The World Has A Visible Structure

Frederick Woodbridge in An Essay on Nature wrote that the world has a visible structure. It takes shaking off a lot of inherited thought to make sense of that claim. The world is filled with light, color, and sound, and we have evolved sense organs to help us to perceive these things. We have adapted to the world as it is. That phrase might seem inscrutable and gnomic, but it indicates nothing other than a full experiential realism. We experience the world more or less as it actually is. The wooden house is on the hill ready for you to see it. Your seeing it does not create the house. The world has a nature, a structure, and we have evolved to perceive it. Organisms such as we need to find food and mates and so we need to navigate through the world as it really is, with all its smells, and the way it feels, and sounds, and looks. If we develop a problem with our ears, then we lose our ability to perceive that aspect of the world. If we are color blind then that aspect of reality is lost to us. The fact that many many other animals have developed approximately the same sense organs to perceive the world, and the fact that evolution exists, with failed adaptations being eliminated, indicates that all the varied living organisms are all successfully aligned with reality to a large degree. Scientific materialism has so perverted our notion of perception that we think that if a tree falls in a forest with no one there to hear it, it makes no sound. It does make a sound regardless. Kepler has indirectly taught us to think in terms of soundwaves and ears, and sound depending on the perceiver, nonsensically leaving mind right out of it. He provides a little slice of the part of the process of perception but it is radically incomplete. By analogy, he is attributing “vision” to a camera lens while forgetting the film or the photo sensors on the computer chip.

To repeat, the fact that many other animals have the same or similar sense organs indicates they have adapted to the same reality; a reality filled with color, sound, smells, touch, and taste. The eye and sight are not imposing themselves on the world, creating a false reality. Photoreceptor proteins first responded to the light that they encountered and the eye evolved in accordance with the structure of existence. And it did it following an independent evolutionary path with the octopus whose eye is in ways superior to our own, not having a blind spot where the optic nerve exits the eyeball. In this way we can understand that the world has a visible structure. The world came first, and we evolved organs that helped us perceive it. The light came knocking and each time we answered the door, our response got a little better. We can be visibility realists. The visible world is as we perceive it to be. It is not its scientific description or its wavelength. Those things are partial at best and involve a viewpoint suited for pragmatic purposes only. The exact functioning of our sense organs will affect our experiences, and the attitudes and abilities of our minds will determine how we see the world, as either ugly or beautiful. We can see nature as a quarry, or pantry, to be exploited, or we can see it as a created reality that God has declared to be good with its own intrinsic value. The notion of plenitude says that everything that exists should exist. It is better that there are twenty varieties of whale, than three. These things depend on an attitude, on faith and hope. Whether we have a positive or negative mindset will depend how we experience the world. The world itself is good, true, and beautiful.

(Bearing in mind evolution as it is described in Evolution 2.0 by Perry Marshall. A vision, incidentally, that two very intelligent atheistic engineers found convincing. https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/evolution-2-0-by-perry-marshall/)

40 thoughts on “The World Has A Visible Structure

  1. Richard, you keep referring things evolving. Perhaps you are answering the materialist according to his own thinking, but the Christian position is that God gave mankind and the animals sense organs that supply generally accurate information about a really-existing external world.

  2. Hi, Alan:

    I’ll respond with this quotation from Curing Mad Truths:

    “Augustine accepted progressive development over time with the seeds of growth sown by God on the first day. Modern day creationism and literalism are not to be found among the church fathers.”

    Just as a human father might provide a puzzle for his son to solve, God could provide the right propensities, stimulation and circumstances for our senses to evolve as he wished.

    • Christians should be careful using the word “evolution.” In the modern world, when unaccompanied by any clarification of the meaning intended, it means a process not influenced by God (or by any agent.)

      Micro-evolution, meaning small random changes that tweak something but do not change its basic nature, is fully compatible with creationism, i.e., the doctrine that God is responsible.

      Our sense organs, for example, could not have come into being through “evolution” in the sense of an entirely random process. Once they had their being, their structures and functions could have been tweaked by process that are random in the sense of not being the result of action by an agent. These tweakings could have the result that strengthened sense organs are retained.

      Evolution in this sense is compatible with Christianity.

  3. Yes. I have no truck with the “new synthesis” version of evolution. The only version I subscribe to is the one described in my article https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/evolution-2-0-by-perry-marshall/
    This model gives a certain degree of agency to the organisms themselves. Just as we cannot control the degree of sophistication someone brings to the concept of God, the same applies to evolution. Natural selection and random mutation are philosophically, and scientifically, unspeakable stupidities unworthy of any serious person.

    • That was an excellent post you reference: Evolution as understood by the man in the street fails on scientific grounds.

  4. I could make more sense of this if I knew more about the position you are arguing against. Even the devotees of scientism probably wouldn’t say that light or sound *are* their scientific descriptions, only that these descriptions are faithful and complete. I am open to the possibility that they are inaccurate or incomplete. However, your argument seems to assume that they are accurate, and if they are incomplete, the question is “what do they leave out?” It seems that you are not referring to unknowable noumena or simply to our experience of light and sound.

    Here’s one possibility. Physics (insofar as it ignores human responses) arguably doesn’t recognize the existence of the colors brown and white, in that there is no single wavelength corresponding to either. What it can do is show the range of spectra that appear brown or white to the human eye+brain. The reason for grouping these ranges of spectra is presumed to be found in features of the human eye+brain rather than anything about the light itself. Similarly, the reason for distinguishing the visible band of electromagnetic radiation from other colors is presumed to lie in the human eye+brain and to be completely arbitrary otherwise. Do you claim that “brown”, “white”, and “visible” actually do have essences which do not refer to human experiences and inheres in light itself? If so, why?

    • People say that light and sound are their scientific descriptions all the time, unless you are suggesting that a description and the thing described are distinct entities?

      The scientific descriptions are accurate, as far as they go, but radically incomplete.

      A description that is both faithful and complete description would be truly amazing and worthy of admiration. I can’t begin to imagine what you are talking about in this context, however. It would be as though poetry did not exist. What would be the point of Coleridge or Wordsworth if the scientific description were complete? Science has a nice, practical, instrumental use, and that’s about it. You can marvel at the beauty of a forest or you can estimate how many cords of wood the forest might contain. The latter would be more “scientific” since cords of wood are measurable, but it would not be more true or accurate. Some amount of imagination is required to see things more truly and accurately.

      If you need more context for the position I am arguing against it might be necessary to read this: https://orthosphere.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/john-locke-quantifying-reality/ It is partly about the evils of pushing anything to do with the mind outside reality.

    • Bonald, it seems to me that brown, white and visible – and black – do have essences which do not refer to or derive only from human experience, and that do therefore inhere in the character of the electromagnetic environment – in the light itself. That there is no single wavelength corresponding to any of those phenomena is neither here nor there; for, there is a composite superposition of wavelengths that does correspond to each of them (or, in the case of black, a lack thereof). There is no difficulty with composite essences; that a fifth is a superposition of two tones in no way vitiates the reality of a sounding fifth, whether or not there is an auditory cortex in the vicinity to apprehend it. Indeed, almost everything has a composite essence. Consider your local watershed, which certainly has a composite essence, if it has an essence at all. Is it real, or is it no more than an incoherent collation of slopes that we pick out and reify for heuristic reasons? Obviously – to me, anyway – it is real. That is not to say that it is an actuality – a being that acts. But it is to say that the collation of slopes we pick out and reify as a watershed is in fact a watershed (whether or not anyone has ever yet noticed it).

      Is the denotation of a perception coherently specifiable, even in principle (as with scientific descriptions)? Then, I submit, that perception is of a thing somehow real, and what is more, of a thing that in all likelihood is relevant to us in practical terms. That being the case, it would be odd if our cortices had *not* evolved so as to tend toward a design that enabled them to apprehend such practically relevant aspects of our environment: so it seems to me the perfection of parsimony to suppose that there is coevolution of mind and reality.

      John Barrow wrote a wonderful book on this topic about 20 years ago, looking for a naturalistic explanation of our feelings of natural beauty. The Artful Universe: The Cosmic Source of Human Creativity is full of evidence supporting the suggestion of CS Lewis that we would not be equipped to apprehend a thing that is not real, and that is therefore not truly relevant to our lives; for if we were, we’d waste even more time and energy than we now do, dealing with distracting illusions, with disastrous results for our survival prospects; this being, to Lewis, sufficient warrant for belief that the object of our numinous feelings is real, and truly relevant to us, even in our animal natures.

      After Godel, would any thoughtful scientist go so far (when speaking carefully) as to suggest that any of our descriptions – i.e., any of our ascriptions of logical calculi to aspects of reality – are complete?

      • I think we are making some progress, but still, we must be absolutely precise about what is being affirmed and what is being denied. It is not sufficient that, for example, one can easily give a scientific definition of “visible light” which refers only to wavelength; there must be a reason for singling out that particular range that doesn’t invoke human visual capabilities. There are some animals, after all, who can see into the infrared range and would thus disagree with us about what is “visible”. I don’t think this can be done. Is there a reason humans have this visual range? Of course, an evolutionary reason. It’s roughly the range of electromagnetic radiation to which Earth’s atmosphere is transparent. If you’re interested in seeing room-temperature objects on our planet by the radiation that they reflect from astronomical objects (as opposed to the blackbody radiation they emit), visible light is the way to go. However, identifying visible light by terrestrial conditions would still mean that it has no purely intrinsic essence.

        If “visible” were an intrinsic essence, “white” would have a *vague* essence as having a spectrum spread fairly evenly through the visible range. If we go with Newton rather than Goethe and regard black as an absence, then I’m not inclined to grant it a real essence. Certainly it doesn’t have an act of existence, to use the scholastic term; I’ve often enough read analytic philosophers tying themselves into knots trying to explain what sort of being absences and holes have.

        I like your examples from music. The way human experience combines pitches is indeed sensitive to objective relations (ratios) between sound waves of different wavelengths. The thing that makes it easy to accept these as real composite essences is that the relationships are often pretty precise (even mathematical). A sound with a wide continuous pitch spectrum and no precise temporal structure would lack this structure, would be noise with no real essence, just as the broad increases of elevation we call “hills” presumably lack real essences but are textbook Aristotelian heaps.

      • I don’t see the difference that makes a difference between the composition of the essence of a musical fifth and the composition of the essence of the color brown. In both cases, the composed wavelengths are really and objectively present in their superpositions; and a superposition of waves is a single wave form. “Brown” then denotes a superposition – i.e., a composite essence – and (when our bodies are working properly) our phenomenal experience of brown reliably reports the real presence in our vicinity of objects that instantiate and manifest that essence.

        That essence then is really instantiate and manifest in our vicinity, and neither the essence nor its present manifestation are mere or thus arbitrary artifacts of our nervous systems or minds. There is then nothing arbitrary about the essence.

        The argument of the post then (Richard, correct me if I’ve got this wrong) is that our experience is not (as the nominalists would say) merely heuristic all the way down, and therefore, as wholly invented for our private purposes, purely arbitrary, indeed somewhat tendentious – and that it is therefore a reliable index to reality. Reality appears to us as structured, ordered, intelligible, *and it really is that way.* Science then is not an hallucination from beginning to end, but rather is knowledge.

        As for “visible,” it seems to me that it denotes a set, rather than a particular object or the experience thereof.

        Black, holes, noise, and nothingness – and also sin – denote lack or defect or incompletion in the instantiation of a given form or set of forms. “This room contains no elephants” is formally analogous to “this room contains no visible light.” The absence of the elephants and the light in the room is not itself a presence, and so we need not worry about how that absence can be present, or therefore how it can have a formal essence instantiated in that presence.

        To do formal or natural language, and to take any positive action, we need “not.” Negation is indispensable to speech, to thought, to doing, and to being. To turn the car on, the car must first be off, and vice versa; to breakfast, we must first fast, and vice versa. Again, to be holy, we must be not profane, and vice versa; to be male, we must be not female, and vice versa; and so forth. Affirmation is then an implicit negation of the apposite contrarieties; and negation is an implicit affirmation of an apposite contrariety. Matthew 6:24. Thus the formal specification of the phenomenal experience of black is “the absence of visible light.” The formal specification and phenomenal experience of black are reals, but black itself is not a real.

        I see no difficulty here.

        “Coincidentally,” I was in a cave yesterday, and when we turned off our flashlights, it was black. Really. There was no visible light down there.

        There were no elephants either.

        “Coincidentally,” I was the day before yesterday laughing with my son at the apocryphal story of Diogenes asking Plato whether there is a form of emptiness that enables us to recognize when a cup is empty. When we finished chuckling, I remarked that Aristotle would have responded by saying that the question was malformed.

        Hills are the reciprocal of watersheds. Their bounds are fairly arbitrary (the bottom bound of a hill, strictly speaking, would run along the bottoms of the surrounding mid-ocean trenches, no?), whereas we can ascertain and specify the tops of the slopes that form the bound of a watershed. Hills are indefinite, and so – as with heaps – our denotations of them are heuristics. But watersheds are not, so our denotations of them can be more veridical.

      • Hi, Kristor: Yes. I’m happy with your characterization. I will add this:

        I think God might be rather frustrated with our discussion. Imagine you are God and you make the world. You create the sun and thus light as a prerequisite for visibility. You create the trees and mountains, streams and fauna, not “color” in the abstract, but always the color of something. You then put an eternal soul within a physical body for the purposes of experiencing this God-made world. You make an eye with cones and rods, but most importantly, a mind that takes the two upside down images reflected on the back of the eye, which turns it right way up and merges them into one. The same mind that will turn the image right way up if inverting spectacles are worn long enough. The eye is a mechanism provided for the edification of the mind and the mind is inscrutable and spiritual. Perception takes place there in a place invisible to science.

        Here is the world to be experienced with its visible structure. Here is the body as part of the means for perceiving this world. God turns around to find us examining this body, forgetting entirely about mind, and attributing the sensed nature of the world to the physical body He was so kind as to provide us with, and the world is denuded of its beauty. It would be as though someone were to write, act, and direct a TV show and all we do is look at the inner workings of the TV, or perhaps the glow of LEDs (color), when perception of the TV show relies on what is being transmitted, and the mind that perceives it.

        Color is the color of an object and objects exist in the larger context of the world. A frequency of light is involved in this larger picture. If we get stuck on this measurable part of perception there is no “color” at all, just a number. There is a reductive urge to say color, which is already a mere abstraction from part of the visible world, is “really just” something else; a single aspect of a much richer phenomenon. I am not sympathetic to talk of the essence of color except for pragmatic purposes such as an artist mixing paints of different hues to make his masterpiece. And then the painting is primarily this whole and cannot be identified with its parts.

    • Four centuries of scientism is a hard habit to think one’s way out of, at least for me. Light is the precondition of seeing anything. What one sees is perfectly real. One sees one’s wife talking and laughing. Is she really there? Are you seeing her or a model in your head? You are seeing her. The world has a visible structure and various things play a role in aiding we organisms in perceiving it.

      What is the correct description of my wife? Wife? Daughter? Friend? Professor? Patient? Mother? Carbon based life form? Tax payer? Citizen? They are all correct and all partial. It is possible to do a scientific analysis of her and figure out how much phosphorous, calcium, water, bacteria, etc., make up her physical being. We can do a Big Five personality test, an IQ test, take her blood pressure, and so on. All would be faithful and partial.

      All of reality has this character. Engineers have their déformation professionelle and see her in scientific terms, a theologian sees her as a child of God. Light and color can be analyzed and subjected to experiment, measured, split up in a prism, decomposed into its component parts, put through the double slit experiment, and so on. There is no more reason for thinking that this analysis captures reality any more than any particular description of a forest, a full moon, or a wife. All interactions bring certain aspects of anything into the foreground and leave others in the background. We make mistakes and get things wrong about scientific and nonscientific things, so there is nothing guaranteed about any of this.

      A scientist cannot afford to be skeptical about experience because his ability to read his scientific instruments depend on his perceptions. And he cannot be skeptical about mind because mind is the perceiver. We see via the eyes, but with the mind. A scientist’s theories and hypotheses exist in his mind. If his perceptions are not reliable because not scientific, and his mind dubious because invisible to science, then science itself comes to an end and they can all pack up their bags and call it a night.

      • Are scientists skeptical about experience, though?

        One can find Galileo saying things like that we experience colors but that’s not how the world really is, but this seems to be a poor description even of his own beliefs. From “science explains color” one should not conclude “science says color isn’t real”; one should conclude “science says color is real”. (You will excuse my speaking, for the sake of brevity, as if “science” has some sort of unitary voice, although it does not.)

        In discussions of emergence in the philosophy of science, multiple levels of reality are often admitted, although the small-scale structure is regarded as more fundamental, as grounding the others. I’m not sure that there’s anything more than atomist prejudice in this though; the idea of levels of reality is surprisingly metaphysical, especially when found in the writings of naturalists.

      • Locke accepts Galileo’s distinction between the way the world is and our perception of it and relegates “ideas” (immediate objects of perception) resulting from secondary qualities related to the senses as unreal. Philosophers have pointed out that the logical implication of Locke’s view is that reality is fundamentally “atoms in the void” – silent, colorless, tasteless, etc. items.

        Ideas related to primary qualities – figure, motion, extension, solidity and number are real and nothing more. Those all just happen to be what is measurable. In other words, if you can’t measure something, it doesn’t exist.

        Science explains color in terms of what can be measured. That is not adequate for the person named Bonald, and it’s not good enough for color. I once subscribed to the notion of “emergent properties” in this context and have been busy thinking my way out of that box.

        I owe the visible world the same good manners I owe the person named Bonald. Neither are reducible to atoms in the void or any other scientifically inspired categories. The human visual apparatus is limited in its perception of the visible world which is just fine. Every view of all the visible world is partial and incomplete. My view of Bonald is similarly limited. A mere scientific description of Bonald will be even more partial and unsatisfactory. The “color” white does not fit neatly into scientific categories, but that is no concern of mine since, except for certain practical purposes, scientific categories are redundant, unnecessary, not the right mode of thought, or otherwise irrelevant.

      • Can I say, then, that this post is arguing against Locke’s theory of secondary qualities? That clears things up.

    • There is a sense in which our colour-names are arbitrary, as readers of Homer will recognise.

      A traditional epithet of Pallas Athena, the tutelary goddess of Athens from Homer onwards is γλαυκῶπις, usually translated as “blue-eyed” or “blue-grey eyed.”

      It is difficult to be sure of its real meaning, for there is no real correspondence between their colour-names and ours, especially in the Homeric period. They focused more on the presence or absence of vividness and intensity than hue. Homer often calls the sea οἶνοψ or wine-coloured, meaning something like “dark” or “murky,” which the sea is, in certain lights – That is why he also uses it of oxen! (βόε οἴνοπε)

      Thus, γλαυκός, is frequently applied to weapons or armour, where it means something like “flashing” or “sparkling.” (We are in the Bronze Age here)

      Another suggestion is that it means “owl-eyed” from γλαῦξ [Owl]. After all, her tutelary bird was the owl, a symbol of wisdom.

      Would a modern lady find “owl-eyed” flattering, I wonder?

      Just when one thinks things cannot get more difficult, we find Hippocrates using γλαυκός to describe someone with cataracts – a sort of pale bluish-grey. It is the origin of the English word “Glaucoma.”

      Of course, the gods’ hair is always described as Ξάνθος usually translated blond; but Homer also uses it of amber and of the reddish blaze of fire.

  5. I was going to dip into Godel in correlation with Shannon a while ago, but will save that for later and/ or a book. Plenty idea’s ‘above my station’ to curate somehow, but i do not have the mental fortitude to go much further right now. Everything referenced somehow ties into a topic i dubbed a year ago, and it fits with the perennial philosophy which keeps sounding better and better.

    Evolution as something gradual and predictable is not only in question right now, but repulsive to the real meaning of creativity; an expression of a language that supersedes human communication in forms that we can describe. The 7-mile boots are strapped on. We see a limited part of the visible spectrum, we sense a limited part of the set of other energies and modalities that can transfer across the logistical means of the cosmos as we seem to know them, and place assumptions upon all that.

    The assumption that gravity is the dominant force in this universe has lingered for ages. Of course it seems dominant when no one has ever been in the position to compare it to electromagnetic force -exempt- from gravity. Why has the very directly suggested thought experiment not taken place as in, comparing forces in relation/ scale, mass and so on? (distance being a convenience problem 😉 – It is because we operate from a logical anthropocentric viewpoint. Apples always falling the same way, we generally seem to lack the frame of reference for a fundamentally different situation.

    Richard, i disagree that the ‘mind outside of reality’ is a problem of any kind, and wasting time being evil sounds a bit off-putting without a lot of context. ‘Mental construct philosophy’ gives us nothing tangible except for brain exercise though. As a final semantic nag; the structure is sensible to those capable of registering it, your title is a little eye-ist 😉

  6. Locke famously distinguished between the “outer world,” going on “out there,” on its own, independently of our thinking about it and what he calls the “image” or “reflection” of that world in consciousness.

    Now, this is plainly nonsense. We can only decide whether a portrait is a good likeness by comparing it with the sitter, but how can we compare the image in consciousness with the external object that, by definition, is not in consciousness? Worse still, seeing, feeling, smelling are sensations and what conceivable resemblance can there be between a sensation on the one hand and something that is not a sensation on the other?

    In short, Locke duplicates the world. Berkeley recognised this and simply eliminated the “outer world.” His own, frankly bizarre, metaphysics, should not blind us to the fact that he identified a very real problem. Kant addressed the same problem with his distinction between the (unknowable) noumenal world and the phenomenal world of perception.

    This is why Bertrand Russell spoke of objects as “bundles of qualities” and A J Ayre speaks of “totalities of appearances.”

    • Hi, Michael:

      Yes. I address the duplication problem in this article towards the end. https://www.google.com/amp/s/orthosphere.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/perception-intromission-and-extramission/amp/ These two paragraphs are recent additions to this longer piece. The representational theory of perception leads to a weird solipsism with Kepler offering up a truncated theory of perception that ignores consciousness altogether. We have accepted his intromission theory as though it is even a candidate for a satisfactory account of perception.

      • Thank you for your link to your previous essay, which I read carefully.

        Now, I think it is fair to say that any theory which explains one’s thinking of some object in terms of one’s thinking of some internal mental object that in some way represents it, is inadequate for two reasons.

        Firstly, if it were true that all one really think about are internal, mental, objects, one is not in touch with reality at all..

        Secondly, postulating an intermediary does not solve the problem. If the answer to the question “How does one think about things?” is “One think about them by thinking about images or representations,” then this not only leaves a gap between the thinker and the object of thought, but worse, it creates a second gap — the gap between the representation and the thing.

        The sadly neglected Scottish Enlightenment philosopher proposed a solution by a radical re-interpretation of Locke’s notion of “ideas.” In his Third Graduation Address as Regent of Aberdeen University (1753), Reid suggests:

        “Let us suppose that ideas represent things like symbols. In this way, words and writing are known to express everything. So, let the intellect therefore be instructed by ideas, not in the manner of a camera obscura [like a picture] with painted images, but like a written or printed book, teaching us many things that are external, that have passed away and that will come to be.”

        This chimes with Wittgenstein’s idea that thought is not a matter of pictorial images but of language and all the implications that follow from that.

      • Yes. I agree with your firstly and secondly points. I’m not sure about Reid though. I live near the border with Canada so spring and summer come late. My back garden is finally green with lots of flowers. Looking at it does not seem a matter of the linguistic to me. I do like, however, the idea that the natural world or man-made is a symbol of the creative power and thus spiritual nature of God or man.

      • Suppose I am thinking about some distant object, say the Eiffel Tower. No doubt, I have a mental image of it in my mind, but I am thinking about the real Eiffel Tower, not the image, which functions as a “symbol” of that real object.

        Reid was fascinated by perception and he a curious theory of non-inferential knowledge. “A man’s wisdom is known to us only by the signs of it in his conduct; his eloquence by the signs of it in his speech. In the same manner we judge of his virtue, of his fortitude, and of all his talents and qualities of mind. Yet it is to be observed, that we judge of men’s talents with as little doubt or hesitation as we judge of the immediate objects of sense… We perceive one man to be open, another cunning; one to be ignorant, another very knowing; one to be slow of understanding, another quick. Every man forms such judgments of those he converses with; the common affairs of life depend upon such judgments. We can as little avoid them as we can avoid seeing what is before our eyes. From this it appears, that it is no less part of the human constitution, to judge of men’s characters, and of their intellectual powers, from the signs of them in their actions and discourse, than to judge of corporeal objects by our senses.” (Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man VI)

        Had he not accepted the prevailing distinction of the inner/outer world, Reid could have greatly simplified this. I would say that we do not see “signs” of wisdom, eloquence and virtue; we see wisdom, eloquence and virtue in action.

      • I’m very sympathetic to this line of thought. Virtue signaling attempts to replace judging someone by their words and not actions. I would add to Reid physiognomy with Edward Dutton’s book How to Judge People By What They Liok Like.

      • The sign of a thing is its act made manifest in some relic or artifact. Or spoor. There may be such signs where there are in fact no such acts as manifest them truly. That is no difficulty; we can account for the “water” at the far end of the road. If most such signs did not truly tell, their mirages could not begin to convince.

      • The duplication problem is massive; indeed, it is a type of the homunculus error, that generates an infinite regress of homunculi to explain the mental acts of the integral person: for, to each neuron, the signals arriving from upstream neurons are its exterior world. If we think that way, we end up with no integral world – with, i.e., no world at all. We end up at solipsism of Leibnizian monads each isolated in its private internal duplicate world and with no access to other things, that have therefore no direct encounter with each other, and that neither communicate nor inform each other. Causality and spatiotemporal extension and continuity then are ruined.

        The way out of that infinite regress of homuncular worlds is the realization that the phenomenal world *just is* the exterior world; or, more properly, that the world *just is* phenomenal, throughly; so that our own phenomena are a special case of a perfectly general sort of phenomena. This might have been what Berkeley was reaching for.

        The world then appears as a nexus of agents, their acts, the signs thereof, the transductions of those signs, and the registration and modulation of those signs, that then inform other agents and their future acts. That ingress of information is what our fellow beings feel like to us; the character of our experience is a modulation of their character of experience.

        Our qualia of brown then would be our feelings of what it is like to be the brown objects we perceive.

        If we take reality in all its actual parts to be inwardly phenomenal, the rupture between our internal qualitative states and external reality generated by Locke’s theory of perception simply vanishes. Our communion with the rest of the world, of which we qua minds are after all integral parts, is a type of the communion that constitutes the rest of the world. So we arrive again at agreement with our most primitive image of reality, as a communion of beings that include each other, and that includes us – and that we include.

    • Isn’t he describing the noosphere the problem is there is no actual Spiritus Mundi if there were we wouldn’t be having this conversation, or any conversation for that non matter
      Stupid people wouldn’t be stupid I wouldn’t have to ask you Wtf he’s saying that hurts my Steamfitter brain

      • I don’t know what Woodbridge would have thought about the noosphere. Wikipedia describes him as a “naive realist” which is the view I’m trying to articulate I suppose. I’m not sure why we couldn’t have this conversation with the Spiritus Mundi.

    • Because my my understanding of the noosphere ( granted it’s been a long time since I read Tieliard) and the spiritus mundi is a sort of cosmic consciousness to which we all have access
      Therefore if such existed we would stop paying any attention to our subjective conscious and would all know everything equally and exactly the same and there would certainly be no need to talk about subjective perceptions. There wouldn’t really be subjective entities to converse my hand doesn’t converse with my foot my internal spiritus mundi just groks the totality of my subjective self as one

      • This topic comes up in Remi Brague’s Curing Mad Truths. Aquinas disliked Averroes’ idea of the immediate communion of all minds in the Agent Intellect because it would put paid to conversation. There would be nothing to talk about. I’m with Aquinas on that one.

  7. This question occurred to me as a small child and ever since I have kept an eye out for evidence. Innocuous things that can be lost without notice Pennie’s and candy wrappers and such found in places only small children ( or construction workers will access) decades later. A matchbox no one knew was lost existed in the wall until a child finds it and wonders about its existential autonomy.
    Carlos Castenada ( who inexplicably reported things about wavelengths of reality we seldom encounter but I have observed personally despite his being a bit of a faker ) claimed the world was held together by our perception. Einstein broke with the school he founded over this.
    Teiliard de Chardin takes reality into another level up yet grounded all the way down
    Ironically the quantumists who think the world a possible possibility until observed might be arguing for a creator who saw the world was good before the creatures were there to see it too.
    Frankly It’s much ado about nothing like most philosophy it’s semantics what’s a sound is it the vibration or the echo in life forms ear there probly non life forms effected as well if one want to think about that. So of course there’s “sound” “ light” etc the real question is about the significance of the difference in the observers. Is that the universe we construct that only we can see.
    It’s very tough to get around this sire we can argue leftist subjectivist scum deny objective reality. Both leftists and rightists are correct though
    there is an objective reality but no observer can perceive it perfectly enough to claim to know it it. The very mechanism in observers that perceive reality were purposely evolved to favor that particular organism over all others hardly an unbiased tool.

    • That all sounds all right to me. Don’t forget that critiques of philosophy are still philosophy and have a well-established tradition by philosophers. Stephen Hawking, for instance, just embarrasses himself in his efforts to discredit philosophy because he’s a bad philosopher!

  8. Yes there’s solid philosophy then some utter bullshit usually when you examine some that seems absurd you find it’s the type based on words all the way down or in support of communism

  9. Philosophy as the baseline of everything is something i never let out of focus, Richard seeing as you are a teacher on this, it seemed relevant. And probably is. ‘Mental construct philosophy’ is whatever cannot exist in the real world we seem to be dealing with. Total freedom versus total order as an example. I view the cosmos as a whole, as it should be. Everyone will be relieved to hear i will not post again unless clarifying my position, but no truth will be derived from that. Which is fine, consider me a random poster without a clue towards the narrow path.

    And we talk and talk, but do nothing.

    • I did not find that particularly clarifying. Mental construct philosophy sounds horrible and not what I’m doing. Describing the real world is exactly what is going on here. Philosophy is discursive. Discussing IS doing for a philosopher.

  10. Should have hit delete on that one, i usually have the discernment to do so but slip every now and then. Too tired/ angry(at something entirely different, usually)/ tipsy, whatever fits the bill. There IS a point being alluded to in there, which i made somewhat coherently on a different thread, but did not reproduce or link to; then i somewhat recognize that but move on to emotional nonsense.

    I probably didn’t like that the ‘mental construct’ term was the only thing you replied to earlier, but my better response could and should have been there, especially since re-reading that post, it has me considering how much of it sits within my own personal context without mentioning it, like a recipe that says ‘to taste’ a dozen times. That ain’t okay after I’ve ‘lectured’ people on imprecise use of language and terminology on a forum once or twice.

    Alas, it’s on public record now and a bit of unavoidable self-reflection, so that may be a good thing 🙂

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