[lit-ideas] Re: Geary on Unreal Temperature

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2010 09:09:33 +0000 (GMT)

And the point is?

--- On Tue, 27/7/10, Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> wrote:
------ "Austin", "Sense and Sensibilia"

The Oxbridge cleverness of the punnish title is surely the best thing about 
this work [exposing people like A.J. Ayer as even more hidebound in a dying 
tradition hardly makes a masterpiece].

The appearance-reality distinction runs through philosophy from its infancy but 
the following may be said:-

1. There is no Archimedian vantage-point [as Kant perhaps best showed, by 
emphasising that we cannot ever step out of the world-as-it-appears-to-us so as 
to evaluate how that relates to the world-as-it-is] from which we can 
conclusively tell to what extent what appears to us corresponds to an external 
reality. We can only guess, or meta-guess, the degree of correspondence.

2. The absence of any such vantage-point does not provide an argument against 
there being an external reality or any kind of correspondence. We can only 
guess, or meta-guess, the existence of an external reality and the degree of 
correspondence - or the truth of their negations.

3. Nevertheless the arguments in favour of the ['realist'] view that there is 
an external reality, and that there is some correspondence between the 
world-as-it-appears-to-us and the world-as-it-is, better the arguments 
against.* Most of the arguments 'against' arise from the mistaken assumption 
that, because the arguments in favour of the ['realist'] view are logically 
inconclusive or undemonstrable, this favours an anti-realist position: it does 
not, because arguments in favour of such a position are _at least as, if not 
more_ logically inconclusive or undemonstrable.

4. Science can help illuminate how our senses and other aspects of cognition 
may or may not "correspond" to some external reality - more than pondering on 
the fact a stick appears to change shape in water without any scientific 
theories being used to explain this 'appearance'.

5. The world-as-it-appears-to-us is itself an aspect of reality that invites 
explanation and that explanation takes us beyond simply the 
world-as-it-appears-to-us: the alternative is simply to say the 
world-as-it-appears-to-us _just is_ and that is no explanation at all. 

* May come back to this later

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