Thursday, January 1, 2009

Some Of My Insights -- Sense Perception and Volition.

I have been catching up with Greg Perkin's Objectivism Seminar and the training has been really great. It's the first time I am delving into philosophy and I could not thank the guys in the seminar enough. My totally extra special thanks to Greg and Kyle for such great insights which really helped in some integrations that stuck like hell.

I am done with sense perception and volition and have just entered epistemology. I quickly wanted to jot some of my know, track my journey a bit. (Volition was and still is a pain to get expect some shakiness).

So here they come --

1. Our senses have an identity and because it does have an identity -- it is limited. Simply because we have a means of perception does not mean we cannot know reality.

2. The distinction between form and object. (On a side note, everything we ever perceive is only our form of perception, to get to the object that is literally "out there" -- we have to conceptualize, draw abstractions and the like.

3. It does not matter in what form we perceive any object (electron level or Universe level) as long as we can conceptualize. Its the reason normal people and color blind people don't hold different theories of physics. Sense perception represent only our starting points of investigation.

4. Naive realism is wrong as no sense perception can exist in objects as apart from human mechanism.

And under volition --

5. The opposite of determinism is not indeterminism but chosen.

6. There are causes for our actions but they are chosen by the individual himself.

7. Any person is free to be in focus and expend the necessary effort or can drop his mental reins and relax instead of focusing. One cannot ask for a cause as to why a person chose to be in focus or not be in focus.

[Next in the series: Some Of My Insights -- Concept-Formation]

P.S. I am extremely happy as the blog is finally serving its purpose. I started off just to put things down instead of blurting things out -- and looks like my long, just kicking off intellectual journey won't go unrecorded. Hooray!


Burgess Laughlin said...

Thanks for the notes. You mentioned:

"Naive realism is wrong as no sense perception can exist in objects as apart from human mechanism."

I am familiar with extreme realism (Plato) and moderate realism (Aristotle), but not naive realism. (For advanced students, Ayn Rand discusses the former two ideas in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, pp. 2 and 52-54.)

Can you explain what naive realism is? E.g., is it the idea that a little picture or icon of an object goes from the object to the mind and that is how we get an idea of the object? If so, I have heard that referred to as "naive induction."

Or does the term "naive realism" refer to something else?

I realize you are at the beginning of your studies, but sometimes questions help, long-term.

khartoum said...

Hi Burgess,

I am sorry for getting back a little late.

Naive realism is an ancient theory that contends that sense perception exists as apart from human mechanism.

Peikoff writes in OPAR (p.48) about naive realism, "Naive realism is an ancient form of the mirror theory; it claims that the senses do give us the content of reality "pure." The senses, naive realists hold, are valid because sensory qualities exist in objects independent of man's means of perception, which--in defiance of all evidence--are held to contribute nothing to our experiences."

While considering this proposition in the seminar, one of the guys had a really smart experiment to negate the claims of the naive realists.

He asked as to begin with 3 jars filled with water -- one filled with hot water, the second with cold water and the third with lukewarm water. Next, we put one of our hand in the jar filled with cold water and the other hand in the jar filled with hot water. Immediately after if we remove both the hands from their respective jars and put both hands inside the jar filled with lukewarm water -- one of our hands will tell us it is cold and the other will tell us it is hot.

It is a wonderful experiment to negate naive realism because if sense perception exists in objects as apart from human mechanism -- then the water cannot be hot and cold at the same time.

I hope that helped.

Thanks for stopping by.