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Post 20

Friday, June 12, 2009 - 9:57amSanction this postReply
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Do you deny, Merlin, that the concepts of the primary qualities are genetically dependent upon the concepts of the secondary qualities?



Post 21

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 4:54amSanction this postReply
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Do you deny, Merlin, that the concepts of the primary qualities are genetically dependent upon the concepts of the secondary qualities?
I don't understand the question. Explain it better. What's your position? What does it say for size, solidity and number?




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Post 22

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 10:26amSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

Allow me to speak for Ted. And then, if I totally botch things up and mischaracterize the hell out of Ted's thought, then Ted can reprimand me later.

Take size. How do we first ("first" as it would be for cavemen) figure out that a creature is huge? We view how much of the sun is blocked out by the thing. We feel the tremble in the ground when it moves. We hear a really, really low-pitched bellowing.

After having those experiences, we integrate them and come up with the concept of "size." Ted's burning question to you might be: Could we come up with the concept of size without first having these other experiences? Ted says no. He says that you will experience secondary qualities before you can come up with the idea of primary ones. You cannot just sit in an armchair and come up with primary qualities (without first experiencing secondary qualities in the world).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 6/13, 10:32am)




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Post 23

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 1:54pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

I would suggest, similar to Ed and Ted, that primary qualities *epistemologically* depend on secondary qualities. Primary qualities (shape, number, extension) are always inferred through observance of secondary qualities. That is, we can tell shape, number, and extension only by seeing or feeling the borders of objects. I suspect Rand would've agreed with this.

I think Rand was arguing that *metaphysically* there is no PSQD. "Red" or "smelly" or "soft" or "noisy" cannot be metaphysically separated from an object any more than "14 inches" or "round" can be. Both those sets of qualities are metaphysically *integral* to the identity of the object. One isn't somehow *more* metaphysically integral than the other, even though one is more susceptible to variation per context.

Jordan







Post 24

Saturday, June 13, 2009 - 3:17pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, gentlemen, it seems you have learned to imitute me exalctly.

And so Merlin, I repeat my question of post 20#.

(Edited by Ted Keer on 6/13, 3:19pm)




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Post 25

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 5:55amSanction this postReply
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Ed T. wrote:
Take size. How do we first ("first" as it would be for cavemen) figure out that a creature is huge?
We see and/or feel by touch that some things are bigger than others, period. It's basic perceptual information, period. It doesn't need to be, nor is it, inferred or merely the result of integrating secondary qualities. By the way, motion -- hence  "trembling motion" -- is not a secondary quality.

Obviously often primary qualities are perceived concurrently with secondary qualities. But it is not the case that we perceive secondary qualities, from which we somehow infer primary qualities.

Jordan wrote:

I would suggest, similar to Ed and Ted, that primary qualities *epistemologically* depend on secondary qualities. Primary qualities (shape, number, extension) are always inferred through observance of secondary qualities. That is, we can tell shape, number, and extension only by seeing or feeling the borders of objects.
I disagree with the first two sentences. See my answer to Ed. Since when is an object's border a secondary quality? I can only guess that you place far too much stock in color, since it an aspect of much visual experience. Size, shape, direction, and number are as manifest as color is. We can detect edges and other shape features even when there is no color difference. If  not, you could not distinguish between a disc and a sphere of the same color. Color differences often accompany object borders in vision. However, a color border does not imply an object border, e.g. on a tiger or zebra. Also, colors are completely irrelevant when an edge or shape is perceived by touch.
I think Rand was arguing that *metaphysically* there is no PSQD.
Whatever this is allegedly means, cite the evidence. Her argument against the PSQD was a straw man -- that the PSQD says we can perceive without a means of perception.

Ted wrote:
And so Merlin, I repeat my question of post 20#.
Yes, to the extent I can figure out what it might mean. The argument in the last two paragraphs of post 16 seems to be:
Premise 1. All perception is by means of qualia.
Premise 2. Qualia inform us of only secondary qualities.
Conclusion: Primary qualities must be somehow derived from secondary qualities.

If that is the argument, I reject it.

 




Post 26

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 9:31amSanction this postReply
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Merlin, you wrote:

"We see and/or feel by touch that some things are bigger than others, period. It's basic perceptual information, period. It doesn't need to be, nor is it, inferred or merely the result of integrating secondary qualities. By the way, motion -- hence "trembling motion" -- is not a secondary quality."

I and the others disagree emphatically. Bigness is not a quale, it is not a "basic" bit of perceptual information independent of any qualia whatsoever.

When you touch something, can you sense the shape of it directly, without sensing where its coolness (a quale) smoothness (another quale) or pressure of resistance (yet another quale) begin and end. The shape is just given without any qualia at all? Of course, you might be attending to the shape, not the secondary qualia. As an adult, the process is automatized, and you rarely attend to the secondary qualities of things such as letters on a keyboard. But if asked how you know that the shape is triangular you would have to say, well, I feel the texture change here, so I know there is and edge, etc.

The same and more clearly with a visual image. How do you know that a figure on a page is a star and not a circle? If the star is the same color, same brightness, same saturation as the paper upon which it is drawn, how do you differentiate it from the background at all? How do you use an invisible ruler to measure an invisible shape? How do you know to begin here and end there? Don't picture a translucent figure like a glass shape lying on a page. Remove all the qualia. Your mental image must be totally qualia-free, a blank, not even white or black. Without qualia, how do you ever become aware of anything in order to measure any of its primary qualities?



Post 27

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 9:56amSanction this postReply
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I and the others disagree emphatically. Bigness is not a quale, it is not a "basic" bit of perceptual information independent of any qualia whatsoever.
Well, I emphatically disagree with you. So there. Nowhere have I said the bigness is a quale. Nowhere have I said the bigness is information "independent of any qualia whatsoever."  If you merely want to build straw men and torch them, I'm not going to hand you the straw.




Post 28

Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 12:38pmSanction this postReply
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Okay, so you do grant that primary qualities depend for their knowability on secondary qualities. You say you know "bigness" is not a quale, and that "bigness" is not knowable independent of any qualia. QED.



Post 29

Monday, June 15, 2009 - 4:55amSanction this postReply
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Ted, please don't put words in my mouth, since your use of "depend" and its conjugates has been very vague. The fact that perceptions of some secondary qualities may always accompany some perceptions of primary qualities does not imply that knowledge of primary qualities causally depends on secondary qualities. Even perfect correlation does not imply causation.



Post 30

Monday, June 15, 2009 - 10:20amSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

I'll rustle up some Rand quotes when I have access to her texts.

Border and shapes are considered primary qualities. But yes, we could discern spheres from discs of the same color...by virtue of shadow or feel. Even so, I don't mean to put too much emphasis on color. I just don't see how we can identify borders and shapes without our senses, without sense data, which is what secondary qualities are all about.

Jordan







Post 31

Monday, June 15, 2009 - 12:47pmSanction this postReply
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There is no need to be so defensive, Merlin. You said (post 27) "nowhere have I said that bigness is information "independent" of any qualia whatsoever. I (post 28) took this as conceding that "bigness is not knowable independent of any qualia." (By independent I mean without prior knowledge) Yet you complain I put words in your mouth. Okay, I can understand that as meaning you don't want to be on record as holding any position. But that's the issue at hand. So please do either affirm or deny that one can become aware of an entity's primary qualities without being aware of any secondary qualities. As an example for you, can you measure the size (PQ) of a piece of cloth whose color (SQ) you cannot at all see, and hence whose figure you cannot distinguish from the background, or whose texture (SQ) you cannot feel, and hence whose edges you cannot identify?




Post 32

Monday, June 15, 2009 - 3:03pmSanction this postReply
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You said (post 27) "nowhere have I said that bigness is information "independent" of any qualia whatsoever. I (post 28) took this as conceding that "bigness is not knowable independent of any qualia." (By independent I mean without prior knowledge) Yet you complain I put words in your mouth.
You did -- intentionally or not -- put words in my mouth, because using "independent" to mean "without prior knowledge" is not in my vocabulary. Also, "without prior knowledge" is not one of the meanings of "independent" in this dictionary.
So please do either affirm or deny that one can become aware of an entity's primary qualities without being aware of any secondary qualities.  As an example for you, can you measure the size (PQ) of a piece of cloth whose color (SQ) you cannot at all see, and hence whose figure you cannot distinguish from the background, or whose texture (SQ) you cannot feel, and hence whose edges you cannot identify?
Firstly, here is another example of our communication gap. I wouldn't classify texture as a secondary quality. It's an aspect of shape and maybe solidity and can ordinarily be perceived by both sight and touch. My answer to the quaestion is 'no', but so what? I have not said anything even remotely similar to "one can become aware of an entity's primary qualities without being aware of any secondary qualities".  Indeed, I said nearly the opposite: "Obviously often primary qualities are perceived concurrently with secondary qualities" (post 25).
(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 6/15, 3:33pm)




Post 33

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 8:41pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

Rand said, “Philosophically, the issue is reduced to the question: do we make a distinction metaphysically, in regard to the object, on the basis of our form of perception. (ITOE, pb, p. 281.) She had some issue with the metaphysical implications of PSQD.

 

More later,

Jordan 




Post 34

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 5:34amSanction this postReply
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Hi Jordan,

As you note, Rand asked the question, but she did not clearly answer it. She next talked only about simplicity. That entire section of the Appendix shows how poorly she understood what the PSQD is. The PSQD is partly epistemological and partly metaphysical. The latter concerns intrinsic qualities versus non-intrinsic ones, which Rand did not even acknowledge.

You wrote (post 30):

I just don't see how we can identify borders and shapes without our senses, without sense data, which is what secondary qualities are all about.
Regarding the first clause, I don't either, nor does the PSQD say we can. It isn't clear to me what all you mean by "sense data". Secondary qualities could be considered "sense data", but so could primary qualities.




Post 35

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 10:55amSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

With secondary qualities, we can easily figure out which sense the quality is associated with. "Bitter" is associated with taste. "Noisy" is sound. "Cold" is touch. And so on.

In contrast, primary qualities are not readily associated with a particular sense. It would seem that to answer how we know about primary qualities, we need to appeal to secondary qualities, which is where we find all the sense data language.

Rand probably didn't much appreciate PSQD, given her short shrift of it. Still, it seems she would've rejected it because it relegates secondary qualities to the land of fiction (should I cite sources, or do you agree with that assessment?) while reserving primary qualities as noumena, i.e., as existing in some metaphysically superior realm.

Jordan



Post 36

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 2:12pmSanction this postReply
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Jordan wrote:
In contrast, primary qualities are not readily associated with a particular sense. It would seem that to answer how we know about primary qualities, we need to appeal to secondary qualities, which is where we find all the sense data language.
It don't think so. If somebody put a baseball in my hands while my eyes are closed, I'd easily conclude it was baseball solely by primary qualities.

Rand probably didn't much appreciate PSQD, given her short shrift of it. Still, it seems she would've rejected it because it relegates secondary qualities to the land of fiction (should I cite sources, or do you agree with that assessment?) while reserving primary qualities as noumena, i.e., as existing in some metaphysically superior realm.
You didn't need to use "seems", since she did reject it as documented in the Appendix to ITOE2. However, what she rejected was a straw man. Associating primary qualities with "noumena" and "some metaphysically superior realm" is not a feature of the PSQD according to Galileo, Locke, David Kelley, or me.




Post 37

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 2:20pmSanction this postReply
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"It don't think so. If somebody put a baseball in my hands while my eyes are closed, I'd easily conclude it was baseball solely by primary qualities."

But if you couldn't distinguish its secondary qualities, temperature, pressure, you wouldn't even know there was a baseball in your hand. You cannot be magically aware of an object's primary qualities without sensing its secondary qualities, even if you are not attentively concentrating on the secondary qualities as such.




Post 38

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 2:52pmSanction this postReply
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Ted wrote:
But if you couldn't distinguish its secondary qualities, temperature, pressure, you wouldn't even know there was a baseball in your hand. You cannot be magically aware of an object's primary qualities without sensing its secondary qualities, even if you are not attentively concentrating on the secondary qualities as such.
It's debatable that pressure is a secondary quality. Regardless, it is the effect of a primary quality, solidity. Will your misreading ever stop? I said I could conclude it was a baseball by its primary qualities, not that secondary qualities are completely absent. My response was to Jordan saying "to answer how we know about primary qualities, we need to appeal to secondary qualities."
(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 6/18, 5:02pm)




Post 39

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 5:58pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

I'm not convinced. If you would go through the process of identifying the baseball via only primary qualities (blindfolded, if you prefer), that would help. So far as I can tell, you would detect hardness and smoothness (no edges!), just some secondary qualities, from which you'd infer solidity and roundness, primary qualities. But this might really just be an unnecessary sideshow.

My use of the word "seems" was meant to qualify not that Rand rejected PSQD but *why* she rejected it, since it's not entirely clear -- a point with which we both agree.

I disagree, however, that a "metaphysically superior realm" has nothing to do with PSQD as Locke et al described it. They all viewed secondary qualities as mind fruit, not as "true" qualities of objects like those oh-so-special primary qualities.

Jordan











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