[ExI] Resend: "The Empirical Object" by Dr. Sunny Auyang

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sat Jul 21 03:06:09 UTC 2007

Jef writes

> On 7/18/07, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
>> My favorite line in the book is "I have never
>> seen a sense impression in my life". In other
>> words, we see objects; we *perceive*
>> (I suppose) sense impressions. So the
>> realism of "I see a car coming towards me"
>> is supported, and other theories that might
>> tempt one to say (when speaking precisely)
>> "I see the sense impression of a car coming
>> towards me" are denigrated.
> Them's fancy words, but your concluding paragraph shows that you don't
> quite get it.

It's indeed possible that the usage of the words I advocate
here---that we might say that a distinction between "perceive"
and "see" might be ill-advised.  But again, I wish that you 
could *refrain*  from these overly inciteful phrases such as
"you don't quite get it".  Almost all the rest of us would say
something like "I don't agree with your analysis here."

Please stop.  Please stop writing so aggressively (though, of
course, compared to the Bad Old Days, this is still nothing.)
I'm not aware that there is anything of general importance
here that I fundamentally don't get, and your general
accusation is merely inflammatory.  Can you stop?
If so, will you stop?

> The author's statement, "I have never seen a sense impression in my
> life", is an elegant allusion to the core of the problem. Elegant,
> perfect, right-on.  She highlights the philosophical problem of the
> Cartesian Self, the mind's "I", the homunculous, the "hard problem of
> consciousness", qualia, and such related hoohaw.


> For you to say, "we perceive (I suppose) sense impressions", is to
> continue to make the core mistake of assuming that sense impressions
> are somehow delivered to a perceiver.

That's possible.  The construction involving "sense impressions" 
was a conjecture, and thanks for bringing up a possible problem
with it.

> Rather, the sensory apparatus of the observer interacts with its
> local "reality" and the observer system perceives.  "Sense
> impressions" are meaningless (can't be modeled) when you
> insist that they must then be perceived.

Okay, so you contend that the "observer system" perceives.
Frankly, I do prefer your usage. I sense that indeed use of the
term "perceiver" can lead to problems that "observer system"
may be free from.


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