Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

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Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 10:03 am 

In the hope of corroborating my own belief in philosophical realism, I have read “Seeing Things as they Are” by John Searle [Oxford University Press, 2015]. However, I was somewhat disappointed by the quality of his basic argument.

Searle performs a phenomenological analysis of perception. He says that the condition of satisfaction for the intentionality of any percept is that it is caused directly by something real independent of the perceiver.

However, as a product of phenomenological analysis, Searle’s statement must be taken within with the strictures of that philosophical method to mean:

The condition of satisfaction for the intentionality of any percept necessarily includes the EXPERIENCE that it is directly caused by something real independent of the observer. In other words, such an analysis takes no account of what may actually lie outside the observer (what I will refer to hereinafter as “the real world”).

Thus, rather than providing independent proof that the real world exists, Searle tries to bootstrap it into existence from experience alone. In other words, he puts his conclusion in the mix as a means of proving it. He even says that he “has packed success into his claim.”

Searle says it is necessary to “take a backwards road” from the real world to the intentional experience. In other words, he presumes the existence of the real world but does not prove it.

What he does prove, however, is something of significance, and that is this:

Because a percept is experienced as being caused by things in the real world, it is impossible for us to accept that the real world does not exist. Indeed, even the most adamant idealists act as though it does exist.

Searle, with considerable justification, roundly condemns phenomenology. This leaves one wondering why he uses the methods and language of that philosophical school to justify his claims.

However, I should make mention of certain propositions put forward by Searle that do have considerable merit.

He says that the intentional content of a perception is not that it is a representation but rather a presentation, in that it occurs here and now. A percept is re-presented (represented) only after the fact—as is the case of a photograph.

He maintains that perception is not an indirect process in two stages. There is no independent observer in our heads (homunculus) to whom the percept is presented and who thereafter re-presents it to our minds in sensible form. Searle tells us that this conclusion is a refutation of representative realism.

Curiously though, he argues that color is not a concoction of the mind but rather an actual feature of the real world that causes the corresponding sensory experience. In fact, he says that color is among the most fundamental perceptions.

The independent reality of color, he says, consists in the ability of an object in the real world to cause the experience of color. In other words, something in the basic nature of a real object empowers it to cause that experience.

In his treatment of the brain-in-the-vat, Searle presents an argument that boils down to this:

The brain in the vat does not experience real perceptions but rather what are basically hallucinations not caused by objects in the real world.

However, the absence of “real objects” as causes for the experiences of that brain is already part of the statement of the problem. The real question is:

How are we able to say that our own perceptions are not caused by a computer when what is experienced by the brain in the vat is identical to what we say is caused by real objects?

A more cogent argument would have been this:

The seemingly sensory experiences of the brain in the vat could not have been possible unless the brain and the vat were real objects susceptible to the perception of whoever set the brain in the vat.

The same can properly be said of whoever set up the computer and all the instruments and made the complex electrical connections. That person or persons could not have done any of this if he were deaf, blind and otherwise without senses.

More importantly, the brain, the vat, the computer as well as all the electrical connections and instruments must have been objects in the real world that caused the perceptions of them by the mysterious person or persons who put together the whole contraption.

In other words, far from proving that there is no real world, the thought experiment starts with the implicit presumption that such a world does in fact exist and is susceptible to the perception of it as it really is. That is, the thought experiment presumes the existence of that which it purports to disprove.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 10:44 am 

I might add that a lawyerly method of approaching this problem would be through the concept of burden of proof. The argument would go as follows:

The fact that it is impossible to believe that our sensory experience is not caused by real objects and that everyone acts as though this is the case raises a rebuttable presumption that it is actually the case.

Hence, the proponents of objective reality have met their initial burden of proof.

That being so, the burden of proof now falls upon the opponents to demonstrate the falsity of the presumption properly raised.

Searle has refuted all such proofs to the contrary.

Accordingly, the presumption is left as a fact.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Asparagus on January 3rd, 2018, 10:53 am 

When you say "real world" do you mean mind-independent? Idealists are rare, but they actually are realists. Anti-realism is much more common. And then there's skepticism, which is what Searle seems to be attacking.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Asparagus on January 3rd, 2018, 10:56 am 

Neri » January 3rd, 2018, 10:44 am wrote:I might add that a lawyerly method of approaching this problem would be through the concept of burden of proof. The argument would go as follows:

The fact that it is impossible to believe that our sensory experience is not caused by real objects and that everyone acts as though this is the case raises a rebuttable presumption that it is actually the case.

Hence, the proponents of objective reality have met their initial burden of proof.

That being so, the burden of proof now falls upon the opponents to demonstrate the falsity of the presumption properly raised.

Searle has refuted all such proofs to the contrary.

Accordingly, the presumption is left as a fact.

Burden of proof falls upon the claim-maker. You can only escape it by avoiding making any claims.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 3rd, 2018, 11:57 am 

Neri -

Happy New Year and all that shebang!

Whether this is of use or not I'll post it anyhoos! Given that Searle is claiming to taking a phenomenological approach it seems fitting to quote Husserl (who is regarded as the "father of phenomenology") on what he had to say about this area ...

... In advance there is the world, ever pregiven and undoubted in ontic certainty and self-verification. Even though I have not [explicitly] "presupposed" it as a ground, it still has validity for me, the "I" of the cogito, through constant self-verification, together with everything that it is for me, in particular details sometimes objectively and legitimately so, sometimes not, and together with all sciences and arts, together with all social and personal configurations and institutions, insofar as it is just the world that is actual for me. There can be no stronger realism than this, if by this word nothing more is meant than: "I am certain of being a human being who lives in this world, etc., and I doubt it not in the least." But the great problem is precisely to understand what is here so "obvious." The method now requires that the ego, beginning with its concrete world-phenomenon, systematically inquire back, and thereby become acquainted with itself, the transcendental ego, in its concreteness, in the system of its constitutive levels and its incredibly intricate [patterns of] validity-founding*. At the onset of the epoche the ego is given apodictically, but as a "mute concreteness." It must be brought to exposition, to expression, through systematic intentional "analysis" which inquires back from the world-phenomenon. In this systematic procedure one at first attains the correlation between the world and transcendental subjectivity as objectified in mankind.

* Geltungsfundierungen , i.e., the manner in which some validities are founded upon or presuppose others. For the notion of Fundierung see Ideen, Vol. I

- Edmund Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy, Section 55. The correlation in principle of our first application of the epoche by reducing it to absolutely unique, ultimately functioning ego. (P.187)


It would be disingenuous of me to ignore what he goes on to say a couple of paragraphs later after talking about the manifold problems of language and culture (I imagine trying to claw his ideas back form where Heidegger had driven them off the road) - I would add that I think Husserl deals a little with your protests Neri; I would say he doesn't have an answer to them and would be very skeptical about anyone saying they could unravel the problem in a reasonable manner :

From this one also understands the sense of the demand for apodicticity in regard to the ego and all transcendental knowledge gained upon this transcendental basis. Having arrived at the ego one becomes aware of standing within a sphere of self-evidence of such a nature that any attempt to inquire behind it would be absurd. By contrast, every ordinary appeal to self-evidence, insofar as it supposed to cut off further regressive inquiry, was theoretically no better than an appeal to an oracle through which a god reveals himself. All natural self-evidences, those of all objective science (not excluding those of formal logic and mathematics), belong to the realm of what is "obvious," what in truth has a background of incomprehensibility.


I wish I could type faster because the whole section is worth reading.

The gist of phenomenology is perhaps most succinctly summed up in this line:

The point is not to secure objectivity but to understand it.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 12:08 pm 

Asparagus,

I use the expression, “real world,” to mean a world whose existence does not depend on being experienced.

A claims-maker only has the burden of proof where there are no preexisting facts and circumstances tending to establish the claim.

In the case of the claim that there is a real world that causes our perceptions, the preexisting facts would be (1) that it is impossible to actually believe that the claim is not the case and (2) that everyone acts as though it is the case.

Thus, we have what is called in law a prima facie case in favor of the claim. This shifts the burden of proof to those who oppose the claim.

Because Searle has established the counter claim is no more than a possibility, the claim is not disproved, for the reason that anything is possible. In other words, the counter-claim takes the form: “P is possible. Therefore P is the case.” This is illogical and accordingly has no probative value.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 12:23 pm 

BJ,

I agree with Searle’s assertion that phenomenology has the fatal defect of placing out of consideration the existence of the real world and its effects on us. Searle maintains that in phenomenology western philosophy has taken the wrong road. I agree with this as well.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 3rd, 2018, 12:51 pm 

Neri » January 4th, 2018, 12:23 am wrote:BJ,

I agree with Searle’s assertion that phenomenology has the fatal defect of placing out of consideration the existence of the real world and its effects on us. Searle maintains that in phenomenology western philosophy has taken the wrong road. I agree with this as well.


I would say that is a false claim. I do agree that since Husserl it took a wrong turn, but I would not really call hermeneutics "phenomenology".

I don't really see that it placed "out of consideration the existence of the real world", as you put it. It is only concerned with the "process" of experience and the matter of some physical reality is not directly important other than as phenomena.

I would say the "fatal defect" in thinking would be to claim that you know "the thing in itself" exists. Phenomenology is set up to investigate what it is that founds the unquestioned acceptance of "the real world". Its purpose is not to claim "the real world" exists or doesn't exist, but to approach how it is we are able to posit this, or any, position at all.

It does seem kind of peculiar that you say Searle says "colour" is an actual feature of the world. This is precisely where phenomenology would've taken him. This would be what Husserl referred to as "parts" and "moments", the moments being the aspects of experience that cannot be removed without destroying the object (A ball must have "colour" to be seen, and a sound must have "tone" to be heard.)

I do not see phenomenology as being about throwing away the idea of "the real world" because we necessarily apply back into our worldly being. It is used to understand how we understand, to explain reality not reiterate it by way of measurements and abstract rules. None of this is meant in anyway to undermine the natural sciences, it is meant to reinforce it - explicate rather than reiterate.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Asparagus on January 3rd, 2018, 1:31 pm 

Neri » January 3rd, 2018, 12:08 pm wrote:Asparagus,

I use the expression, “real world,” to mean a world whose existence does not depend on being experienced.

So mind-independent.

Neri wrote:A claims-maker only has the burden of proof where there are no preexisting facts and circumstances tending to establish the claim.

Claim-maker always carries the burden of proof. That's pretty basic. If a claim is counter to common sense, its maker carries a greater burden. Skeptics never carry the burden of proof, but the kind of skeptics I think we're talking about would live under a bridge somewhere unable to feed themselves for lack of confidence.

Neri wrote:In the case of the claim that there is a real world that causes our perceptions, the preexisting facts would be (1) that it is impossible to actually believe that the claim is not the case and (2) that everyone acts as though it is the case.

(1) is simply untrue. (2) is along the lines of G. E. Moore's common sense argument.


Neri wrote: In other words, the counter-claim takes the form: “P is possible. Therefore P is the case.” This is illogical and accordingly has no probative value.

Moore was taking issue with Kantians. Searle's target is somewhere in the vicinity of Descartes. I don't know who is making the counter-claim you described.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Braininvat on January 3rd, 2018, 2:38 pm 

Descartes' Demon is not really falsifiable, so it's not very interesting. I could be a brain in a vat, but my vat supervisor could as well also be living in a simulation and my pink pudding and the vat could be part of a larger simulation. There is nothing to stop simulations from being nested like Matrioshka dolls, so there really is nothing that decisively requires that the vat and its instruments are in a real world. And we don't have to postulate a real-world vat to talk about mine.

Therefore, Neri's assertion that the thought experiment starts with the implicit presumption that such a world does in fact exist is questionable. No such presumption need be made. The input feed that my brain is getting might be a recreation of a "real world" that is, in fact, no more real than the recreation coming through my cortical wires.

IOW, skepticism is a boring and infinite regress.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 9:42 pm 

BIV,

Your analysis leaves us with two possibilities:

(1) The sentient creatures that set up the brain in a vat had the experience of the brain and the vat-contraption because these things were real objects that caused their perception of them. OR

(2) The sentient creatures were themselves equivalent to brains in a vat.

Possibility (2) inevitably sets up an infinite regression of brains in a vat. Because infinite regressions are completely implausible (abductively inferior) and explain nothing, only possibility (1) is acceptable.

[By the expression, “real objects,” I mean objects whose existence does not depend on being experienced.]
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 3rd, 2018, 11:26 pm 

Asparagus,

The counter-claim I refer to is the anti-realism that has infected western philosophy since the time of Descartes. It takes the following form:

Perceptions are not directly experienced. There is an intermediary process that defines the form of the perception. This may be the acts of God, of some sort of homunculus that inhabits us or of a native process shared by all humans. The belief that our senses do not directly experience anything, has lead to two basic forms of antirealism.

(1) Idealism—the belief that nothing material exists apart from minds. [In this case, minds are conceived of as something immaterial.]

(2) Transcendental Idealism—the belief that although a real world does exist, we are incapable of knowing anything about it.

(a) Phenomenology [subset of (2)]—the bracketing out of the real world to study only the forms and constitution of experience, since (it is claimed) that is all we can really be sure of.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 4th, 2018, 2:08 am 

Neri -

I think you wish to see something wrong here rather than accepting it as a differing point of view.

If you are against anti-realism, then you must be against realism too. For it is through the distinction you protest against that your view point exists (Realism is a philosophical perspective because it has an opposing position; or more precisely, it has degrees of value.)

I don't quite see how you can read the quote from Husserl above (who is the instigator of modern phenomenology) and then equate those words with what you say above? It simply does not follow.

The claim Husserl espouses it the very same claim you seem to be saying he is disputing.

I do not understand how you cannot reconcile different philosophical positions as part as one whole philosophical pursuit. You may as well say realism has "infected" western philosophy since Descartes; there is essentially no difference in this claim. What you seem to be protesting is the very reason phenomenology matters. It is the refusal to make the dualistic division set up by Descartes and not to discredit the scientific endeavor or belittle its achievements, but to consolidate the disassociation brought about by the dualistic schism created by Descartes philosophy. Husserl pointed out that Descartes uncovered something extraordinary, but was blind to it as a means of investigation. It is through scientific progress that we can see more clearly the need for going back to this point and reconciling the split in philosophical thought.

Again, I really think you have a way to go in grasping what Kant meant by "noumenon" and putting it completely to one-side. We cannot know what we cannot know. That is, in the most simplistic fashion, what is being said - for some reason you think this says "We are incapable of knowing anything."

There is no "bracketing out of the real world." You've simply set up in your own head what "real" means and then applied this parse to it. You are making out something to oppose your own view and ironically defending the very thing you seem to be opposed to.

The underlying "reality" is as Husserl puts it, necessarily "incomprehensible". That is far, far, far away from saying it does not exist, only that we cannot obtain some godlike all encompassing "knowledge." Knowledge is necessarily limited, we "know" by way of limitation not by way of limitlessness (this is one point where Kant and Husserl would likely have agreed - but Husserl protested against Kant's blind acceptance of the underlying reality, so you're protesting against Kant, not against the philosophy marked out by Husserl (Phenomenology.)

There are places where Husserl's writing is less than explicit, but by what you're suggesting the above most certainly is not one of them. He is no Heidegger playing with multiple "interpretations", but he certainly wrote with a purposeful attitude so as not to try and be more precise than he felt he had the right to be.

Did you read the quotes I typed above? How more "obvious" can he put it? The realist position is one of apodictic value; it is not up for dispute that I am human and living on Earth. Such a thing is not the direct concern of phenomenology so don't make it out to be about that in order to pull it down. Such a argument could be taken up by physics trying to disprove the existence of unicorns. It is a fruitless endeavor and a naïve pursuit.

Knowing about the principles of motor functions doe snot mean you know what it is like to run if you've never had legs. You are, at the core of your argument, suggesting that you can know what it feels like to run even if you've never had legs, that you know what is feel like to be a bird, or that you know the contents of every detail of a book before you read it - that is utterly nonsensical, and that is how I see your position.

If I have painted your position in the wrong light then you can either choose to explain it or not.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 4th, 2018, 7:45 am 

BJ,

I interpret the quote---“The point is not to secure objectivity but to understand it”—to mean (as Husserl sees it):

The purpose of phenomenology is to understand the experience, “objectivity,” and how we come to have it and not to try to understand whatever may actually be objective.

This brackets out what I have called the real world.

Such an attitude clearly evinces a belief that the real world [the “objective”] is unknowable and that the only thing we can be really be sure of is the nature of our own experiences.

One should not fail to see the forest for the trees.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 4th, 2018, 10:22 am 

Neri -

I guess I cannot control how you choose to read the text. The task of securing more accurate objective measurements lies with the natural sciences.

It is plain as day that the attainment of 100% objective certainty is impossible. Such a "knowledge" would be limitless and of no meaning (at least not in the sense of "meaning" we mere mortals understand - it sounds religious to suggest objectivity can be "known" in any absolute sense and I am pretty damn sure that is what Husserl meant.)
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby RJG on January 4th, 2018, 5:09 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:It is plain as day that the attainment of 100% objective certainty is impossible. ...it sounds religious to suggest objectivity can be "known" in any absolute sense...

Can't one 'know' with absolute certainty that "experiencing exists"? ...including the experiencing of 'knowing'?

And if so, then doesn't this make "experiencing exists" an absolute, "objective" truth or piece of knowledge?

And furthermore, what about math and logic? Aren't these "objective" (i.e. independent of one's perceptions; pre-experiential; a priori) and therefore provide us with objectivity?
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm 

BJ,

The question is not whether or not we can have perfect knowledge but rather whether or not we can have any knowledge at all as a correspondence to real objects [those objects whose existence does not depend on being experienced].

This resolves itself into the question: Do the senses provide any knowledge of the nature of real objects, when knowledge is taken to be a correspondence to reality?

People like Searle and me would answer “yes.” Kant would answer “no.” Husserl would not even entertain the question.


RJG,

I think it is clear that without the senses there would be no mathematics and no science. The former depends upon logical deductions from certain axioms that are gathered from sensory experience. The latter relies upon sensory confirmation of postulates that claim some sort of general application.

If the senses give us truth as a correspondence to reality, then the axioms of mathematics provide that sort of truth. If this is so, then since the whole body of mathematics consists in logical deductions from those axioms, mathematics provides certain truth as a correspondence to reality.

A scientific theory can properly be regarded as true if its predictions are confirmed by means of the sensory experience provided by observation, measurement and experiment—with the proviso that any such theory is susceptible to falsification by the same means.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 4th, 2018, 8:36 pm 

RJG -

Superficially, yes. Absolutely, no. This is because we're using words and there meaning is necessarily limited. It is from this point that Heidegger's "hermeneutics" were born.

Other than that you're parroting what Husserl says in the quotes I provided.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 4th, 2018, 9:59 pm 

Neri -

The way we are talking about this I've think we've made it clear enough where the confusion lies. If you think Kant and Husserl were saying something I don't think they were saying then we're obviously going to agree.

We can of course know something with "absolute certainty." We can do this by setting up limited rules within which to operate. Given that we don't know everything about the universe we cannot say anything with any "absolute certainty", but we can apply rules and laws that model the universe well enough to suggest we're "certain enough." If you think Husserl was saying otherwise, or Kant for that matter, I would strongly disagree.

Anyway, I'd like to hear more of what Searle has to say. Can you provide a link please. I don't think there is much need in us going over well trodden ground over and over. Maybe exploring what he says more fully would allow us to understand each other better?
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 4th, 2018, 10:39 pm 

BJ,

Yes, I think you would benefit from reading Searle.

The title and publisher of the book presently under consideration will be found in my OP. If you have a Kindle reader, it can be downloaded for about ten dollars US (seven pounds or thereabouts in pounds sterling). A hard copy is available from many on-line suppliers. It can be obtained from Amazon for about twenty dollars US. It is less than 300 pages, so it should be a fairly quick read.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 5th, 2018, 12:22 am 

Neri -

I am not about to buy the book anytime soon (if ever tbh.) I cannot order things online easily, books shops here don't sell those kinds of books, and it would require me to flight to another country (which I do often enough) and order the book to be picked up three months later - basically the book has to be important enough for me to want to go to the trouble of tracking it down. PLUS I will have 12 books arriving soon and already have several I need to reread, and I really like the look of Kierkegaard's 'Either Or', so after I read more Husserl I'll likely deal with that one next.

I generally find older writing more genuine in its intent and pursuits. Searle is part of the era of desperate philosophical insanity so I'll wait until I am 20-30 yrs older before reviewing what has stood the test of time.

I am not dismissing Searle, he is on my radar, but only in the distance at the moment. Philosophy is something of an "irritation" of mine and not something I really wish to apply myself to. Ironically the things I tend to rile against are usually the most fruitful pursuits I can engage in (over recent years my obstinate youthful hatred of psychology, economics and philosophy - dismissing them as either/both vulgar or/and obtuse - has had to yield to the fact that the knowledge they hold fill in several gaps where I was struggling with my thoughts about the world and life in general.)

You can present here bits that you find important. From the bits and bobs I've found there is not enough substance to what he says.

The very phrase "intentionality of perception" is not clear enough for me. What does this mean for Searle? That will take some serious and precise unpacking for me to understand what it is he is trying to say

I would very much like to hear what he has to say here and how he defines "the intentionality of perception".

Thanks
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 5th, 2018, 3:06 am 

BJ,

Please read my OP more carefully. I will gladly answer any questions you may have.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 5th, 2018, 4:11 am 

I have one question (and I read carefully before, and again just now)

What does it mean to talk of "Intentionality of perception"? The OP doesn't answer this question for me I'm afraid.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby RJG on January 5th, 2018, 5:05 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:It is plain as day that the attainment of 100% objective certainty is impossible.

Isn't this statement self-contradicting? ...or can one actually be 'certain' that 'certainty' is impossible? ...if "certainty" is impossible, then so is the 'certainty' of this statement.


RJG wrote:Can't one 'know' with absolute certainty that "experiencing exists"? ...including the experiencing of 'knowing'?

And if so, then doesn't this make "experiencing exists" an absolute, "objective" truth or piece of knowledge?

BadgerJelly wrote:Absolutely, no.

So then are you saying that it is somehow possible to deny that "experiencing exists"??? ...and if so, then mustn't we also then deny the experience of denying?

"Experiencing exists" is as absolute a truth as absolute can get. ...as there is no way to deny it without further affirming it!


Neri wrote:I think it is clear that without the senses there would be no mathematics and no science.

Not so. Science and math/logic are on two different levels. The truths of math/logic are not reliant upon being sensed by an experiential being. Whereas, this is not the case for science.

Math/logic is experientially independent; a priori truth. Whereas, Science is experientially ‘derived’ and experientially dependent; a posteriori truth.

The certainty of Math/Logic is much more certain than the certainty of Science. Science is fallible, whereas Math/Logic is not.


Neri wrote:The former [math/logic] depends upon logical deductions from certain axioms that are gathered from sensory experience. The latter [science] relies upon sensory confirmation of postulates that claim some sort of general application.

It is one thing to ‘derive’ a truth (as does science), and quite another to ‘experience’ a truth (as in math/logic). Experiencing an a priori truth (e.g. math/logic) does not mean it was experientially ‘derived’ or created, it merely means that it was experientially 'sensed'. It does not relegate the math/logic truth to an experientially derived truth, but only to an a priori truth that is experientially sensed.


BadgerJelly wrote: What does it mean to talk of "Intentionality of perception"?

I also wonder about this vague, seemingly self-contradicting phrase. What does “intentionality” really mean? We use this word all the time, with no real thought into the validity of the meaning that we are naively implying. But if we look closer at this word, we see we are talking non-sensicalness.

How does one actually do something “intentionally”? …must we first have the prior intention to do this intentional act? …and if so, then where does this prior intention come from? …do we ‘intend’ this as well?

“Intentionality” is a self-contradicting (“self-stultification”) concept/word. One cannot “intend” anything without a pre-requisite “intention” to do so. This 'prior intention' then defeats any viability of true "intentionality", rendering this self-contradictory word as non-sensical.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Asparagus on January 5th, 2018, 5:59 pm 

@Rjg
My stab at what's meant by intention is that its supposed to suggest that sight is always of something. Sensation appears to be directed outward. It appears Searle is engaging in phenomenology.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 5th, 2018, 8:03 pm 

RJG -

I am not even going to bother reading your post. You know why.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 6th, 2018, 7:43 am 

BJ,

Because of other obligations, I was unable to get back to you sooner.

What follows is a simplified version of Searle’s analysis regarding the intentionality of perception:

(1) Intentionality is that feature of the mind by which it is directed AT, or ABOUT, or OF objects and states of affairs in the world. By the latter expression, Searle means all things whose existence does not depend on being experienced.

(2) “Intentional state” is a general term for all forms of intentionality.

(3) All intentional states are caused by brain processes and are realized in the brain.

(4) There is a difference between the content and the object of an intentional state.

EXAMPLE: If I see a man before me, the content is that there is a man before me. The object is the man himself. If I am having a corresponding hallucination, the experience has a content, but no object--even though the content can be the same in both cases. The presence of a content does not necessarily mean that there must be an object.

(5) Intentional states typically fit the world with one or two directions of fit.

(6) Perceptions are supposed to fit how the world is. They have a mind-to-world direction of fit.

(7) A perception will either match or fail to match the world. In such case the intentional state is either satisfied or not satisfied.

(8) Searle makes a distinction between perception and volition. The former is satisfied only if a state of affairs in the world causes the perception. The latter is satisfied only if the decision causes the agent to do the thing that he decided to do. Both are “causally self-reflective.”

(9) In the case of perception, the direction of fit is mind-to-world and the direction of causation is world-to-mind. In volition, the converse is the case. In volition, the intentional content is the cause of the bodily movement. In the case of perception, the state of affairs in the world is the cause of the perceptual experience of it.

(10) Perceptions are direct presentations of their conditions of satisfaction, and they are experienced as caused by their conditions of satisfaction. They are direct presentations and not representations, because they occur “here and now” and are not called back as a memory.

(11) Intentionality is a biological phenomenon. The fact that an animal feels hunger (intentional state) is no more mysterious than the fact that an animal eats (intentional action). Neither of these is more mysterious than the fact that an animal digests what it has eaten.


If you have any further questions, you will have to cough up the money for the book.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Asparagus on January 6th, 2018, 8:20 am 

@Neri
It's not so much an argument as it is a scheme. It doesn't do a good job of proving realism because it's presuming some measure of realism at the outset. Agree?
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby BadgerJelly on January 6th, 2018, 12:01 pm 

Neri -

That is interesting. I am not quite sure what Searle is talking about there so I hope your interpretation is his words is not muddied too much by your own impression of what "intentionality" means in terms of Husserl's phenomenology.

I'll have to take what you've said at face value for now and think over how to explain the problems I see here.
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Re: Searle and the Intentionality of Perception

Postby Neri on January 6th, 2018, 1:49 pm 

Asparagus,

Yes, I agree. See my OP.
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