which can proin perperly be called sensa. (41) However this ceptual experience A distinction it as. point is that what is perceptually taken is a physical i.l1 above between the object we perceive and what we (40) I distinguished of the object.consists in large part of causal properties.. The crucial presenting. and that they are essential ingredients I also hold that the concept of a sensur belongs to ceptual experience. the concept of what one perceives something as focuses attention on a conceptual framework to which belong concepts of specific kinds of all of which fall under the general category of physical objects. object. kind.317 of clay -.e. (43) The further relevance of these distinctions these two types of conceptual resource belonging is that if we look at to the framework of . but not its property of consisting of ice. red facing sides. of all this? (42) What is the relevance The concept of what one perceives of the object one perceives focuses attention on a sense in which the framework of perception -.indeed minimal conhas minimal resources For the concepts which apply to what one perceives ceptual resources.we see of the pink ice cube its property of being cubical and its property of being occurrently pink. where 'believing' is used in a technical sense for which the phrase 'perceptual has been used. the second main feature of my account to our problem is which is relevant between what we perceive and what we perceive of per- as involves Here the crucial the occurrence of point is that perception a conceptual state of believing. To take my favorite example -. what we perceive So minimal. without there being a specific kind of physical object which it is taken to be. And I gave. as will shortly emerge. in an object which is ceptual taking can be construed as a believing for example.
which appears in my defense of scientific (45) And it is this structure realism as 'the observation framework of physical objects in space and time. haps. And if this is the flexibility does not the grouped together.indeed the very language -.. and. involved. as. can we conceive of a conconceptual of the second type (i. Indeed. conceptual framework in which the resources to thing kinds and causal properties7 are built out of cepts pertaining of the first resources to the occurrent sentype (concepts pertaining sible properties of physical I have argued that the answer is objects). account provided by the "levels purely methodological picture" suffice? We must probe more deeply. an 'absolute' one.of the theory? the conceptual structure And if it is. given the restrictions which is placed on the observation framework. those of the second type change. in a legitimate sense. we could understand how theory can play a constitutive rather than a merely methodological role in relation to the observation framework. pertains (b) formulating new generalizations. I have advanced of the observation framework (47) Since the conception is.318 we notice that whereas the resources of the first perception.' Notice that it combines a restricted and fixed domain of conto occurrent perceptible with a changeable cepts pertaining properties domain of thing kinds and causal properties. what I have called the 'manifest image' of the physical world was defined as just such a structure. yes. data. perhaps. and even disappear. perdological sense. has not the very concept of the manifest image been abandoned? (46) But. type can be said to be constant. as explananda for theory. What. of thing kinds and (c) adopting new classifications and hence readjusting the criteria in terms of which objects are stuffs. (44) So what? Can't we see an object as a conglomerate of molecules? Can't seeing as involve theoretical Of concepts and classifications? course it can. What restraints are to be placed on 'perception' in perceptual this context? . that have been However. change their shape. the only flexibility to (a) defining available new causal properties. dispositions stuffs. How does this relate to theoretical One familiar explanation? picture takes certain thing kinds.' that inductive in the observation framework take place in generalizations terms.e. say for further theory? Might there not be a sense in which prior But how can a postulational theory is already present in the explananda? realism be present theory of the kind relevant to the issue of scientific in the observation framework without the observation framework containing -. if we can understand how further theory could come to be present in the observation framework without being added to the observation framework. objects Old pigeon holes can be subdivided. in general causal properties. has been achieved by all this condensed The answer emerges when we ask how the two types of sophistication? resource might fit together. based on what might be called it is important to note that I have assumed 'perception proper. Thus. Our classifications of physical can become more complex and sophisticated. in the methoBut should we not. then.
if puzzling -. One must. in the essay referred to. 194). when one speaks of theory as leading to the refinement of one must take into account the fact that if 'empirical generalizations' the instances are determined by instruments. conceptualization between the 'refined' therefore.in considerations (. the "induction. on the other hand.e.i. they -. a ization. framework counterparts (b) Lawlike observation condition (a). the question: Could 'refined' of generalizations the latter type be established by autonomous inductive reasoning in the observation framework? i. after recalling the distinction between the two between types of correspondence rule. that a certain theoretical they resemble the relation that a certain observational that the formal therefore.g.the idea that a are the rules which make attractive of theoretical structure with an object beobjects might be identical longing to the observation proframework..e. (a) which are compatible which not only satisfy be accepted would still absence of theoretical . mean kinetic energy) might be identical an empirically defined construct to the latter belonging (thus: operadefined temperature). as I have put it.without the use of theory laden instruments? (51) Or should one say that autonomous inductive reasoning in the observation framework can at best be expected to yield generalizations which are compatible with the refined 'inductive' but theoretical I have argued that the latter is the case. and even that a theoretical with perty of the former (e. with respect to how it is are those state of of percepsituation structure determined I drew a distinction be- (50) Thus. presupposes of the instances in theoretical terms. I distinguished Lawlike observation framework counterparts with the observational evidence.. distinguish empirical generalization involve theory via the use of instruments. p. although and the 'refined' in the observation framework which can generalization be obtained from the latter by the use of substantive correspondence This generates rules.319 (48) In an essay on "Theoretical Explanation"17 tween two types of 'correspondence rule' rules (a) substantive correspondence rules (b) methodological correspondence I have focused attention on the former. rules. Scientific realists have concentrated tionally to be given to substantive their attention on the interpretation correspondence rules. (49) Methodological correspondence which pertain to the determination affairs In this respect obtains. 'inductive' which. tual crit ria to the determination obtains." though in the sense that it moves from cases to lawlike general"empirical" the theory of the instrument and. of instantial is neutral induction that the relevant instances obtain. Thus..19 generalizations. therefore. because.l It should be noticed. but which were accepted and on purely inductive the grounds -.
610) is to confuse two concepts of "improved generalizations" and. ordinary language contains an informal apis taken into If this degree of flexibility paratus for doing just this. to theorems. in an important sense. they be. an incorrigible variance with they will exhibit argument is correct." (. the that this trivializes theorems. anti-realistic For. by rethe construction and suggesting of kinds. and which can not be attributed in the passage quoted above. which are 'compatible of theoretical i. in the induction theorems is not establishable retical by instantial observational by an inference framework. i. I believe parts of theoretical the latter thesis thesis. are also expressed in that if we say that these improved generalizations language" (p. But. their observation counterparts with van (52) But if this is so.. of course. problem of interpreting ordinary language counterparts. but can at best be established to the best explanation. then to say without qualification. as I have argued elsewhere. nor even contain the empirical to construct and use in the absence of theowhich it would be reasonable of good theories to show It is characteristic retical considerations. in sense (b) to be false. respect to fresh cases which is not a matter of their being statistical This is what I to experimental error. however sound. leaves untouched the or their the Ramsayized predicate variables. granted. those in sense (a)? i. for unless the interpretation in perceptual terms is a reasonable variables the introduced predicate of theoone is left with the fact that the full counterpart expectation.e. I would argue.e. (53) But what of 'observational counterparts' To what extent can with' observational evidence. full counterparts terms what extent can they have a content which mirrors in observational I suggest that an obthe content of their theoretical counterparts? can be a full counterpart servational counterpart only by making use of framework does admit of the introRamsey's device for the observation and of quantification over them. p. so to speak. which. 194). variables duction of predicate Indeed. (a) need not satisfy part which satisfies to accept need not be the lawlike statement which it would be reasonable on purely inductive concepts grounds. that "the autonomy of the physical thing language is preserved Fraassen. had in mind by "instability" of the Ramsayized variables (56) I have claimed above that the predicate be cashed out in terms of perfull counterparts cannot.e. with the perceptual of (54) This is the heart of the matter. framework can contain full counterI grant that the observation account. for it is clear that a counterI argued that "the distinction condition condition (b). .320 is crucial.. in principle. beg the question. estabwill shape the inductively considerations (55) That theoretical observational in the restricted lished counterparts framework. to establish these variables can be cashed out in terms one must show that in principle framework in the tough of constants which belong to the observational framework above when I was equating the observational sense characterized framework proper. stuffs shaping classifications But if the above of new causal properties is.
that there are no unrestricted claim in the preceding sections generalterms. realism. I mean. not Lockean powers to cause color exto naive or common but color construed in a sense congenial periences. for discussion of scientific realism for agree both with respect to the consequences of non-living our conception material with things and its consequences of the sensory aspect of human experience. because it coheres with considerations But let me put it in a venerable second (or Cornman) part of my paper. so to speak. are facets conceptions of perceptible ani relations. to his 'compatible common sense (or direct) ception and. We disdifferences. These differences. color. here. interesting sense.color. tempted to construe color in this sense as a wholistic But the issue property of systems of scientific objects. that is. rather than as a property of scientific Such fields or processes objects. probas problems concerning to perception. between epistemological He distinguishes First a general point. but rather to certain physical nervous system construed in terms of neurophysiological theory. of the observational framework construed in terms of physical objects. on the whole. of a common theme. of course. our respective of the however. might be emergent in the sense that they only come into being when the approform appropriate structures' but this sense of priate scientific objects is relatively 'emergent' unproblematic. world. directly (59) I turn. perhaps even more basic. but the sense impressions image is not the physical in which they are involved relate them not directly and the nomologicals of the central states to each other. for he is willin the world as a 'field' or ing to accept the idea that color exists in which scientific 'process' objects are. in the context of conof theoretical glomerates (to use his term) of the objects By physics.321 with respect to the is the counterpart This thesis ceptible properties. embedded. Ad Cornman realist for reasons with which T (57) Since Cornman is a scientific my major concern will be to explore some of the ways largely sympathize. I shall not offer a direct argument for in sense-content izations I shall advance in the this claim. status and reality I shall. 2. respect to our interpretation The problem of what I might call These differences focus on two points: wholistic irreducible called the problem of properties (traditionally and the problem of perception. emergent properties). to Cornman's theory of perception. of the manifest The real home of the sensible properties way as follows: of perceivers. so to speak. which he construes lems pertaining a certain that we are perceiving when we know or have reason to believe . between us can be explored without raising this problem. in the aesthetically sense realism -. therefore. ' (58) I shall be primarily concerned to examine Cornman's reasons for putting color in the external world. within this common framework. Cornman is. in particular. and to set the stage in which we differ of other. qualities to Cr nman's theory of perbe devoting most of my attention therefore.
since I believe that such concepts as those of sensations. I also beof Cornman's lieve and. his program) According to Cornman (at least as he envisages the concept of belief is relevant rather than only to the epistemological the constitutive He does... And. belief. problems concerning the nature of perceiving i. successful is not an epistemic A successful one. relation between perceiver and object perceived. tween a sensing person and a physical object which has certain perceptual features. so to speak. perceptual experience perceptual experience is. belief. no conceptual state of the perPerception as such includes ceiver.e. any viable theory of perception must acknowledge the existence. however.a phenomenal red rectangle." Cornman. the above point stands. as a matter of terminology. pattern of analysis (63) Cornman espouses the Thus he construes 'objectless sensings. in successful of some such perception. (62) In these respects I follow the traditional pattern of analysis.. so that a correct analysis of the latter is a necessary condition (or phenomenological description) of a correct account of the sensory component of perception. one material thing and one material thing only. as do most philosophers who write on perception. indeed. or sensings sensa are elements in a theoretical account of perceptual consciousness in something like Price's sense of the phrase.' but claims that when I characterize . indeed. non-conceptual (61) Price. Price called 'having a material thing present to the senses 20 and characterized as a situation in which "a sense datum is sensed which is related in a peculiar manner to . This does not mean that either he or other philosophers neglect the problem of giving an account of what it is to have a material thing They simply do not call this the problem of present to the senses. indeed. of whether or not one knows character object having a certain regardless or has good reason to believe that one is perceiving an object of that character. Yet with this qualification.' he construes the problem of perception and. however. as essentially the problem of giving an account of what he calls perwhich does contain as a component something like ceptual consciousness. (60) What Cornman calls a successful is a sophistiperceptual experience cated version of what H. ful' and 'unsuccessful' But his concept of a perceptual experiences. He notes of that I seem to offer a similar account of sensation in my description the 'manifest the emerging image. distinguish between 'successproblem. hope to show. replaces sensings of sense data by objectless acts of sensing.H. between 'having a material thing present to the senses' distinguishes and what he calls 'the perceptual of the material consciousness thing. perception. constituted by a matter-of-factual not involving which obtains in standard conditions berelation. concerning what it is to perceive an itself.322 and what might be called constitutive object. that a careful analysis own account of perception as he construes it is much closer to the traditional than he takes it to be.' of a red rectangle' in the context 'sensation phrase 'of a red rectangle' as a specification of an act of sensing rather as expressing a relation between the act and an object -.
realism is. and takings.a crucial point -. Thus he mo-ves quickly to red table senses and -.323 I introduce as the theoretical scientific account of perception counterof an act of senstructures which consist parts of objectless sensings He construes these acts of sensing namely a sensum. however. must be of some absolutely shade of red. and he the spirit." Whether or not I am in his sense an indirect realist..to table as red senses21 which he represents by the schema p-as-Q senses where 'p' is a physical object expression property. takings. of an objectless act of sensing. thinks that by making this move I have committed myself to what he calls "indirect realism. Traditional sense datum theorists have. sing and an object. and the sensa which are their objects in a way which assimilates them to of classical sense datum theory.can Can there be a sensing which is a generic manner.e. in all respects We may describe it as red.of counterparts conceptual takings. experiences. redly to take as a paradigm case of Cornman's and 'Q' stands for a perceptible (65) Before exploring what this involves. I wish to emphasize from the very beginning that what he thinks of as my 'acts of sensing' in the scientific image are the scientific of perceptual acts as certain i. this would have to be because 'indirect' are in another sense already in the manifest image my objectless sensings of perceptual But of this more later. the act itself can have a specification be of a sensing in a merely merely generic specification. I want to raise a question on the side..e. i. but it absolutely specific. believed that although we may give a generic description of a sense datum with respect to its sensible the datum itself nust be characteristics. in Cornman's sense. by and large. in the manifest construed in the manifest Perceptual image. Now I find it difficult to determine from Cornman's account of objectless sensing as specified by the phrases which sense datum theory takes to refer to the character of objects acts of whether or not Cornman thinks that while we may give a generic sensing. For when he gets down to cases. . involve both sensings retical in the scientific are in no My sensings counterpart image. states and the same is true of their theosense cognitive or conceptual retical in an as yet unrealized And if my counterparts neurophysiology. are specified in a much sensings of his more complicated to the plausibility way which adds greatly account of perception. objectless sensing or red sensing he begins his account on these theorists although like most adverbial terms. although we may well specific have no word for this shade. and each of these has its theoimage. 'objects' (64) It would be misleading acts of sensing. if not the letter.
being red? The question arises because of a table as red Jones has an experience would normally be taken to imply that of the property of being red Jones has an experience with sense of 'experience' as Cornman does. has an experience Thus when Jones table as red senses of table as being red. of course. facing-side-physical-object Presumably this could also be paraphrased as a physical Jones experiences object as (senses) on the facing side. on the (67) Thus I think it fair to say that Cornman would of an experience of the to be a proper specification of a red and rectangular Jones has an experience object facing side physical form would be which. . ('red'). in favor of objectless levant to certain arguments he offers sensings as against sensa. the relevant or. where I have taken the liberty of Cornman. take the following sensing kind. more than this is going on and that a whole new line of thought has been introduced. Jones has an experience of a table as being red Jones has an experience of introducing the indefinite article. has made it clear that one can have an experience a table as being red.324 red sensing without its being. Thus Cornman equates p-as-Q senses with of p as having Q. a Harvard crimson sensing. has an experience red and of a sensing into (68) I want now to raise a question which Cornman does not explicitly the property of When Jones red table senses does he experience discuss. equating. rectangular a more detailed We have simply fitted specification the patterns p-as-Q senses of p-as-Q. but because it is reI raise this question not only for information. although I expect to see them raised in the discussion. for example. rephrased in canonical Jones a -red-and.rectangular-on-thesenses . as he is using the term 'experience. (66) Now if the statement Jones table as red senses variant of were simply a terminological Jones red table senses of the to the fact that the specification and simply called attention modified by an adjective sensing was in terms of a substantive ('table') But I suspect that no danger of confusion would have crept in. I shall not be examining these arguments in the present paper. sense of 'experience' or 'success' between an 'achievement' distinguish and a sense which is non-committal with respect to achievement or success.' without there He is careful to being a red table or even a table in the neighborhood. indeed. I would assume.
(72) Now. Cornman. is an awareness of. (73) Only if the conditions of perception are optimal does the perceiver or who table is red senses 'immediately (achievement) experience' a red table. which individual i. sensu experienced existent. Jones is aware of the property of being red. indeed. It is for this reason that he calls his actually for the only object strictu 'direct theory of perception realism. somehow involved in it is clear that the sensing does not of the sensing. but not objects? (including the problem as Cornman uses the term. (71) It might be thought that to make this move would be to strip senare not properties After all. of the sensing tells us what the sensing the specification Accordingly. at least when discussing to individuals. character. But. where these the term 'object' of perception. the specification have the property of being red. indeed.g. sings of their objectless relationsPerhaps in some sense they are. stances of properties not take issue with him on this point. category of physical exto limit the properties in terms of which the sensing is specified to the proper and common sensible of the tradition plicitly properties . for the moment. although I find it correct to specify and physical I prefer objects objects and events. presumably. if properties an objectless are not objects. particular of red color that is located where and when the table is located" as an of of instances I do not find his conception of redness.' individual red table itself. of the property of being a red table. sensing can be an And it seems to me that it is or awareness of a property. to call attention to a key difference be(74) I am now in a position tween our analyses.e. is the actual. Thus sometimes what he refers to as inaltogether properties But I shall seem to be what I would call events. to repeat. to be aware of the property of being a red table is not ipso facto to be aware of an actual instance of that property. of the property of being a red table. Thus I am not asking When Jones red table senses is he ipso facto aware of the of his sensing? Is he aware that he red table specification senses? Although the property of being red is.22 instance clear. with the idea that when Jones red table (70) But all this is consistent senses he is aware of the property of being red. experience Cornman's view that when Jones table as red senses Jones is aware of the property of being red and. way. empirical properties of a table which exemplifies redness) or what he refers to as instances bit Thus he refers to "the non-repeatable such properties. one need (69) Cornman is clear that when one senses in a specified not be aware that one is sensing in that way. restricts are either the sort of thing which exemplifies (e. I shall drop his red table example. in terms of the sensings because..325 awareness.. an existing 'directly perceive' has this property.
Thus. We could put this directly experiences and apprehends by saying that Jones apprehends a phenomenal red rectangle a certain state of affairs or. is not itself nor the property of being triangular an instance of triangularity. as I would use this term. he a red rectangle and in so doing experiences the properties.which the use of the term 'table' does not. How are we to describe Jones' experience? Shall we say that Jones experiences the on the property of being a physical object which is red and rectangular facing side? (76) Now if anything is clear it is that the property of being a circle a circle. and. an [a red table] sensing for this event takes on the unanalyzable. he are not Lockean causal properties. abbreviate this to Jones [a red rectangle] senses. a existing 'fact' about this object.73 (78) According to Cornman's alternative the only color properties involved in perception are the colors of physical objects. since the conditions are not optimal. (79) What of perceptual in the achievement sense? As experience Cornman sees it. now. paradigm case of a specification Jones [a red and rectangular on the facing surface physical object3 senses. Consider. which common sense takes to be exemplified in properties by objects Jones does not experience an object having phenomenal physical space. to use his example. there occurs an event which is not only. the environment contains no physical on the facing side.326 -. I shall though on occasion. This seems to imply that when one experiences the one does not ipso facto experience a circle. furthermore. (75) Whatever else it involves. it involves a discrepancy between the property in terms of which the and the property actually in sensing involved is specified exemplified the perceptual environment. for the sake of simplicity of formulation. Let object which is red and rectangular us suppose it appropriate to say that there merely seems to Jones to be an object which is red and rectangular on the facing side. property of being a circle and when one experiences the property of being red one does not ipso of redness. a case of misperception. character 'supervenient' being of . Thus I would give as a of a sensing the following. which. red and rectangular property of being an occurrently (on the facing side) physical object. suppose Jones' sensing is correctly as an specified [a red rectangle] sensing but that. facto experience an instance would say that in the above example Jones (77) Now sense datum theorists a (peculiar) of the proexperiences object which is an actual instance that Jones perty of being a (phenomenal) red rectangle. it as being red and rectangular. when the perceptual conditions are optimal. senses. but the occurrent color emphasizes.
the awareness of an existent Cornman. are. and that I have already to justify this answer. sensings place. but an immediate experience and rectangular on the facing side. un(82) Why does Cornman go to such pains to introduce a supervenient the of immediate experience relation involving (achievement) analyzable and an actually physical object which is red and existing perceiver The answer is that Cornman wants his on the facing side? rectangular to provide a reason for holding that occurrent account of perception in physical are exemplified color properties by physical objects space. this direct perception of it as a of a red table. does not attribute object physical object as a red and rectangular rectangular physical What we know is that we of being a case of knowledge. But I shall now lay all neutral) my cards on the table and claim that the sensing as construed by Cornman as the (achievement is more accurately characterized experience neutral) of there being a red table in such and such a of the state of affairs of physical the experiencing Thus. But all this is compatible with the ditions the in the achievement sense involves idea that perceptual experience of a fact -. which objects which may not exist as having perceptual properties . a direct perception of a red table or. (83) But is his account of perception answer is no. in general. the sensing of his example as an experience by construing (achievement of the property of being a red table. is not only an immediate ex(8!) Furthermore. a physical object which is red and rectangular as (81) can properly be characterized I submit that such an experience state of affairs or fact. It is because he believes of perception. mediate experience But to (achievement) see what this amounts to we must bear in mind that the sensing itself of a has already been construed as an experience neutral) (achievement of Cornman's theory I began my elaboration red table as a red table. but an experience perience (achievement) is not only red table. as we of a red and to the direct perception have seen.if we add that the fact is not directly direct apprehension apprehended as a fact. of perception are optimal.327 an immediate experience (achievement) in other words. which requires the existence in the external analysis to be more satisfying than alterworld of occurrent color properties. a satisfactory one? I think the provided the necessary materials on a sensing Notice that what Cornman takes to be 'supervenient' (84) is the character of being an imwhen it occurs in optimal conditions of a red table as a red table. the direct perception of a physical an immediate experience object which is red (achievement) of it as on the facing side. to put them there. of being of a red table. In terms of my example. in the well that putting occurrent color properties He knows perfectly causal explanation external world contributes nothing to a scientific his of the occurrence of red sensings. the character a red and rectangular are directly object as red physical perceiving and we know this only if we also know that the conand rectangular. that he finds it reasonable native accounts.
be interested I shall asscmne that he would be prepared to consider a conceptualistic position according to act to occur is for a conceptual which to be aware of a state of affairs in the mind. case of the use we make of the language of direct disOne is a special Jones' act acts. can not be analyzed in terms of believing perceptual experience of certain Thus. a sensing in optimal conis correct. -. for example. I shall not press Cornman on these points (though that he is not a nominalist). In optimal conbeing an awareness of an existing what one would experience state ditions is. he would be construing on the facing side physical object] sensing [a red and rectangular to be of there being a physical n awareness of a state of affairs on the facing side in a object which is red and rectangular location. confident I am reasonably I would. classified I would characterize takings. being occurrently in Cornman's account. Thus. I suggest that Cornman's sensings are conflations in a physical acts (for example a believing minimal conceptual object on the facing side) with the non-conceptual which is red and rectangular and non-conceptual acts which I would call sensings. to know what stand he would take. as conceptual acts of believing in the existence in first approximation of perceptible state of affairs.I conclude that what Cornman is describing botanize conceptual have as sensings are in one respect akin to what other philosophers as perceptual the latter. in terms of my example. because it is already in its character as sensing the experience of a physical state of affairs which may or may not exist. to put the point bluntly acts -. are essentially Cornman's sensings (88) I say that 'in one respect' for it seems as obvious to Cornman as it does to me that believings. however. conceptualistic to these questions. These conceptual acts have in common the fact that each is specified by means of a certain use of the vocabulary of physical proobjects and their perceptible different. certain But if so. the existing of affairs of there being an actual table which has the property of And I think this is part of what is going on red. then it would seem that all that needs to be 'supervenient' of on a sensing which occurs in optimal conditions is the character state of affairs. and in nondoes not exist.328 nothing in the relevant place may have. Thus we characterize course in specifying conceptual of thinking that Tom is tall by making a special use of the sentence . optimal conditions (86) But what is a non-existent state of affairs? And in what does the state of affairs awareness of a non-existent consist? Clearly one might or even nominalistic stance in regard take a realistic. (85) But if my interpretation of an becomes the immediate experience ditions direct perception -.and hence an experience state of affairs physical (achieveexisting ment).for there is no time to (87) But if so. But the two uses of this vocabulary are radically perties. alone.
lieves. but a occurrent belief. only one factor in deoccurrent act. by ascribing a belief-tendency. . in minimal perceptual experience25 as on a sensing specified is 'supervenient' on the [a physical object which is red and rectangular facing side] sensing of the adverbial transformation which is an adjectival on the la physical object which is red and rectangular facing sidel -ly senses as would be a taking specified a taking there to be (a believing object in) a physical on the facing side. fledged theory. however. as contrasted with a full-fledged ceptual experience As I see it a taking is not a mere tendency. It is. from this point of view. latter (90) Thus from my point of view what. which is red and rectangular under I have already pointed out that such takings. that. an actuality which is somehow a physical object which is red and recwhich is. takes there to be such-and-such Jones (perceptually) sense that in the ordinary unqualified does not entail there to be such-and-such. And.329 But the language of physical 'Tom is tall. put. blend of a conceptual as the common sense characterized quired by what is not inappropriately that even when there merely seems to be a physical conviction object on the facing side in front of one. experience perceptual is reThe latter and a non-conceptual state. of a theory. the construction (89) In terms of the example I have been using. it seems to me that Cornman is conflating in (takes there to be) a physical Jones believes object on the facing side which is red and rectangular with Jones Ca physical object which is red and rectangular on the facing side] senses. occurrently termining what the perceiver. although classified are so only in a carefully the general heading of 'belief' qualified technical sense. is a unique (91) According to the above account. the common sense core which the various forms of both actof sensation theories object and adverbial attempt to build into a fullIn other words they are. Jones believes to perThis point is often but I think mistakenly. I submit that the object as red and rectangular can not. to put it differently.' objects and their peris used in quite a different way in specifying properties ceptible I have compared this use to the role of a model in sensory states. as an awareness of a physical be characterized The former can correctly on the facing side. indeed. as tangular on the facing side is present in the experience I see it. full-fledged bein the ordinary sense. somewhich s red and rectangular which is somehow a physical object which is red and rectangular thing2 on the facing side is present in the experience other than as a mere It is this conviction object of belief.
can be of the physical sensings object as for example. action appropriate pain is not to yield example from another sphere. experience what is in point of fact an objectless by a certain sensing specified is taken to be a physical use of physical object object terminology.but no account would have been occurrently of a physical given of the fact that it is an experience object as red. an actuality which is. which is red and rectangular on the facing side. Cornman's sensings related mental acts one of which is conceptual. of objects and hence in the environment.8 Put boldly. in reWhy should not perceptual to the concerns of a theory of categories. After all. a physical object which is red and recand not phenomenological are theories tangular on the facing surface.30 paradox. does indeed involve something actual which is somehow an experience red physical object27 -. matter-of-factual 'something' and 'somehow' in of two are conflations (92) As I see it. According to the view both 'successful' and 'unsuccessful' I have been sketching. discrimination perceptual To use an even more telling to that environment. though I construe it as an objectless sensing. but no that someaccount would have been given of the common sense conviction red physical thing actual which is somehow an occurrently object is the is involved. is the somehow presence of an occurrently red physical How is object. spects which are relevant the provided that they do their job of making possible mistakings.29 (94) This thesis of sensum theories would be the adverbial counterpart that in perceptual we take what is in point of to the effect experience fact a sensum in private visual space to be the facing surface of a physical object. involves (95) Notice that according to both types of theory perception But once This may seem an intolerable a category mistake. then. the point of feeling . though each of which is specified by a certain use (different in each case) of the vocabulary of physical objects and their perIn as much as the former is involved. perceptual of a red physical experiences object as red involve a non-conceptual act of sensing. Cornman's ceptible properties.330 attempts specific to pin down the place-holders terms. object and a belief of the conceptual it is the objectless sensing which is the 'object' the thesis is that in perceptual act of taking. for example. red. descriptions. that attempts to flesh out the concept of an actuality it is realized which is somehow. In so far as the latter present in the experience. the conceptual act or taking related to this sensing? I suggest that in the sense of 'object' in which we speak of a belief as about a certain to the effect that the object has certain properties. occurrently (93) One additional point remains to be made. by virtue of the way in which it is specified. in hesitation enable them to get around with a minimum of reflective a hostile environment. one of which intimately is not. the sense of paradox should disappear. takings be. which. has endowed humans with perceptual experiences evolutionary developnent not to give them ontological but because these experiences insight.
Even though our perceptual takings involve the concept of The redness as a property of physical occurrent . state of affairs occurrent peris a non-existent involving perceive the latter must surely occur in these optimal ceptible properties. I have argued that his account is radically point should nail down the argument. a cousin volving an occurrent perceptual has. focuses attention which is somehow a physical the items by virtue of which an actuality red on the facing surface is present in the object which is occurrently this would be the way Even in optimal conditions experience. he provides good reason we percases the properties that in many. perception One final deficient. If in which occurrent physical this is so. He reto have may not be the properties they actually objects in optimal conditions from quires only that they be indistinguishable have. but to get our hands quickly off hot stoves. for believing ceive physical objects to have merely approximate in the above sense conto the properties have. concept itself (97) Cornman grants that there is no place for such a concept in the exscientific account of physical objects as causes of perceptual He has relied on of physical red.331 ontological insight. to tie the point to the example I have used. so to speak. might well be useful but mistaken.. appeals can be accounted for by the view that perceptual takings are of objectless for occurrent perceptible mistakings properties sensings of physical objects. if not all. (98) When he gets down to refining his theory to take account of a Cornman admits that even in optimal number of familiar objections. objects as occurrently periences of his common sense direct realism as a theory of the attractiveness to secure occurrent redness a place in the external world. For it requires us to hold that even in optimal conditions of an occurrent what we directly apprehend may not be an actual instance state of affairs inproperty but rather a non-existent perceptible property which is. object which is red and rectangular . Cornman's compatible direct realism no longer provides the reason it seemed to provide for holding that physical objects have to which he For all the considerations occurrent color properties.e. perceptual redness is present in the experience. i. on acts of sensing proper as (99) This. cases as conceived. of the perceptual But if even property which the object actually what we directly in optimal conditions perceive need not be an actual of an occurrent perceptible so that what we directly instance property. once again.hysical objects. the properties they actually And. are to the point. Thus. indeed. the perceptual taking formulated by this red and rectangular on the facing surface physical object as would be a mistaking of a sensing specified on the facing side physical [a red and rectangular sensing object] to be a physical on the facing side. there (96) But notice that if these considerations redness in the external need be no such thing as occurrent physical world.as something believed. we perceive the occurrent of perception conditions physical properties have. But this is no superficial they actually cession.
(. (. 86-7). as well as universal statistical generalizations. on. 609. better. the sides 15Or. comes from a passage which occurs after I have characterized the sound counterpart sense impressions.where 'pink' is. 86). Chap. of the phenomenalists. . a point which is also made in  to which he also refers. to (. to quotations from van Fraassen will be to this All page references to the papers discussed ([13. a word for a kind of stuff. p. 121).332 Notes All page references . by van Fraassen will be to the versions printed in  if they are to be found in that collection. 5). 120). to (. 84-7). paper. 121). p. 17  as perceptual object it consists in Quine's sense. straight in its character 1Strictly speaking. to (. p. to (. 1Refers ([1O]. since not all the latter face us. pp. pp. p. p. of the sense-contents as entities by postulated a theory. of a volume of pink -. as the phrase is. p. I certainly had in mind. p. 123). it presents. a mass term. My argument clearly applied to both. 613). 85). though I did not make this explicit. to (. 612) refers p. Refers 4Refers Refers (. one of his key quotations After all. 13 14See (.
340). rather than a private phenomenal object of a physical object. believing I distinguish between two ways in which 25In Science and Metaphysics a perceptual experience may be 'minimal': (a) the perceiver may retreat to the claim that "(at least) there seems to be a certain kind of physical contaking may have a restricted object over there". object which is red and rectangular which I have in mind in the above passage. Thus Cornman can construe perception as the direct of an existing state of affairs. 21 22 See. he may simply take there to be a physical on the facing side in front of him. state (energeia) for the surface . 377.thus instead of taking there to be a book bound in red cloth in front of him. 2). that seeing a colored object consists in having a sensation of a color and mistaking the sensation for a colored physical a view which was first ridiculed and then forgotten. (. and this is important for the viability Cornman's position. 25). an occurrent of a perceiver. I have returned to the view of my teacher. while yet denying that a apprehension of a fact as is a knowing -. (b) the perceivers ceptual content -. It is the latter 26Notice that are not limited 'something' to objects. n. 30The mistake would be more radical on the objectless because it would involve mistaking an act. the latter as the ap23Notice that to characterize apprehension of a fact is not to say that Jones is aware of it as a fact. 28This sense of 'object' with Cornman's 'ontological' of sensations. is a transcendental of the theory so that 'somethings' whatever specific 27For that is the point form it takes. as contrasted 29Thus. which exists or obtains. Prichard. p.which the phrase 'apprehension perception a fact' would imply. for example. as a fact. p. ([1l.333 18The example I gave in the essay Spectroscope appropriately related to gas show such and such lines 19 in question was of the form Atoms in region R are in *such and such a state of excitation 19 (. for a distinction between different senses of 'belief. for a distinction between the awareness of a state of affairs and the awareness of it as existing. i.e. that-p. might be called the 'doxastic' sense of the term. H.' 24But seef'90 Jones can have an 'affirming witholt thought' that-p. after many years. p. prehension of There is logical room.A. sensing account. object.
2.H. 1961. 1963. in . Colodny. reprinted Pages 106-126. "The Language of Theories. New York: ---------------"Scientific Realism or Irenic Instrumentalism. Cohen and M. New York: Interscience 1963. Publishers. Edited by H. Pages 60-105. New York: Humanities Press. (As Pages 57-77. van Fraassen." In Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science Vol. Rhinehart and Winston. and Reality. Wartofsky. Humanities Press. 1968.   ---------------. "Phenomenalism. New York: Holt. H. James. (As reprinted Pages 1-40.) ---------------. Maxwell. Dialogue 14(1975): "Wilfrid 606-616." In . 1962." In Frontiers of Science and Philosophy. II. Feigl and G.334 References    Cornman. "Theoretical In Philosophy of Explanation. Pages 171-204. Pages 35-78. Perception. Perception. Edited by R. in the Philosophy of Science. Science and Metaphysics. Pages 61-78. B. Baumrin. in . 1975. Sellars on Scientific Realism. CommonSense and Science." In Current Issues Sellars. Edited by B. Price. Edited by R.) ----------------. "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man. of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh: University Press. Wilfrid.C. Perception New York: Humanities    Science. New Haven: London: Methuen. ----------------." Science: The Delaware Seminar Vol. -------------. Yale University Press. 1932."   . Press. 1965.