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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Awareness is not omniscience; it’s awareness of something in some form

In Concepts and Their Role in Knowledge, Gregory Salmieri has interesting arguments to explain why the limits of perception cannot be described as errors.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter, "Forms of Awareness And 'Three-Factor' Theories," by Salmieri:
“Since any sense faculty will be limited in its acuity, regarding these limits as obscuring the world from us amounts to taking as one’s standard of awareness the sort of omniscience that Moore, Bertrand Russell, and others thought that we had of sense-data. But it is impossible to live up to this (supernatural) standard, and so it will push us toward the conclusion that our acquaintance with external object is always partially obscured or else superimposed with a hallucinatory material. Any view that includes this (supernatural) standard of direct awareness will, if developed consistently, lead us to regard ourselves as trapped behind a veil of perception (even if some versions will permit us to regard the veil as less than fully opaque).” 
The chapter (to be precise, the entire book) is worth reading.

(Source: Concepts And Their Role in Knowledge, Edited by Allan Gotthelf and James G. Lennox)

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