A Third-Person-Based or Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account of mental content implies that, as an a priori matter, facts about a subject’s mental content are precisely captured by the judgments of a second-person or an interpreter. Alex Byrne, Bill Child, and others have discussed attributing such a view to Donald Davidson. This account significantly departs from a First-Person-Based or First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account, such as Crispin Wright’s, according to which, as an a priori matter, facts about intentional content are constituted by the judgments (...) of the subject herself, formed under certain optimal or cognitively ideal conditions. I will argue for two claims: (1) Attributing a Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account to Davidson is unjustified; Davidson’s view is much closer to a non-reductionist First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account. (2) Third-Personal accounts rest on a misconstrual of the role of an interpreter in the First-Personal accounts; the notion of an interpreter still plays an essential role in the latter ones. (shrink)
Recent philosophy has seen a resurgence of the realist view of sensible qualities such as colour. The view holds that experienced qualities are properties of the objects in the physical environment, not mentally instantiated properties like qualia or merely intentional, illusory ones. Some suggest that this move rids us of the explanatory gap between physical properties and the qualitative features of consciousness. Others say it just relocates the problem of qualities to physical objects in the environment, given that such qualities (...) cannot be derived from the non-qualitative properties of objects, and it does not resolve the problem of consciousness either. I argue that such an outcome is welcome: if the physical world is full of explanatory gaps, then the mind–body explanatory gap is not so special. Moreover, the explanatory gaps regarding qualities of objects are less puzzling than the brain-qualia gap. In order to counter the usual worries concerning realism about objective qualities, I introduce ‘imperfect realism’ as an alternative to colour pluralism and complex reductionism, which accommodates realism in the face of widespread perceptual error. I conclude with a discussion of how this ‘multiple-gaps view’ sits better with a naturalistic framework compared to the Galilean-Cartesian account of qualities. (shrink)
This work proposes that pain meets the requirements of being characterized as a secondary quality, as it covers, like a color, a determined extension. The argument seeks to establish a literal pain-color analogy through an inquiry into the intensity and location of the pain. From the classic intensity/location relationship reported by patients with acute appendicitis, three degrees of pain are distinguished: mild, moderate, and severe. The objective is only achieved by examining the Body’s extensional determinations (primary quality) insofar as each (...) of these degrees of pain covers three particular measures. Once these three measures have been explored according to the perforation process (tissue damage), the work ends by identifying pain as a transcendent moment. (shrink)
Wright’s judgement-dependent account of intention is an attempt to show that truths about a subject’s intentions can be viewed as constituted by the subject’s own best judgements about those intentions. The judgements are considered to be best if they are formed under certain cognitively optimal conditions, which mainly include the subject’s conceptual competence, attentiveness to the questions about what the intentions are, and lack of any material self-deception. Offering a substantive, non-trivial specification of the no-self-deception condition is one of the (...) main problems for Wright. His solution is to view it as a positive presumption, which is violated only if there is strong evidence to the effect that the subject is self-deceived. In this paper, I will argue that the concern about self-deception in Wright’s account is misplaced and generally unmotivated. (shrink)
Response-dependence theories have historically been very popular in aesthetics, and aesthetic response-dependence has motivated response-dependence in ethics. This chapter closely examines the prospects for such theories. It breaks this category down into dispositional and fittingness strands of response-dependence, corresponding to descriptive and normative ideal observer theories. It argues that the latter have advantages over the former but are not themselves without issue. Special attention is paid to the relationship between hedonism and response-dependence. The chapter also introduces two aesthetic properties that (...) lead to wrong kinds of reasons problems for aesthetic response-dependence: insightfulness and the capacity to change one’s perspective. These properties do not have obvious parallels in the ethical domain, and so present an obstacle for response-dependence even in aesthetics. The chapter ends by examining replies on behalf of the response-dependence theorist, ultimately suggesting that a restricted form of response-dependence is the most promising way forward for fans of such theories. (shrink)
Commentators have rightly focused on the reasons why Hume maintains that the conclusions of skeptical arguments cannot be believed, as well as on the role these arguments play in Hume’s justification of his account of the mind. Nevertheless, Hume’s interpreters should take more seriously the question of whether Hume holds that these arguments are demonstrations. Only if the arguments are demonstrations do they have the requisite status to prove Hume’s point—and justify his confidence—about the nature of the mind’s belief-generating faculties. (...) In this paper, I treat Hume’s argument against the primary/secondary quality distinction as my case study, and I argue that it is intended by Hume to be a demonstration of a special variety. (shrink)
This paper presents the defense by the medieval philosopher Peter Auriol of the thesis that sounds and odors have no real, mind-independent being, but exist only as mental correlates of acts of hearing and smelling. Auriol does not see this as an idiosyncratic position, as he claims to be following not only Aristotle, but also Averroes on the issue. Since it is often thought that non-realism about sensible qualities was “inconceivable” for medieval authors and was made possible only by the (...) early modern scientific revolution led by Galileo, it is crucial to bring Auriol’s position to the fore. Auriol’s view, and its alleged roots in Arabic philosophy, invites us to reassess our standard narrative in the history of philosophy and science. (shrink)
It is common for an object to present different colour appearances to different perceivers, even when the perceivers and viewing conditions are normal. For example, a Munsell chip might look unique green to you and yellowish green to me in normal viewing conditions. In such cases, there are three possibilities. Ecumenism: both experiences are veridical. Nihilism: both experiences are non-veridical. Inegalitarianism: one experience is veridical and the other is non-veridical. Perhaps the most important objection to inegalitarianism is the ignorance objection, (...) according to which inegalitarianism should be rejected because it is committed to the existence of unknowable colour facts. The goal of this paper is to show that ecumenists are also committed to unknowable colour facts. More specifically, I argue that, with the exception of colour eliminativism, all major philosophical theories of colour are committed to unknowable colour facts. (shrink)
Synesthesia literally means a “union of the senses” whereby two or more of the five senses that are normally experienced separately are involuntarily and automatically joined together in experience. For example, some synesthetes experience a color when they hear a sound, although many instances of synesthesia also occur entirely within the visual sense. In this paper, I first mainly engage critically with Sollberger’s view that there is reason to think that at least some synesthetic experiences can be viewed as truly (...) veridical perceptions, and not as illusions or hallucinations. Among other things, I explore the possibility that many forms of synesthesia can be understood as experiencing what I will call “second-order secondary properties,” that is, experiences of properties of objects induced by the secondary qualities of those objects. In doing so, I shed some light on why synesthesia is typically one-directional and its relation to some psychopathologies such as autism. (shrink)
It is generally accepted that sight—the capacity to see or to have visual experiences—has the power to give us knowledge about things in the environment and some of their properties in a distinctive way. Seeing the goose on the lake puts me in a position to know that it is there and that it has certain properties. And it does this by, when all goes well, presenting us with these features of the goose. One might even think that it is (...) part of what it is to be a perceptual capacity that it has this kind of epistemological power, such that a capacity that lacked this power could not be perceptual. My focus in this essay is the sense of taste—the capacity to taste things or to have taste experiences. It has sometimes been suggested that taste lacks sight-like epistemological power. I argue that taste has epistemological power of the same kind as does sight, but that as a matter of contingent fact, that power often goes unexercised in our contemporary environment. We can know about things by tasting them in the same kind of way as we can know about things by seeing them, but we often do not. I then consider the significance of this conclusion. I suggest that in one way, it matters little, because our primary interest in taste is not epistemic but aesthetic. But, I end by suggesting, it can matter ethically. (shrink)
Malebranche holds that visual experience represents the size of objects relative to the perceiver's body and does not represent objects as having intrinsic or nonrelational spatial magnitudes. I argue that Malebranche's case for this body-relative thesis is more sophisticated than other commentators—most notably, Atherton and Simmons —have presented it. Malebranche's central argument relies on the possibility of perceptual variation with respect to size. He uses two thought experiments to show that perceivers of different sizes—namely, miniature people, giants, and typical human (...) beings—can experience the very same objects as having radically different sizes. Malebranche argues that there is no principled reason to privilege one of these ways of experiencing size over the others and, more specifically, that all three kinds of perceivers experience size veridically. From the possibility of this kind of veridical perceptual variation, Malebranche infers that visual experience represents only body-relative size. (shrink)
Malebranche holds that sensory experience represents the world from the body’s point of view. I argue that Malebranche gives a systematic analysis of this bodily perspective in terms of the claim that the five familiar external senses and bodily awareness represent nothing but relations to the body.
On a standard reading of David Hume, we know two things about his analogy of morals to secondary qualities: first, it responds to the moral rationalism of Clarke and Wollaston; second, it broadcasts Hume’s realism or antirealism in ethics. I complicate that common narrative with a new intellectual contextualization of the analogy, the surprising outcome of which is that Hume’s analogy is neither realist nor antirealist in spirit, but quietist. My argument has three parts. First, I reconstruct Hume’s argument against (...) rationalist moral ontology in Treatise 3.1.1, revealing his attention to the Intellectualism/Voluntarism debate in rationalism. Second, I present evidence of Hume’s familiarity with the debate between Intellectualist moral realists and Voluntarist moral antirealists, notably Pufendorf. Third, I establish that Hume’s analogy undermines a key assumption structuring that debate, and that the analogy consequently signals his quietist abstention from his rationalist contemporaries’ realism/antirealism debate in ethics. (shrink)
According to Wright’s Judgement-Dependent account of intention, facts about a subject’s intentions can be taken to be constituted by facts about the subject’s best opinions about them formed under certain optimal conditions. This paper aims to defend this account against three main objections which have been made to it by Boghossian, Miller and implicitly by Wright himself. It will be argued that Miller’s objection is implausible because it fails to take into account the partial-determination claim in this account. Boghossian’s objection (...) also fails because it is based on an unjustified reductionist reading of Wright’s account. However, Wright’s own attempt to resist Boghossian’s objection seems to display a shift from his Judgement-Dependent account to an Interpretationist account of self-knowledge, in which case Wright’s new account would face the same problem which he himself has previously put forward in the case of Davidson’s Interpretationist account of self-knowledge. Nonetheless, I will argue that Wright does not need to make such a move because Boghossian’s objection is not applicable to his account. (shrink)
Molyneux's Question (MQ) concerns whether a newly sighted man would recognize/distinguish a sphere and a cube by vision, assuming he could previously do this by touch. We argue that (MQ) splits into questions about (a) shared representations of space in different perceptual systems, and about (b) shared ways of constructing higher dimensional spatiotemporal features from information about lower dimensional ones, most of the technical difficulty centring on (b). So understood, MQ resists any monolithic answer: everything depends on the constraints faced (...) by particular perceptual systems in extracting features of higher dimensionality from those of lower. Each individual question of this type is empirical and must be investigated separately. We present several variations on MQ based on different levels of dimensional integration—some of these are familiar, some novel adaptations of problems known elsewhere, and some completely novel. Organizing these cases in this way is useful because it unifies a set of disparate questions about intermodal transfer that have held philosophical and psychological interest, suggests a new range of questions of the same type, sheds light on similarities and differences between members of the family, and allows us to formulate a much-augmented set of principles and questions concerning the intermodal transfer of spatiotemporal organization. (shrink)
Quentin Meillassoux is one of the leading French philosophers of today. His first book, Après la finitude : Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence, (2006, translated into English in 2008), has already become a cult classic. It features a préface by his former mentor, Alain Badiou. One of Meillassoux’s main goals is to rehabilitate the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, typical of pre-Kantian philosophies. Specifically, he claims that mathematics is capable of disclosing the primary qualities of any object (...) : “all those aspects of the object that can be formulated in mathematical terms can be meaningfully conceived as properties of the object in itself”. Here we will use Bunge’s philosophy of mathematics in order to challenge the preceding assumption. (shrink)
Quentin Meillassoux est l’un des principaux philosophes français d’aujourd’hui. Son premier livre, Après la finitude. Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence (2006, traduit en anglais en 2008), est déjà un classique. Il comporte une préface de son ancien mentor, Alain Badiou. L’un des princi- paux objectifs de Meillassoux est de réhabiliter la distinction entre qualités premières et qualités secondes, typique des philosophies prékantiennes. Plus précisément, il affirme que les mathématiques sont capables de révéler les qualités premières de tout objet (...) : « Tout ce qui de l’objet peut être formulé en termes mathématiques, il y a sens à le penser comme propriété de l’objet en soi. » Nous allons utiliser la philosophie mathématique de Bunge pour remettre en question l’hypothèse précédente. (shrink)
This article offers an assessment of Henricus Regius’s (1598-1679) pre-Cartesian sources and their role in his appropriation of Descartes’s ideas, via two main questions: 1) Who was Regius, doctrinally speaking, before his exposure to Cartesianism? And 2) how did he use Descartes’s theories before his quarrel with Descartes himself in the mid-1640s? These questions are addressed by means of a textual analysis that concerns his theory of matter. In this article, I will show that 1) Regius started out with a (...) scientific program he had found in Ramism and the medical theories of Heurnius and Santorio. 2) On this basis, he developed a physiology encompassing Descartes’s theory of blood circulation and sensory perception. 3) Regius completed the resulting physiology with a theory of matter more developed than Descartes’s, and which he appropriated from Santorio, Basson, and Gorlaeus. (shrink)
Michael Jacovides provides an engaging account of how the scientific revolution influenced one of the foremost figures of early modern philosophy, John Locke. By placing Locke's thought in its scientific, religious, and anti-scholastic contexts, Jacovides explains not only what Locke believes but also why he believes it.
In the present article, I show that sounds are properties that are not physical in a narrow sense. First, I argue that sounds are properties using Moorean style arguments and defend this property view from various arguments against it that make use of salient disanalogies between sounds and colors. The first disanalogy is that we talk of objects making sounds but not of objects making colors. The second is that we count and quantify over sounds but not colors. The third (...) is that sounds can survive qualitative change in their auditory properties, but colors cannot survive change in their chromatic properties. Next, I provide a taxonomy of property views of sound. As the property view of sound has been so rarely discussed, many of the views available have never been articulated. My taxonomy will articulate these views and how they are related to one another. I taxonomize sounds according to three characteristics: dispositional/non-dispositional, relational/non-relational, and reductive/non-reductive. Finally, mirroring a popular argument in the color literature, I argue that physical views in the narrow sense are unable to accommodate the similarity and difference relations in which sounds essentially stand. I end replying to three objections. (shrink)
Whether perceptual experience represents high-level properties like causation and natural-kind in virtue of its phenomenology is an open question in philosophy of mind. While the question of high-level properties has sparked disagreement, there is widespread agreement that the sensory phenomenology of perceptual experience presents us with low-level properties like shape and color. This paper argues that the relationship between the sensory character of experience and the low-level properties represented therein is more complex than most assume. Careful consideration of mundane examples, (...) like looking at a coin from an oblique angle, show that the low-level properties represented in experience do not necessarily figure in the sensory character of the experience. Furthermore, the sensible properties invoked when characterizing the sensory character of a perceptual experience are not necessarily included in the sensible properties represented in a perceptual experience. On this basis it is argued that perceptual experience has a disunified metaphysics, consisting in distinct sensory and cognitive components. The account is developed in relation to existing unified and disunified accounts, and discussed in terms of its implications for cognitive penetration, the reliability of introspection, the transparency of experience, and cognitive phenomenology. (shrink)
Many philosophers, especially in the wake of the 17th century, have favored an inegalitarian view of shape and color, according to which shape is mind-independent while color is mind-dependent. In this essay, I advance a novel argument against inegalitarianism. The argument begins with an intuition about the modal dependence of color on shape, namely: it is impossible for something to have a color without having a shape. I then argue that, given reasonable assumptions, inegalitarianism contradicts this modal-dependence principle. Given the (...) plausibility of the latter, I conclude that we should reject inegalitarianism in favor of some form of egalitarianism—either a subjective egalitarianism on which both shape and color are mind-dependent or an objective egalitarianism on which both shape and color are mind-independent. (shrink)
The debate on love's reasons ignores unrequited love, which—I argue—can be as genuine and as valuable as reciprocated love. I start by showing that the relationship view of love cannot account for either the reasons or the value of unrequited love. I then present the simple property view, an alternative to the relationship view that is beset with its own problems. In order to solve these problems, I present a more sophisticated version of the property view that integrates ideas from (...) different property theorists in the love literature. However, even this more sophisticated property view falls short in accounting for unrequited love's reasons. In response, I develop a new version of the property view that I call the experiential view. On this view, we love a person not only in virtue of properties shaped by and experienced in a reciprocal loving relationship, but also in virtue of perspectival properties, whose value can be properly assessed also outside of a reciprocal loving relationship. The experiential view is the only view that can account not only for reciprocated love's reasons, but also for unrequited love's reasons. (shrink)
The understanding of the primary-secondary quality distinction has shifted focus from the mechanical philosophers’ proposal of primary qualities as explanatorily fundamental to current theorists’ proposal of secondary qualities as metaphysically perceiver dependent. The chapter critically examines this shift and current arguments to uphold the primary-secondary quality distinction on the basis of the perceiver dependence of color; one focus of the discussion is the role of qualia in these arguments. It then describes and criticizes reasons for characterizing color, smell, taste, sound, (...) and warmth and color as secondary qualities on the basis of our commonsense divisions among sensory modalities; Grice’s proposal for distinguishing among the sensory modalities is focal here. The general conclusion is that reasons for drawing the primary-secondary quality distinction are unconvincing. (shrink)
In Il Saggiatore (1623), Galileo makes a strict distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Although this distinction continues to be debated in philosophical literature up to this very day, Galileo's views on the matter, as well as their impact on his contemporaries and other philosophers, have yet to be sufficiently documented. The present paper helps to clear up Galileo's ideas on the subject by avoiding some of the misunderstandings that have arisen due to faulty translations of his work. In particular, (...) it shows how Galileo's distinction directly implicates a novel understanding of physical bodies, which played an important part in his later condemnation by the Catholic Church. At the same time, the paper also argues that Galileo's distinction can already be found in the text and illustrations of earlier, popular Copernican writings. (shrink)
In An Inquiry into the Human Mind and in Essays on Intellectual Powers, Thomas Reid discusses what kinds of things perceivers are related to in perception. Are these things qualities of bodies, the bodies themselves, or both? This question places him in a long tradition of philosophers concerned with understanding how human perception works in connecting us with the external world. It is still an open question in the philosophy of perception whether the human perceptual system is providing us with (...) representations as of bodies, or only as of their properties. My project in this article is to explain how, on Reid's view, we can have perceptual representations as of bodies. This, in turn, enables him to argue that we have a robust understanding of the world around us, an understanding that would be missing if our perceptual system only supplied us with representations as of free-floating properties of bodies. (shrink)
In this paper, I address the issue of the ontological status of qualitative properties. I discuss the prevalent approaches to the problem of qualia in philosophy of mind, in relation to the various attempts at naturalizing the mind and the various theories of perception. I compare these views with Husserl's phenomenology, highlighting the phenomenological distinction between phenomenal contents of mental states and sensory properties of the perceived objects. I present some open issues of this view, in order to show how (...) they can be addressed in the light of some developments of the phenomenological inquiry in Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. (shrink)
This paper presents a new response to the colour similarity argument, an argument that many people take to pose the greatest threat to colour physicalism. The colour similarity argument assumes that if colour physicalism is true, then colour similarities should be scrutable under standard physical descriptions of surface reflectance properties such as their spectral reflectance curves. Given this assumption, our evident failure to find such similarities at the reducing level seemingly proves fatal to colour physicalism. I argue that we should (...) dispense with this assumption, and thus endorse the inscrutability of colour similarity. This strategy is inspired by parallels between the colour similarity argument and the explanatory gap between mind and body made vivid by Jackson’s (1986) knowledge argument, and in particular by type-B physicalist responses to that argument. This inscrutability response is further motivated by cases in chemistry and biochemistry in which analogous scrutability theses fail to hold. Along the way, I present a challenge to standard formulations of the colour similarity argument based on the extreme context sensitivity of the similarity relation. Most presentations of the argument fail to control for such contextual variation, which raises the distinct possibility that the argument equivocates on the similarity relation across its premises. Although ultimately inconclusive, this context challenge forces a significant reformulation of the colour similarity argument, and highlights the need for much greater care in handling claims about colour similarity. (shrink)
Hume is widely read as committed to a kind of anti-realism about secondary qualities, on which secondary qualities are less real than primary qualities. I argue that Hume is not an anti-realist about secondary qualities as such, and I explain why Hume’s remarks on the primary-secondary distinction are better read as abstaining from the realist/anti-realist debate as it was understood by modern philosophers such as Locke. By contextualizing Hume’s discussion of the primary-secondary distinction in Treatise 1.4.4 as a response to (...) a broadly Lockean understanding of the distinction, my analysis retrieves Hume’s critique of the resemblance and inseparability theses that structure Locke’s version of the distinction and establishes that Hume has epistemic reasons to reject Locke’s metaphysical conclusions about the distinction. (shrink)
This paper distinguishes two types of qualia theory, which I call Galilean and non-Galilean qualia theories. It also offers considerations against each type of theory. To my mind the considerations are powerful. In any case, they bring out the importance of distinguishing the two types of theory. For they show that different considerations come into play—or considerations come into play in quite different ways—in assessing the two types of theory.
The question whether qualities are metaphysically more fundamental than or mere limiting cases of relations can be addressed in an applied symbolic logic. There exists a logical equivalence between qualitative and relational predications, in which qualities are represented as one-argument-place property predicates, and relations as more-than-one-argument-place predicates. An interpretation is first considered, according to which the logical equivalence of qualitative and relational predications logically permits us ontically to eliminate qualities in favor of relations, or relations in favor of qualities. If (...) metaphysics is understood at least in part as an exercise in ontic economy, then we may be encouraged to adopt a property ontology of qualities without quality-irreducible relations, or relations without relation-irreducible qualities. If either strategy is followed, the choice of reducing qualities to relations or relations to qualities will need to be justified on extra-logical grounds. These might include a perceived greater intuitiveness, explanatory fecundity, compatibility with cognitive ontogeny or developmental psychology, expressive or explanatory elegance or cumbersomeness, and an open-ended list of philosophical motivations that could reasonably favor the ontic prioritization of qualities over relations or relations over qualities. Despite its intuitive appeal, the thesis that logical equivalence together with extra-logical preferences justifies unidirectional ontic reduction of relations to qualities or qualities to relations is rejected in light of the more defensible proposition that the logical equivalence of qualitative and relational predications actually supports the opposite conclusion, that both qualities and relations are logically indispensable to a complete ontology of properties. The logical equivalence of qualitative and relational predications, insofar as we continue to observe the distinction, makes it logically necessary ontically for both qualities and relations to exist whenever either one exists. That logically equivalent qualitative and relational predications have as their truth-makers the exemplification by objects of both qualities and relations as equi-foundational properties further suggests that there is no deeper logical distinction between qualities and relations, but only two convenient lexical-grammatical designations for property predications involving one- versus more-than-one-argument-place. (shrink)
Hanne Darboven’s numerical practice fulfils Alain Badiou’s definition of a new artistic configuration (albeit one that the philosopher does not foretell). Darboven’s writing – like that of Isidore Ducasse – subverts ordinary thinking through the ‘alien qualities’ of mathematics. Yet, in Darboven’s grammatical oeuvre, infinity emerges as a function of number’s capacity to be thought simultaneously across an unlimited number of discursive series. Her art affirms the plasticity of number by dispersing numerical series across a continuous surface. These surface effects (...) simultaneously recall the disjunctive temporality of the Aion described by Gilles Deleuze in The Logic of Sense (2004). Finally, Darboven’s writing of number also reveals traces of broader social transformations that emerged during the 1960s in tandem with unprecedented advances in automation and computing: particularly neo-Taylorist and cybernetic approaches to the administration of workers’ time. But crises in labour practices are appropriated by Darboven as techniques of subjectivization that the artist always subverts to her own ends. (shrink)
Direct Realism is the view that human perception takes physical entities and their mind-independent properties as immediate objects. Although this thesis is supported by common sense, many argue that it can be dismissed on philosophical or quasi-scientific grounds. This essay attempts to defend Direct Realism against one such argument, which I call the “Problem of Secondary Qualities,” using the ideas of Scottish Common Sense philosopher Thomas Reid. The first chapter of this work offers a detailed introduction to the Problem of (...) Secondary Qualities. The Problem of Secondary Qualities arises from the claim that science has shown that physical objects do not possess secondary qualities. This is a problem for Direct Realism because secondary qualities are certainly possessed by at least some perceivable objects. As I present it, the Problem rests on three commitments: that an analysis of secondary quality perceptions should extend to perception in general, that we perceive secondary qualities, and that physical objects do not possess secondary qualities without our perceptions of them. I conclude that Direct Realism requires an account of secondary qualities on which secondary qualities are perceiver-independent but identifiable with other causally relevant properties. In Chapter Two, I introduce Thomas Reid’s doctrine of primary and secondary qualities, in the context of his theory of perception, as a viable response to the Problem of Secondary Qualities. On Reid’s view, secondary qualities are both perceiver-independent and identical to scientific properties, and Reid offers many useful conceptual resources for responding to objections. Most important are Reid’s claims that sensation or sense experience is casually related to, but not essential for, perception and that our perceptions of secondary qualities give us very little knowledge concerning their natures. The final chapter shows how the Reidian theory holds up against four key objections to accounts of secondary qualities on which they may be identified with perceiver-independent, scientific properties. In most cases, the Reidian approach finds solutions without compromising our intuitions or received opinions. (shrink)
With a new reading of Thomas Reid on primary and secondary qualities, Christopher A. Shrock illuminates the Common Sense theory of perception. Shrock follow's Reid's lead in defending common sense philosophy against the problem of secondary qualities, which claims that our perceptions are only experiences in our brains, not of the world.
SummaryFrom 1996 to 2006, Nepal experienced a substantial fertility decline, with the total fertility rate dropping from 4.6 to 3.1 births per woman. This study examines the associations between progress towards universal primary and secondary schooling and fertility decline in rural Nepal. Several hypotheses regarding mechanisms through which education affects current fertility behaviour are tested, including: the school environment during women's childhood; current availability of schools; knowledge of educational costs; and women's own educational attainment. Data for the analysis come from (...) the 2003–04 Nepal Living Standards Survey, a nationally representative random sample of households, which includes detailed data on fertility, household expenditure, educational attainment, demographic characteristics and the use of social services. Census and administrative data are also used to construct district-level gross enrolment ratios for primary and secondary schools during the women's childhood. Discrete dependent variable modelling techniques are used to estimate the effects of the following variables on the probability of women giving birth in a given year: district-level gross enrolment ratios for primary and secondary schools during women's childhood; having had a child previously in school; women's own educational level; current school availability; and other covariates. Separate models are estimated for the overall sample of rural women of reproductive age, and for parity-specific sub-samples. The results suggest that district-level gross enrolment ratios for secondary schools and, in some instances, having had a previous child enrolled in school are significant determinants of fertility in rural areas. These results are highly independent of women's own educational levels. Overall, the results suggest that, in the rural Nepal context, mass schooling influences the fertility transition through both community- and household-level pathways. (shrink)
In this paper I reply to two sets of criticisms—a first from Joshua Gert, and a second from Keith Allen—of the relationalist view of color developed and defended in my book, The Red and the Real: An Essay on Color Ontology.
The Dangerous Book for Boys Abstract: Seventeenth and eighteenth century discussions of the senses are often thought to contain a profound truth: some perceptible properties are secondary qualities, dispositions to produce certain sorts of experiences in perceivers. In particular, colors are secondary qualities: for example, an object is green iff it is disposed to look green to standard perceivers in standard conditions. After rebutting Boghossian and Velleman’s argument that a certain kind of secondary quality theory is viciously circular, we discuss (...) three main lines of argument for the secondary quality theory. The first is inspired by an intuitively compelling picture of perception articulated by Reid; the second is that the secondary quality theory is a conceptual truth; the third line of argument is presented in Johnston’s influential paper ‘How to speak of the colors’. We conclude that all these arguments fail, and that the secondary quality theory is unmotivated. Keywords: color, secondary quality, disposition, vision, perception.. (shrink)
This chapter finds two versions of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities in Galileo, Descartes, Boyle, and Locke. Although agreeing that primary qualities are physically basic properties of extended particles (including size, shape, position, and motion), these authors differed on whether secondary qualities such as color exist only in the mind as sensations or belong to bodies as powers to cause sensations. Kant was initially a metaphysical realist about primary qualities as spatialized forces (vs. bare extended particles), before placing (...) space among the appearances in his critical period. Space becomes the subjective form in which transcendently real forces and relations appear. Kant viewed color as a subjective sensation in the mind, whereas Helmholtz treated color as a power to cause sensations. Helmholtz was initially a realist about primary qualities as spatialized masses and forces, but he later adopted the epistemically modest view of space as the subjective form in which forces and relations appear. (shrink)
Arguably one of the most fundamental phase shifts that occurred in the intellectual history of Western culture involved the ontological reduction of secondary qualities to primary qualities. To say the least, this reduction worked to undermine the foundations undergirding Aristotelian thought in support of a scientific view of the world based strictly on an examination of the real—primary— qualities of things. In this essay, I identify the so-called “Causal Argument” for a reductive view of secondary qualities and seek to deflect (...) this challenge by deriving some plausible consequences that support a non-reductive view of secondary qualities from an Aristotelian view (via the philosophical commentary of Thomas Aquinas). Specifically, my argument has two facets. First, I show that Aristotle’s view both implies recognition of the extramental existence of secondary qualities and is a prima facia natural view to take regarding the ontology of secondary qualities. Second, I show that the Causal Argument, which is thought to undermine a natural view of secondary qualities as real things, loses its bite when one examines perception in light the ontological relationship among the categories of quality, quantity and substance. (shrink)