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Post 40

Thursday, June 18, 2009 - 8:39pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, point pressure, which is indeed a quale, is an effect of the primary quality. That is how we come to know the primary quality, from the secondary quality which it causes, and which we are aware of directly, as a quale.

I am afraid anything else I say will be taken as Merlin bashing, (you keep accusing me of putting words in your mouth that I never quoted you as saying - kinda paranoid of you) so just listen to Jordan, since he is saying the exact same thing as I am.

(Edited by Ted Keer on 6/18, 8:41pm)




Post 41

Friday, June 19, 2009 - 5:05amSanction this postReply
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Jordan, I strongly disagree with your first and last paragraphs of post 39. Since I have already explained why in response to the same or similar arguments earlier, I forego repeating myself.




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Post 42

Friday, June 19, 2009 - 12:47pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

Perhaps I can persuade you, with quotes from PSQD advocates, that PSQD seeks to place primary qualities in a metaphysically superior realm relative to secondary qualities.

Locke talked about primary qualities as though they were the only real or true metaphysical qualities of an object. He described primary qualities as "[q]ualities. . .considered in bodies, such as are utterly inseparable from the body." Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book 2, Chptr 7, Sec. 9.; emphasis mine.)" He goes on in section 15 to say that the patterns of primary qualities "do really exist in the bodies themselves." 

Locke does not give secondary qualities the same metaphysical priority. In section 10 and 14, he says secondary qualities are "in truth. . .nothing in the objects themselves, but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities. . ." (emphasis mine.) In section 15, he says ideas of secondary qualities don't resemble what's in the object at all. They exists "only as modes of the primary." (Sec 18; emphasis mine.)

So for Locke, a secondary is just a mode or power whilst a primary is in and inherent to objects.

Now here is Galileo on secondary qualities:
 "Hence I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on are no more than mere names so far as the object in which we place them is concerned, and that they reside only in the consciousness.
...
"This titillation belongs entirely to us and not to the feather; if the live and sensitive body were removed it would remain no more than a mere word. I believe that no more solid an exsitence belongs to many qualities which we have come to attribute to physical bodies - tastes, odors, colors, and many more.
....
"To excite in us tastes, odors, and sounds I believe that nothing is required in external bodies except shapes, numbers, and slow or rapid movements. I think that if ears, tongues, and noses were removed, shapes and numbers and motions would remain, but not odors or tastes or sounds. The latter I believe are nothing more than names when separated from living beings, just as tickling and titillation are nothing but names in the absence of such things as noses and armpits. "

(Galileo, The Assayer, 1623, translation by Stillman Drake, in Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo, 1957, New York, Doubleday; p.274-7.)  
So Galileo is harsher than Locke. He doesn't even grant a secondary the status of "power" or "mode." He gives it nominal status, as elements solely of consciousness.

And while the good Bishop Berkeley critiqued PSQD, I'd like to believe he understood it reasonable similarly, as suggested when he wrote: 
“They who assert that figure, motion, and the rest of the primary or original qualities do exist without the mind in unthinking substances, do at the same time acknowledge that colours, sounds, heat cold, and suchlike secondary qualities, do not- which they tell us are sensations existing in the mind alone, that depend on and are occasioned by the different size, texture, and motion of the minute particles of matter. This they take for an undoubted truth, which they can demonstrate beyond all exception. (Berkeley, Of the Principles of Human Knowledge, 10; emphasis mine. I found an online copy here of all places. )”

Berkeley is with Galileo -- a primary purportedly exists "out there" and in objects, whereas the secondary is merely an element of consciousness.

 

Conclusion: Locke, Galileo, and Berkeley all elevate primary qualities, ascribing them ontological and metaphysical import, where at the same time, all demote the ontological status of secondary qualities, and at least Galileo and Berkeley go further to strip them of metaphysical import as well, leaving secondary qualities only as the stuff of consciousness.

 

Now, do I need to provide quotes from Rand where she views secondary qualities as having similar ontological/metaphysical to that of primary qualities -- that red and round and sour and 21-feet-tall all exist as attributes of an object? 

 

Jordan




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Post 43

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - 5:32amSanction this postReply
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Jordan wrote:
Locke does not give secondary qualities the same metaphysical priority. In section 10 and 14, he says secondary qualities are "in truth. . .nothing in the objects themselves, but powers to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities. . ." (emphasis mine.) In section 15, he says ideas of secondary qualities don't resemble what's in the object at all. They exists "only as modes of the primary." (Sec 18; emphasis mine.)
Locke's use of "nothing" here is confusing, but it remains that the powers are an attribute of objects. Moreover, he says that primary qualities, which are definitely in the object, are the (distal) cause of sensations. Locke's "mode" is equivalent to "attribute", so he says secondary qualities are attributes of primary qualities.

Galileo: "To excite in us tastes, odors, and sounds I believe that nothing is required in external bodies except shapes, numbers, and slow or rapid movements."

Jordan comments:
So Galileo is harsher than Locke. He doesn't even grant a secondary the status of "power" or "mode." He gives it nominal status, as elements solely of consciousness.
Galileo's use of "nothing" here is also confusing, but what he said here is equivalent to what Locke said. He only used different words. What is it that causes the excitement? The object, of course. More specifically, it is the object's primary qualities that are the distal causes. Secondary qualities are not "solely of consciousness."
Berkeley is with Galileo -- a primary purportedly exists "out there" and in objects, whereas the secondary is merely an element of consciousness.
No, Berkeley is not with Galileo. Berkeley was an immaterialist. Galileo was not and you misrepresent him. He did not say a secondary quality is "merely an element of consciousness", like it had nothing to do with the external world. You misrepresent the PSQD similar to Peikoff, when he said that the PSQD says secondary qualities are solely in the mind. Peikoff goes on to say all qualities are the product of an interaction between the perceived object and ourselves. Galileo and Locke would have agreed!!

I strongly disagree with your conclusion. It is another straw man. Secondary qualities are not "only the stuff of consciousness", and Galileo does not "strip them of metaphysical import."

Both Galileo and Locke embraced the corpuscular theory of matter popular at the time with scientists. It was a more modern version of an atomic theory and gives a background to the PSQD. The theory said physical objects are comprised of tiny individually insensible corpuscles. Microscopic particles possess only primary qualities. A physical object such as an apple is ultimately nothing more than a vast collection of corpuscles. It is the microscopic arrangement of these corpuscles that determines how the object will impinge on our sensory organs, and so cause sensations and perceptions. According to Locke, for shape, size, motion and other primary qualities, appearances are like the external objects. Physical objects possess these qualities in much the same way they appear to. He didn't believe that was true for secondary qualities, but secondary qualities depended on microscopic qualities and on that basis they were as real as primary qualities. Of course, much less was known about secondary qualities 300+ years ago than now.

Note the similarity to David Kelley's version of the PSQD. "Thus the distinction between primary and secondary is at root a distinction between macroscopic and microscopic qualities" (p. 115). However, Galileo's and Locke's version of the PSQD said nothing about measurability nor the distinction between qualities that can be perceived by two senses versus only one. Kelley's version does.

By the way, if you accuse anybody of "elevating and demoting qualities", you should include yourself and Ted for elevating secondary qualities and demoting primary qualities.


(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 6/21, 10:03am)




Post 44

Sunday, June 21, 2009 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,
Do you deny that colors are attributes?
No, I deny that colors are attributes of primary qualities, e.g., 14-feet-tall or spherical or solid is not attributive to the color red. In my view and Rand's as well, as I discuss below, spherical, solid, red, smelly, sour -- all are attributes...of objects...metaphysically equally. I suppose in this regard you could say that we do demote primaries and elevate secondaries.
No, Berkeley is not with Galileo. Berkeley was an immaterialist
I was saying that Berkeley's description of PSQD resembled Galileo's. I didn't say their philosophies were similar. I maintain that both think secondary qualities are merely mental constructs.

That said, I think you are reading the PSQD philosophers incorrectly -- or you're just missing the important implication -- and I've provided quotes to suggest as much. Here are a select few more quotes. Hume:
It is universally allowed by modern enquirers, that all the sensible qualities of objects, such as hard, soft, hot, cold, white, black, &c. are merely secondary, and exist not in the objects themselves, but are perceptions of the mind, without any external archetype or model, which they represent. (An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. 7, Part 1; emphasis mine.)
I'd actually be curious to hear your thoughts on Hume's critique of PSQD. His is similar to mine and Ted's but cleverer. Now Kant:
Therefore, to speak accurately, no ideality whatever belongs to these, although they agree in this respect with the representation of space, that they belong merely to the subjective nature of the mode of sensuous perception; such a mode, for example, as that of sight, of hearing, and of feeling, by means of the sensations of colour, sound, and heat, but which, because they are only sensations and not intuitions, do not of themselves give us the cognition of any object, least of all, an a priori cognition. My purpose, in the above remark, is merely this: to guard any one against illustrating the asserted ideality of space by examples quite insufficient, for example, by colour, taste, etc.; for these must be contemplated not as properties of things, but only as changes in the subject, changes which may be different in different men. (Critique of Pure Reason, Section 1, Subsection 4(b); emphasis mine.)

Lastly, because he captures something along the lines of Rand's objection -- and does so in an amusing way -- here is an excerpt from Ovi Magazine discussing Alfred Whitehead's view:
Materialism has invariably conceived of nature as that which lies behind sense experience, that which is casually responsible for sense perception. This view logically engenders the split between primary and secondary qualities as first made explicit by Locke, where secondary qualities are thought to be merely ephemeral effects caused in the mind by primary qualities of objects. Whitehead thinks such a split unwarranted and undesirable; for if it is true, he writes, then “the poets are entirely mistaken.” Rather than praising the rose for its scent, or the nightingale for its song, “they should address their lyrics to themselves and should turn them into odes of self-congratulations on the excellency of the human mind.”  (Source.)

All these quotes favor my interpretation that secondary qualities are just mind stuff. But let me clarify one element of my interpretation. PSQD doesn't suggest that secondary qualities are ignited from within the mind. PSQD accepts that stuff outside the mind is giving rise to secondary qualities inside the mind. I think we agree here.

The problem is that primary qualities are privileged with external reference, whilst secondary qualities are not.  PSQD allows these primary qualities to exist on their own, presumably without any necessary accompaniment of secondary qualities emanating therefrom. Presumably, they think objects can be these extensional, shapely, moving solids without color, sound, various textures, etc. Rand surely would have disagreed with this, and rightly so in my view. As Chris Sciabarra explains in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical:
[Rand] repudiates metaphysical atomism. . . .Rand does not place greater existential emphasis on any particular elements of reality. . . .[Q]ualities themselves cannot be separated ontologically from the entity. . . .all properties are constitutive of the entity. . . .One cannot separate attributes from the entity and reify them as separate existents. Ontologically, each of an entity's characteristics has the same status and is a part of the entity. . . .Thus the entity cannot be isolated from its characteristics, nor can its characteristics be taken apart from its being.  (pb, pages 144-146; please note, in those elipses much text is omitted.)

I am enjoying our exchange.

Jordan

(Edited by Jordan on 6/21, 11:41am)




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Post 45

Monday, June 22, 2009 - 4:26amSanction this postReply
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Jordan wrote:

No, I deny that colors are attributes of primary qualities, e.g., 14-feet-tall or spherical or solid is not attributive to the color red.
I didn't say it well in the second paragraph of post 43. (I did better in the paragraph about the corpuscular theory.) Locke did not mean that secondary qualities depend on macroscopic primary qualities. He wrote, "Secondly, such qualities which in truth are nothing in the objects themselves but power to produce various sensations in us by their primary qualities, i.e. by the bulk, figure, texture, and motion of their insensible parts, as colours, sounds, tastes, &c." (ECHU, II, VIII, 10). I think the word  "insensible" (also in ECHU, II, VIII, 13) is very important. He speculated that secondary qualities depend on primary qualities that are below the threshold of human perception, i.e. microscopic ones.
I'd actually be curious to hear your thoughts on Hume's critique of PSQD.
"Without any external archetype or model, which they represent" does not mean "with no external source." Also, why isn't the red of a rose an archetype of red? Reading Hume's entire paragraph from which you quote, I doubt he grasped Locke's PSQD very well or the scientific reasons for it. Much of the paragraph seems like it was copied from Berkeley.
But let me clarify one element of my interpretation. PSQD doesn't suggest that secondary qualities are ignited from within the mind. PSQD accepts that stuff outside the mind is giving rise to secondary qualities inside the mind.
Well, that's a revelation, because your criticisms until now, and the sentence preceding the above, suggest the opposite. Also, it seems you nearly retracted the revelation with your next sentence:
The problem is that primary qualities are privileged with external reference, whilst secondary qualities are not.
That isn't clear to me. If it means that secondary qualities have no external references, I believe even Locke would have objected -- see ECHU, II, VIII, 13. I will say that primary qualities are "privileged" in a way. They are perceptible by two senses and measurable, whereas secondary qualities aren't.
Presumably, they think objects can be these extensional, shapely, moving solids without color, sound, various textures, etc. Rand surely would have disagreed with this, and rightly so in my view.
What's the color, sound, or texture of a proton, neutron, or electron? :-)  I suspect Locke wondered: what's the color, sound, or texture of a corpuscle?





Post 46

Monday, June 22, 2009 - 12:49pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,
[Locke] speculated that secondary qualities depend on primary qualities that are below the threshold of human perception, i.e. microscopic ones.
Honest question: Does Locke think we could detect those primary sensibles if only we had a powerful enough microscope?

You should check Hume's critique out in full via the link I provided. The excerpt I posted doesn't do it justice. 

Now for some further clarification of my take on PSQD. . .  I'd said secondary qualities lack external reference. (So did Hume, kind of.) You said Locke would disagree. But I'd say otherwise. Locke said our ideas of primary qualities resemble what actually exists in the objects we're observing and that secondary qualities lack any such resemblance. (Locke, para 15.) I take him to mean that there's nothing "out there" -- i.e., no external reference -- for our idea of secondary qualities to mirror. Indeed, he says if we take away our senses (the mirror), then all those secondary qualities "vanish and cease." (Locke, Para 17.) There is no image to reflect. So as I see it, Locke treats secondary qualities, metaphysically, as not much different from a mirage, which have external causes but no external references.   
I suspect Locke wondered: what's the color, sound, or texture of a corpuscle?
I suspect he thought they didn't have these qualities. Then when you get down to the corpuscle, all you get are the primaries.

Jordan




Post 47

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 5:08amSanction this postReply
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Jordan wrote:
Honest question: Does Locke think we could detect those primary sensibles if only we had a powerful enough microscope?
I don't know. I can't channel him. :-)
Now for some further clarification of my take on PSQD. . .  I'd said secondary qualities lack external reference. (So did Hume, kind of.) You said Locke would disagree. But I'd say otherwise. Locke said our ideas of primary qualities resemble what actually exists in the objects we're observing and that secondary qualities lack any such resemblance. (Locke, para 15.) I take him to mean that there's nothing "out there" -- i.e., no external reference -- for our idea of secondary qualities to mirror. Indeed, he says if we take away our senses (the mirror), then all those secondary qualities "vanish and cease." (Locke, Para 17.) There is no image to reflect. So as I see it, Locke treats secondary qualities, metaphysically, as not much different from a mirage, which have external causes but no external references. 
How can something 'have an external cause but no external reference'? I'm baffled, more so than even by Locke's resemblance/non-resemblance distinction. And what is the violet in ECHU, II, VIII, 13, if not an external reference?

To maybe wrap this up, I don't believe Locke gave a great argument for the PSQD. His resemblance/non-resemblance distinction is murky. He did not use the fact that some qualities are perceived by two senses and others only one or measurability. But I'm tiring of discussing only Locke's version and your interpretations of it. Moreover, I don't think finding fault with his view is fatal for the PSQD. If you want to move on to another aspect of the PSQD, e.g. David Kelley's version of it, that's fine, but I wish to either move on or stop.
I suspect he [Locke] thought they didn't have these qualities. Then when you get down to the corpuscle, all you get are the primaries.
He was clear about that (ECHU, II, VIII, 17). Now what's your view? What's the color, sound, or texture of a proton, neutron, or electron?




Post 48

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 2:06pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Merlin,

I'll answer your questions briefly, understanding that you'd like to wrap-up our current line of discussion.
How can something 'have an external cause but no external reference'? 
E.g., the mirage. Something out there causes the appearance of the mirage. But the mirage doesn't actually exist out there. It just appears to. So for Locke, the violet, as an extensional solid body, exists out there, sans its color and smell, which are just illusional effects of the violet's primaries.
What's the color, sound, or texture of a proton, neutron, or electron?
There might be answers to those questions (I googled it, and there are!), but that's of no consequence. If the answers were to come back that they are colorless, silent, and without texture, that would be fine so far as my point in this discussion is concerned. My point was not that those attributes are necessary. It was only that if they exist, then their existential status is the same as that of the so-called primary qualities.

But ok. I see you are not so much concerned with Locke's PSQD. I'm happy to talk about Kelley's view. I'll need to dig  up my Evidence of the Senses, which might well have had some fancy insights but was written horribly, IMO. Meanwhile, what does Kelley mean when he says primaries are macroscopic? Does this preclude a microscopic primary? And what does he mean by secondaries being intensive? Does this preclude extensional secondaries? From what you excerpted, Kelley's conjecture, if I understand it correctly, that secondaries are first sensed, while primaries are first perceived, is intriguing. I'll chew on that and read up.

[Update: I've lost (sold?) my copy of the Evidence of the Senses. So I'm at a loss unless you educate us on Kelley's view some more of I manage to unearth something on Google.]

Jordan

(Edited by Jordan on 6/23, 9:22pm)




Post 49

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 5:52amSanction this postReply
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I have appreciated Bill Dwyer’s contributions to this very rich thread. He asked in #7 if it was Rand’s position that what one perceives—the object of one’s perception—is a real existent independent of one’s perception, but that how one perceives it are its qualities (both those that have been called primary and those that have been called secondary), these being produced by an interaction of the object with one’s organs of perception.

I answer that Rand’s direct realism in perception has in common with other contemporary proponents of direct realism that in a perception, one experiences not only the sensory qualities in the perception, but that the object is independent of oneself, the percipient subject. The independence, from perception, of the existence of the object is an element given within a sensory experience counting as perceptual.

In #14 Bill remarked that, in Rand’s view, we cannot say anything about the perceived object as it is independently of the sensory forms in which we observe it, other than that it exists independently of observation. Here the direct realist would want to distinguish between perceiving an object without sensory systems (we do not do that) and perceiving the object as it is independently of our perceptions, yet within our perception of it. With the latter meaning, we can say things about the perceived object as it is independently of the sensory forms in which we observe it.

With this meaning, I apply Rand’s statement “‘Things as they are’ are things as perceived by your mind” (AS 1036) to apply not only to perceptual judgments, but to perception itself.

Sensory forms are not all of one category. Some of the sensory forms are sensory qualities, and some are not. The significance of this, I will come to by the end of this note.

Reid had arrived at the thoroughly modern outlook that for every sensory quality in a perceptual experience of an object, there must be in truth a pair of qualities, one in the object itself, its partner as in our awareness. For some sensory qualities, we think of them firstly as in our sensory apparatus, secondly as in the object itself. For other qualities, such as hardness, it is the other way around. Reid would have experience of the set of qualities as they are in the perceptual object itself be inferred from the set of sensory qualities in our awareness. This is not direct realism. Reid was an indirect realist. (Rand teeters on indirectness when she writes that the task of the senses is to give man “the evidence of existence, whereas the task of identifying it belongs to his reason . . .” [AS 1016; cf.].)

In direct realism, it is not judgments upon sensory qualities that render a sensory experience a perception. Perception precedes perceptual judgment. Perceptions preceding perceptual judgments are already intentional; they are of objects. As with mere sensations, so with sensory qualities in a perception: of themselves they are not intentional. They are necessary constituents of a perception (AS 1035), they are essential to our direct acquaintance with the object, but they are not themselves the source of the intentionality that makes a sensory experience a perceptual one. Neither is a judgment upon them the source of that intentionality.

I do not think Reid was correct to insist that necessarily every sensory quality is diploid. Some sensory qualities may be the self-same as they are in the object itself as they are in an intentional, perceptual experience of the object. Be that as it may, some factors in perceptual form are not themselves sensory qualities. Moreover, as A. D. Smith has argued, it is by discerning the phenomenology of the intentionality in perception that we can uncover what features are self-same in the object and as in the experience of that feature in perception of the object.

In perceptions, Smith observes, we are offered further perspectives of the same object. The sensory qualities within our perception do not offer further perspectives. They are as with mere sensations. Sensations “have no further aspects that transcend our awareness of them. We can attend more fully to a sensation, but we cannot turn it over . . . .” Why is that? “A sensation has no hidden sides because we are not aware of it through the exercise of a sense organ spatially distinct from it” (The Problem of Perception [2002], 135). That spatial distinction is part of what is in the perception.

Shadows and sounds have no hidden sides, but they do afford different perspectives on themselves. The element of spatiality—spatial distinctness from the sense organ—is a sufficient criterion to distinguish a perception from a sensation.

Smell, taste, thermal conductance, and radiant heat are experienced as at the sense organ. So although spatiality is a sufficient criterion for counting a sensory experience a perception, it seems it may not be a necessary one. There may be some other factor(s) of perception that support the intentionality of a perception.

To report “I have a bad taste in my mouth” is to report only a sensation; it has no object other than itself. “I’m tasting the mint in my mouth” is report of a perception, but only because one feels (or has lately felt) the minted object in one’s mouth. So it goes, too, for sensations of thermal conductance. The factor of spatiality is in play here, and that is sufficient.

Smith continues. A smell at the nose or radiant heat on the face is a perception, yet we are not aware of such perceptual objects by organs spatially distinct from them.

Let us “pay attention to the way in which perception is integrated with movement—specifically, movement on the part of the perceiving subject. . . . Our discussion of spatiality has already provided a clue as to the kind of movement that is relevant here. For what we have so far seen to be of perceptual significance is the apparent three-dimensional locatedness of objects of perception in relation to a sense-organ. Hence, the kind of movement that is of perceptual significance is the movement of sense organs in relation to perceived objects. Not all such movements are relevant, however. For given that we are at present interested in how perceptual experience is to be distinguished from mere sensation qua experience, the movements in question must be ones of which the subject is aware” (141).

“The appreciation of a mobile sense-organ is (at least) ‘implicit’ in perceptual consciousness. / Such movement of a sense-organ in relation to an object of awareness is wholly absent from the level of mere sensation, for such movement again introduces perspectives” (142). Smells and radiant heat can be objects of perception because we can move in relation to them and be aware of that relative movement.

Visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory sensations have no necessary intentionality. Without intentionality they are mere sensations; with intentionality they belong to perceptions. Without the spatiality structure or the relative-motion structure, sensation is not intentional, not component of a perception.

But wait. Is there not a third factor that sometimes yields the intentionality of perception? Do not sensations of touching a solid object “necessarily embody an awareness of solidity?” (151; cf. AS 1016; also). With spatiality or relative motion in play with the sensation of touch, the sensation can be intentional, can be a sensory perception. But those two factors are not the only ones that can make a sense of touch a perception. In touch there can be a check or impediment, a registration of the not-self. It is that registration “that introduces three-dimensional spatiality at all into haptic perception. It is only the experience of a collision, or at least a resistance, as the result of active bodily striving that opens up genuine spatiality for touch” (155).

We have then “three equiprimordial sources of perceptual consciousness” (158). These are the fundamental forms that perceptual consciousness can take, and each of them is a non-sensuous and yet non-conceptual dimension to perceptual consciousness. The three-dimensionality of the typical visual field “is a simple function of the senses, and is experientially manifest to us; and yet it is not ‘sensuous’, not a matter of the ‘quality’ of visual sensation. Something similar is found in the kinetic structuring of sensation that we find in our second basic perceptual phenomenon. A non-sensuous dimension is even more obvious, however, with the [checking by not-self], for here an object is presented to consciousness otherwise than by sensation . . . . Not only can such a check not be reduced to sensation—something that is equally true of the other two basic perceptual phenomena—sensation is, or may be, entirely absent in its customary role of being a subjective registration of the presence of an object to our senses. . . . . Pressure sensations are not . . . necessary for the experience of the [check by not-self]. We can feel such a check to our agency even if the relevant body part is anesthetized, or if we use some implement to feel the object's renitent bulk. In both these cases, certain sensations will indeed be present. . . . Such sensations, however, do not occur where we feel the obstacle of our action” (159).

Smith stresses that although “it is necessary, in order for a sensory modality to be perceptual, that it feature such a non-sensuous dimension,” it is further necessary that the sensory modality possess the dimension “in such a way that we have a sense of encountering something independent of us” (164).

I grasp that proverbial baseball that Merlin or I (a, b) would firmly grasp. I force the ball, and the ball forces my hand. I am directly aware of the force the ball exerts against my grasping hand. There is a perceived command to the muscles, a sense of effort, estimating the stiffness of the ball. However variable (by fatigue or illness) my estimation of it, I am directly aware of the force of the ball itself opposing me, directly aware of the check by not-self.

Smith’s two other basic perceptual phenomena also cannot be reduced to sensation, but the way in which they give us a sense of something independent of us (which mere sensations cannot do) is by certain of the perceptual constancies (169–76). These constancies are ways of intentionality in perception, and they inform us that location, shape, size, and motion are in the world—as in perception and as in a world without perception (Galileo). In addition, by the check of exertion, we are informed that solidity/softness is in the world as within our perception.

This then would be a contemporary meaning of primary “qualities” in perception: the features delivered in the intentionality-dimensions of perception. Smell, taste, thermal conductance, and radiant heat are sensations rendered intentional in perception only through support by modes of perception having intentionality-dimensions (174). The intentionality of the former modes of perception is derivative (is secondary to) the intentionality of the latter modes. Comparison with the conception of primary/secondary qualities in David Kelley’s direct realism could be very interesting.*

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Related
—From my comment on Jason Walker’s “Reductionism: Is It Good for the Objectivists” (2004)

Dennett attempts to reduce the sensory qualities in perception to the intentions of perceptual concepts and judgments. Rand certainly held that percepts are intentional. She maintained that they are always of existents and that they have content. And she recognized that for humans all perception is subject to our critical, conceptual faculty (FNI 17). But she did not suppose that perceptual intentionality was simply conceptual intentionality. Perceiving that it is raining on oneself is not only a disposition to make the judgment that it is raining on oneself.

Rand did not identify perceptual intentionality with conceptual intentionality. Nor did she take the sensory qualities in perception to be reducible to either sort of intentionality.

. . .

Working out the exact true relations of sensory qualities in perception, intentionality in perception, and intentionality in conception is work not accomplished by Rand nor by Searle. It remains work for us (e.g., DK’s ES 208–42).





Post 50

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 7:38amSanction this postReply
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I asked: "How can something 'have an external cause but no external reference'?"

Jordan replied:
E.g., the mirage. Something out there causes the appearance of the mirage. But the mirage doesn't actually exist out there. It just appears to. So for Locke, the violet, as an extensional solid body, exists out there, sans its color and smell, which are just illusional effects of the violet's primaries.
In my opinion neither a mirage nor illusion satisfy that condition. Maybe hallucination would fit better, but even that doesn't satisfy the condition external cause.

I believe replacing "illusional" with "relational" in your last sentence would far more accurately describe Locke's view.
Meanwhile, what does Kelley mean when he says primaries are macroscopic? Does this preclude a microscopic primary? And what does he mean by secondaries being intensive? Does this preclude extensional secondaries?
I don't think I can answer as simply as you might like. His primary-secondary distinction depends a lot on the degree of integration of stimulus information going on in perception. For primary qualities the degree is extensive, e.g. often of many points on the optical array or time-wise, but for secondary qualities it is not. His meaning of "intensive" seems to be not its usual meaning, but rather "not extensive". I'm confident the answer to your second question is 'no', but our perception is not at the microscopic or sensations level. I believe the answer to your last question is 'no', but I'm not very confident I understand the question.

Edit: For a challenge to the idea that color is an intrinsic quality of objects, check out this. Are the A and B squares different  colors or the same color?  Get a piece of paper and punch two holes in it and position the paper so that you see only the A and B squares through the holes.


(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 6/24, 8:07am)




Post 51

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 8:33amSanction this postReply
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Color is contextual...



Post 52

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 11:47amSanction this postReply
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. . .As are all attributes. No attribute, nor object, exists in a vacuum.

Jordan




Post 53

Sunday, June 28, 2009 - 6:26amSanction this postReply
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Stephen,

Does A. D. Smith's The Problem of Perception say anything about the PSQD? If yes, what? (The reviews on Amazon don't.)

In perceptions, Smith observes, we are offered further perspectives of the same object. The sensory qualities within our perception do not offer further perspectives.
This is puzzling.  Can you explain it more and for, say, smell?

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 6/28, 6:32am)




Post 54

Monday, June 29, 2009 - 2:27pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, indeed, Smith has things to say about the distinction in his book. I mentioned back in note #2 that he writes in The Problem of Perception (Harvard 2002):

“There is a long string of philosophers from Berkeley, through Whitehead, to the present day who have railed heatedly against the primary / secondary quality distinction’s denuding our world of its familiar, loveable, character. . . . If such a position is indeed intolerable, we should be clear what is involved in rejecting it: that we must reject Realism about the physical world as such. For even Direct Realism, in its only viable form, entails the distinction.” (63–64)

Prof. Smith is defending direct realism in perception. In the preceding quotation, he is telling us that were one to reject the primary/secondary quality distinction, one must reject realism in perception altogether. Therefore, were one to reject the distinction, one must reject direct realism. But he is defending direct realism. Therefore he is prepared to defend the primary/secondary quality distinction.

In this book, Smith’s focus is on defending direct realism. He is not focused on defending the primary/secondary quality distinction, but he does bring it up along his way, and he ends up with enough of a positive account of how direct-realist perception works that I was able to sift out (payoff is in the last three of my paragraphs on Smith’s book here) what is his version of the distinction. You end up with the resistance of solid bodies to deformation, spatial relations such as location-betweeness and shapes and sizes, and relative motions being in the world as we perceive it and as it is in itself. And that is all known to be so through careful reflection on the phenomenology of perceptual experience itself: reflection on the intentionality (the aboutness) in perception (without perceptual judgment); on the role of sensory qualities in our experience of sensations v. the role of sensory qualities in our sensory perceptions; and on the dimensions within our sensory perceptual experience that are not sensuous and which yield intentionality in perception (which is absent in our experience of mere sensations). Any talk of presence or absence of perspectives in various sensory experiences has to do differences in our various first-person sensory experiences themselves. (It does not have to do with other talk of taking perspectives, such as when in thought we shift from a first-person to a third-person perspective.)

I hope you will get this book, study it, and work on integrating it with DK’s book. I introduced DP to it a few years ago, and it became an important background for his dissertation in progress.

Smith holds that the burden of proving that we perceive nothing directly lies on those who maintain that claim. Multiple lines of argument have been developed in support of the claim that direct realism cannot be the way it is with perception. Smith devotes his book to carefully formulating two of those arguments against direct realism, showing how previous realist attempts to refute those two arguments have failed, and then showing how to properly refute those two arguments. One of the arguments against direct realism is the argument from illusion; the second is the argument from hallucination. Smith’s focus in this book is to the task of defending direct realism against those two arguments, that is, to the task of correctly refuting those arguments.

One small point, then I’ll leave you to Smith for yourself. One might think that anything that could be spoken of as a quality, or attribute, of a sensory perception must be a sensory quality, by definition. Foul ball! Send that kid back to the plate. The sensory qualities that have been discussed so much since the Renaissance are specific items, and a vague, cheap grammatical subterfuge is not going to supply a rug for really upturning direct realism. The specific sensory qualities, as they are experienced in sensation and as they are in sensory perception, as well as other attributes of perceptual experience, have to be pondered specifically and patiently to be pondered seriously.



Post 55

Friday, July 10, 2009 - 6:12amSanction this postReply
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I thought that readers of this thread may be interested in this essay,
which appeared in Philosophy of Science in 2007.

On the Reality (and Diversity) of Objective Colors:
How Color-Qualia Space Is a Map of Reflectance-Profile Space


Paul Churchland

ABSTRACT
“How, if at all, does the internal structure of human phenomenological color space map onto the internal structure of objective reflectance-profile space, in such a fashion as to provide a useful and accurate representation of that objective feature space? A prominent argument (due to Hardin, among others) proposes to eliminate colors as real, objective properties of objects, on grounds that nothing in the external world (and especially not surface-reflectance-profiles) answers to the well-known and quite determinate internal structure of human phenomenological color space. The present paper proposes a novel way to construe the objective space of possible reflectance profiles so that (1) its internal structure becomes evident, and (2) that structure’s homomorphism with the internal structure of human phenomenological color space becomes obvious. The path is thus reopened to salvage the objective reality of colors, in the same way that we preserved the objective reality of such features as temperature, pitch, and sourness—by identifying them with some objective feature recognized in modern physical theory.”





Post 56

Friday, July 10, 2009 - 10:23amSanction this postReply
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Stephen, thanks for posting the article by Churchland.

A difficulty in discussing the PSQD is terminology. Churchland uses the traditional objective/subjective dichotomy.  For example on page 120 he writes, "Accordingly, colors proper are often demoted from being ‘primary properties’ (i.e., objective properties of external physical objects) to the lesser status of being merely ‘secondary properties’ (i.e., properties of our subjective experiences only)." He proposes to put color on the objective side by appealing to an object's reflectance profile. (Of course, others commonly put color on the subjective side appealing to the nature of our perceptual systems.) In my article I tried to classify color as perceived (and secondary qualities more generally) as objective using Rand's  intrinsic/objective/subjective trichotomy. With the same trichotomy the reflectance profile is intrinsic.

Anybody who tries to classify color as 'objective' using the above dichotomy or as 'intrinsic' using the above trichotomy is faced with dealing with such matters as the following:  
Because of this overlap, our color-processing system is here more sensitive to small changes in the dominant incident wavelength than it is to wavelength changes elsewhere in the optical window: in the short-wavelength or blue region, for example. The result is that the system counts smallish wavelength changes in the green through red region as equal in magnitude to somewhat larger increments of wavelength change elsewhere. (Churchland, p. 133)
In other words, intrinsic sameness (difference) does not imply objective sameness (equal difference). See also the button experiment described on page 144.

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 7/11, 7:38am)




Post 57

Monday, April 2 - 11:14amSanction this postReply
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A recently published book on this topic:
http://www.amazon.com/Primary-Secondary-Qualities-Historical-Ongoing/dp/0199556156/rebiofreas-20

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 4/02, 12:43pm)




Post 58

Sunday, April 15 - 5:52amSanction this postReply
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A book review of Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate.



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