Representing and Knowing

David Banach TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION INTRODUCTION . . 1

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

13 13 16 24 36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The act of representing does this irrespective of the correctness of the connection made within. These terms are explained below. Acts of representing in which both modes of interaction are actively engaged in interaction with the world in this way are also acts of direct referring. acts of representing that are so actively engaged make a connection between two modes of interaction as giving rise to properties that spring from a common causal nexus in the world. as it is generally used (by normal people. This is not true of all acts of representing.4.3: Representing and Referring It seems to me that the term 'reference'.8 At any rate. Even though they completely misconstrue the information that arises from their interaction with the cup. and all semantic reference is derivative from Intentionality. they do succeed in isolating the cup as the causal nexus of the properties they connect. All reference. Direct reference is accomplished in acts of representing that connect two or more modes of interaction both of which are actively engaged in interaction with the external world. They pick out an object or part of the world as the common nexus in virtue of which the two modes of interaction are connected. therefore. Such an act of representing directly refers even if the properties or modes of . The person on LSD who says of the coffee mug "This dog is a beagle. is a general term encompassing three more particular types of reference: direct reference. The relationship of these three types of reference is simple: All Intentionality is derivative from direct reference. and semantic reference. not philosophers)." We know where to go to prove them wrong just as precisely as we know where to go to prove me right." isolates an object as the common causal nexus or ground of the two properties just as effectively as I do when I say "This cup is a coffee mug. it is only true of representations of the first type distinguished at the end of Chapter One. Intentionality7. is derivative from direct reference. In doing so they isolate out a domain of interest or an object as the causal nexus of the two sets of properties connected.

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

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

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

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

takes time. An essential part of isolating out a domain of interest is connecting different modes of interaction at different times and attributing them to a domain as their common causal nexus. Second. but they. Yet we seem to have no problem in achieving either of these results (nor in failing to achieve them). there is no one type or natural kind of causal interaction that is reference. Such an act cannot occur in isolation. 4.4: Putnam contra a Putnamian Theory of Reference Putnam. Referring is an act that requires time. it cannot determine reference independently of the correctness of representation. and reapplying the concepts in a subsequent act of representing. there is no one type of interaction that is referring. both are acts. It is something organisms do. Although I will discuss Putnam's arguments as a critique of Metaphysical Realism in great detail in Chapter Eight. just another representation. Putnam's main line of argument is that causation is essentially a theoretical notion. We can analyze out particular acts of representing or experiences. not a property they have in virtue of their causal relations at any one moment. it is necessary here to at least sketch out the general outline of his main argument and my responses. altering the concepts in the interaction. There are as many types of interactions that can establish reference as there are acts of direct referring. Just as their is no natural kind of interaction in which putting a basketball through the hoop consists. provides a critique of the type of causal theory of reference he once held. like the components of an act of representing. it is always part of a dialectical process of representing the world according to concepts. He develops this into two main objections to causal theories of reference: (1) If a causal theory of reference is just another theory. Its ability to determine reference depends upon its . in his later work. Neither activity is a static relation that can be characterized generally. have the properties they do only in the context of a wider process. a way in which we represent certain aspects of the world.

ability to correctly represent the appropriate causal relationship. in his philosophical explications is the intuitive notion of an explanation. etc. (Putnam 1976.126) (2) Putnam also argues that causation is essentially an explanatory notion and that it does not make sense to ascribe causal relations to things apart from our conceptualization of them. "The problem is that adding to our hypothetical formalized language of science a body of theory entitled 'Causal theory of reference' is just adding more theory.(Putnam 1981. of course is not the . 1981a. 46. Before I begin to respond to the first argument. He says.. Putnam's first argument does have force against those who think that by adding a representation of the reference relationship to our system of representations we can make it come alive and represent apart from our interpretation. p. 211-214) I will answer each of these arguments in turn. Berkeley's argument that we cannot conceive of material objects because we can form no conception of them which is not a concept. Putnam says: . 213) Even if we could ascribe such obviously explanatory notions to things in themselves. the notion the materialist really uses when he employs 'causal chain'. p. (Putnam 1981a. for the theory of reference must be correct to refer determinately itself: Notice that a 'causal' theory of reference is not (would not be) of any help here: for how 'causes' can uniquely refer is as much of a puzzle as how 'cat' can.. p. p. to determinately fix reference." (Putnam 1977.. But this. I should point out in passing its similarity to our favorite example of the perspectivist fallacy. So Putnam seems to argue that a theory of reference as independent of representation and theorization is impossible because we can't give a theory of reference that isn't a theory. What counts as an explanation depends on the context. on the metaphysical realist picture. pp. there would be too many causal relations. But this notion is certainly not physically definable. or too many explanatory chains.18) This does not make reference independent of correctness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

for the assumptions of the physical-visual model of representation and the perspectivist model of objectivity are built into the traditional view of agency. something we do. The combination of topics in this chapter should not. forms. In order to take the thesis that representation is an action seriously. Kant says: . Our rationality is seen as something transcending the physical world and. They have mainly taken the view that we are able to act freely in virtue of our rationality. Agency according to this traditional view is a type of causality that our reason has with respect to our material existence.1 Reason. Therefore we must begin by seeing what agency. be surprising. we will have to see what is involved with agency or the application of concepts. We will find that it will not do simply to apply traditional notions of agency to the new model of representing. transitory.1: Agency Traditional views of agency have been concerned with explaining how humans can act in a way that is not determined by the chance and indifferent happenings of the physical world. and indifferent goings on in the material world. we will have to see how a concept can be applied to a domain in a way that allows the representation that results from the application to be caused by the domain and not the concept. defines an aspect of our nature that transcends the material world providing us with both freedom from its chains and shelter from its travails. able to act freely and to direct our lives in a way that will have a value independent of the particular. In order to see how an act of representing can be objective. can be on this view. AND TRUTH The main thesis of this dissertation is that representing is an act. therefore. OBJECTIVITY.CHAPTER VI AGENCY. 6. and principles. by virtue of its commerce with abstract ideas. therefore. or the application of concepts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1

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

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

5

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

CHAPTER VII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Five). but this deficiency in knowledge by representation is taken as definitive of the human condition in both cases. that language does not have a determinate literal meaning unless situated in a context in which a network of beliefs and background conditions allow it to determine definite conditions of satisfaction. Searle says: I want to challenge.3 Such deficiencies in the way in which we know by representing are tragic in some instances (Oedipus fails to recognize both his father and his mother though he had true representations of both and it was of greatest importance to him to do so. It is to be expected that these two sets of dispositions should sometimes fail to be connected so that the knowledge contained in the connections that one set of dispositions tends to make will not be applied to the domains to which the other set of dispositions tends to make us refer.) and comic in other instances (mistaken identities abound in Shakespeare's comedies). 7. very similar to the one considered in the section on indexicals. it is to be expected on the view presented here. I continued my search elsewhere) and yet be unable to recognize the object when all my efforts and abilities are directed towards doing so.5: Literal Meaning and Figurative Language John Searle gives an argument (Searle 1979.the object apart from the correctness of my representation (I had looked first in the same spatial region in which I had left the list. the view that for every sentence the literal meaning . While such a condition is inexplicable on the PVMR.. The very fact that allows us to learn from experience and gain knowledge.. the independence of reference from correctness of representation. Reference is established independently of correctness of representation and is accomplished by a different set of dispositions than those that are responsible for the content of the representation. but upon seeing that the only thing there was my notes on the other project. sometimes makes it impossible to apply our knowledge when we most need to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

no representational system could determinately refer to any subset of the world. because the sentences that express the operational constraints are themselves meaningless strings of symbols that can be interpreted by any isomorphic set of objects. pp. In the example above the two interpretations map the system onto different worlds. (Putnam 1981. it supplies only the most meager of formal constraints upon its interpretation. So Putnam's example is of two different interpretations of a sentence that map the symbols onto the same domain of objects. is interested in showing that the LowenheimSkolem results hold even if we limit the interpretations to a single domain. Putnam`s example is still just an example of the fact that a symbol system does not determine its own interpretation. yet which make the same set of operational constraints true by giving disjunctive definitions of the symbols that allow them to be mapped onto one subset of objects in one situation and onto another subset of objects in other situations. Putnam. 217-218) The example that he gives (Putnam 1981. will admit different interpretations. no matter how much information it contains. different sets of objects. Putnam succeeds in getting interpretations that differ.still cannot uniquely determine a model. This would show that even if there is a single world with a determinate set of objects.8 Even with this added complexity. while at the same time being a different interpretation (in virtue of mapping the symbol onto other objects in other situations). Putnam gives a general argument exploiting the property of symbols systems shown above and expressed in the Lowenheim-Skolem Theorem to show that any symbol system. His example is considerably more complex because of an extra constraint that he adds to his argument. however. and relations. In this way a symbol can satisfy the same operational constraint (by being mapped onto the same objects) as an intended interpretation in situations where the operational constraint is operative. 33-34) to exemplify the general procedure used in this proof works exactly the same way as the example above does. and these constraints allow multiple incompatible . pp. properties.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

p. Putnam's version of this model involves two theses: one concerning the ontological status of objects and one concerning the nature of truth. 52) and If. p. Thus. of course. Let us now see how these assumptions function in his arguments for internalism. p. Putnam holds that objects are constructs within theories. 54) This. 'objects' themselves are as much made as discovered. implies an Oatmeal theory of reality. because it is characteristic of this view to hold that what objects does the world consist of? is a question that it only makes sense to ask within a theory or description. (Putnam 1981. We cut up the world into objects when we introduce one or another scheme of description. thus. 8. As we saw in the last chapter. If it only makes sense to talk of objects within a theory and if we make objects through the application of our conceptual . 49) and elsewhere: 'Objects' do not exist independently of conceptual schemes. as much products of our conceptual invention as of the 'objective' factor in experience. (Putnam 1981.3: Internal Realism Internal realism is in essence a form of the internal model of objectivity. He says in describing his view: I shall refer to it as the internalist perspective.reference goes on within the activity of representing. as I maintain. (Putnam 1981. it is not something we assign to the representation from outside by assigning it an interpretation.. . It reinterprets the object of knowledge as internal to the representational system and. it seems that Putnam's arguments rest upon the retention of aspects of the very model of representation that he is attacking by his realization that words do not interpret themselves. or what he calls internal realism.. as a part of it. makes objectivity a matter of the internal properties of the system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this objection has force only if one thinks that what we experience are representations. including the genesis of structures that made those cognizers possible. We have gone a long way towards discovering some of that structure. If one thinks that we experience the world directly through representing it. The first type of defense is empirical. If there were no cognizers around to provide the world with sufficient structure to produce objects it is unclear how anything could happen. 9.4: Inadequacies of Internalism .) This point is so simple it almost seems to be in bad taste to bring it up. In particular. Yet. It is at least enough for efficient control and adaptation to the world. Views about how the world is apart from our representation of it cannot be defended by arguments concerning the nature of representation. Our empirical knowledge certainly seems to support the view that the world has a structure. Yet simple points such as these. This is certainly knowledge of how the world is. almost all our theories imply the existence of objects with structure apart from our activity. not of things as they are in themselves. then our experience will tell us about the world and not just our representations. There are two possible defenses of such ontological views. (Take. In this section. The standard objection to this defense is that empirical knowledge is only knowledge of experience. an internalist view holds that the world has no structure and contains no objects apart from our activity. seem to me to show the incoherence of internalist views. when taken seriously. The next section explores the inadequacies of internalist views in more detail. for example. The second line of defense is to point out the incoherence of the alternatives.effects tells us what discontinuities there are in the world and what properties are connected as causal powers of the domains defined by these discontinuities. any theory of the origin of the universe or of the planet Earth. I have been explaining what ontological views are presupposed by the views of this dissertation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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