Perception and reality

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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RJG
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Re: Perception and reality

Post by RJG » April 16th, 2020, 7:52 am

Steve3007 wrote:Example: RJG, in a long established pattern over many posts, uses the word "objective" to mean something like "logically certain" or "true by definition" or "self-contradictory to deny". i.e. he doesn't use it in a standard sense.
Steve, this is a philosophy forum. I use the words "objectivity" and "objective truth" in the appropriate philosophical sense, and so should you.

Objectivity is a philosophical concept of being true independently from individual subjectivity caused by perception, emotions, or imagination. A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject. --Wikipedia

Steve3007 wrote:The proof of the pudding/apple is in the eating.
The proof of the dagger is in the touching.
One subjective perception can't vouch for another subjective perception. ...you can't get objectivity from 'more' subjectivity.

Objectivity is independent of subjectivity.

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Terrapin Station » April 16th, 2020, 8:50 am

RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2020, 9:51 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:Those reasons, which we went over months ago, include qualitative phenomenal distinctions between, say, hallucinations and imaginings and other experiences and the fact that there are no good reasons to assume that some phenomena are mental at all, because there are no attendant notions of mentality with them.
When one is hallucinating, one does not necessarily know he is hallucinating.
I can accept that that could be the case for some people, but my hallucinations have a completely different phenomenal quality than my perceptions. (Which isn't to discount the possibility of illusions, but that's a different issue than hallucinations.)

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Steve3007 » April 16th, 2020, 9:01 am

RJG wrote:...I use the words "objectivity" and "objective truth" in the appropriate philosophical sense...
As we know from previous discussions, I disagree with the above statement.
To save time, here's a loop back to the most recent previous time this was discussed between us, which references the same Wikipedia article that you've quoted again:
viewtopic.php?p=341410#p341410

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Terrapin Station » April 16th, 2020, 9:09 am

Steve3007 wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 9:01 am
RJG wrote:...I use the words "objectivity" and "objective truth" in the appropriate philosophical sense...
As we know from previous discussions, I disagree with the above statement.
To save time, here's a loop back to the most recent previous time this was discussed between us, which references the same Wikipedia article that you've quoted again:
viewtopic.php?p=341410#p341410
Just re what you're citing there, it's important again to make a distinction between "True statement about something objective" and "Truth having the property of being objective." There's an ambiguity in "objective truth" where some people are reading it the former way and some are reading it the latter way. I have no problem with the former. I just wouldn't call that "objective truth," since I take "objective" in "objective truth" to be an adjective modifying the noun "truth," but truth isn't something that occurs objectively.

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Steve3007 » April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am

Terrapin Station wrote:Just re what you're citing there, it's important again to make a distinction between "True statement about something objective" and "Truth having the property of being objective." There's an ambiguity in "objective truth" where some people are reading it the former way and some are reading it the latter way. I have no problem with the former. I just wouldn't call that "objective truth," since I take "objective" in "objective truth" to be an adjective modifying the noun "truth," but truth isn't something that occurs objectively.
Yes, I think we've discussed this before. I see the distinction you're making and the potential for ambiguity in the expression "objective truth".

But previously, in our discussions about this (and in discussions with other people), I've tended to use the expression "objective proposition" rather than "objective truth". I've tended to broadly agree with the poster G E Morton's view that an objective proposition is a proposition who's means of verification/falsification are public, as opposed to propositions whose means of verification/falsification are private. So:

"There is a table in this room."

is an objective proposition because it proposes the existence of something which is proposed to exist independently of any individual sensations. To me, that's the same as saying that it proposes the existence of something that is the potential cause of an infinite/indefinitely large number of possible sensations. But I suspect you'll dispute that because, philosophically, you are (among other things) a direct realist?

By contrast, the slightly more unusual proposition:

"I am having a table sensation."

is a subjective proposition because it doesn't propose the existence of something which is proposed to exist independently of the individual's sensations. It's all about me.


In discussing this kind of thing previously with both me and G E Morton I know you had various disagreements with it, but I can't remember exactly what they were right now. I'll look them up in previous conversations when I get a minute. (Although the facility for searching through posts on this website is annoyingly limited in that it more often than not seems to fail if the search term is deemed to be too common. I can usually only link back to a previous conversation if it contains a relatively uncommon word.)

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Marvin_Edwards » April 16th, 2020, 9:59 am

Steve3007 wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 5:42 am

... one of the problems with conversations here is that they often get bogged down with people (myself included) simply asserting what words mean and throwing dictionary definitions at each other. The only way to avoid that, and thereby get down to discussing the actual ideas that those words are supposed to convey ...
I suppose we could ask each other what we mean when using the words, if there is confusion.

I like to use operational definitions when I can (as per Wm James Lecture II Pragmatism).

Academic philosophy presents us with a problem because it often asks questions about what words mean without giving us clear definitions, but rather giving us a selection of opinions as to what any word means. I found this to be the case in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's articles on Laws of Nature and Supervenience. Very confusing!

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Terrapin Station » April 16th, 2020, 10:49 am

Steve3007 wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am
Terrapin Station wrote:Just re what you're citing there, it's important again to make a distinction between "True statement about something objective" and "Truth having the property of being objective." There's an ambiguity in "objective truth" where some people are reading it the former way and some are reading it the latter way. I have no problem with the former. I just wouldn't call that "objective truth," since I take "objective" in "objective truth" to be an adjective modifying the noun "truth," but truth isn't something that occurs objectively.
Yes, I think we've discussed this before. I see the distinction you're making and the potential for ambiguity in the expression "objective truth".

But previously, in our discussions about this (and in discussions with other people), I've tended to use the expression "objective proposition" rather than "objective truth". I've tended to broadly agree with the poster G E Morton's view that an objective proposition is a proposition who's means of verification/falsification are public, as opposed to propositions whose means of verification/falsification are private. So:

"There is a table in this room."

is an objective proposition because it proposes the existence of something which is proposed to exist independently of any individual sensations. To me, that's the same as saying that it proposes the existence of something that is the potential cause of an infinite/indefinitely large number of possible sensations. But I suspect you'll dispute that because, philosophically, you are (among other things) a direct realist?

By contrast, the slightly more unusual proposition:

"I am having a table sensation."

is a subjective proposition because it doesn't propose the existence of something which is proposed to exist independently of the individual's sensations. It's all about me.


In discussing this kind of thing previously with both me and G E Morton I know you had various disagreements with it, but I can't remember exactly what they were right now. I'll look them up in previous conversations when I get a minute. (Although the facility for searching through posts on this website is annoyingly limited in that it more often than not seems to fail if the search term is deemed to be too common. I can usually only link back to a previous conversation if it contains a relatively uncommon word.)
With propositions, it's the same thing. There's a difference between "A proposition about something objective," and "A proposition having the property of being objective."

The "objective" part is that we're talking about something that exists independently of persons (basically, or more specifically something that exists something independently of their minds).

So re "A proposition about something objective"--well, a proposition about a table is that. The table is objective. We can have propositions about tables.

But the proposition itself isn't objective. The proposition itself doesn't exist independently of persons' minds in the way that the table does. (Keeping in mind that propositions are the meanings of declarative sentences, and meanings, at least on my view, are mental phenomena.)

So I use "objective x" so that "objective" is an adjective modifying, or noting/describing a property that x has. Thus, I wouldn't say that we can have objective propositions, because propositions do not have the property of being objective.

I have no problem agreeing that propositions can be about something objective. I just wouldn't call that an "objective proposition."

It's just like I wouldn't call something a "fat book" if it's a book about obesity, but it's only 120 pages long. I would expect most people to parse "fat" in the phrase "fat book" as telling us something about the properties of the book itself, as a book. If the book is only 120 pages, it's not "fat," it's not a big book. It's pretty slim insofar as books go. But the book is about fatness. The subject matter is fatness. It's just that the book itself isn't fat.

So same thing for propositions. The subject matter of a proposition might be something objective, but the proposition itself isn't objective.

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Re: Perception and reality

Post by Steve3007 » April 16th, 2020, 11:16 am

Terrapin Station wrote:With propositions, it's the same thing. There's a difference between "A proposition about something objective," and "A proposition having the property of being objective."...

...It's just like I wouldn't call something a "fat book" if it's a book about obesity, but it's only 120 pages long....
Yes, I see your point. It's a point you've made before. So, I wonder why I have been happy with the idea that the proposition itself can be characterized as objective, rather than the object of the proposition being objective.

I think maybe it stems from a philosophical worldview that we discussed previously in the context of physics, and the twin-slit experiment, and all that kind of stuff. You (as a philosophical Realist) pointed out previously that many people you've spoken to who have an interest in physics tend to take a phenomenological or perhaps instrumentalist approach to reality: we tend to define reality in terms of the sum of all possible observations of that reality. Perhaps it's a form of scientific anti-realism, but not one that actually denies the existence of unobserved things, just one that doesn't regard the question of whether they exist as useful, or perhaps doesn't even regard the question as meaningful.

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