# Objects And Properties

Kielicious

Tue 11 May, 2010 11:08 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163235 wrote:
Interesting sentence. It makes me wonder what it would be for a red ball to be red per se if a red ball is not actually red per se.

If you didnt read the rest of my post then it comes as no surprise that you are confused.

kennethamy

Tue 11 May, 2010 11:14 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163242 wrote:
If you didnt read the rest of my post then it comes as no surprise that you are confused.

Well, the thing is that although there is obviously some confusion going on, what I wonder about is whether I am the one confused. If someone were to tell me that a banana was not really a banana per se, I imagine I would be just as confused. After all, what would a banana have to be for it to be really a banana per se?

Kielicious

Tue 11 May, 2010 11:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163247 wrote:
Well, the thing is that although there is obviously some confusion going on, what I wonder about is whether I am the one confused. If someone were to tell me that a banana was not really a banana per se, I imagine I would be just as confused. After all, what would a banana have to be for it to be really a banana per se?

Even though we are supposed to be talking about colors I will still entertain your question. Can one see a banana per se, but not really see a banana? Yes. That is what illusions are. You may see something that isnt really there. Now if you have a question regarding color then by all means ask.

kennethamy

Tue 11 May, 2010 11:32 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163255 wrote:
Even though we are supposed to be talking about colors I will still entertain your question. Can one see a banana per se, but not really see a banana? Yes. That is what illusions are. You may see something that isnt really there. Now if you have a question regarding color then by all means ask.

But how can one see a banana per se, and it be the illusion of a banana? After all, having the illusion of a banana is exactly not seeing a banana but (maybe) believing you see one. And, of course, the very same thing goes for color.I cannot have the illusion of seeing red if I am actually seeing red, since actually seeing red is exactly not having the illusion of seeing red. If you see what I mean. Apparently, you think that even when I am, in fact, seeing something red, that I am having the illusion of seeing something red. And that does confuse me.

Kielicious

Tue 11 May, 2010 11:54 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163260 wrote:
But how can one see a banana per se, and it be the illusion of a banana? After all, having the illusion of a banana is exactly not seeing a banana but (maybe) believing you see one. And, of course, the very same thing goes for color.I cannot have the illusion of seeing red if I am actually seeing red, since actually seeing red is exactly not having the illusion of seeing red. If you see what I mean. Apparently, you think that even when I am, in fact, seeing something red, that I am having the illusion of seeing something red. And that does confuse me.

Yes I see what you are doing. You are playing a word game so by definition you cannot see anything but the color red, since that is how you presented the scenario:

"I cannot have the illusion of seeing red if I am actually seeing red, since actually seeing red is exactly not having the illusion of seeing red."

How could anyone argue against what you are saying? Because essentially you are saying "if I am, in fact, experiencing red then it is not an illusion but the actual color red." But do you remember the visual illusion I posted? One can see the exact same color and think it be a different color. So you can be mistaken about what you see. Unless you think illusions dont apply to you...

kennethamy

Wed 12 May, 2010 12:02 am
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;163273 wrote:
Yes I see what you are doing. You are playing a word game so by definition you cannot see anything but the color red, since that is how you presented the scenario:

"I cannot have the illusion of seeing red if I am actually seeing red, since actually seeing red is exactly not having the illusion of seeing red."

How could anyone argue against what you are saying? Because essentially you are saying "if I am, in fact, experiencing red then it is not an illusion but the actual color red." But do you remember the visual illusion I posted? One can see the exact same color and think it be a different color. So you can be mistaken about what you see. Unless you think illusions dont apply to you...

Well, I am certainly talking about words, since that is what philosophy is , talk about talk. But I don't think that what I am doing is fairly called "a game" since I don't think philosophy is trivial, like a game.

Naturally I can be mistaken about what I see, so that I can believe that what I am seeing is colored red, and it not be colored red. But who would deny that? What I pointed out is that you cannot both see the color red and also be having the illusion of seeing the color red. Of course, you can think you are seeing red and have the illusion of seeing red. In fact, that is what illusions are all about. Thinking you see a woman being sawed in half and its not being true that the woman is being sawed in half.

Pythagorean

Wed 12 May, 2010 10:08 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163046 wrote:
But I certainly thought I had given one. Namely, that what is ordinarily meant by the color of an object is the color it appears to have under normal conditions for the normal observer. Did you miss it? I did not think you had.

Isn't the definition I just gave an objective definition of "color". Perhaps you have in mind a different notion of "objective" than I do. Let me tell you what I have in mind: An objective definition of property "X" is one that allows us to settle whether something has property "X" or not independently of whether anyone believes something has that property. Not that, please notice, that beliefs may not be a part of that definition. For example, I might define a food's being tasty as, "Most people who taste X believe it is tasty". Now, that definition involves beliefs, but that not mean it is not an objective definition, since we can apply that definition without worrying about whether we an determine (on the basis of that definition) whether the food is believed to be tasty. That the definition concerns belief does not mean that it depends on what people believe. (I said all of that in order to forestall an objection based on a confusion between the criterion being about beliefs (which does not make it subjective) and the criterion being dependent on belief, which does make it subjective.

The criterion for color I gave of course involves beliefs, but since it need not itself be influenced by beliefs, it is an objective criterion.

If we were to say that objects actually are what they appear to be under 'normal conditions' then we are precluding any philosophical or scientific analysis of objects.

If we were to hold to your definition of reality then there could not exist, for example, any atomic structure of elements because things do not appear to be made of atoms. Under normal conditions of observation we do not see the individual atoms.

So to say that things are what they appear to be under normal conditions does not reveal any information as to what they actually are like.

-

Zetherin

Wed 12 May, 2010 11:52 am
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean wrote:
If we were to say that objects actually are what they appear to be under 'normal conditions' then we are precluding any philosophical or scientific analysis of objects.

How is that so?

Quote:
If we were to hold to your definition of reality then there could not exist, for example, any atomic structure of elements because things do not appear to be made of atoms. Under normal conditions of observation we do not see the individual atoms.

So to say that things are what they appear to be under normal conditions does not reveal any information as to what they actually are like.

Really, so it would be presumptuous of me to state that a door exists, since I cannot see each individual wood molecule? I cannot understand the text on this screen, because I cannot see each micropixel?

We can still understand what things are really like, without having to understand what those things reduce to, can't we? One thing has nothing to do with the other; they are two different pieces of knowledge.

Likewise, I can know what the true color of something is, without having to know about electromagnetism. I'd wager that most people don't know much about electromagnetism, and yet somehow they manage to stop at red lights.

Flying Dutchman

Wed 12 May, 2010 12:20 pm
@Zetherin,
I didn't read through the entire thread so sorry if I'm repeating anything.

There is a difference between a color as a particular wavelength of light, and color as a subjective experience. These two are correlated (such that a specific wavelength will always produce what I see as "red") but they are qualitatively different phenomena.

I would argue that my experience of red has no existence outside of my mind. Without a brain or mind, redness is merely a certain motion or pattern of light waves.

Take the parallel example of a bell ringing. There is a specific atmospheric disturbance that the bell causes, which causes the sound in my mind, but the subjective "ring" that I hear has no existence in extra-mental reality (the physical world).

After some thought this makes a lot of sense, we can't say what things in the physical world feel like outside of nervous systems, for instance, or what they look like outside of visual systems. No subjective qualia (I'm assuming most have heard that term) can be reduced to purely objective physical phenomenon.

The better question is not whether things like color exist in the outside world, but the mind-body problem itself: how seemingly only neuronal processes in the brain give rise to this subjective character of experience.

Reconstructo

Wed 12 May, 2010 01:50 pm
@Flying Dutchman,
Flying_Dutchman;163516 wrote:

The better question is not whether things like color exist in the outside world, but the mind-body problem itself: how seemingly only neuronal processes in the brain give rise to this subjective character of experience.

Yes, that's the mystery. The subjective experience of color is really strange enough to be called a "miracle." Of course it's not trendy to acknowledge that life is fascinating, or anything like that....but redness is irreducible. And strange. And so are all the other colors. A painter offers us an arrangement of hand made colors. His or her art cannot be reduced.

kennethamy

Wed 12 May, 2010 03:40 pm
@Pythagorean,
Pythagorean;163460 wrote:
If we were to say that objects actually are what they appear to be under 'normal conditions' then we are precluding any philosophical or scientific analysis of objects.

If we were to hold to your definition of reality then there could not exist, for example, any atomic structure of elements because things do not appear to be made of atoms. Under normal conditions of observation we do not see the individual atoms.

So to say that things are what they appear to be under normal conditions does not reveal any information as to what they actually are like.

-

Who said that objects are as they appear under normal conditions? I think that the view is that to say that Y is red, is to say that Y appears red to a normal observer under normal conditions. You should really make sure that the view you are attacking is the view that is being held. Else you are committing the strawman fallacy.

Flying Dutchman

Wed 12 May, 2010 06:19 pm
@kennethamy,
I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Alva Noe, but he would say that "touch" should in fact be the paradigm of sensory perception rather than sight. It seems like we have more direct access to an object through touch, in which an object (a tomato is his example) can be wholly present for us, whereas with vision, our apparent 3-dimensional existence forces us to infer about the whole tomato from our specific visual field.

But is that a good enough reason to say that touch represents the outside world better than the other senses? There is no way to say which types of observations we make most accurately represent reality. There can be varying levels of a certain type of perception (for instance, I could say that an eagle has greater visual capabilities than I do), but we can't compare across senses and say (necessarily) that an eagle's sight represents the world more accurately than a bat's echolocation.

This post is getting more theoretical and dogmatic as it goes along, but I think consciousness might be a kind of fundamental medium of interaction, such that our consciousness is the complex product of the reason things can experience each other at all (which might be the causally unexplained strong nuclear force). So given this line of thought a David Chalmers type of Panpsychism can work its way into the picture. Under this view (and from my perspective), a rock is conscious because it can "feel" or "experience" other objects. If you hit it with a hammer, it breaks and if you push it down a hill it will roll. This might be the fundamental basis of consciousness (and possibly even being). Perhaps the more possible physical interactions an object can have, the more consciousness it possesses. Sorry if that was confusing. My main hypothesis is that consciousness is the fundamental substrate of physical interaction, and we are an extraordinarily complex representation of it.

One final question: can we say that a thing exists which isn't experienced or experience-able by another thing?

kennethamy

Wed 12 May, 2010 07:05 pm
@Flying Dutchman,
Flying_Dutchman;163628 wrote:

One final question: can we say that a thing exists which isn't experienced or experience-able by another thing?

Of course. Why not? Indeed, we know that the Moon existed many years before it even could be experienced by anything, since the Moon existed before there was any consciousness in the universe. Ask any anthropologist or any biologist which existed first, the Moon or people?

prothero

Wed 12 May, 2010 08:24 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163039 wrote:
I never held that for an object to have properties, those properties need be independent of the conditions of observation and observer. I think you did..
So I was thinking about this comment; about objects possessing properties independent of observers and observational methods. My original comment or assertion was that observed properties were observer and method of observation dependent and certainly I still maintain that.

I do however think that objects have properties that (at least currently) we can not observe or detect. In fact I think about half the character of the world consists of properties that can not be observed with currently available methods. One can start with the subjective experiential content of your fellow humans and other sophisticated animals or organisms. In fact I think nature has unobserved properties of perception, interiority and self determination. So there are observed and unobserved properties of "objects". An object with no observable properties would be for practical purposes invisible to us but that would in no way affect its reality or its existence?

Color, however, is most assuredly an observed property dependent on illumination, reflection and perception.

kennethamy

Wed 12 May, 2010 08:50 pm
@prothero,
prothero;163694 wrote:
So I was thinking about this comment; about objects possessing properties independent of observers and observational methods. My original comment or assertion was that observed properties were observer and method of observation dependent and certainly I still maintain that.

Color, however, is most assuredly an observed property dependent on illumination, reflection and perception.

Does that imply that a red apple is not red in a pitch black room? I ask since I cannot tell whether or not that is what you are saying when you write that, observed properties were observer and method of observation dependent. Since most people (I would imagine everyone-including you) would believe that red apples are still red in a pitch black room although we cannot observe the color of the apple. But then, of course, we cannot observe the shape of the apple either. So would you say that the apple has no shape in that same pitch black room, too? A shapeless, colorless apple. What hath philosophers wrought?!

prothero

Wed 12 May, 2010 08:55 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163706 wrote:
Does that imply that a red apple is not red in a pitch black room? I ask since I cannot tell whether or not that is what you are saying when you write that, observed properties were observer and method of observation dependent. Since most people (I would imagine everyone-including you) would believe that red apples are still red in a pitch black room although we cannot observe the color of the apple. But then, of course, we cannot observe the shape of the apple either. So would you say that the apple has no shape in that same pitch black room, too? A shapeless, colorless apple. What hath philosophers wrought?!
Did you catch the "observed properties" part? Observed properties may not be the only properties an object has?
What makes an apple red is the ability to reflect the wavelenght perceived as red by the human observer. So in what way is the apple still red in a dark room? At best it has the potential to appear red when illuminated by the proper wavelenght?

kennethamy

Wed 12 May, 2010 09:04 pm
@prothero,
prothero;163708 wrote:
Did you catch the "observed properties" part? Observed properties may not be the only properties an object has?
What makes an apple red is the ability to reflect the wavelenght perceived as red by the human observer. So in what way is the apple still red in a dark room? At best it has the potential to appear red when illuminated by the proper wavelenght?

Hmm. And the shape? What happens to that in the pitch black room?

What I don't get is why you want to say that the apple is not red in the dark room, but it has the potential to appear red under certain circumstances, when I want to say that we cannot observe that it is red in a dark room, but that it is nevertheless red; and we both mean the same thing. As I said before, to say that the apple is red=the apple would appear to be red to a normal observer when observed in normal circumstances. Don't you agree? You should, since I am saying what you said.

prothero

Wed 12 May, 2010 09:20 pm
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;163716] Hmm. And the shape? What happens to that in the pitch black room? [/QUOTE] Matter has mass and volume? The measured amount of mass of the measured volume are in fact observer and method dependent, are not they? But if an object does not have a mass, and a volume, it is not matter is it?
In some ways isn't the problem Locke's primary and secondary properties or qualities of objects? Color is a secondary property (a qualia) and mass and volume are a primary property?

[QUOTE=kennethamy;163716] What I don't get is why you want to say that the apple is not red in the dark room, but it has the potential to appear red under certain circumstances, when I want to say that we cannot observe that it is red in a dark room, but that it is nevertheless red; and we both mean the same thing. As I said before, to say that the apple is red=the apple would appear to be red to a normal observer when observed in normal circumstances. Don't you agree? You should, since I am saying what you said. [/QUOTE] We both agree on what we would observe and the physical explanation for it. Do we "mean the same thing"? Maybe it is just a fight about words again, about primary inherent and secondary perceived properties? I am certainly not in the camp that says the apple disappears when not perceived by human minds. On the other hand objects do not exist independently of the rest of reality (what some call the fallacy of misplaced concreteness).

Reconstructo

Thu 13 May, 2010 12:19 am
@Pythagorean,
Also, mass and volume are abstractions. Especially mass, which is not the same as weight. Weight is somewhat intuitive, but mass is defined in relation to force (abstract!) and acceleration (the rate of change of the rate of change!). And speed? Well, that's distance related to time. Distance is intuitive, but time? Oh that's a change in one "object" in a mathematical relationship to the change in another "object." Why is "object" in quotes? Because an object as singular object is an abstraction, even if this abstraction is related to something that a consensus agrees is visible, audible, etc.

Just opinions...

Ok, I concede that the cutting of reality into objects is so automatic that abstract is not perhaps the ideal world in some cases.

Flying Dutchman

Thu 13 May, 2010 11:54 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;163706 wrote:
Does that imply that a red apple is not red in a pitch black room? I ask since I cannot tell whether or not that is what you are saying when you write that, observed properties were observer and method of observation dependent. Since most people (I would imagine everyone-including you) would believe that red apples are still red in a pitch black room although we cannot observe the color of the apple. But then, of course, we cannot observe the shape of the apple either. So would you say that the apple has no shape in that same pitch black room, too? A shapeless, colorless apple. What hath philosophers wrought?!

On objects' existence extramentally: when I said that we can't say an object exists which isn't experience-able by anything else, I meant in the same sense that the rock "experiences" another rock, or a hammer, not the way we seem to experience things. For instance, a neutrino doesn't "experience" solid matter. So again, my question is whether things can exist that aren't experience-able by any other things. Get what I mean? It's an unanswerable question, i'm just clarifying that human observation is not what i'm talking about, but objects "acknowledgment" of other objects.

In response to the quoted post: the pitch black room does not have anything to do with an object's shape. The example is only relevant for color, because light is a cause of color, at least as far as we experience it, but it is not a cause of shape mass or volume. We can't just (as you suggest) define red as "the color that will appear under normal conditions." That just semantically avoids the problem.As far as we know, color is a specific wavelength of light stimulating our optic nerve in a certain way and represented in our visual cortex. No light, no wavelength of light, no optic nerve stimulation, no color.

You may want to say "wait! there must be something about the apple that causes it to absorb certain light and reflect other light." But then this is merely some quality of the surface of the material which, again, contains no "red" at all. Things don't look, sound, or smell a certain way outside of eyes, ears, and noses. We're talking about things with distinct phenomenological characters.