Truth suffers from too much analysis

Construction of the External World Pt. 6

Posted by allzermalmer on May 16, 2011

This is the final blog on the construction of the external world. You can read the last blog on it here.

Construction Six: That the different senses we may perceive the ‘same’ objects, and that the worlds of the different senses are, in general, identical with one another.

When John is sitting at his desk, he sees a wall. He sees that the wall is purple. He stretches out his hand to touch the wall. It is hard and smooth to his touch. And John comes to think that the wall that he sees and the touch he feels belong to the same ‘object’. This is what the 6th construction says, which follows from the 5th construction. But is the object that John sees and touch the same thing? This does not seem to be the case, and that is what the 6th construction build up.

John’s visual precept of the all is purple and shiny. His tactile precept is of resistance to his hand. However, the purple patch and the feel of resistance cannot be identified together. They do not even bear a hint of resemblance to one another. When John and Jane identified their purple’s with each other, they were supposed that they resembled each other. And if a mind could perceive both, which is logically impossible, that mind would perceive a resemblance between both. However, it is impossible that any mind could find a resemblance of color with tactile sensation. They have nothing in common with each other, except for the fact of both being perceived. The scent of a rose has no resemblance to the sight of a rose. The taste of steak has no resemblance to the sight of the sight steak.

The identity of objects of different senses with one another cannot be perceived. If the identity of the objects perceived would be the actual percepts, i.e. color with sound, sound with smell, and no inference from percepts can establish what is contrary to the percepts themselves. Sight is not the same as touch, and so sight cannot be related to not sight at the same time. This is contradictory. If we mean the identity of the objects with the identity of the ‘things’ that underlie the presentations, then no inference can be drawn. For as we have seen in construction 5, the ‘thing’ is not present to our consciousness, and only the presentations are, while the ‘thing’ lies underneath the presentations. Thus, the belief in the equivalence of the senses is a mental construction.

We have a simple experiment that can be performed, or at least a thought experiment. Say that we have someone born blind. However, they have been given a cube and a ball to feel with their tactile senses. Now let us suppose that this blind person were all of a sudden to gain their sight. Would this person be able to tell, by sight, which one is the cube and which one is the ball? The answer is no. They cannot tell from sight which one correlates with their tactile experience. The tactile has no resemblance to sight. However, these two become associated with each other through constant experience. Thus, the different senses are separate from each other, and are only thrown together through past experience.

Experience shows dissimilar percepts are correlated together. Thus, it is found that the one is invariably a sign of the possibility of the other. Thus, through past experience, when John has a visual percepts of a rose, that John will have a smell that follows it. When John has a visual precept that he calls a wall, he associates a certain tactile sensation he will have if he puts his hand against it. This is construction of the thing, the rose for example, both having a certain look and certain smell, or feel, would not be possible without first constructing the ‘thing’. We apply all these different sensations onto this one object, this one thing, which we have constructed. These qualities get associated with it.

John cannot hold that his visual presentation are identical with his tactile presentations. They both are dissimilar with one another, and they exist in different worlds. However, when the mind comes to believe that behind our presentations are ‘things’, which are unperceived, it becomes possible to identify the tactile presentations with the visual presentations, as qualities of the thing that lie behind the presentations, which are unknown. Thus, the belief in equivalence of the senses is made possible by the 5th construction, and is in fact an extension of the 5th construction. Now we can say that the visual and tactile follow one another, and are conjoined with one another, in the unperceived ‘thing’.

The mind is now conjoining the visual and tactile with together to simplify its worldview. It tries to conjoin things whenever it can in order to create a world that is easier to understand. Thus, the many private worlds of John, Jane, Jill, and Jack, are made to coalesce together into one.

Without this 6th construction, we would live in many different worlds. There would be the world of sound, which is separated from that of sight, feel, taste, and smell. There would be the world of sight, which is separated from that of sound, feel, taste, and smell. There would be the world of taste, which is separated from the world of sight, smell, sound, and touch. There would be the world of feel, which is separate from sound, smell, sight, and taste. There is the world of smell, which is separate from the sound of sight, taste, sound, and touch. In other words, we live in 5 universes that are separate from each other.Thus, if John and Jane share the same common world, they will share the same common world of sight. They share the same common world of sound. They share the same common world of taste. They share the same common world of feel. They share the same common world of smell. However, they do not share a world where all of these things are combined together, and that is what the 6th construction does.

So with all these different worlds, we want to combine them altogether so that we all share the same world by simplifying it to association of the senses together when it comes to the ‘thing’ or ‘object’. We combine two different senses, from two different universes, into one thing to form one universe.


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