BR's Problems of Philosophy (Chp.1 APPEARANCE AND REALITY (Sense Data…
BR's Problems of Philosophy
Chp.1 APPEARANCE AND REALITY
Sense Data & Sensation (the experience of sense-data): we infer the existence of things from our sense-data.
if we take any common object of the sort that is
supposed to be known by the senses, what the senses immediately tell us is not the truth
about the object as it is apart from us, but only the truth about certain sense-data which,
so far as we can see, depend upon the relations between us and the object. Thus what we
directly see and feel is merely 'appearance', which we believe to be a sign of some
Idealism: "Idea - ism" - all that exists is that which is in the relam of ides.
Berekely believes only "ideas" exist but by "ideas" he means qualia
Chp. 2 THE EXISTENCE OF MATTER
Descartes Cogito is a storng first principle but it is not the "I" that is certainly existing but rather the experience.
When I look at my table and
see a certain brown colour, what is quite certain at once is not 'I am seeing a brown
colour', but rather, 'a brown colour is being seen'.
If all that existed were sense data it would be difficult to account for the things within sense data (eg. a cat) that change and move when there is no sense data of that thing (eg. not seeing cat for awhile and seeing same cat again in different place - surely its not just a new cat)
Same for Humans:
When human beings speak -- that is, when we hear certain noises which
we associate with ideas, and simultaneously see certain motions of lips and expressions
of face -- it is very difficult to suppose that what we hear is not the expression of a
thought, as we know it would be if we emitted the same sounds.
Part of what results in us accepting the existence of matter is simply that it accounts for simplifies and systematizes our experience.
It's an instinctive belief ultimately but a very strong one. One that helps in organizing all of our experience and other beliefs.
Chp. 3 THE NATURE OF MATTER
The real space
(in which we think matter occurs )
is public, the apparent space is private to the percipient.
The private sense data through which we conceive of matter corresponds to how we think the actual matter is in the real world -
Other people will agree that
the house which looks nearer to us is nearer; the ordnance map will take the same view;
and thus everything points to a spatial relation between the houses corresponding to the
relation between the sense-data which we see when we look at the houses. Thus we may
assume that there is a physical space in which physical objects have spatial
Even if matter exists the physical objects it comprises still differ widely from sense data and can only have a correspondence with sense data, the same kind of correspondence a catalogue would have with the things in it.
Problem with Idealism: The apprehending awareness of an object must be mental but the object of apprehension need not necessarily be mental.
The Idealist idea that we cannot know that anything exists which we do not know is false. Two forms of knowledge (1) Knowledge of what is true - judgements. (2) Knowledge of things which we may call acquaintance - this is the sense in which we know sense-data
Chp.5 KNOWLEDGE BY ACQUAINTANCE AND
KNOWLEDGE BY DESCRIPTION
Knowledge by acquaintance is just knowing something is there by interpreting its existence through sense data - Knowledge by description is knowing something exists by inferring its existence from sense-data. We do not have knowledge of the thing itself but rather we have knowledge of the sense-data that makes up the thing and from here we infer the existence of the thing that matches the description of the sense data and this is the table.
Chp.6 KNOWLEDGE BY ACQUAINTANCE AND
KNOWLEDGE BY DESCRIPTION
Chp. 6: ON INDUCTION
All we have is our sense data and so we must draw inferences from this about what is happening in the world. We need to be able to infer the existence of A (some prior thing) based on the existence of B (some current thing).
There is the fact that uniformities cause expectations (sun rising tomorrow) as to the future and there is the question of whether there is any reasonable round for giving weight to such expectations.
Have we any reason to beleive that the future will resemble the past ? Main reason is that the future has always resembled the past given that it becomes the past. This is just question begging though as the future always resembles the past anyway and so is a form of induction.
Science and Induction:
The business of science is to find uniformities such as the laws of motion and the law of gravitation to which so far as our experience extends, there are no exceptions.