Naive realism holds that its philosophy of perception can be summed up in the following way:
- There exists a world of material objects.
- Statements about these objects can be known to be true through sense-experience.
- These objects exist not only when they are being perceived but also when they are not perceived. The objects of perception are largely, we might want to say, perception-independent.
- These objects are also able to retain properties of the types we perceive them as having, even when they are not being perceived. Their properties are perception-independent.
- By means of our senses, we perceive the world directly, and pretty much as it is. In the main, our claims to have knowledge of it are justified.
I am satisfied with Statements 1 and 2.
But I have trouble with part of Statement 3 – “The objects of perception are largely, we might want to say, perception-independent”. “largely” seems to suggest that there is something that is perception-dependent.
The concept of object-property in Statement 4 is also problematic. Whether an object has properties or not is unknown.
And Statement 5 also suggests that perception is an unproblematic or non-existent medium. Direct perception must mean without needing sense faculties. A damaged eye or clouded view must necessarily suggest that the medium is not perfect and therefore not direct.
When I first come online as a being (whatever that may be) is that I am confronted by a reality. I sense the reality but I do not know that I am sensing it. I only see “data” coming in. That data is somehow stored and slowly I begin to make sense (note the metaphor) of it. We call this experience and knowledge. As I build up my knowledge of the reality I begin to understand its limitations and possibilities within it. It is only after some time that I can understand what experience is, and what knowledge is, and that it may or may not a thing. Having these experiences I have to make a decision on how to perceive it and deal with it.
In anti-realism, the external reality is hypothetical and not assumed. This sounds like a reformulation of the veil-of-appearance argument. Our knowledge of the external world is one mediated by the sense, and never amounts to direct knowledge. The conclusion is that our perception of the world is secondhand information.
We can approach but never arrive at certainty.
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the latin title of Wittgenstein’s first and only work published within his lifetime. It translates roughly to A Treatise on Logic and Philosophy.
The stance then is that of logic.
I do not agree that logic is the best place to start. Logic, to me, seems to be an activity of the mind. And the mind is physical object take performs such processes. To me, place to start is ontology and then epistemology.
Someone commented in a previous post that it is ironic that one must use logic to even start to ask ontological and epistemological questions. I agree. And that tells us something about the inescapability of the act of thinking in order to get to the understanding. Logic, in other words, is a physical act. Logic cannot occur without the availability of the body or mind. This extends to knowledge (the epistemological act) as well. Logic and knowledge do not exist without a mind perform these acts. When the last mind extinguishes form this world so too does logic and knowledge. What continues to remain is the physical world, the reality. And logic and knowledge will restart when another mind comes into (for lack of a better word) being.
The question of what ontologically exists is of upmost importance and fundamental in answering any question about what is to be epistemological known. The problem is its circularity, that we can only “guess” at what exists from what is known.
The nature of knowledge, then, must tell us something of the nature of what exists, that is, we can never “know” something else directly. If we were to know something else directly then we would be that thing. Then, we would not be something else. Things are necessarily separate and never known directly.
This also tells us about the nature of knowledge – that a medium is always necessary in order to have knowledge of it. This is true of both self-knowledge (or will) and other-knowledge (or representation) where they both are indirect. The internal (self) medium is no different to the external (other) medium. They only differentiations in degrees of knowledge and levels of activity or process.
#ThereIsNothingSpecialAboutThought only thought – being the egotistical thing that it is – thinks itself special.