Friday, January 18, 2008

Percepts = Photons

Whilst looking at something (say, a red shoe), you might also think about what you were actually seeing (where the light reflects off the polished shoe, say, a patch of white light), which could yield both (i) percepts (the whiteness) and (ii) photons (the light), as though percepts = photons. Clearly false, that equation is at least understandable given The Problem of Perception (the foundation of modern scepticism).
......You see the shoe via the light and via your percepts, but you actually see the shoe (when you do, and when seeing is like touching you're rightly sure that you do). And what we mean by "reality" is paradigmatically the external world (of other people, red shoes, brown desks et cetera) and only secondarily things similarly real (e.g. light). So if photons are real (not just bits of a neat model of reality) then...
......that's because they're like red shoes, somehow. But really, what red shoes are like is whatever they seem (when clearly seen) to be like. So what can we realists (about shoes) say, to Idealists or Humeans, that would not deserve a response of "Occam's Razor"? That all sane people are innately that realistic (whence we might defend theism against similar attacks by observing that even atheists have feelings :)

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