Well, no, because experience will suggest that the tracks are converging from one perspective, but are parallel from another.
These are two different types of perspective. One occurs when you are "seeing." The other occurs when you are "imagining," i.e., creating an image in your mind. How "imagining" is possible has not yet been explained by science, nor has "seeing" for that matter. Scientists are still "looking" into that matter and all they are finding is energy.
I am interested in this idea of the 'observer-independent reality'. I think this is the subject of the OP. We assume that it exists and is kind of a touchstone for veridical judgment. We want to assume that the criteria for a veridical judgment is the degree to which our judgment corresponds with what is actually there.
The problem with "what is actually there
" is, where is "there
"? Ortega says that "there
" can only be in "My Life
," if by "actually" you mean "really," since for Ortega "My Life
" is the "Radical Reality
" in the sense that all other realities
appear or are "rooted" in "My Life
." So when I am "seeing," one image of the tracks is "occurring" in "My Life
." When I am "imagining," I am experiencing another image of the tracks "occurring" in "My Life
." Both images are "real" because they are both "occurring" in "My Life
According to Ortega, "My Life
" consists of "occurrings" (to make it active) or "happenings." Furthermore, since "My Life
" consists of the interrelationships between "My I
," the perceiving, thinking, deciding, acting person that "I
" am, and "My Circumstance
," anything Other than the "I
;" more specifically, "My Life
" consists of "what I do" that is "happening" or "occurring" to "My Circumstance
" and "what happens to me," i.e., what is "happening" or "occurring" to "My I
" from "My Circumstance
So when I am "looking" at the railroad tracks, "I
" am "doing" something with respect to "My Circumstance
" and "My Circumstance
" responds by "doing" something to "Me
." As I have explained in another post, through the research of scientists we know that light energy that comes from the sun is absorbed by the atoms on the surface of the tracks and some of that energy is reradiated by those atoms and transmitted to the eye. The lens in the eye "inverts" the light waves and it is transmitted through the rest of the eye until it is projected on the retina at the back of the eye as an inverted image. The light energy is absorbed by the neural cells in the retina, which results in a signal being transmitted through the axons of the cells to the brain. Then, through a process that has not as yet been explained by science, the "image" of the tracks is experienced by the "I
" that I am, and we experience "I am seeing the railroad tracks."
What is often neglected is that "seeing," according to physical theory[!], involves a continuous
absorption of light by the atoms of the object, and a continuing
reradiating some of that energy by those atoms, and a continuing
transmission of the energy in inverted form by the lens and body of the eye to the retina of the eye, where it continually
activates the nerve cells, and impulses are continually
sent via the axons of those cells to the brain, where continually
we don't know exactly what happens, but we continually
experience an image in our mind.
In the case of "imagining" the "parallel" railroad tracks, we somehow decide to use our "imagination," which is like saying "give me an image that I can use to make sense out of what the image I'm experiencing in my seeing," and our "imagination" then generates a memory of having seen a similar image in the past, even if only from a drawing, and we have learned to call an image of that kind a "railroad track."
Now a scientist will insist that what "really" exists is a physical track where the different rails of the track are "parallel," which is a description of what is only approximately true for any given stretch of track, since variations in the placement of the track, however small, may occur during the installation of the track, due to the use of the track, and also due to movement of the earth (small "e") below the track. So the so-called "real" or "actual" railroad tracks are only "approximately parallel." (Are lines that curve and still remain the same distance apart considered to be "parallel" even in geometry?")
Pragmatically it is a sure bet, but philosophically, there is still no way to show that the thing seen and the act of seeing it are ultimately distinguishable. Of course this argument has been underway since philosophy began so there will never be a slam-dunk answer to it.
Until phenomenology got a hold of it. See Phenomenology of Perception
, by Merleau-Ponty. Oh, I see you're already reading it. Good!
From the above analysis, theoretically , in "perceiving" the "thing seen" there is a continuing flow of energy that is generated by the light being absorbed by the atoms, etc., and continually "reflecting" off of the "thing," and the energy being continually "transmitted" as above, resulting in, somehow, an image "occurring" to "My I
" or "Me
." In "thinking" or "conceiving," the "image" of previous "viewings" of railroad tracks from various perspectives, if only from pictures, may "occur to" or "be recalled by" "Me
," and "I
" may "do" what is called "thinking" of it by continually "holding it in mind," or "I
" may "conceive" an "image" of an "ideal railroad track" where the tracks are absolutely parallel, whatever the scientific explanation for how either of those "happenings" "occur." However, both the "perceiving" and the "conceiving" are "real" in that occur in the "Radical Reality
" that is "My Life
Normally this line of thinking seems to point to solipsism - that 'the railway tracks are just a visual construction in my mind'.
The "images" of both tracks are "occurring" in "My Life
," and so they are a part of "My Reality
." How they occur or whether the occur in "my mind," is still a question. Ortega's metaphysics lead to a form of "solipsism" in that each person is an "I
" that is part of the "Radical Reality
" that is "My Life
," and they eventually learn that there are other "persons" who appear to be having the same experience as I am in "Their Life." So Ortega's philosophy can be described as a "unitary" ("My Life
"), "dualism" ("My Life
" consists of "I
" and "My Circumstance
"), as well as a "pluralism" (there are other "I
"s who are experiencing the same type of "unitary dualism" that "I
But in addition to solipsism - everything I see is just an image generated in my mind- and realism - everything I see is an image of an objective reality - there is also the possibility that reality is the nexus of an indefinite number of individual perspectives. So in this sense 'mind' is not being depicted as 'my mind' but as a collective - 'the mind' or perhaps just 'mind'. So it is not as if I am saying 'this view exists in my mind' because the extent to which I consider the mind to be 'mine' indicates that at that moment, I am no longer considering the perspective, but the nature of 'my mind' in which it occurs. So at that instant, I am considering the thought of the perspective, not the perspective itself. So already the subject of the discussion has actually changed, if you see what I mean. But normally all of this happens - this change of focus - so quickly that we haven't noticed that the subject has changed.
When you are "reflecting" on your experience, you are "thinking" about an "idea" of the phenomenon of "My I seeing a railroad track," and part of that thinking may include an "image" of "My I seeing an image of a railroad track" that "occurs" to you and you continue "holding" it in your "mind." The "thinking" of "My I seeing an image of a railroad track" is different from either "My I" "seeing" an "image of the railroad track, and "My I" "imagining" other railroad tracks, either by "My I" "remembering" other images of railroad tracks or "conceiving" an image of an "ideal" railroad track.
(I am labouring through Merleau Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception at the moment. It is basically about this very question - all 530 pages of it. Still working on it...views subject to revision....)
You mean "views" subject to "re-vision"!
You'll find the answer to the question on page "531," which is like the "nineteenth" hole on a golf course, i.e., when you have "digested" what you have read. Bon appetit
See my next post: Ortega's Idea of Perspective - II