1. [deleted]At the End of Light.A. Halliday - manuscript
    This short paper argues that light waves are an opaque barrier between the eye of the observer and the objective world. And, that light waves prevent direct knowledge of the world.
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I have written a short paper on an issue that I have not come across before. In it I attempt to argue that light waves are an opaque barrier between the eye of the observer and the objective world. And, that light waves prevent direct knowledge of objects in the world. I would be grateful for criticism and responses. Bert

Your term 'opaque barrier' suggests that you think light waves absolutely prevent perceptual access to 'things as they are'. However there is a big difference between holding that they MIGHT prevent accurate knowledge of 'things as they are', by means of sight perception, (because there are other forms of perception), and holding that they must make any such knowledge impossible, and consequently supposing there could be any such knowledge is incoherent.
I suppose it may seem too trivial to mention that every camcorder can apparently accurately report the things it is filming, and that this is done by the means of light travelling between the objects and the camcorder. So there doesn't seem to be any incoherence in trying to engineer an equivalent visible state at point B of an object at point A, by means of an instrument at point B using the light traveling from the object A. Of course this means that mechanism B MIGHT be wrong or inaccurate in various ways in its reconstruction of A. But that doesn't mean it can't be accurate, or relatively accurate.

It is another question again, when we get down to the sub atomic level, whether the very act of light being emitted or bounced off etc. some object we are trying to gain knowledge of must alter the object to such a degree we can't tell what it was like before the light interacted with it.

But I haven't read your paper.


Justin, thanks for your response. The issue that I raise concerns the human eye - not a camera. Although a camera is often used as a metaphor for the eye, my paper is concerned with light and the eye. The paper gives a clear explanation of my thinking.

The paper does not argue that light prevents knowledge. Perception has, as far as I know, remained unchanged since before the dawn of man. All my paper does is attempt to show that there could be an unconsidered angle to understanding how we come to know the objective world.


Hello Bert,
You have made an interesting point about our perception of the "objective world." I, however, pass over all the arguments about light waves because everyone, and every animal has faith in "naive realism!" (Naive realism is the assumption our eyes are telling us the truth.) And everyone and every animal needs complete faith in naive realism in order to survive. We all have faith that we know the objective world. If it is not the objective world we perceive, then we are helpless to perceive it. What thinkest thou?

Reply to Eric Demaree
Thanks, Eric. I'm not a religious person. Having said that, I think that my paper does make a point. It is true that, in our core being, all of us are naive realists: we live in the real world. The paper was meant to highlight an important point: that it is not possible to have direct perception of real objects. The information in photons enable us to see the world, yet light waves prevent that. I live in the real world, believe in objects and so on just like everyone else. Bert

hi Bert,
I agree completely. We all only assume we perceive the objective world. We have faith (not religious faith) in our senses. However, whatever the mechanics of our senses happen to be, I do not believe they are important to our knowledge of our universe, unless those mechanics contained a distinct flaw.


Reply to Eric Demaree
Yes, the - in this case - visual processing system is simply the mechanics. It interprets wavelength into the colour that becomes the phenomenal Representation. I would argue that it is important to understand that there are intermediaries. That is, important to know that, in a way, that system makes the phenomena that becomes/is the only world that we can see. It's not the real world. Bert

hi Bert,
Yes, it is probably not the "real" world. However, it'll do for now--until we find something better.

Reply to Eric Demaree
There has always been doubt: whether we can have 'faith' in what we perceive as our only visual world. The hard reality is that it is the only one that we see and it is the only one that we have. We can't see beyond it, to the outside.

The Representation has endured since the dawn of the first perceiving organism. It will, probably, endure until the last one fades away.

The whole situation might become much worse when I post my next paper. I have three in the pipeline. It doesn't, certainly won't, get any better. Sorry. Bert