Sei sulla pagina 1di 23

P R O C E E D I N G S OF T H E

BRITISH ACADEMY
VOLUME LXV

1979

LONDON
PUBLISHED FOR THE BRITISH ACADEMY
τ

DAWES H I C K S LECTURE

CONFLICTING APPEARANCES'
BY M . F . B U R N Y E A T

Read 1 February 1979


M y i n c a p a c i t y t o e x t e n d t h e b o u n d a r y o f m y 'this', m y inability t o g a i n
a n i m m e d i a t e e x p e r i e n c e of t h a t i n w h i c h it is s u b o r d i n a t e d a n d
reduced—is m y m e r e imperfection. Because I c a n n o t spread o u t m y
w i n d o w until all is t r a n s p a r e n t , a n d all w i n d o w s d i s a p p e a r , t h i s does
n o t j u s t i f y m e i n insisting o n m y w i n d o w - f r a m e ' s r i g i d i t y . F o r t h a t
f r a m e has, as s u c h , n o existence in r e a l i t y , b u t o n l y i n o u r i m p o t e n c e .
F. H. Bradley.

F ^ R O M t h e fact t h a t h o n e y a p p e a r s b i t t e r to some a n d
sweet to o t h e r s D e m o c r i t u s c o n c l u d e d t h a t it is n e i t h e r
sweet nor b i t t e r , H e r a c l i t u s t h a t it is b o t h . ' T h i s r e p o r t
f r o m Sextus E m p i r i c u s [PH ii. 63) testifies t h a t a r g u m e n t s
f r o m conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s c a m e early to t h e r e p e r t o i r e of
philosophy. D e m o c r i t u s ' p u r p o s e w a s to establish t h e v i e w
s u m m e d u p i n a f a m o u s f r a g m e n t : 'Sweet exists b y c o n v e n t i o n ,
b i t t e r by c o n v e n t i o n , c o l o u r b y c o n v e n t i o n ; i n reality a t o m s
a n d t h e void exist' (frag. 125). I f w e speak of h o n e y as sweet,
it is because this is the r e s p o n s e s a n c t i o n e d b y c u s t o m a n d
c o n v e n t i o n , especially linguistic c o n v e n t i o n , t o t h e w a y c e r t a i n
a t o m s i m p i n g e o n o u r o r g a n s of taste, b u t t h e r e is n o m o r e
to it t h a n t h a t : n o m o r e t h a n a response t o a t o m i c stimuli.
T e r m s like ' s w e e t ' a n d ' b i t t e r ' , ' w h i t e ' a n d ' b l a c k ' , c o r r e s p o n d
to n o t h i n g i n t h e collections of a t o m s w h i c h constitute t h e
t h i n g s in t h e w o r l d a r o u n d us. O u r a t t r i b u t i o n s of w h a t w e r e
l a t e r to be c a l l e d s e c o n d a r y q u a l i t i e s are a p r o j e c t i o n o n to
t h a t world of o u r o w n , m e r e l y subjective affections.
H e r a c l i t u s ' message w a s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t : n o t t h e e m p t y s u b -
j e c t i v i t y of sensible a p p e a r a n c e s b u t their o n e - s i d e d p a r t i a l i t y .
I t m a y be q u e s t i o n e d w h e t h e r h e actually u s e d t h e h o n e y
e x a m p l e , b u t t h e r e is n o d o u b t t h a t his s t r a n g e g n o m i c
u t t e r a n c e s i n c l u d e others t o t h e s a m e or similar effect.
104 PROCEEDINGS O F THE BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 71
S e a is t h e m o s t p u r e a n d t h e m o s t p o l l u t e d w a t e r : d r i n k a b l e a n d s e n s e - p e r c e p t i o n b u t w h e r e v e r t h e r e is d i s a g r e e m e n t a n d o n e
s a l u t a r y f o r fishes, b u t u n d r i n k a b l e a n d d e s t r u c t i v e f o r m e n . v i e w is o p p o s e d t o a n o t h e r . A n d t h e m o r a l P r o t a g o r a s d r e w
(frag. 6i)
w a s t h a t e a c h of t h e c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s is t r u e for t h e
A g a i n , ' D o n k e y s w o u l d c h o o s e c h a f f r a t h e r t h a n gold' ( f r a g . 9 ) , p e r s o n whose a p p e a r a n c e it is. H i s d o c t r i n e t h a t m a n is t h e
'Pigs e n j o y m u d r a t h e r t h a n clean w a t e r ' f o r w a s h i n g i n ( f r a g . m e a s u r e of all t h i n g s r e c o m m e n d s a relativistic a c c o u n t of
13 w i t h Sext. E m p . PHi. 5 6 ) . A r e t h e y r i g h t or w e ? T h e i m p l i e d t r u t h w h i c h a l l o w s t h e h o n e y t o b e b o t h sweet a n d bitter, s u b -
a n s w e r is t h a t e a c h is r i g h t — f r o m h i s o w n p o i n t of v i e w . I t j e c t t o the q u a l i f i c a t i o n t h a t it is s w e e t for (in r e l a t i o n to) s o m e
follows t h a t t h e d i f f e r e n t b u t e q u a l l y v a l i d p o i n t s of v i e w a r e p a l a t e s a n d b i t t e r for o t h e r s . By r e l a t i v i z i n g t h e a t t r i b u t i o n s
o n e - s i d e d , p a r t i a l reflections of r e a l i t y . A t s o m e d e e p e r level, of s w e e t a n d b i t t e r P r o t a g o r a s a v o i d s the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s e m -
f r o m a s i t ^vere a n a b s o l u t e g o d ' s - e y e v a n t a g e - p o i n t , t h e o p p o -
b r a c e d by H e r a c l i t u s . S i m i l a r l y i n m o r a l s , t h e d o c t r i n e t h a t
sition a n d c o n t r a s t is o v e r c o m e . T h e sea is b o t h p u r e a n d i m -
m a n is the m e a s u r e of all t h i n g s asserts t h a t m a r r y i n g o n e ' s
p u r e ; m u d is b o t h clean a n d d i r t y ; r u b b i s h is w e a l t h . I t s o u n d s
sister is right f o r o n e i n d i v i d u a l o r society, w r o n g for a n o t h e r .
like a c o n t r a d i c t i o n , a n d so it i s — w i t h i n o u r h u m a n l a n g u a g e .
S o f a r we h a v e f o u r a n c i e n t c h a r a c t e r s on t h e s t a g e . W e s h o u l d
O u r l a n g u a g e is so s t r u c t u r e d t h a t t o call s o m e t h i n g p u r e is
b r i n g on s o m e of their m o d e r n - d r e s s c o u n t e r p a r t s . A n d first
to i m p l y t h a t i t is n o t i m p u r e a n d v i c e versa. B u t t h a t o n l y
Berkeley. Y o u d o n o t h a v e t o r e a d f a r i n t o t h e f i r s t of Berkeley's
raises t h e q u e s t i o n , a g e n e r a l i z a t i o n of t h e q u e s t i o n w e m e t
Three Dialogues b e f o r e y o u f i n d t h e f o l l o w i n g :
with in Democritus, w h e t h e r the oppositions and contrasts
e n c o d e d in o u r l a n g u a g e c o r r e s p o n d t o a n y t h i n g in r e a l i t y . T h a t which a t o t h e r times s e e m s sweet, shall to a d i s t e m p e r e d p a l a t e
M a y b e t h e l a n g u a g e w h i c h m a k e s u s t r e a t t h e conflict o f a p - a p p e a r bitter. A n d n o t h i n g c a n b e p l a i n e r , t h a n t h a t divers p e r s o n s
p e a r a n c e s as a conflict, w h i c h m a k e s u s s a y t h a t w h e r e a p p e a r - p e r c e i v e d i f f e r e n t tastes in t h e s a m e f o o d , since t h a t w h i c h o n e m a n
a n c e s c o n f l i c t b o t h c a n n o t b e r i g h t , is itself a n aspect o f o u r d e l i g h t s in, a n o t h e r a b h o r s . A n d h o w c o u l d this b e , i f the t a s t e w a s
anthropocentric partiality. s o m e t h i n g r e a l l y i n h e r e n t i n t h e f o o d ? ( p . 180)'

B u t w e b e g a n with S e x t u s E m p i r i c u s , a n d Sextus, as a g o o d Berkeley agrees with D e m o c r i t u s in concluding from the con-


P y r r h o n i a n sceptic, h a s h i s o w n m o r a l t o d r a w f r o m t h e f a c t flict of a p p e a r a n c e s t h a t t h e f o o d is n o t i n h e r e n t l y sweet or
t h a t h o n e y a p p e a r s b i t t e r t o s o m e a n d s w e e t t o others. T h e b i t t e r . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , h e sides w i t h H e r a c l i t u s a n d P r o t a -
s c e p t i c a l c o n c l u s i o n is t h a t t h e r e is n o s a y i n g w h i c h it i s ; o n e g o r a s against D e m o c r i t u s i n w a n t i n g t o c o u n t b o t h a p p e a r a n c e s
m u s t s u s p e n d j u d g e m e n t o n w h e t h e r it is r e a l l y sweet o r r e a l l y v e r i d i c a l . T h e r e r e a l l y is s o m e t h i n g sweet a n d s o m e t h i n g b i t t e r .
b i t t e r ( P / / i . l o i , 2 1 3 - 1 4 ) . A n d P y r r h o n i a n scepticism e x t e n d s B u t since ( c o n t r a r y to H e r a c l i t u s ) n o t h i n g c a n b e b o t h s w e e t
this p a t t e r n of r e a s o n i n g b e y o n d t h e field of sensible a p p e a r a n c e s a n d bitter, t h e sweet t h i n g a n d t h e b i t t e r t h i n g are s e p a r a t e
t o e v e r y s u b j e c t of i n q u i r y . I n m o r a l s , f o r e x a m p l e , b e c a u s e t o a n d distinct. T h e sweetness b e l o n g s t o a n i d e a p e r c e i v e d b y or
s o m e societies o r i n d i v i d u a l s it a p p e a r s r i g h t , t o others w r o n g , i n t h e m i n d of o n e p e r s o n , t h e b i t t e r n e s s to a n i d e a p e r c e i v e d b y
f o r a m a n t o m a r r y h i s sister or h a v e s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e i n or i n t h e m i n d of a n o t h e r ( o r t h e s a m e person a t a n o t h e r t i m e ) .
p u b l i c , t h e s c e p t i c s u s p e n d s j u d g e m e n t o n w h e t h e r it is r i g h t T h i s looks like P r o t a g o r a s , since s w e e t a n d b i t t e r alike exist
o r w r o n g ( F N i. 1 4 5 - 6 3 ) . S i m i l a r l y w i t h a n y q u e s t i o n a b o u t o n l y f o r o n e w h o tastes it, a n d w e s h a l l see t h a t it does h a v e a
h o w t h i n g s r e a l l y a r e — t h e r e is a l w a y s a c o n f l i c t of a p p e a r a n c e s lot i n c o m m o n w i t h a t h e o r y of p e r c e p t u a l r e l a t i v i s m w h i c h
a n d a l w a y s t h e sceptic f i n d s himself u n a b l e t o d e c i d e b e t w e e n P l a t o d e v e l o p e d o u t of P r o t a g o r e a n m a t e r i a l s i n t h e Theaetetus,
them. w h i c h t h e o r y B e r k e l e y h i m s e l f t h o u g h t was e x a c t l y like his o w n
(Siris, § 311). B u t t h e r e is i n f a c t a d i f f e r e n c e . W h e n P r o t a g o r a s
W e n o w h a v e three different, actually three incompatible
says t h a t s o m e t h i n g exists f o r t h e p e r s o n to w h o m it a p p e a r s ,
c o n c l u s i o n s f r o m a single p r e m i s s . W h i c h m i g h t seem m o r e t h a n
h e does not i n t e n d Berkeley's idealist conclusion that sensible
enough. But w e have yet to reckon with Protagoras. I t was
p r o b a b l y P r o t a g o r a s , w i t h s o m e p r e c e d e n t in H e r a c l i t u s , w h o
I References to the Three Dialogues a r e b y page n u m b e r in The Works
g a v e c u r r e n c y t o the e x t e n d e d n o t i o n of a p p e a r a n c e w h e r e b y
of George Berkeley, ed. A. A. L u c e a n d T . E. Jessop, vol. ii ( L o n d o n ,
104 72
PROCEEDINGS O F T H E BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES
q u a l i t i e s exist i n t h e m i n d w h i c h p e r c e i v e s theni.^ I n this lec-
W e a r e b a c k , it seems, w i t h D e m o c r i t u s , e x c e p t t h a t t h e s c e n e
ture I shall be m o r e concerned with the resemblances than w i t h
h a s s h i f t e d to t h e m o r a l s p h e r e . A n d t h a t is n o n o v e l t y e i t h e r .
t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n B e r k e l e y a n d P r o t a g o r a s , b u t in v i e w of
t h e d i f f e r e n c e j u s t n o t e d w e s h o u l d in p r i n c i p l e c o u n t Berkeley's For Democritus probably modelled his reasoning on a p a t t e r n
a fifth c o n c l u s i o n f r o m t h e p r e m i s s of c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s . of a r g u m e n t w h i c h o r i g i n a t e d i n f i f t h - c e n t u r y d e b a t e s a b o u t
T h e c o n c l u s i o n , n a m e l y , t h a t e a c h a p p e a r a n c e reveals a dis- w h e t h e r justice a n d other values are natural or conventional.
t i n c t b u t m e n t a l existence. I n o n e f o r m o r a n o t h e r , a n c i e n t d r a m a is still b e i n g r e p e a t e d .
T h a t m o r e o r less c o m p l e t e s m y c a s t of p e r f o r m e r s . T h e m i n o r
T h e issue b e t w e e n B e r k e l e y a n d P r o t a g o r a s b r e a k s o u t a g a i n
in twentieth-century disputes about whether sense-data are roles c a n b e filled as t h e y a r e n e e d e d . I t r e m a i n s to s p o t l i g h t
m e n t a l o r m e r e l y d e p e n d e n t for t h e i r e x i s t e n c e on a m i n d t h e c r i t i c i n t h e a u d i e n c e . I n Sense and Sensibilia, well a w a r e
perceiving them. For in t h e twentieth century arguments f r o m t h a t h e is a t t a c k i n g a t r a d i t i o n of t h o u g h t w h i c h goes b a c k t o
c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s h a v e f r e q u e n t l y b e e n u s e d to e s t a b l i s h Heraclitus (pp. 1-2), Austin writes:
t h a t w h a t w e p e r c e i v e is s e n s e - d a t a r a t h e r t h a n p h y s i c a l o b j e c t s . W h a t is wrong, what is even faintly surprising, in the idea of a stick's
Russell, f o r e x a m p l e , in The Problems of Philosophy^ c h a p , i, a r g u e s being straight b u t looking bent sometimes? Does anyone suppose that
t h a t b e c a u s e a t a b l e a p p e a r s t o b e of d i f f e r e n t c o l o u r s a n d o f dif- if something is straight, then it jolly well has to look straight at all times
f e r e n t s h a p e s f r o m d i f f e r e n t p o i n t s of v i e w , as t h e result of v a r i a - a n d in all circumstances,^ Obviously n o one seriously supposes this.
tions i n l i g h t i n g a n d p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e r e f o r e we d o n o t see t h e r e a l (P· 29)
c o l o u r o r t h e r e a l s h a p e of t h e t a b l e . W e m a y say, f o r the p u r p o s e s
T h e fact is, as w e h a v e s e e n , m a n y p h i l o s o p h e r s h a v e s u p p o s e d
of o r d i n a r y p r a c t i c a l life, t h a t t h e r e a l c o l o u r of t h e t a b l e is b r o w n
e x a c t l y this. T h e y h a v e a p p e a l e d t o cases of c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r -
a n d its r e a l s h a p e r e c t a n g u l a r , b u t all w e a c t u a l l y see is a series
a n c e s in o r d e r t o call i n q u e s t i o n t h e u n q u a l i f i e d l a n g u a g e
of a p p e a r a n c e s (sense-data) n o o n e o f w h i c h h a s m o r e r i g h t
i n w h i c h w e o r d i n a r i l y a t t r i b u t e sensible q u a l i t i e s , m o r a l
t h a n its c o m p e t i t o r s to s t a n d a s t h e t a b l e ' s r e a l c o l o u r or s h a p e .
p r o p e r t i e s , a n d so o n , a n d t h e y h a v e d o n e s o in a m a n n e r
O t h e r t h e o r i s t s i n t r o d u c e s e n s e - d a t a b y w a y of ' t h e a r g u m e n t
p l a i n l y p r e s u p p o s i n g t h a t it w o u l d o n l y be c o r r e c t to say w i t h o u t
f r o m i l l u s i o n ' , b u t o f t e n , i n A y e r f o r e x a m p l e {The Foundations
f u r t h e r q u a l i f i c a t i o n t h a t h o n e y is sweet a n d t h e stick s t r a i g h t ,
of Empirical Knowledge, p . 3 ) , this is j u s t t h e s a m e a r g u m e n t
u n d e r a n o t h e r n a m e . T h e o n l y d i f f e r e n c e is t h a t it is p r e s u p - o r t h a t m a r r y i n g o n e ' s sister is w r o n g , if it a p p e a r e d so t o ail
p o s e d — o u r m o r e sceptical c h a r a c t e r s m i g h t s a y g r a t u i t o u s l y alike.
p r e s u p p o s e d — t h a t we k n o w w h i c h a p p e a r a n c e is c o r r e c t a n d
II
w h i c h t h e illusion.
W h a t e m e r g e s f r o m t h i s b r i e f h i s t o r i c a l r e v i e w is a t y p i c a l
C o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s c o n t i n u e t o b e p o p u l a r in m o r a l p h i l o s o p h i c a l p r o b l e m . I d o n o t m e a n the p r o b l e m of d e c i d i n g
p h i l o s o p h y also. M o s t r e c e n t l y , J . L . M a c k i e (Ethics'. Inventing w h a t does f o l l o w f r o m t h e p r e m i s s t h a t a p p e a r a n c e s c o n f l i c t .
Right and Wrong, chaps. 8 a n d 10) h a s a p p e a l e d t o the r a d i c a l F o r t h e a n s w e r t o t h a t q u e s t i o n , I believe, is t h a t n o t h i n g fol-
d i v e r g e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e m o r a l codes o f d i f f e r e n t g r o u p s a n d l o w s : n o t h i n g of a n y e p i s t e m o l o g i e al s i g n i f i c a n c e a t all. T h e
societies as s u p p o r t for t h e thesis t h a t v a l u e s a r e n o t p a r t o f t h e p r o b l e m r a t h e r is to d i s c o v e r w h y so m a n y c o n f l i c t i n g c o n -
o b j e c t i v e f a b r i c o f the w o r l d . If t h e y w e r e o b j e c t i v e , h e t h i n k s , clusions h a v e b e e n t h o u g h t to follow. W h y h a v e some philo-
it w o u l d be h a r d to e x p l a i n t h e d i v e r g e n c e s a n d d i s a g r e e m e n t s . s o p h e r s b e e n so i m p r e s s e d , w h i l e o t h e r s like A u s t i n r e m a i n
W h e r e a s if t h e y a r e i n f a c t s u b j e c t i v e , w e c a n e x p l a i n t h e e r r o - unimpressed, b y the familiar fact that appearances conflict?
neous c l a i m to objectivity which seems to be built into m o r a l W h a t assumptions, spoken or unspoken, are at work to m a k e
l a n g u a g e . I t is a p r o j e c t i o n of s u b j e c t i v e p r e f e r e n c e s a n d l o c a l t h e f a m i l i a r f a c t seem p r o b l e m a t i c ?
p r a c t i c e s w h i c h a r e felt t o b e in n e e d of e x t e r n a l v a l i d a t i o n .
T h a t t h e a n s w e r is t o b e s o u g h t , a t least s o m e t i m e s , a t t h e
I See m y ' I d e a l i s m a n d G r e e k Philosophy; W h a t Descartes S a w a n d level of u n s p o k e n a s s u m p t i o n s m a y begin t o l o o k likely if w e
Berkeley Missed', i n G. N. A . Vesey ed.. Idealism Past and Present (Royal r e t u r n to A u s t i n ' s r e m a r k t h a t n o o n e seriously s u p p o s e s t h a t
Institute of PhilosoDhv Lectures i q riQ78/ql, forthcoming:). if somethingr is s t r a i g h t , t h e n it j o l l y well h a s t o look s t r a i g h t
74 PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 75

a t a l l t i m e s a n d in all c i r c u m s t a n c e s . W e h a v e a l r e a d y seen (2') If w e k n o w w h e t h e r s o m e t h i n g is i n h e r e n t l y / r e a l l y / i n


t h a t , t a k e n as a claim a b o u t t h e h i s t o r i c a l r e c o r d , this is w r o n g . itself F , t h e n it a p p e a r s F t o all observers o r it a p p e a r s n o t -
I t h a s to be w r o n g b e c a u s e t h e f o l l o w i n g t w o p r o p o s i t i o n s a r e Fto all.
equivalent b y the rule of contraposition :
B u t I c a n find n o clear i n s t a n c e o f (2') in t h e l e n g t h y e p i s t e m o -
(1) I f s o m e t h i n g a p p e a r s F to s o m e o b s e r v e r s a n d not-i^ l o g i c a l d i s q u i s i t i o n s of S e x t u s ' Outlines of Pyrrhonism a n d Ad-
t o o t h e r s , t h e n i t is n o t i n h e r e n t l y / r e a l l y / i n itself F. versus Mathematicos. O n c e or t w i c e we c a t c h a g l i m p s e o f (2)
(2) I f s o m e t h i n g is i n h e r e n t l y / r e a l i y / i n itself F, then it a p p e a r s {PH\. 177, iii. 179, ? M vili. 3 7 ) , b u t it is t h e e x c e p t i o n r a t h e r
F t o all observers o r it a p p e a r s not-F t o all. t h a n the r u l e . S i m i l a r l y w i t h Berkeley, I c o u n t s o m e e i g h t
A n d f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f t h e p r e s e n t discussion we m a y s i m p l y i n s t a n c e s of ( i ) in t h e first Dialogue,^ as a g a i n s t a m e r e c o u p l e
b r a c k e t off a s i r r e l e v a n t t h e s e c o n d d i s j u n c t i n (2). F o r n o o n e , o f instances of (2), a n d t h e s e last a r e in a n y c a s e c o n f u s e d w i t h
o r n o o n e e x c e p t possibly B e r k e l e y ' s H y l a s i n a m o m e n t of s o m e t h i n g d i f f e r e n t (see V b e l o w ) . As for R u s s e l l ' s t r e a t m e n t
d i a l e c t i c a l d e s p e r a t i o n {Three Dialogues^ p p . 181-3, 1 8 7 ) , is o f these issues in The Problems of Philosophy^ i t is all b a s e d o n
g o i n g t o p r o p o s e t h a t f o r a t h i n g t o b e r e a l l y F it m u s t a p p e a r ( i ) with n o t so m u c h as a h i n t of (2).
o t h e r w i s e to e v e r y o b s e r v e r . T o b e s u r e , D e m o c r i t u s c l a i m s W^e m a y w o n d e r w h y p e o p l e s h o u l d b e s h y of t a k i n g t h e i r
t h a t t h e real properties of things a r e h i d d e n , i.e. do n o t a p p e a r s t a n d on f o r m u l a t i o n (2). A n d w h y , for t h a t m a t t e r , A u s t i n
t o a n y of u s : ' M a n m u s t k n o w b y t h i s r u l e , t h a t he is c u t o f f s h o u l d s e e m i n g l y h a v e f a i l e d to n o t i c e t h a t w h a t he says n o o n e
f r o m t h e r e a l ' (frag. 6 ) , ' I n r e a l i t y w e k n o w n o t h i n g ; f o r t h e w o u l d seriously s u p p o s e is j u s t a r e f o r m u l a t i o n of t h e sort of
t r u t h is in t h e d e p t h s ' ( f r a g . 117). B u t D e m o c r i t u s c l a i m s this, v i e w he h a s b e e n s h o o t i n g a t all along. P e r h a p s t h e r e a s o n is
I t a k e it, n o t f r o m H y l a s ' m o t i v e b u t b e c a u s e h e a c c e p t s ( i ) , t h a t (2) is manifestly i m p l a u s i b l e i n some w a y t h a t ( i ) is n o t .
h e n c e also ( 2 ) , a n d h e c a n n o t find a n y i n s t a n c e w i t h i n h u m a n T h a t would i m p l y that ( i ) has b e e n persuasive because it w r a p s
e x p e r i e n c e w h e r e s o m e t h i n g a p p e a r s F to everyone.^ H o n e y t h i n g s u p a b i t , keeps h i d d e n a n i n f l u e n c e w h i c h c o m e s closer
a n d t h e stick h a v e n o p r o p e r t i e s w h i c h a p p e a r t h e s a m e t o all t o t h e s u r f a c e in (2). I a m g o i n g to p r o p o s e t h a t t h e h i d d e n
o b s e r v e r s , so t h e y themselves a r e m e r e l y p h e n o m e n a l , t h e e f f e c t i n f l u e n c e is a c e r t a i n u n d e c l a r e d p i c t u r e or m o d e l of w h a t p e r -
o n h u m a n sensibility o f t h e m o t i o n s o f a t o m s : ' I n r e a l i t y w e c e p t i o n is o r o u g h t to b e like. I t is a n i n a p p r o p r i a t e p i c t u r e ,
k n o w n o t h i n g o f a n y t h i n g , b u t belief is a f l o w i n g in u p o n e a c h even more inappropriate w h e n carried over into the moral
of u s ' ( f r a g . 7 ; cf. frag. 9).^ T h u s w i t h i n t h e m a c r o s c o p i c w o r l d s p h e r e , a n d f o r t h a t r e a s o n it is n o t s o m e t h i n g a p h i l o s o p h e r
of h u m a n e x p e r i e n c e t h e s e c o n d d i s j u n c t of (2) is not o p e r a t i v e will r e a d i l y a c k n o w l e d g e , e v e n t o himself
f o r D e m o c r i t u s either. A n d (2) w i t h o u t its s e c o n d d i s j u n c t is T h e r e a r e , I fear, o b v i o u s p i t f a l l s in t h e w a y of a d i a g n o s i s
t h e v e r y t h i n g t h a t A u s t i n said n o o n e seriously supposes t o b e s u c h as this. T h e h i s t o r y of p h i l o s o p h y m u s t respect its texts
t h e case. a n d the a r g u m e n t s in t h o s e texts, a n d if o n e is going to suggest
W h a t is t r u e is t h a t a t o t a l l y explicit t e x t for (2) is r e m a r k a b l y t h a t t h e r e is m o r e to a n a r g u m e n t t h a n a p p e a r s in the t e x t o n e
h a r d t o find. I n o n e v e r s i o n o r a n o t h e r f o r m u l a t i o n ( i ) a b o u n d s . n e e d s to h a v e g o o d g r o u n d s i n t h e t e x t itself. W e h a v e all k n o w n
T h e a r g u m e n t s cited f r o m D e m o c r i t u s a n d P r o t a g o r a s , B e r k e l e y occasions w h e n it was r e a s o n a b l e t o say of s o m e o n e , ' H e o n l y
a n d R u s s e l l , all rest on ( i ) , w h i l e S e x t u s q u i t e f r e q u e n t l y a p p l i e s m a i n t a i n s t h a t b e c a u s e a t s o m e level he t h i n k s t h a t q, a l t h o u g h
its e p i s t e m i c c o u n t e r p a r t h e m i g h t n o t a c c e p t q if h e w a s explicitly a s k e d a b o u t it.' But
w e also k n o w t h a t this t y p e of diagnosis c a n b e a b u s e d , a n d in
( i ' ) I f s o m e t h i n g a p p e a r s F to s o m e o b s e r v e r s a n d n o t - F t h e history o f p h i l o s o p h y it h a s s o m e t i m e s b e e n a b u s e d . Being
to others, then w e do not k n o w (cannot determine) m i n d f u l , t h e r e f o r e , of t h e d a n g e r s a h e a d , I p r o p o s e to set o u t
w h e t h e r i t is i n h e r e n t l y / r e a l l y / i n itself Κ f r o m a . d e t a i l e d t e x t u a l e x a m i n a t i o n of o n e of t h e a r g u m e n t s
( i ' ) in t u r n transposes t o f r o m c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s w h e r e , if I a m r i g h t , the i n f l u e n c e
' See D i e l s - K r a n z , Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker^ 68 A i ï 2 , A 135 §§ 63-4, of a n i n a p p r o p r i a t e m o d e l of p e r c e p t i o n c a n b e d i s c e r n e d .
69-70.
^ See f u r t h e r D i e l s - K r a n z , 67 A 32, 68 A 37, A 57. ' pp. i80j 181, 185,? 186, 189 (3 times), 191.
104
PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY 77
CONFLICTING APPEARANCES
B u t a t o n c e w e f a c e a h i s t o r i c a l p r o b l e m . W e c a n n o t go d i - touch h a d been large, white, or hot, it would never have b e c o m e
rectly to P r o t a g o r a s or D e m o c r i t u s , since t h e i r a r g u m e n t s s u r - d i f f e r e n t by b u m p i n g i n t o a d i f f e r e n t p e r c e i v e r , a t a n y r a t e n o t if i t
vive o n l y i n s e c o n d - h a n d r e p o r t s ; a n d H e r a c l i t u s p r e f e r r e d d i d n ' t u n d e r g o a n y c h a n g e itself A n d o n t h e other h a n d , if w h a t d o e s
g n o m i c p a r a d o x t o the m u n d a n e p r o c e s s of g e t t i n g f r o m t h e m e a s u r i n g o r t o u c h i n g h a d b e e n a n y o f those t h i n g s , t h e n a g a i n , i t
p r e m i s e s t o conclusions. T h e earliest r e a s o n e d a r g u m e n t o n w o u l d n ' t have b e c o m e different w h e n a n o t h e r thing c a m e u p against
o u r s u b j e c t w h i c h w e c a n s t u d y in t h e o r i g i n a l w o r d s is a n it, or t h e thing w h i c h c a m e u p a g a i n s t it h a d s o m e t h i n g h a p p e n t o i t :
a r g u m e n t i n P l a t o ' s Theaetetiis o n b e h a l f of P r o t a g o r e a n rela^ n o t if i t h a d n ' t , itself, h a d a n y t h i n g h a p p e n to it.^
tivism, o c c u r r i n g i n a p a s s a g e (153 D - 1 5 4 B) w h i c h has n e v e r , S o c r a t e s ' a i m i n this p a s s a g e is t o establish o n b e h a l f of
I t h i n k , b e e n g i v e n the e x t e n d e d discussion it deserves. P r o t a - P r o t a g o r a s t h a t sensible q u a l i t i e s like h o t a n d c o l d , w h i t e a n d
g o r a s is t h e b e n e f i c i a r y of t h e a r g u m e n t , n o t its a u t h o r : t h e r e b l a c k , are essentially r e l a t i v e t o t h e i n d i v i d u a l p e r c e i v i n g s u b -
is e v e r y r e a s o n t o think t h a t t h e a r g u m e n t is a dialectical j e c t . T h i s thesis is e x p r e s s e d i n t w o c o n n e c t e d w a y s , (a) T h e
c o n s t r u c t i o n b y P l a t o himself, r a t h e r t h a n s o m e t h i n g e x t r a c t e d c o l o u r white, f o r e x a m p l e , is n o t t o b e l o c a t e d i n (153 D 9 - E I)
f r o m P r o t a g o r a s ' o w n w r i t i n g s . C o n s e q u e n t l y w e must b e a r or i d e n t i f i e d w i t h (154 A 1 - 2 ) e i t h e r t h e object p e r c e i v e d o r t h e
in m i n d t h a t w e shall be v i e w i n g t h e a r g u m e n t i n a d o u b l e e y e o f the p e r c e i v e r . I t is n o t a d i s t i n c t t h i n g e x i s t i n g a n y w h e r e
p e r s p e c t i v e , o u r o w n a n d P l a t o ' s . T h i s is P l a t o ' s a t t e m p t t o a t all, b u t w h e n a n eye l i g h t s on^ w h a t we w o u l d o r d i n a r i l y
b r i n g o u t t h e k i n d of t h i n k i n g w h i c h l e a d s to a relativistic d e s c r i b e as a w h i t e stick o r a w h i t e stone,^ s o m e t h i n g o c c u r s
a c c o u n t o f sensible qualities, so it a l r e a d y c o n t a i n s a n e l e m e n t b e t w e e n t h e m a n d it is i n t h i s t r a n s a c t i o n t h a t t h e colour w h i t e
of d i a g n o s i s . I b e l i e v e , h o w e v e r , t h a t P l a t o ' s d i a g n o s i s is o n t h e arises o r c o m e s t o be. I n o t h e r w o r d s , t h e c o l o u r is a r e l a t i o n a l
r i g h t lines, a n d t h a t all w e n e e d d o is c o m p l e t e t h e j o b he b e g a n . h a p p e n i n g o r o c c u r r e n c e , essentially i n v o l v i n g b o t h p a r t i e s t o
the perceptual encounter (153 D-154 W N e i t h e r the object
seen n o r t h e p e r c e i v i n g s u b j e c t is i n itself w h i t e ( 1 5 4 B). I n d e e d ,
Ill n o t h i n g is in itself a n y o n e t h i n g a t all ( 153 e 4 - 5 , r e f e r r i n g b a c k
153D SOCRATES. W e l l t h e n , y o u m u s t t h i n k like this. I n t h e case o f t h e t o 152 D).
eyes, first, y o u m u s t n ' t think o f w h a t you c a l l w h i t e c o l o u r as b e i n g
T h e s e two formulations a d d u p to a proposal to treat t e r m s
s o m e d i s t i n c t t h i n g outside y o u r eyes, or i n y o u r eyes e i t h e r — i n f a c t
like ' h o t ' a n d ' c o l d ' , ' w h i t e ' a n d ' b l a c k ' , a s i n c o m p l e t e o r
E y o u m u s t n ' t assign a n y place t o i t ; b e c a u s e i n t h a t case i t w o u l d , s u r e l y ,
b e a t its a s s i g n e d p l a c e a n d i n a s t a t e of rest, r a t h e r t h a n c o m i n g t o b e .
r e l a t i o n a l p r e d i c a t e s . F r o m f o r m u l a t i o n [b) i n its P r o t a g o r e a n
THE AE TETUS. W e l l , h o w c a n I think of i t ? c o n t e x t we m a y g a t h e r t h a t n o s e n t e n c e of t h e f o r m 'x is w h i t e '
SOCRATES. L e t ' s follow w h a t w e said j u s t n o w , a n d l a y it d o w n t h a t is t r u e as it s t a n d s , w i t h o u t a q u a l i f y i n g c l a u s e s p e c i f y i n g a
n o t h i n g is o n e t h i n g j u s t b y itself. O n those lines, w e ' l l find t h a t b l a c k , p e r c e i v e r for w h o m it is t r u e . T h i s gives us t h e result t h a t t h e
w h i t e , o r a n y o t h e r colour will t u r n o u t to h a v e c o m e i n t o being, f r o m c o l o u r w h i t e is essentially r e l a t i o n a l a n d its o c c u r r e n c e s s h o u l d
154A t h e collision o f t h e eyes w i t h t h e a p p r o p r i a t e m o t i o n . W h a t w e s a y ' Q u o t e d in t h e transladon of J o h n McDowell, Plato— Theaeteius ( O x f o r d ,
a g i v e n c o l o u r is w i l l b e n e i t h e r t h e t h i n g w h i c h collides, n o r t h e t h i n g 1973), with the following modifications : [a) Socrates' last speech a t 154 Β
it collides w i t h , b u t s o m e t h i n g w h i c h h a s c o m e i n t o b e i n g b e t w e e n 1 ff. should begin w i t h an inferential 'Surely then', not McDowell's 'Well
t h e m ; something private to e a c h one. O r w o u l d y o u b e p r e p a r e d to n o w ' (the Greek is ούκοΰν), a n d should n o t b e spaced off from 154 A as a
insist t l i a t e v e r y c o l o u r a p p e a r s t o a d o g , o r a n y o t h e r l i v i n g thing, j u s t s e p a r a t e p a r a g r a p h designed to set a puzzle (McDowell, pp. 19, 131).
the w a y it a p p e a r s to you? {b) A t 154 Β 2 McDowell has ' b u m p i n g i n t o a different person', w h e r e the
THEAETETus. Certainly not. G r e e k is not so specific and w h e r e we should allow for t h e animal perceivers
cited in 154 A. (C) For ίδιον at 154 A 2 McDowell has 'peculiar', b u t it is
SOCRATES. A n d w h a t a b o u t a n o t h e r m a n ? Is t h e w a y a n y t h i n g
not misleading t o use the epistemologically loaded t e r m 'private' (cf 161 D,
a p p e a r s t o h i m like t h e w a y i t a p p e a r s to y o u ? C a n y o u insist o n t h a t ? 166 c).
O r w o u l d n ' t y o u m u c h r a t h e r s a y t h a t it d o e s n ' t a p p e a r t h e s a m e e v e n
2 I choose this English expression to counterbalance t h e exaggeratedly
t o yourself, b e c a u s e y o u ' r e n e v e r i n a s i m i l a r c o n d i t i o n t o y o u r s e l f ? somatic overtones of McDowell's translation in terms of colliding a n d
T H E A E T E T U S . Yes, I t h i n k t h a t ' s n e a r e r t h e t r u t h t h a n tlie first b u m p i n g , προσβάλλειν is used of the sun's rays striking the earth a n d in
alternative. similar cases.
Β SOCRATES. S u r e l y then, if w h a t we m e a s u r e ourseh^es a g a i n s t o r ^ For the examples, cf. 156 E.
104 PROCEEDINGS O F T H E BRITISH ACADEMY
CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 79
c a n o n i c a l l y b e r e p r e s e n t e d i n s e n t e n c e s o f t h e f o r m 'x i s / b e -
e v e n t of t h e k i n d w e w o u l d o r d i n a r i l y d e s c r i b e as t h e s e e i n g
c o m e s w h i t e f o r s o - a n d - s o ' . B u t n o w , if t h a t is so, there is n o
of a w h i t e s t o n e ( ' m e a s u r i n g o u r s e l v e s a g a i n s t ' is P r o t a g o r e a n
u n q u a l i f i e d p r e d i c a t e ' w h i t e ' to be a b s t r a c t e d f r o m its p r e d i -
f o r p e r c e i v i n g o f a n y k i n d ) . T h e n , first, t h e s t o n e c a n n o t b e
cative position a n d made t h e subject of t h e definitional question
w h i t e in itself o r else, so l o n g as it s u f f e r e d n o c h a n g e , it w o u l d
' W h a t is w h i t e ? ' . T h e r e is n o such t h i n g a s ( b e i n g ) white sim-
a p p e a r w h i t e t o a n y o t h e r p e r c e i v e r . S e c o n d , t h e s u b j e c t of
pUciter, o n l y w h i t e for y o u a n d w h i t e f o r me.^ H e n c e , finally,
p e r c e p t i o n c a n n o t itself b e w h i t e e i t h e r , or else, so long a s it
f o r m u l a t i o n (a) : w h i t e is n o t a d i s t i n c t t h i n g existing i n t h e
s u f f e r e d n o c h a n g e , it w o u l d see e v e r y t h i n g w h i t e : i n c l u d i n g
s u b j e c t o r i n t h e o b j e c t of p e r c e p t i o n .
t h e s t o n e we s t a r t e d w i t h , s u p p o s i n g t h a t to h a v e b e e n p a i n t e d
W e n o w h a v e a thesis: sensible q u a l i t i e s like h o t a n d c o l d , red.^ M o r e g e n e r a l l y , if s e n s i b l e q u a l i t i e s i n h e r e i n t h e o b j e c t s
w h i t e a n d b l a c k , a r e essentially r e l a t i v e t o p e r c e i v e r s . W h a t of p e r c e p t i o n , t h e y o u g h t t o m a k e themselves a p p a r e n t to e v e r y
are the g r o u n d s for accepting it? T h e y are not, as c o m m e n - p e r c e i v e r alike, r e g a r d l e s s of d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n p e r c e i v e r s
t a t o r s s o m e t i m e s suggest,^ g r o u n d s p e r t a i n i n g to a t h e o r y of t h e o r c h a n g e s i n t h e c o n d i t i o n of a s i n g l e p e r c e i v e r ; if, a l t e r n a -
m e c h a n i s m of p e r c e p t i o n . T h e thesis is m e a n t to b e e s t a b l i s h e d t i v e l y , they i n h e r e in t h e p e r c e i v i n g subject, t h e n c o n v e r s e l y
i n d e p e n d e n t l y of a n y d e t a i l e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e c o m m e r c e their a p p e a r a n c e should n o t be affected by differences a n d
b e t w e e n p e r c e i v e r a n d p e r c e i v e d ; ^ i n d e e d , t h e t h e s i s will s h a p e c h a n g e s in t h e o b j e c t s p e r c e i v e d . B u t it is a f a c t of e x p e r i e n c e
t h e t h e o r y of p e r c e p t i o n to b e e l a b o r a t e d i n t h e d i a l o g u e ( 1 5 6 A f a m i l i a r to us all t h a t s e n s i b l e a p p e a r a n c e s v a r y w i t h d i f f e r -
ff.) r a t h e r t h a n b e i n g s h a p e d b y it. T h e a r g u m e n t f o r the r e l a - e n c e s a n d c h a n g e s o n e i t h e r side of t h e p e r c e p t u a l e n c o u n t e r .
tivity o f s e n s i b l e q u a l i t i e s is e n t i r e l y g e n e r a l , a n d its l e a d i n g S o w e are i n v i t e d t o d r a w t h e d e s i r e d c o n c l u s i o n : s e n s i b l e
p r e m i s s is t h e c o n f l i c t of s e n s i b l e a p p e a r a n c e s . q u a l i t i e s are essentially r e l a t i v e to t h e i n d i v i d u a l p e r c e i v e r .
S o c r a t e s i n 154 A m e n t i o n s t h r e e t y p e s of v a r i a t i o n or c o n f l i c t
T h a t is t h e a r g u m e n t , a n d a t first r e a d i n g it m a y n o t s e e m
b e t w e e n a p p e a r a n c e s , i n a classification t h a t w a s t o b e c o m e
a significant a d v a n c e . T h e w o r d s O r would y o u be p r e p a r e d
traditional. Colour appearances vary between m a n and other
to insist . . . ' a t 1 5 4 A 2 - 3 i n d i c a t e t h a t it is t h e conflict of
a n i m a l s , b e t w e e n o n e m a n a n d a n o t h e r , a n d b e t w e e n one t i m e
a p p e a r a n c e s w h i c h is to s h o w t h a t colours a r e n o t i n h e r e n t
a n d a n o t h e r w i t h i n t h e e x p e r i e n c e of a s i n g l e man.'^ S o c r a t e s
in t h e object o r t h e s u b j e c t , b u t r e l a t i o n a l . T h a t is, in 153 E -
a c t u a l l y i m p l i e s t h e strongest possible c l a i m , t h a t n o two c o l o u r
4 A t h e a r g u m e n t rests o n ( i ) . B u t t h e n S o c r a t e s p r o c e e d s i n
a p p e a r a n c e s a r e alike, b u t I w a n t to l e a v e t h a t aside for t h e
154 Β to spell o u t his a r g u m e n t in t e r m s of (2). A n d w e h a v e
m o m e n t . I t will b e sufficient f o r t h e a r g u m e n t S o c r a t e s h a s i n
a l r e a d y seen t h a t (2) is j u s t a r e f o r m u l a t i o n of ( i ) ; it p r o v i d e s
view t o s t a r t f r o m t h e m o r e m o d e s t c l a i m t h a t v a r i a t i o n s d o
n o a d d i t i o n a l s u p p o r t for t h e c o n c l u s i o n he w i s h e s to d r a w .
o c c u r . F o r h e asserts a t 154 Β t h a t this is i n c o m p a t i b l e w i t h
a t t r i b u t i n g sensible qualities c i t h e r to t h e o b j e c t o r t o t h e s u b - B u t this dismissive j u d g e m e n t is p r e m a t u r e . I n t h e first
j e c t of p e r c e p t i o n . p l a c e , we s h o u l d b e g r a t e f u l to P l a t o for p u t t i n g t h e e m p h a s i s
o n f o r m u l a t i o n (2), t h e t h i n g A u s t i n said n o o n e w o u l d seri-
W e m a y e l u c i d a t e his c l a i m as follows. T a k e , a s before, a n o u s l y suppose. G i v e n t h e r a r i t y of (2) in l a t e r p h i l o s o p h e r s ,
it is n o t to b e a s s u m e d t h a t it w a s p r o m i n e n t i n e a r l i e r p r e s e n -
^ T h e abstraction-move underlying δ δή εκαστον είναί φαμεν χρώμα (153 ^ 7"
154 Α ι) is standard in Plato: sec G. E. L. Owen, 'Dialectic and Eristic in
t a t i o n s of t h e l i n e of t h o u g h t w h i c h P l a t o is r e c o n s t r u c t i n g .
the Treatment of the Forms', in G. E. L. Owen ed., Aristotle on Dialectic W e c a n also t h a n k P l a t o f o r m a k i n g a b s o l u t e l y explicit t h e
(Oxford, 1968), pp. 114-15. i m p o r t a n t point that with either formulation the a r g u m e n t
2 e.g. F. M. Cornford, Plato's Theory of Knowledge (London, 1935), p. 40, o n l y applies o n t h e a s s u m p t i o n t h a t t h e t h i n g w e are t a l k i n g
McDowell, op. cit., p. 131. a b o u t remains u n c h a n g e d (cf Ayer. pp. 14-15). Second, (i)
3 Witness the difficulty (adverted to by McDowell, pp. 130-1) of fitting a n d (2) as f o r m u l a t e d c o n c e r n o n l y t h e o b j e c t o f p e r c e p t i o n ,
the language used to describe perception here into the more detailed story
that comes later. w h i l e S o c r a t e s ' a r g u m e n t f o r a r e l a t i v i s t i c a c c o u n t of s e n s i b l e
^ T h e first two types of variation correspond to the first two of the T e n ' It was, I think, R. Hackforth, 'Notes on Plato's Theaetetus\ Mnemosyne
A'lodes of Pyrrhonian scepticism, the third is expanded in a number of the
series 4, 10 (1957), p. 130, who first made sense of ή τι ttoÔôvtos (154 β 5)5
remaining Modes (Sext. Emp. PH1. QÖff.l.
such q u a l i t y . A n d , b y "a like a r g u m e n t , t h e skin is p r o v e d UOL luseu liïf
qualities comes i n two halves. O n e half a t t e n d s t o the o b j e c t
o w n t h e quality, w h i c h is h e n c e possessed b y nothing, ( p p . 9 - 1 0 )
of p e r c e p t i o n , t h e other tackles t h e c u r i o u s - s o u n d i n g suggestion
t h a t t h e t h i n g w h i c h is w h i t e in itself, o r the t h i n g where t h e T h e resemblances a r e striking. W h e t h e r Bradley h a d the Theae-
whiteness is to b e found, is t h e perceiving subject. W h y s h o u l d tetus passage i n m i n d I d o n o t k n o w . I f h e did, h e p r e f e r r e d t o
a n y o n e suppose t h a t ? A n d , if he did, w h a t on e a r t h w o u l d c h a n g e the a r g u m e n t , for B r a d l e y ' s reason for d e n y i n g c o l o u r
h e m e a n b y it? t o t h e eye is t h a t it is only c o l o u r e d w h e n seen b y a second eye,
I n his a d m i r a b l e c o m m e n t a r y on t h e Theaetetus J o h n M c - w h i c h seems t o a s s u m e t h e conclusion t o be p r o v e d . But a t least
Dowell suggests^ t h a t the issue is not w h e t h e r t h e perceiver is h e r e is one serious p h i l o s o p h e r witnessing to t h e r e l e v a n c e in
c o l o u r e d w h i t e b u t w h e t h e r h e is seeing white. A perceiver this sort of c o n t e x t of t h e t h o u g h t t h a t the c o l o u r of t h e eye
c a n n o t b e said, i n the o r d i n a r y u n q u a l i f i e d way, t o be seeing m i g h t be the s o u r c e of t h e c o l o u r w e see. A n d t h e r e is a n o t h e r
w h i t e unless, so l o n g as h e u n d e r g o e s n o c h a n g e , h e sees e v e r y - resemblance. A l t h o u g h B r a d l e y e n d o r s e s the a r g u m e n t , a n d will
t h i n g w h i t e ; i.e. it is a c o n d i t i o n of his seeing w h i t e at all t h a t l a t e r (pp. 12 f.) s a y t h a t it a p p l i e s e q u a l l y to p r i m a r y qualities,
h e sees o n l y w h i t e , not also o t h e r colours. I d o n o t think this his a t t i t u d e to it h a s n o n e t h e less a certain d e t a c h m e n t his
c a n be t h e r i g h t r e a d i n g of t h e text. F o r o n e t h i n g , it involves p r e s e n t a t i o n , like Plato's, is m i x e d w i t h diagnosis. So it is n o t
u n d e r s t a n d i n g ' a n y of t h o s e things' (154 Β 4) a s taking u p w i t h o u t interest t h a t h e s t a r t s off w i t h t h a t r a r e thing, a c l e a r
' m e a s u r i n g or t o u c h i n g ' , i.e. perceiving, r a t h e r t h a n ' l a r g e , a n d explicit v e r s i o n of (2) ; Ά t h i n g . . . either h a s a q u a l i t y o r
white, o r h o t ' , w h i c h is t h e obvious r e f e r e n c e f o r the p h r a s e . h a s n o t got it. A n d , if it h a s , it c a n n o t h a v e it o n l y s o m e t i m e s
M c D o w e l l only makes t h e suggestion b e c a u s e h e finds it o b - a n d merely i n this o r t h a t r e l a t i o n . '
scure ' w h y a n y o n e might b e t h o u g h t t o w a n t t o say (except T h e second passage for c o m p a r i s o n is Sextus on t h e s u b j e c t
for obviously i r r e l e v a n t reasons) t h a t a n eye is w h i t e ' ; w h y , of p e r c e p t i o n :
in o t h e r words, t h e r e s h o u l d b e a n issue as to w h e t h e r t h e S u f f e r e r s f r o m j a u n d i c e say t h a t things w h i c h a p p e a r white to us a r e
subject of p e r c e p t i o n , as o p p o s e d to its o b j e c t , is i n itself col- yellow, and t h o s e whose eyes a r e b l o o d s h o t say t h e y are b l o o d - r e d .
o u r e d . W h y i n d e e d ? T h i s is exactly t h e sort of h e r m e n e u t i c Since, then, s o m e animals also h a v e yellow eyes, o t h e r s bloodshot eyes,
puzzle in t h e f a c e of w h i c h it b e c o m e s r e a s o n a b l e to p r o b e o t h e r s albino, a n d others eyes of yet a n o t h e r colour, i t is likely, I t h i n k ,
for u n s p o k e n assumptions u n d e r l y i n g t h e surface text. t h a t they h a v e a d i f f e r e n t p e r c e p t i o n o f colours. ( Ρ Ι ί i . 44)
W i t h this in m i n d I w a n t to b r i n g to b e a r o n o u r text t w o W h y is it likely? D o t h i n g s r e a l l y look b l o o d - r e d w h e n y o u
passages f r o m l a t e r writers, o n e a n c i e n t a n d o n e m o d e r n . I n w a k e u p f r o m a h e a v y d r i n k i n g - b o u t with bloodshot eyes?
t h e first c h a p t e r of Appearance and Reality B r a d l e y presents t h e I w a n t to suggest t h a t a n y o n e w h o t h i n k s it likely is in t h e g r i p
following a r g u m e n t against t h e reality of s e c o n d a r y qualities : of a certain p i c t u r e or m o d e l of p e r c e p t i o n . I f one t h i n k s of
W e assume t h a t a t h i n g m u s t b e self-consistent a n d self-dependent. I t visual p e r c e p t i o n as a m a t t e r of looking o u t t h r o u g h t h e eyes
either h a s a q u a l i t y or has n o t g o t it. A n d , if it has it, it c a n n o t h a v e it as t h r o u g h a w i n d o w , t h e n c o l o u r e d eyes will b e like t h e t i n t e d
only sometimes, a n d merely i n this or t h a t r e l a t i o n . B u t s u c h a p r i n c i p l e spectacles f a v o u r e d b y m o d e r n philosophers of p e r c e p t i o n ,
is the c o n d e m n a t i o n of s e c o n d a r y qualities. o n l y f u r t h e r i n ; j u s t so, o n Sextus' e x p l a n a t i o n of the p h e n o m -
I t m a t t e r s very little h o w i n detail w e w o r k w i t h it. A t h i n g is e n o n (PH Ì. 126) yellow o r r e d in t h e eye is a n a d m i x t u r e of
coloured, b u t n o t coloured in t h e s a m e w a y to every e y e ; and, e x c e p t c o l o u r within t h e field of vision. S o m e animals look out t h r o u g h
to some eye, it seems n o t coloured a t all. Is it t h e n c o l o u r e d or not? A n d a yellow o r a b l o o d - r e d w i n d o w - p a n e , a n d so will you t o o if
t h e e y e — r e l a t i o n t o which a p p e a r s s o m e h o w to m a k e t h e q u a l i t y — y o u r eyes go yellow w i t h j a u n d i c e o r b l o o d - r e d f r o m d r i n k i n g
does t h a t itself possess colour? Clearly not so, unless t h e r e is a n o t h e r eye t o o m u c h . I f o r b e a r f r o m q u o t i n g Sextus' f u r t h e r r e m a r k s
which sees it. N o t h i n g therefore is really c o l o u r e d ; c o l o u r seems only to
belong to w h a t itself is colourless. A n d the s a m e result holds, again, w i t h ' Because h e thinks that at the common-sense level it is perfectly correct to
cold a n d h e a t . A t h i n g may b e cold or hot a c c o r d i n g t o different p a r t s say that secondary qualities, no less than primary, are ' a n actual p a r t of the
of m y skin; a n d , w i t h o u t some relation to a skin, it seems w i t h o u t a n y physical world' (p. 247). W h a t h e is most opposed to is the metaphysical
bifurcation of p r i m a r y and secondary qualities.
' op. cit., pp. 131-3.
104
PROCEEDINGS O F THE BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 83
{PH i. 4 7 ) a b o u t the s h a p e t h i n g s m u s t look t o a n i m a l s w h o s e it w o u l d b e c o r r e c t t o insist t h a t t h e e x p e r i e n c e of l o o k i n g
eyes h a v e s l a n t i n g or e l o n g a t e d p u p i l s . through g r e e n a n d t h e e x p e r i e n c e of looking at g r e e n a r e i m p o r -
I t s h o u l d n o t be t h o u g h t t h a t this is j u s t a p i e c e of a n t i q u e t a n t l y distinct. So those w h o cite t h e j a u n d i c e e x a m p l e a r e c o m -
p h y s i o l o g y . D e s c a r t e s , n o s t r a n g e r t o o p t i c s , c i t e s the e x a m p l e m i t t i n g a d o u b l e e r r o r o f f a c t if t h e y say w i t h o u t q u a l i f i c a t i o n
of a m a n w i t h j a u n d i c e t o w h o m t h i n g s look yellow b e c a u s e t h a t the c o n d i t i o n m a k e s t h i n g s l o o k yellow. F i r s t , t h e r e is n o
his eye is t i n g e d w i t h y e l l o w (Regulae, X I I ) , a n d s o does B e r k e l e y s u c h y e l l o w i n g e f f e c t ; s e c o n d , if seeing t h r o u g h y e l l o w eyes
{Three Dialogues, p. 185), w h o c o u p l e s it w i t h the e x a m p l e r e a l l y were like seeing t h r o u g h y e l l o w - t i n t e d glass, it w o u l d
of a n i m a l s w i t h eyes of a d i f f e r e n t t e x t u r e f r o m ours. R u s s e l l still b e d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e f r o m t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f seeing a y e l l o w
b r o a d c a s t t h e j a u n d i c e e x a m p l e f r o m t h e B B C i n 1948.^ I t w a s o b j e c t . But t h e i m p o r t a n t p o i n t is t h a t t h e m a n n e r i n w h i c h
still g o i n g s t r o n g i n 1 9 6 3 w h e n P r o f e s s o r R o d e r i c k C h i s h o l m p h i l o s o p h e r s t h r o u g h t h e c e n t u r i e s h a v e r e p e a t e d this t y p e
u s e d it i n a p a p e r on ' T h e T h e o r y of A p p e a r i n g ' , ^ a n d i t g a v e o f e x a m p l e , i n d e f i a n c e o f a s c e r t a i n a b l e f a c t , is e v i d e n c e t h a t
e v i d e n c e for b o t h sides o f a n A r i s t o t e l i a n S o c i e t y s y m p o s i u m a t s o m e level p e o p l e a r e p o w e r f u l l y d r a w n t o t h e t h o u g h t t h a t
i n 1968.3 Y e t i t is q u i t e false t h a t p e o p l e w i t h j a u n d i c e see w e look t h r o u g h o u r eyes as t h r o u g h a w i n d o w .
( w h i t e ) t h i n g s yellow. O f t h i s I a m a s s u r e d b o t h by m e d i c a l
a u t h o r i t y a n d b y those w h o h a v e h a d t h e c o n d i t i o n . A s a T h a t w e a r e d e a l i n g w i t h a n i m p l i c i t p i c t u r e or m o d e l of
m a t t e r of f a c t , w e all h a v e yellow i n s i d e o u r eyes. I n h u m a n s p e r c e p t i o n , n o t a n explicit i n f e r e n c e f r o m o u t m o d e d p h y s i o l o g y ,
a n d a r a n g e o f other a n i m a l s t h e l e n s of t h e eye is y e l l o w . is c l e a r e v e n i n a n t i q u i t y . O n e e a r l y c i t i n g o f t h e j a u n d i c e
B u t so f a r f r o m m a k i n g t h i n g s look y e l l o w , t h i s e n h a n c e s c o l o u r e x a m p l e is b y L u c r e t i u s (iv. 3 3 2 - 6 ) , a n d o n t h e a t o m i s t as-
contrast a n d eliminates b l u r from t h e differential refractive sumptions of Lucretius' official physiology o f perception o n e
p r o p e r t i e s of d i f f e r e n t w a v e l e n g t h s of l i g h t . R e d c a n h e l p t o o : m i g h t well t h i n k t h a t t h e e x a m p l e should b e n o n s e n s e . F o r
t u r t l e s h a v e r e d oil d r o p l e t s in t h e i r eyes t o i m p r o v e t h e i r r e m e m b e r t h a t for a n a t o m i s t y e l l o w is n o t h i n g b u t t h e e f f e c t
vision o v e r t h e g l a r y s u r f a c e of t h e w a t e r . B u t these a r e r e l a - of c e r t a i n a t o m s i m p i n g i n g o n t h e eye, n o t a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of
tively r e c e n t discoveries.'^ W h a t w e h a v e t o ask is w h y f o r t h e eye or o f a n y t h i n g else. L u c r e t i u s , h o w e v e r , h a s a n a n s w e r .
centuries the myth about jaundice should continue to be T h e eyes a n d b o d y of t h e j a u n d i c e d p e r s o n e m i t n u m e r o u s
b e l i e v e d , as it e v i d e n t l y still is b e l i e v e d . ( S o m e o n e a c t u a l l y a t o m i c effluences of t h e t y p e r e q u i s i t e for h i m t o a p p e a r y e l l o w
s a i d t o m e , ' B u t surely, t h e y h a v e y e l l o w eyes', a n d a p p e a l e d to o t h e r p e o p l e a n d s o m e o f these 'seeds o f y e l l o w ' r e t u r n t o his
t o t h e p h r a s e ' a j a u n d i c e d v i e w of t h i n g s ' . ) F o r t h a t m a t t e r , o w n eye m i x e d u p w i t h t h e e f f l u e n c e s f r o m o u t s i d e o b j e c t s ,
a c c o r d i n g to A u s t i n (p. 4 9 ) , it is e q u a l l y false t o say, w i t h A y e r w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t t h o s e o b j e c t s l o o k yellow t o h i m . I t is a n
(p. 6),5 ' W h e n , a s the r e s u l t of m y p u t t i n g o n g r e e n spectacles, o b v i o u s d i f f i c u l t y for t h i s e x p l a n a t i o η t h a t i t s h o u l d i m p l y
t h e w h i t e walls o f m y r o o m a p p e a r t o b e g r e e n , m y e x p e r i e n c e t h a t if s o m e o n e w h o s e eyes a p p e a r a n o r m a l h e a l t h y w h i t e
is q u a l i t a t i v e l y t h e s a m e as if I w e r e p e r c e i v i n g walls t h a t p u t s o n a c l e a n w h i t e t o g a , h e will see e v e r y t h i n g w h i t e . L u -
r e a l l y w e r e g r e e n . ' A u s t i n d o e s n o t say w h y it is false, b u t I t h i n k c r e t i u s offers n o t h i n g to e a s e this difficulty, a n d seems n o t to
h a v e n o t i c e d i t . C l e a r l y , h i s b e l i e f t h a t y e l l o w eyes p r o d u c e
y e l l o w a p p e a r a n c e s is n o t a d e d u c t i o n f r o m p h y s i o l o g i c a l t h e o r y
1 See Bertrand Russell, Why I am not a Christian and other essays on religion b u t a n o t i o n i n d e p e n d e n t l y a c q u i r e d , w h i c h p h y s i o l o g y is t h e n
and related topics (London, 1957), pp. 161-2. m a d e to a c c o m m o d a t e . A n d t h e i n f l u e n c e of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l
^ Cited fi'om Robert J . Swartz ed., Perceiving, Sensing, and Knowing (New
s h o w s itself w h e n h e a d d s a r e f e r e n c e to 'seeds o f yellow' i n t h e
York, 1965), p. 183.
3 F . N. Sibley a n d Michael Tanner, Objectivity a n d Aesthetics', Arisi. e y e itself ( 3 3 5 ) — a s if t h e e y e w e r e w i t h i n t h e field of v i s i o n
Soc. Suppl. Vol. 42 (1968), pp. 39 and 60. a n d the m a n w e r e looking t h r o u g h it.
* Gleaned from the fascinating store of empirical detail in Gordon Lynn
Walls, The Vertebrate Eye and Its Adaptive Radiation, Cranbrook Institute of T h i s e v i d e n c e f r o m L u c r e t i u s is t h e m o r e r e m a r k a b l e b e -
Science Bulletin No. 19 (Michigan, 1942), p p . 191 ff. M o r e recent still is c a u s e a t iii. 3 5 9 - 6 9 h e a t t a c k s a v i e w w h i c h e x p l i c i t l y c o m p a r e d
knowledge of picrotoxin. Picrotoxin intoxication, I am informed, yellows the t h e eyes to w i n d o w s t h r o u g h w h i c h t h e m i n d l o o k s o u t a t things.^
skin (but not the eye) and does make things seen assume a yellowish look.
^ Lucretius actually says 'doors' {fores), not 'windows', but the parallels
s But Ayer is actuallv retailing examoles from other πρπηίρ
T h e p o i n t a t issue is w h e t h e r it is t h e eyes themselves o r t h e w o u l d only s e r v e to illustrate a n d r e c o m m e n d so e x t r e m e a
m i n d w i t h i n w h i c h is t h e p r o p e r s u b j e c t of p e r c e p t i o n . T h e t h e o r y if t h e y w e r e of a t y p e w h i c h the a u d i e n c e was a n t e -
w i n d o w c o m p a r i s o n comes f r o m s o m e o n e a d v o c a t i n g a version c e d e n t l y disposed to a c c e p t as f a m i l i a r and uncontroversial.^
of P l a t o ' s view (see V I I I b e l o w ) t h a t it is a u n i t a r y m i n d , n o t I h o p e this is e n o u g h j u s t i f i c a t i o n — I do n o t t h i n k it is m o r e
t h e s e p a r a t e sense-organs, w h i c h does o u r p e r c e i v i n g . ' L u c r e t i u s t h a n e n o u g h — f o r a diagnosis of w h a t is going o n in the s e c o n d
disagrees, for it is E p i c u r e a n d o c t r i n e t h a t the b o d y is e n d o w e d h a l f o f the a r g u m e n t before us. I n t e r m s of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l ,
b y t h e soul w i t h a p e r c e p t u a l sensitivity of its own. T h a t is, Socrates' p o i n t is t h a t if t h e w h i t e w e r e in t h e eye of t h e p e r -
h e disavows t h e w i n d o w m o d e l w h e n it is p u t t o him. B u t , I c e i v i n g subject, t h e n h e w o u l d b e looking o u t , as it w e r e ,
claim, h e w o u l d not h a v e said w h a t h e later says a b o u t t h e t h r o u g h a w h i t e - t i n t e d p a n e a n d so should see e v e r y t h i n g w h i t e .
j a u n d i c e e x a m p l e unless a t a less concious level he w a s still N o w apply t h e w i n d o w m o d e l to t h e first half of t h e a r g u m e n t .
susceptible to its influence. I f t h e white w e r e o u t t h e r e in the stone, n o t in t h e eye o f t h e
I t is n o t unlikely that s i m i l a r e x a m p l e s w e r e a l r e a d y c u r r e n t by b e h o l d e r , a n d o n e looks t h r o u g h t h e eye as t h r o u g h a w i n d o w ,
t h e t i m e P l a t o w r o t e the Theaetetus. P e r h a p s t h e earliest a t t e s t e d t h e n one's view of t h e w h i t e m u s t be u n o b s t r u c t e d . T h e w i n d o w -
a p p e a l t o t h e j a u n d i c e e x a m p l e — t h e earliest, a t a n y rate, t h a t p a n e should b e t r a n s p a r e n t , w i t h o u t spot or b l e m i s h . O r b e t t e r ,
I h a v e f o u n d , a n d it has a blood-red e x a m p l e to go with it—is since classical G r e e k w i n d o w s w e r e unglazed, t h e eye s h o u l d
d u e to t h e C y r e n a i c school, w h o d e v e l o p e d a h a r d - l i n e sceptical be a n open a p e r t u r e w i t h n o p a n e a t all. T h e r e is as it w e r e
epistemology i n the second half of t h e f o u r t h c e n t u r y B.C. n o t h i n g b e t w e e n t h e p e r c e i v e r a n d t h e t h i n g h e perceives. I n
By S e x t u s ' a c c o u n t ( M vii. 192, 1 9 7 - 8 ) , t h e y used these a n d tliat case t h e s t o n e should a p p e a r w h i t e to e v e r y perceiver.
o t h e r e x a m p l e s to a r g u e t h a t we h a v e n o k n o w l e d g e of or M y suggestion, then, is t h a t t h e w i n d o w m o d e l makes sense
access t o a n y t h i n g b e y o n d o u r o w n e x p e r i e n c e s . For in s u c h of a n a r g u m e n t w h i c h o t h e r w i s e is no a r g u m e n t at all. T h e
cases it is t r u e t h a t we a r e 'yellowed' o r ' r e d d e n e d ' (the c u r i o u s n e x t step is t o look for c o n f i r m a t i o n of this diagnosis in t h e
t e r m i n o l o g y for the e x p e r i e n c e of s o m e t h i n g ' s a p p e a r i n g yel- w i d e r context of the d i a l o g u e as a whole.
low/red is revealingly suited to the e x a m p l e s ) , b u t false—as a n y -
o n e will a g r e e — t h a t the objects seen a r e yellow o r r e d . So h o w o n IV
a n y o t h e r occasion can w e b e sure of m o r e t h a n t h a t we a r e t h u s
T h e passage u n d e r discussion is p a r t of an e l a b o r a t e dialectical
' y e l l o w e d ' o r ' r e d d e n e d ' ? I t w o u l d b e i n t e r e s t i n g to be b e t t e r
c o n s t r u c t i o n designed to u n r a v e l t h e implications a n d c o m m i t -
i n f o r m e d t h a n w e are a b o u t t h e C y r e n a i c epistemology,^ b u t
m e n t s of T h e a e t e t u s ' d e f i n i t i o n of k n o w l e d g e as p e r c e p t i o n
for p r e s e n t p u r p o s e s t h e i m p o r t a n t t h i n g is t h a t the e x a m p l e s
(151 e).^ T h e question a t issue is t h i s : if we a c c e p t t h a t k n o w -
(quoted b y Cyril Bailey, Lucreti De Rerum Natura [Oxford, 1947], ä p. 1052) l e d g e is p e r c e p t i o n , w h a t m u s t w e suppose a b o u t p e r c e p t i o n
make it likely that fores renders θυρίδες, 'windows'. a n d the w o r l d for the d e f i n i t i o n t o hold g o o d ? T h e a n s w e r ,
' W h o was this someone? Bailey, loc. cit., says, ' T h e theory which i n b r o a d o u t l i n e , is t h a t w e m u s t a c c e p t a P r o t a g o r e a n e p i s t e m o -
Lucretius here refutes is quite definitely that of the Stoics', and cites the l o g y a n d a H e r a c l i t e a n a c c o u n t of the w o r l d . P r o t a g o r a s
Cicero passage—but Cicero does not name his source. Sextus traces the said, ' M a n is t h e m e a s u r e of all things, of t h o s e t h a t a r e , t h a t
comparison to Strato of Lampsacus and to Aenesidemus' work on Heraclitus. t h e y are, a n d of those t h a t a r e n o t , t h a t they a r e not', m e a n i n g
Sextus wishes to think (Mvii. 364) that the point of the comparison is to make
b y this t h a t w h a t e v e r a p p e a r a n c e s a person h a s , they a r e t r u e
a claim t h a t the mind can get a direct, unmediated perception of things,
in contrast to a view of the senses as obstructively 'in front o f the m i n d ( M for h i m — t h i n g s really a r e , for h i m , as t h e y a p p e a r t o h i m
vii. 352-3). Lucretius and Cicero, however, m a k e it clear t h a t the issue is the to b e — a n d , conversely, t h e only t h i n g s t h a t a r e r e a l for h i m a r e
one discussed at Theaet. i 8 4 B f f . , about the subject of perception a n d its t h o s e t h a t a p p e a r to h i m . F o r t h e present w e c a n confine o u r -
unity; Tertullian, De Anima 14 confirms that this was Strato's and Aeneside- selves to sensible a p p e a r a n c e s a n d t o the first h a l f of the d o u b l e
mus' concern also. T o get back from this evidence to Stoic doctrine (whether
Posidonius or earlier) is a m a t t e r of unravelling the tangled knots of Aenesi- 1 νενόμιστσι at M vii. 193 reports precisely that the examples are common
demus' work on Heraclitus: see Ulrich Burkhard, Die angebliche Heraklit- currency.
Nachfolge des Skeptikers Aenesidem (Bonn, 1973). ^ For a more textual justification of this reading t h a n I can offer here see
2 For a few suggestions, see 'Idealism a n d Greek Philosophy', op. cit. 'Idealism and Greek Philosophy', op. cit.
86 PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY
CONFLICTING APPEARANCES
thesis c o n t a i n e d i n the m e a s u r e d o c t r i n e : w h a t e v e r sensible
I t h i n k this d i a g n o s i s is c o r r e c t . T h e P r o t a g o r e a n p r i n c i p l e
a p p e a r a n c e s a p e r s o n h a s , t h e y a r e t r u e for h i m . I f w e a d o p t
does n o t challenge the assumptions of the w i n d o w model b u t
this principle, w e will postulate a state of affairs m a t c h i n g e v e r y
c o n f i r m s t h e m . I t e m b o d i e s a thesis t h a t p e r c e p t u a l e x p e r i e n c e
sensible a p p e a r a n c e , to r e n d e r t h a t a p p e a r a n c e t r u e , and t h e n ,
is t r a n s p a r e n t a n d saves i t f r o m t h e o b j e c t i o n r a i s e d a g a i n s t
if p e r c e p t i o n is c o n s t r u e d i n P r o t a g o r e a n t e r m s as t h e h a v i n g
t r a n s p a r e n c y a t 154 Β b y m a k i n g t h e w h i t e p r i v a t e to t h e e y e
of sensible a p p e a r a n c e s (cf. 152 Β I I - C I ) , e v e r y p e r c e p t i o n
w h i c h sees it ( 1 5 4 A 2) a n d b y d e n y i n g t h e d i s t a n c e w h i c h
will be t h e u n e r r i n g a p p r e h e n s i o n of a p a r t i c u l a r s t a t e of a f f a i r s :
s e p a r a t e s the e y e f r o m its o b j e c t . T h e colour w h i t e is n o t i n m e
t h e s t a t e of a f f a i r s w h i c h consists in s o m e t h i n g ' s really b e i n g ,
n o r o u t there b u t i n b e t w e e n , s o m e t h i n g p r i v a t e to m e a n d
f o r t h e p e r c e i v e r , a s it a p p e a r s to h i m t o be. B y this l i n e of
t h e o b j e c t I see ( 1 5 3 DE, 154 A ) — t h e s p a t i a l l a n g u a g e m a y b e
a r g u m e n t e v e r y c a s e of p e r c e p t i o n is a c a s e of k n o w l e d g e a n d
m e t a p h o r i c a l b u t c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s are o f t e n effects of
T h e a e t e t u s ' d e f i n i t i o n is so f a r v i n d i c a t e d .
t h e i n t e r v e n i n g m e d i u m . T h e c h o i c e o f m e t a p h o r reveals t h a t
I t is a t this p o i n t t h a t t h e a r g u m e n t w^e h a v e b e e n p u z z l i n g t h e w i n d o w m o d e l is still d o m i n a n t . P r o t a g o r e a n w i n d o w s p r o -
o v e r b e c o m e s r e l e v a n t , a n d w e c a n n o w see w h y S o c r a t e s m a k e s v i d e a flawless c l o s e - u p v i e w of t h e c o n t e n t s of a p r i v a t e w o r l d .
t h e v e r y s t r o n g suggestion t h a t n o t w o c o l o u r a p p e a r a n c e s a r e S o m e o n e m a y o b j e c t t h a t this e v i d e n c e f r o m t h e w i d e r
alike. T h e t h e o r y h e is e l a b o r a t i n g is c o m m i t t e d t o the v i e w c o n t e x t of t h e d i a l o g u e a c t u a l l y c u t s t h e o t h e r w a y . T o s a y
t h a t , if t h i s w e r e so, e a c h a p p e a r a n c e s h o u l d still yield k n o w - t h a t a p h i l o s o p h e r is in t h e g r i p of a n i n a p p r o p r i a t e p i c t u r e
l e d g e of a r e a l s t a t e of a f f a i r s . If t h e t h e o r y is t o h o l d g o o d , it of p e r c e p t i o n m a k e s it s o u n d as if s o m e t h i n g r a t h e r d i s r e p u t a b l e
m u s t b e a b l e to t a k e in its s t r i d e t h e m o s t e x t r e m e v a r i a t i o n is g o i n g on. B u t it h a s n o w t u r n e d o u t t h a t , o n t h e c o n t r a r y ,
i m a g i n a b l e in t h e course o f a p p e a r a n c e s . So w e h a d b e t t e r P l a t o ' s a r g u m e n t is g u i d e d b y a n e n t i r e l y e x p l i c i t , coolly t h e o -
s u p p o s e , f o r t h e sake of t h e a r g u m e n t , t h a t e x t r e m e v a r i a t i o n r e t i c a l p r i n c i p l e w h i c h is q u i t e sufficient to g e t us f r o m t h e
a c t u a l l y o b t a i n s . E a c h a p p e a r a n c e is i n d e p e n d e n t of e v e r y c o n f l i c t of a p p e a r a n c e s t o t h e r e l a t i v i t y of s e n s i b l e q u a l i t i e s .
o t h e r a p p e a r a n c e , yet e a c h is k n o w l e d g e . I f so, i t seems n o t o n l y r u d e b u t u n n e c e s s a r y t o b r i n g i n t h i s
B u t n o w , if e a c h a p p e a r a n c e is i n d e p e n d e n t o f every o t h e r , t a l k o f the w i n d o w m o d e l . N e v e r m i n d t h a t t h e P r o t a g o r e a n
yet e a c h is k n o w l e d g e , t h e r e m u s t b e a matching v a r i a t i o n in p r i n c i p l e c a n b e seen as itself a n e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n o f t h e w i n d o w
t h e states of a f f a i r s w h i c h c o r r e s p o n d . E v e r y t h i n g I k n o w a n d m o d e l . T h e q u e s t i o n is, w h y s h o u l d i t b e ?
p e r c e i v e m u s t b e c h a r a c t e r i z a b l e i n d e p e n d e n t l y o f w h a t is t h e B u t h e r e w e m u s t r e c a l l t h e d o u b l e p e r s p e c t i v e I s p o k e of
case f o r a n y o t h e r p e r c e i v e r , i n c l u d i n g myself a t a n o t h e r t i m e , e a r l i e r . I t is P l a t o w h o h a s c o n t r i v e d t h a t t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m
a n d i n d e e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y of w h a t is t h e case for m y o t h e r c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s c o m e s a f t e r t h e d e f i n i t i o n of k n o w -
senses a t t h e p r e s e n t t i m e . S o w e a r e l e f t w i t h such i t e m s as l e d g e as p e r c e p t i o n a n d a f t e r t h e f o r m u l a t i o n o f t h e P r o t a g o -
a t h i n g ' s b e i n g w h i t e f o r m y eye n o w . N o t h i n g c a n be w h i t e in r e a n p r i n c i p l e w h i c h s u p p o r t s it. T h e w h o l e p a s s a g e , a s I
itself a n d w h i t e is not a d i s t i n c t t h i n g i n itself, o n l y w h i t e f o r n o t e d earlier, is p a r t of a n e l a b o r a t e w o r k i n g o u t of t h e i m p l i -
m e / m y eye now. cations and c o m m i t m e n t s of the initial definition. T h e t r o u b l e
T h u s t h e a r g u m e n t is p l a i n sailing if w e p u t i t back i n t o its is t h a t n o t h i n g h a s b e e n s a i d so f a r as to w h y a n y o n e w o u l d
c o n t e x t i n t h e d i a l o g u e a n d a d d t o t h e p r e m i s s of c o n f l i c t i n g b e t e m p t e d t o t h i n k t h a t k n o w l e d g e is p e r c e p t i o n , a n d n o
appearances t h e Protagorean principle that each and every motivation has been given for adopting the Protagorean prin-
p e r c e p t u a l a p p e a r a n c e is t h e m e a s u r e o r c r i t e r i o n of w h a t is c i p l e except t h a t it is n e c e s s a r y t o d o so if t h e d e f i n i t i o n is t o
t h e case f o r t h e p e r c e i v e r ; o r , m o r e b r i e f l y , t h a t e v e r y p e r c e p t i o n h o l d good. A n d e v e n this c o n s i d e r a t i o n is n o t r i g h t o u t i n t o t h e
is k n o w l e d g e . F r o m this c o m b i n a t i o n o f p r e m i s s e s it does f o l l o w o p e n yet. T h e discussion s t a r t s f r o m t h e d e f i n i t i o n , as S o c r a t i c
t h a t sensible q u a l i t i e s c a n n o t i n h e r e e i t h e r in t h e o b j e c t o r i n t h e discussions t y p i c a l l y d o , a n d S o c r a t e s t u r n s a t o n c e to a r g u e ,
s u b j e c t of p e r c e p t i o n . B u t n o w : w h a t is t h e P r o t a g o r e a n p r i n c i p l e in t h e m a n n e r described, t h a t t h e definition requires to be
b u t a c o o l t h e o r e t i c a l f o r m u l a t i o n of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l ( t r a n s - s u p p o r t e d b y a P r o t a g o r e a n e p i s t e m o l o g y a n d so is e f f e c t i v e l y
p a r e n t v e r s i o n ) ? As P l a t o p u t s it e l s e w h e r e i n t h e d i a l o g u e , w h a t e q u i v a l e n t t o t h e d o c t r i n e t h a t m a n is t h e m e a s u r e of all t h i n g s ;
t h e p r i n c i p l e c l a i m s is t h a t every p e r c e p t i o n is ' c l e a r ' (179 c ) . ' P r o t a g o r a s s a i d t h e s a m e t h i n g a s T h e a e t e t u s b u t p u t it a
104 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 89

d i f f e r e n t w a y ' {152 A). O n l y l a t e r , a s t h e discussion d e v e l o p s , is o n e h a n d a n d cold t o t h e o t h e r , a n d m a n y m o r e . B u t b e f o r e


there a n opportunity to go into the philosophical motivations e m b a r k i n g o n these a n d o t h e r a r g u m e n t s Berkeley h a s l a i d
d o w n a n o t i o n of i m m e d i a t e p e r c e p t i o n w h i c h t u r n s o u t t o
f o r h o l d i n g a relativistic v i e w . A n d ' l a t e r ' m e a n s , i n t h e first
e m b o d y a version of t h e P r o t a g o r e a n p r i n c i p l e we h a v e b e e n
i n s t a n c e , t h e passage w e a r e l o o k i n g at. T h a t passage p l a y s
discussing. I m m e d i a t e p e r c e p t i o n is k n o w l e d g e (cf. T h e a e t e t u s '
a d o u b l e r o l e . C o n s i d e r e d as a d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e p o s i t i o n
d e f i n i t i o n ) , w h a t is i m m e d i a t e l y p e r c e i v e d m u s t r e a l l y be as
a l r e a d y p r e m i s s e d for e x a m i n a t i o n , i t m a y b e allowed t o p r e -
i t a p p e a r s t o b e , h e n c e t h e states of affairs (ideas) a p p r e h e n d e d
suppose the Protagorean principle t h a t every perceptual a p p e a r -
i n p e r c e p t i o n m u s t v a r y t o m a t c h each a n d every c h a n g e i n
a n c e is t h e m e a s u r e o r c r i t e r i o n of w h a t is t h e case f o r t h e
sensible a p p e a r a n c e s . O r b e t t e r , w h e r e t h e P r o t a g o r e a n t h e o r y
p e r c e i v e r ; i n w h i c h c a s e t h e a r g u m e n t goes t h r o u g h . B u t c o n -
h a s reality c h a n g e to k e e p p a c e w i t h the c h a n g i n g a p p e a r a n c e s ,
s i d e r e d as P l a t o ' s a t t e m p t to b r i n g o u t t h e k i n d of t h i n k i n g
f o r Berkeley t h e states of a f f a i r s a p p r e h e n d e d in i m m e d i a t e
w h i c h m o t i v a t e s p e r c e p t u a l r e l a t i v i s m , i t m u s t s t a n d o n its o w n perception simply are t h e appearances. This notion of i m m e d i -
feet.^ If, t h e n , we raise t h e q u e s t i o n h o w P r o t a g o r a s h i m s e l f a t e p e r c e p t i o n defines a B e r k e l e y a n p e r s p e c t i v e g r a n t e d w h i c h
c a m e t o t h e d o c t r i n e t h a t m a n is t h e m e a s u r e of all t h i n g s , t h e e n s u i n g a r g u m e n t s a r e i m p e c c a b l e . T h e t r o u b l e is t h a t
if w e ask w h y he m a i n t a i n e d t h a t e v e r y a p p e a r a n c e is t h e a t the s t a r t of t h e first Dialogue the full i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h e
m e a s u r e o r c r i t e r i o n o f w h a t is t h e case f o r t h e person w h o s e n o t i o n of i m m e d i a t e p e r c e p t i o n a r e not b r o u g h t i n t o t h e o p e n ,
a p p e a r a n c e it is, P l a t o ' s a n s w e r is t h a t it w a s h i s solution t o t h e a n d if w e a s k w h y w e s h o u l d a c c e p t the n o t i o n , w h y w e s h o u l d
p r o b l e m of c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s . I n t h e Theaetetus, i n d e e d , a d o p t t h e B e r k e l e y a n p e r s p e c t i v e , t h e a n s w e r is t h a t it is B e r k e -
t h e m e a s u r e d o c t r i n e is initially i n t r o d u c e d a n d e x p l a i n e d i n l e y ' s s o l u t i o n to t h e p r o b l e m of conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s . As i n
t e r m s of w h a t P r o t a g o r a s w o u l d s a y a b o u t a n e x a m p l e of t h e Theaetetus, so in t h e Three Dialogues, t h e n o t i o n w h i c h c o m e s
c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s , t h e e x a m p l e o f t h e w i n d w h i c h feels first in t h e o r d e r of e x p o s i t i o n s h o u l d , in t h e o r d e r of a r g u m e n t ,
cold t o o n e p e r s o n a n d does n o t feel c o l d t o a n o t h e r (152 B). c o m e last.
A n d t h e r e c a n h a r d l y b e a n y serious d i s p u t e t h a t P l a t o ' s answer
T h i s is c l e a r if we c o m p a r e t h e Three Dialogues w i t h B e r k e l e y ' s
is r i g h t . N o p h i l o s o p h e r w h o w a s n o t a n t e c e d e n t l y w o r r i e d
earlier w o r k , The Principles of Human Knowledge. I n t h a t t r e a t i s e
a b o u t conflicting appearances would propose a thoroughgoing
a r g u m e n t s f r o m c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s a r e m u c h less p r o m i -
r e l a t i v i s m of t h e P r o t a g o r e a n k i n d .
n e n t , t h e r e a s o n b e i n g t h a t t h e y a r e n o w n o t Berkeley's o w n
B u t t h i s m e a n s t h a t t h e w i n d o w m o d e l is n o t otiose. I f w e
w e a p o n b u t p a r t of t h e a r m o u r y of t h e s c e p t i c w h o m h e t a k e s
d o ask t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s t o s t a n d
a s his o p p o n e n t . T h e c o n c l u s i o n f r o m t h e p r e m i s s of c o n f l i c t i n g
o n its o w n f e e t , it s t u m b l e s . H e n c e it is l e g i t i m a t e t o s u g g e s t
a p p e a r a n c e s is n o t t h e Three Dialogues c o n c l u s i o n b u t t h e scepti-
t h a t a n y o n e w h o finds i t p e r s u a s i v e is l e a n i n g on s o m e e x t r a
cal conclusion urged b y Sextus Empiricus: ' I t must be confessed
s u p p o r t , w h e t h e r or n o t h e is a w a r e o f t h e f a c t .
t h a t this m e t h o d of a r g u i n g d o t h n o t so m u c h p r o v e t h a t t h e r e
is n o e x t e n s i o n or c o l o u r in a n o u t w a r d o b j e c t , as t h a t w e d o
V
n o t k n o w b y sense w h i c h is t h e t r u e e x t e n s i o n or c o l o u r of t h e
I n t e r e s t i n g l y — a n d this m a y help m y diagnosis—we e n c o u n t e r o b j e c t ' (Princ. § 15). ( T h e e c h o o f Sextus is n o a c c i d e n t : t h e r e
a r a t h e r s i m i l a r p r o b l e m of d o u b l e p e r s p e c t i v e in B e r k e l e y ' s is e v i d e n c e t h a t B e r k e l e y ' s p r o j e c t for r e f u t i n g scepticism w a s
first Dialogue. H e r e w e find a w h o l e series o f a r g u m e n t s f r o m c o n n e c t e d w i t h his r e a d i n g o f t h e P y r r h o n i a n a r g u m e n t s
c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s : t h e case of sweet a n d b i t t e r q u o t e d t r a n s m i t t e d b y Bayle's Dictionary.Y In Berkeley's view, then,
e a r l i e r , t h e f a m o u s e x a m p l e of t h e w a t e r w h i c h feels w a r m t o t h e ( P y r r h o n i a n ) sceptic h a s a g o o d a r g u m e n t to s h o w t h a t
' T h i n g s r e m a i n i n g t h e s a m e , o u r ideas v a r y , a n d w h i c h o f
I T h a t the passage has this additional role is confirmed by comparing it with
the immediately preceding 153 AD, which performs a parallel function for t h e m , o r e v e n w h e t h e r a n y of t h e m a t all r e p r e s e n t t h e t r u e
the Heraclitean component of Plato's dialectical construction. This is a light- q u a l i t y r e a l l y existing i n t h e t h i n g , it is o u t of o u r r e a c h t o
hearted collection of Heraclitean considerations, capped by a joking inter-
pretation of Homer, the whole making no contribution to the serious business ' Richard Popkin, 'Berkeley and Pyrrhonism', Review of Metaphysics 5
d e t e r m i n e ' [Princ. § 87). T h e o n l y answer is to d e n y t h e contrast •p*'·****"^!—^·—^nr-· ' • -η- ----- .
of it, the c o l o u r could n o t actually c h a n g e (as o p p o s e a ^ T o r i r
between h o w t h i n g s a p p e a r a n d how t h e y really a r e : 'Coiour,
figure, m o t i o n , extension a n d t h e like, c o n s i d e r e d only as so
m a n y sensations in t h e m i n d , a r e perfectly k n o w n , there b e i n g
n o t h i n g i n t h e m w h i c h is n o t perceived' (ibid.) B u t n o w : to say
c o u l d not a p p e a r to c h a n g e ) w i t h o u t a c h a n g e in the t h i n g
itself. This p r i n c i p l e could well s e e m plausible, b u t it is irrele-
v a n t here, since t h e e x a m p l e s Berkeley is t a l k i n g a b o u t a r e
e x a m p l e s of a p p a r e n t c h a n g e s in t h e colour of a t h i n g . T h e
1
t h e r e is n o t h i n g in t h e idea w h i c h is n o t p e r c e i v e d a n d t h e r e b y
s a m e goes for a l a t e r passage on p r i m a r y qualities :
perfectly k n o w n is t o m a k e explicit, in a cool theoretical f o r m u -
lation, t h e p r i m e d e s i d e r a t u m of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l — t r a n s - N o r e a l i n h e r e n t p r o p e r t y of a n y object c a n be c h a n g e d , without some
p a r e n t , close-up version (Berkeley is f a m o u s for his denial t h a t c h a n g e in the t h i n g itself. . . . B u t as w e a p p r o a c h t o o r recede f r o m a n
sensible qualities a r e at t h e d i s t a n c e w e t a k e t h e m to be). T h e o b j e c t , the visible extension varies, b e i n g at one d i s t a n c e ten o r a n
thesis is t h a t , w h a t e v e r else m a y go on in w h a t w e w o u l d o r d i n - h u n d r e d times g r e a t e r t h a n a t a n o t h e r . D o t h it n o t therefore follow
arily describe as t h e seeing of a w h i t e stone, at t h e core of t h e f r o m hence likewise, t h a t it is n o t really i n h e r e n t in t h e object? (p. 189)
process is a t r a n s p a r e n t l y c l e a r ' i m m e d i a t e ' a w a r e n e s s of w h i t e , T h e principle of t h e a r g u m e n t talks a b o u t r e a l c h a n g e , t h e
a w h i t e w h i c h is n o t at a d i s t a n c e f r o m t h e eye.^ Instead of illustration a b o u t a p p a r e n t c h a n g e in size, so w h a t is c l a i m e d
looking t h r o u g h t h e eye, w e enjoy a m o r e satisfactorily t r a n s - to follow does n o t follow a t all.
p a r e n t v i e w of t h e contents of o u r o w n minds. T o t h e m w e T h e r e is n o getting a w a y f r o m this distinction. I t is o n e
look t h r o u g h — n o t h i n g a t all. T h i s is Berkeley's solution to t h e t h i n g to say t h a t t h e real o r i n h e r e n t features of a n object c a n -
c h a l l e n g e of t h e sceptical use of conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s . n o t b e a.mong those t h a t a r e a f f e c t e d by c h a n g e s e x t e r n a l to
B u t t h e Three Dialogues tries to r e c o m m e n d t h a t solution t h e object, e.g. in the s u r r o u n d i n g e n v i r o n m e n t or in t h e p e r -
f r o m t h e p e r s p e c t i v e of t h e o r d i n a r y m a n . I t is a p o p u l a r ex- ceiver. T h i s m e a n s , r o u g h l y , t h a t t h e real i n h e r e n t f e a t u r e s of
position, w r i t t e n t o take r e a d e r s into t h e p r i n c i p l e s of Berkeley's a n object m u s t n o t be r e l a t i o n a l (cf. Sext. E m p . Λ ί viii. 4 5 3 - 7 ) .
p h i l o s o p h y ' i n t h e most easy a n d f a m i l i a r m a n n e r ' (Preface, I t is quite a n o t h e r to suggest t h a t the real i n h e r e n t f e a t u r e s
p. 168). T o t h a t e n d Berkeley a p p r o p r i a t e s t h e sceptic's a r g u - c a n n o t be a m o n g those t h a t appear to vary w i t h changes o u t -
m e n t s from conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s a n d tries to m a k e them p r o v e side the o b j e c t . T h e l a t t e r p r i n c i p l e is the o n e whose p e r s u a -
directly t h a t sensible qualities d o n o t i n h e r e in o u t w a r d objects. siveness we a r e trying t o d i a g n o s e ; confusion w i t h t h e f o r m e r
T h e y w o u l d p r o v e this if t h e y could call o n t h e n o t i o n of i m m e - o c c u r s too s e l d o m to e x p l a i n its pervasive i n f l u e n c e in t h e first
d i a t e p e r c e p t i o n a n d the P r o t a g o r e a n p r i n c i p l e it embodies. B u t Dialogue. I n t h e end, I t h i n k , if Berkeley o r his r e a d e r is led
these, of course, a r e no p a r t of the o r d i n a r y m a n ' s perspective. b y the a r g u m e n t f r o m c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s to a c c e p t t h e
A n d w i t h o u t t h a t assistance t h e a r g u m e n t s d o n o more t h a n conclusion t h a t sensible qualities d o n o t i n h e r e in o u t w a r d
assert p r o p o s i t i o n ( i ) for a succession of d i f f e r e n t values of F. things, it is in good m e a s u r e d u e to the s u p p o r t i n g i n f l u e n c e
O n c e o r twice Berkeley transposes ( i ) i n t o (2). T h u s after c i t i n g of t h e h a l f - f o r m u l a t e d t h o u g h t — h a l f - f o r m u l a t e d because it is
t h e j a u n d i c e e x a m p l e a n d a n i m a l s w i t h d i f f e r e n t l y textured eyes suggested b u t n o t fully spelt o u t w h e n the n o t i o n of i m m e d i a t e
to s h o w t h a t colours a r e n o t i n h e r e n t i n a n y o u t w a r d o b j e c t , p e r c e p t i o n is first i n t r o d u c e d — t h a t every p e r c e p t u a l e x p e r i e n c e
i.e. a f t e r a n a r g u m e n t w h i c h rests on ( i ) , h e c o n t i n u e s : contains w i t h i n it a direct a w a r e n e s s of s o m e t h i n g . W h i c h is to
say t h a t Berkeley's r e b u t t a l of scepticism in t h e first Dialogue
T h e p o i n t will b e p a s t all d o u b t , if you consider, t h a t i n case colours
o n l y works to t h e e x t e n t t h a t a n i n t e r n a l i z e d version of t h e
w e r e r e a l p r o p e r t i e s or affections i n h e r e n t in e x t e r n a l bodies, t h e y
w i n d o w m o d e l is implicitly p r e s e n t all along.
could a d m i t of n o alteration, w i t h o u t some c h a n g e w r o u g h t in t h e v e r y
bodies themselves, (p. 185)

B u t t h a t transposition, as w e h a v e seen, is n o h e l p to the cause. VI


A n d p e r h a p s it o n l y looks as if it m i g h t h e l p b e c a u s e Berkeley's Is it just c o i n c i d e n c e t h a t t h e ambiguities o f the Theaetetus
f o r m u l a t i o n is a m b i g u o u s as b e t w e e n (2) a n d t h e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t a r g u m e n t a n d of Berkeley's first Dialogue r u n p a r a l l e l ? I h a v e
a l r e a d y m e n t i o n e d t h a t Berkeley himself t h o u g h t the Theaetetus
' At Siris § 317 Berkeley endorses the Theaeteius account of white.
104 PROCEEDINGS O F T H E BRITISH ACADEMY C O N F L I C T I N G APPEARANCES 93
theory exactly like his own. Perhaps, then, the common features talk his usual sense-datum language about blue, but his dia-
can tell us something about why relativistic views have exercised phanous awareness of blue is a good preparation for it.
such a strong hold on the philosophy of perception. If other sense-datum theorists are less candidly revealing
O u r inheritance from Protagoras and Berkeley is modern about the pictures which guide their thinking, they tell us
sense-datum theory, which has reworked the old materials in more about the philosophical motivation for bringing in the
a manner which may tend to disguise their essentially rela- notion of sensing or acquaintance. Russell sums up the results
tivistic character. But it is quite profitable, I think, to read the of the first chapter of The Problems of Philosophy in these
seemingly sterile disputes about whether sense-data can exist terms :
unsensed, or whether they can be identified with parts of the
surfaces of things, as disputes about the possibility of restoring What the senses immediately tell us is not the truth about the object as
some independence and externality to one term of the Prota- it is apart from us, but only the truth about certain sense-data which,
gorean relation. Better still, we can recognize a rather explicit so far as we can see, depend upon the relations between us and the
expression of the window model in the notion, central to sense- object. Thus what we directly see and feel is merely 'appearance',
which we believe to be a sign of some 'reality' behind, (p. 16)
datum theory, of sensing or acquaintance or direct awareness—
the terminology varies but most theorists are agreed that the This direct seeing and feeling of appearances or sense-data
relation we have to the object or sense-datum which is pre- is what he later calls acquaintance or direct awareness, where
sented to us in perceptual experience is a relation of unmediated this is one kind of knowledge of things (p. 46). But remember
non-inferential knowing (cf. Theaetetus' definition).^ that chapter i of The Problems of Philosophy begins with the
Predictably, it is G. E. Moore who gives the most 'window- arguments from conflicting appearances which I cited at the
like' account of the matter : outset of this lecture. So in Russell's case also it is reflection
on conflicting appearances which is supposed to lead us to
When we refer to introspection and try to discover what the sensation
adopt the notion of acquaintance.
of blue is, it is very easy to suppose that we have before us only a single
term. The term 'blue' is easy enough to distinguish, but the other T h e examples of conflicting appearances bring to our atten-
element which I have called 'consciousness'—that which sensation of tion the fact that, as Russell puts it in the passage just quoted,
blue has in common with sensation of green—is extremely difficult to 'sense-data . . . depend upon the relations between us a n d the
fix. That many people fail to distinguish it at all is sufficiently shown by object'. And it is clear from the discussion which precedes that
the fact that there are materialists. And, in general, that which makes w h a t Russell means by this is that the way things appear to us at
the sensation of blue a mental fact seems to escape us: it seems, if I may a given moment from a given point of view is causally dependent
use a metaphor, to be transparent—we look through it and see nothing on the state of our sensory apparatus, the condition of the inter-
but the blue. ('The Refutation of Idealism', Philosophical Studies, vening medium, on perspectival effects and so on. ΑΠ of which
p. 20.) is undeniably correct. But unless (i) is true, for which Russell
So nearly explicit a picture of an internal window may help offers no independent argument, none of this shows that the
to make plausible what I said about an internalized version colour or the shape which the table appears to have is not its
of the window model in Berkeley. Moore comes back to it later: real colour or shape. It shows only that if and when the table
does appear the colour or the shape it really is, it does so thanks
When we try to introspect the sensation of blue, all we can see is the to the causal interaction of our sensory apparatus with a variety
blue: the other element is as if it were diaphanous, (p. 25) of environmental factors. And this, I think, is what at bottom
This 'other element', the sensation or consiousness, Moore Russell is getting at when he invokes the notion of what we
says is in fact a 'knowing' or 'being aware o f or 'experiencing' directly or immediately see and feel. His idea is that if, per
something, viz. blue (p. 24). Admittedly, Moore does not here impossibile, the senses could tell us about 'the object as it is apart
from us', they would have to do so directly or immediately, where
' See, for example, H. H. Price, Perception (London, 1932), pp. 3, 31; 'directly' and 'immediately' can only mean: not by way of a
C. D. Broad, 'Some Elementary Reflexions on Sense-Preception' (1952),
cited from Swartz, op. cit., p. 44.
causal interaction between us and the environment.
PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 95
104
N o d o u b t R u s s e l l w o u l d n o t like t h i s w a y of p u t t i n g i t . m e d i a t e d by a c a u s a l process.^ B u t a l a s , t h a t c a n n o t be. T h e
T h e i d e a o n l y w o r k s b e c a u s e it r e m a i n s h a l f - f o r m u l a t e d . B u t t r u t h is t h a t t h e w i n d o w m o d e l is u t t e r l y i n a p p r o p r i a t e t o t h e
t h a t i t is t h e i d e a w h i c h g u i d e s h i s t h o u g h t is c o n f i r m e d w h e n r e a l f a c t s of p e r c e p t i o n . B u t i n s t e a d o f c o m i n g t o t e r m s w i t h
h e says t h a t w e d o directly a n d i m m e d i a t e l y see a n d feel t h e r e a U t y , o u r t h e o r i s t s find a p l a c e f o r t h e w i n d o w m o d e l w i t h i n
sense-data or appearances which themselves d e p e n d upon t h e p e r c e p t i o n . L e t c a u s a l i t y d o its w o r s t : a t the c o r e of the p e r -
r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n u s a n d t h e o b j e c t . All t h e c a u s a l aspects o f c e p t u a l e x p e r i e n c e t h e r e will still b e a n u n m e d i a t e d k n o w i n g ,
t h e p e r c e p t u a l p r o c e s s h a v i n g b e e n assigned t o t h e p r o d u c t i o n like M o o r e ' s d i a p h a n o u s a w a r e n e s s of b l u e , a n d w h e n a s u i t a b l e
of s e n s e - d a t a , to t h e b r i n g i n g a b o u t of t h e r e l a t i o n o f a c q u a i n - story h a s b e e n t o l d a b o u t t h e o b j e c t s of this k n o w i n g , t h e
t a n c e , t h a t r e l a t i o n itself is l e f t f r e e of c a u s a l i t y . p r o b l e m of c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s is solved. I t is a p h a n t a s y
W e a r e b a c k a t Tkeaetetus 154 AB. C a u s a l i t y m a k e s the a p - s o l u t i o n , in a q u i t e p r o p e r sense. F o r i f m y e f f o r t s a t d i a g n o s i s
p e a r a n c e s r e l a t i v e t o the c o n d i t i o n s of p e r c e p t i o n , and t h a t h a v e h i t the m a r k , the conflict of appearances o n l y ever b e c a m e
w r e c k s t h e h o p e o f a t r a n s p a r e n t view of t h e e x t e r n a l o b j e c t t h e p r o b l e m t h e s e theorists t o o k i t t o b e b e c a u s e t h i s was g o i n g
w i t h its r e a l ( i n h e r e n t ) p r o p e r t i e s . B u t w e c a n save t r a n s p a r e n c y to b e t h e s o l u t i o n .
b y m a k i n g t h e ' i m m e d i a t e ' o b j e c t of p e r c e p t i o n p r i v a t e to t h e
perceiver a n d by abolishing t h e distance between subject a n d VII
o b j e c t ; t h u s R u s s e l l locates s e n s e - d a t a in t h e p r i v a t e ( a p p a r e n t ) A t t h i s point, n o w t h a t w e h a v e c o n n e c t e d t h e w i n d o w m o d e l
s p a c e of t h e i n d i v i d u a l p e r c e i v e r , a g a i n o n g r o u n d s h a v i n g w i t h a desire t o c u t f r e e f r o m t h e t r a m m e l s o f c a u s a l i t y , w e
to d o w i t h c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s (pp. 2 9 - 3 0 ) . s h o u l d t u r n a s i d e b r i e f l y t o t h e field o f m o r a l s . O n t h e face of i t ,
N o t i c e , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t if t h e r e w e r e s u c h a t h i n g a s p e r c e p t i o n if c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s a r e a p r o b l e m h e r e , it s h o u l d b e a
w i t h o u t c a u s a l i t y , p r o p o s i t i o n (2) w o u l d v e r y l i k e l y be t r u e . d i i ï e r e n t p r o b l e m . W e d o n o t a s c r i b e m o r a l p r o p e r t i e s to t h i n g s ,
A g r e a t m a n y , a t least, of t h e cases w h e r e a t h i n g w h i c h is r e a l l y as w e ascribe sensible q u a l i t i e s , o n t h e basis of a c a u s a l t r a n s -
F a p p e a r s to s o m e o n e not to b e F a r e cases of interference or- a c t i o n b e t w e e n u s a n d t h e m . T h a t m a y h o l d s o m e t i m e s of
b r e a k d o w n i n t h e causal p r o c e s s b y w h i c h w e o b t a i n i n f o r m a - p r e d i c a t e s like ' n i c e ' a n d ' n a s t y ' , p r e d i c a t e s w h i c h m e r e l y e x p r e s s
t i o n t h r o u g h t h e senses. M o r e o v e r , (2) d o e s h o l d f o r s e n s e - d a t a . a r e a c t i o n to t h i n g s . B u t i t c e r t a i n l y d o e s n o t h o l d of t e r m s l i k e
A s e n s e - d a t u m of necessity r e a l l y is as it a p p e a r s t o be to t h e ' r i g h t ' a n d ' w r o n g ' or ' l o y a l ' , ' h o n e s t ' , ' c h a r i t a b l e ' , a n d ' b r a v e ' .
o n e o b s e r v e r w h o h a s access t o i t ; (2) h o l d s h e r e j u s t b e c a u s e T r u e , t h e c r u d e r f o r m o f e m o t i v i s t t h e o r y assimilates m o r a l
c a u s a l i t y d o e s n o t get i n t h e w a y . B u t R u s s e l l ' s a r g u m e n t p r e d i c a t e s to p r e d i c a t e s o f r e a c t i o n , b u t t h e v e r y i m p l a u s i b i l i t y
rests o n ( i ) , w h i c h we s a w t o b e e q u i v a l e n t t o (2). So t h e o f t h a t a s s i m i l a t i o n is s t r o n g e v i d e n c e t h a t m o r a l conflict o u g h t
a r g u m e n t h a s t h e s a m e a m b i g u i t y as w e f o u n d i n Berkeley
a n d t h e Tkeaetetus. W h a t is s u p p o s e d t o c o m e o u t of it is a ' T h e day after this lecture was delivered, there arrived on my desk a copy
cool t h e o r e t i c a l f o r m u l a t i o n of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l : the thesis of Mind 88 (Jan. 1979), containing Maurice Charlesworth's paper, 'Sense-
t h a t w e h a v e k n o w l e d g e b y a c q u a i n t a n c e or d i r e c t a w a r e n e s s impressions : A N e w Model'. T h e 'new model' is none other than the window
model, recommended as a means of picturing a role for sensations in percep-
of s e n s e - d a t a . B u t t h e a r g u m e n t o n l y w o r k s t o t h e extent t h a t
tion which does not make them representative of external things. Roughly, if
a h a l f - f o r m u l a t e d version of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l is p r e s e n t f r o m we can perceive the world through sensations as through a transparent
t h e s t a r t . I t is p r e s e n t b e c a u s e ( i ) , w h i c h is f o r m u l a t e d , r e d u c e s window-pane, we will not be stuck with the traditionally problematic notion
t o (2), w h i c h c o n t a i n s (in its first d i s j u n c t ) t h e u n f o r m u l a t e d that we perceive sensations instead of the world outside (which they merely
d e m a n d for transparency. represent), and by this means we can avoid the dilemmatic choice between
representative realism and phenomenalism. I t is most instructive to see how,
I will n o t v e n t u r e to assert t h a t w h a t I s a y t h r e e t i m e s is t r u e . to make the model work, Charlesworth eventually finds it necessary to
B u t a t least, if it is t r u e , it c a n h a r d l y b e c o i n c i d e n c e t h a t it is a b a n d o n simple transparency a n d imagine a physics for the glass we look
t r u e . T h a t is o n e g a i n f r o m f o l l o w i n g t h e fortuna o f t h e w i n d o w through, a physics which makes its own contribution to the way things
appear to us. In other words, he has to make the window a properly causal
m o d e l i n m o d e r n t i m e s . A n o t h e r g a i n is t h a t w e h a v e c o m e t o
medium. Just this is what Berkeley and Russell are unwilling to d o for
see t h a t t h e a p p e a l of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l is c o n n e c t e d w i t h immediate awareness.
worries a b o u t c a u s a l i t y . P e r c e p t i o n , it is felt, o u g h t n o t t o b e
96 P R O C E E D I N G S OF T H E B R I T I S H ACADEMY
to be a q u i t e d i f f e r e n t type of issue, with difficulties o f its o w n T h e a r g u m e n t f r o m relativity h a s s o m e f o r c c simply b e c a u s e the a c t u a l
a n d peculiar t o itself. v a r i a t i o n s in t h e m o r a l codes a r c m o r e readily e x p l a i n e d by t h e
All too o f t e n , h o w e v e r , w h a t o n e finds in t h e philosophical h y p o t h e s i s that t h e y reflect w a y s of life t h a n by the h y p o t h e s i s t h a t
l i t e r a t u r e is a r e p e t i t i o n of t h e d e b a t e a b o u t sensible qualities. t h e y e x p r e s s p e r c e p t i o n s , m o s t of t h e m seriously i n a d e q u a t e a n d b a d l y
T h e s a m e f o r m of a r g u m e n t is used (in Sextus, a s we s a w d i s t o r t e d , of o b j e c t i v e values, (p. 37)
earlier, t h e p a r a l l e l is deliberate a n d explicit, a n d it w a s almost But w h y would t h e objectivist h a v e n o choice b u t this? W h y
certainly t h a t w a y i n P r o t a g o r a s also) ; o f t e n t h e r e is the s a m e m u s t b e treat m o r a l divergence, like p e r c e p t u a l divergence,
reliance o n a m y t h i c a l e x a m p l e w h i c h for some r e a s o n people as a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d i n d i c a t i o n of e r r o r on s o m e b o d y ' s p a r t ,
w a n t to believe ( t h o s e distant tribes w h o h a v e sexual intercourse a n d t h e n explain m o r a l e r r o r o n t h e analogy of p e r c e p t u a l
in p u b l i c a r e a r e c u r r i n g p r e s e n c e in G r e e k l i t e r a t u r e f r o m e r r o r ? Mackie says, a n d this is his second a r g u m e n t a g a i n s t
H e r o d o t u s o n w a r d s , a n d t h e y a r e still a t it in M o n t a i g n e ) . ^ t h e objectivity of values, ' t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m q u c e r n e s s ' —
But over a n d a b o v e these parallels w i t h t h e d e b a t e a b o u t
If t h e r e were o b j e c t i v e values, t h e n t h e y w o u l d be entities o r qualities o r
p e r c e p t i o n , t h e r e is also in t h e m o r a l d e b a t e a p r e o c c u p a t i o n
r e l a t i o n s of a v e r y s t r a n g e sort, u t t e r l y d i f f e r e n t f r o m a n y t h i n g else i n
with p e r c e p t i o n itself, and it is this t h a t w e need to scrutinize.
t h e u n i v e r s e . C o r r e s p o n d i n g l y , if w e w e r e a w a r e of t h e m , i t w o u l d h a v e
W h e n M a c k i e presents ' t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m relativity' for t o b e b y some s p e c i a l faculty of m o r a l p e r c e p t i o n or i n t u i t i o n , u t t e r l y
t h e thesis t h a t m o r a l values a r e n o t objective, n o t p a r t of t h e d i f f e r e n t from o u r o r d i n a r y w a y s of k n o w i n g e v e r y t h i n g else. (p. 38)
f a b r i c of t h e w o r l d (note t h e initial choice of m e t a p h o r [p. 15]),
I t is Mackie w h o i n t r o d u c e s t h e p e r c e p t u a l m o d e l , n o t his
he starts o f f b y a c k n o w l e d g i n g t h a t t h e d i v e r g e n c e in m o r a l
objectivist o p p o n e n t , M a c k i e w h o claims t h a t objectivism
beliefs b e t w e e n o n e g r o u p a n d a n o t h e r is i n itself m e r e l y ' a f a c t
m u s t sooner o r l a t e r t u r n i n t o i n t u i t i o n i s m : ' I n t u i t i o n i s m
of a n t h r o p o l o g y w h i c h entails n e i t h e r first o r d e r n o r second
m e r e l y makes u n p a l a t a b l y p l a i n w h a t other f o r m s of o b j e c -
o r d e r ethical views' (p. 3 6 ) . Nevertheless, s u c h divergence
tivism w r a p u p ' (ibid.). N o t only s h o u l d the objectivist d i s p u t e
requires e x p l a n a t i o n . T h e n e x t step is t o a r g u e t h a t the d i v e r -
this assertion, b u t he should n o t i c e t h a t t h e o n l y substantive
gences in belief w o u l d be difficult to e x p l a i n on t h e a s s u m p t i o n
a r g u m e n t M a c k i e offers for it is t h e following: w h e n p e o p l e
t h a t m o r a l v a l u e s are objective, w h e r e a s o n t h e opposite as-
j u d g e that s o m e things a r e g o o d o r right, a n d o t h e r s b a d o r
s u m p t i o n t h a t v a l u e s are n o t objective t h e divergences c a n
w r o n g , for t h e m o s t p a r t t h e y do so 'not b e c a u s e — o r a t a n y
q u i t e r e a s o n a b l y b e explained as d u e ( a n d M a c k i e must m e a n
r a t e n o t only b e c a u s e — t h e y e x e m p l i f y some g e n e r a l p r i n c i p l e
t h e y are all entirely due) to local or p e r s o n a l differences in t h e
for w h i c h w i d e s p r e a d i m p l i c i t a c c e p t a n c e c o u l d be c l a i m e d ,
ways of life w h i c h give rise ( b y a process of p r o j e c t i o n or o b j e c -
b u t because s o m e t h i n g a b o u t t h o s e things arouses c e r t a i n
tification) to t h e conflicting value-systems. H o w , t h e n , is it t o b e
responses i m m e d i a t e l y in t h e m , t h o u g h t h e y w o u l d a r o u s e
shown t h a t t h e objectivist will find it difficult to explain m o r a l
radically a n d irresolvably d i f f e r e n t responses in others. ' M o r a l
conflict a n d d i s a g r e e m e n t ?
sense' or ' i n t u i t i o n ' is a n initially m o r e plausible description of
For this key step in t h e a r g u m e n t M a c k i e offers just t w o w h a t supplies m a n y of o u r basic m o r a l j u d g e m e n t s t h a n ' r e a s o n ' .
models for u n d e r s t a n d i n g d i s a g r e e m e n t . O n e is d i s a g r e e m e n t W i t h regard to all these s t a r t i n g p o i n t s of m o r a l t h i n k i n g t h e
b e t w e e n scientific investigators in cases w h e r e t h e issue is a r g u m e n t f r o m relativity r e m a i n s i n full force' (p. 378) I t is
objective b u t t h e evidence is insufficient to d e c i d e between t h e t h e emotivist assimilation to p r e d i c a t e s of r e a c t i o n / o v e r l a i d
speculative hypotheses f a v o u r e d by d i f f e r e n t investigators b y a p e r c e p t u a l gloss. T h a t is w h y t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m relativity
(p. 36). T h i s , w e m a y agree, is n o t a p l a u s i b l e parallel for t h e
m o r a l case. T h e other m o d e l is d i v e r g e n c e i n perception:^ to i n q u i r e w h e t h e r they can b e tested a n d confirmed by observation, only to
find t h a t 'there does not seem to b e any w a y in which t h e actual Tightness
or wrongness of a given situation can h a v e any effect o n your p e r c e p t u a l
1 Apologie de Raimond Sebond, Essais ed. Pierre Villey (Paris, 1922), ii. p . 341.
a p p a r a t u s ' (p. 8).
M o n t a i g n e also retails, as we would expect, b o t h t h e honey a n d the j a u n d i c e
exaraples (pp. 348, 362). ^ Cf. p. 42 w h e r e , to illustrate o u r projection or objectification of moral
2 Cf. Gilbert K a r m a n , The Nature of Morality (New York, 1977), c h a p , i, attitudes, M a c k i e uses the a n a l o g y of someone who calls a fungus foul
who asks w h e t h e r m o r a l principles can be tested a n d confirmed and proceeds because it fills h i m with disgust.
gS PROCEJiUlINCjS u r ιπΕ. orviiioii i
C O N F L I C T I N G APPEAKANUKS
r e m a i n s in full force. M o r a l p r e d i c a t e s express a n i m m e d i a t e
response o r r e a c t i o n to things, so if t h e objectivist is to m a k e
university p h i l o s o p h y d e p a r t m e n t soon finds t h a t these a r g u -
m e n t s are a p o t e n t force in t h e w i d e r c u l t u r e of our society:
99
1
intelligible the n o t i o n of a mistaken a p p l i c a t i o n of such p r e -
as p o t e n t as t h e y were in a n c i e n t Greece. T h e y seem to c o m e
dicates, h e m u s t say t h a t s o m e t h i n g goes w r o n g in the t r a n s - n a t u r a l l y , of t h e i r own a c c o r d , to m a n y p e o p l e u n t u t o r e d in
action b e t w e e n u s a n d t h e m . A n d for this it is no d o u b t philosophy, as soon as t h e y e n g a g e with H e r a c l i t u s ' q u e s t i o n ,
t r u e t h a t t h e o n l y d e c e n t m o d e l w e h a v e is t h e m o d e l of h o w far our l a n g u a g e a n d t h e w a y s w e o r d i n a r i l y speak a b o u t
misperceiving. t h i n g s can c l a i m absolute validity. A r g u m e n t s which h a v e
T h u s M a c k i e ' s whole case rests on t h e premiss that, for t h e t h a t kind of a p p e a l call f o r diagnosis as m u c h as for s t r a i g h t -
most p a r t a t least, we a p p l y m o r a l p r e d i c a t e s to things, as w e f o r w a r d logical appraisal.
a p p l y sensory predicates, o n t h e basis of a t r a n s a c t i o n b e t w e e n
I shall r e t u r n to this m a t t e r of diagnosis, b u t first, to p r e v e n t
us a n d t h e m . A t this p o i n t M a c k i e ' s a c c o u n t of morals r e a l l y
m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g , t h e r e a r e several f u r t h e r p o i n t s I s h o u l d
is p a r a l l e l to D e m o c r i t u s ' a c c o u n t of s e c o n d a r y qualities.' m e n t i o n , if o n l y to m a k e it clear w h e r e they fit in a n d w h a t I do
A n y sensible objectivist w h o denies t h e premiss gets off scot free. a n d d o not w a n t to say a b o u t t h e m .
B u t w h a t is of interest h e r e is the w a y M a c k i e argues t h a t a
p e r c e p t u a l m o d e l for t h e s u p p o s e d t r a n s a c t i o n breaks d o w n , ( i ) I have n o t said, n o r d o I believe, t h a t t h e w i n d o w m o d e l
a n d c a n b e seen to be a b s u r d , as soon as one t r i e s to fill in a is a n a b e r r a t i o n of philosophers w h o s e worries a b o u t conflicting
c e r t a i n a m o u n t of as it w e r e 'causal' detail to explain w h a t a p p e a r a n c e s t a k e a relativist or subjectivist t u r n . A n o t h e r
h a p p e n s w h e n things go w r o n g . I n effect, M a c k i e first p r o j e c t s a d h e r e n t of t h e p i c t u r e is P l a t o himself.
u p o n t h e objectivist his own a t t a c h m e n t to t h e w i n d o w m o d e l , P l a t o sets u p relativism i n t h e Theaetetus in o r d e r to a r g u e
t r a n s p a r e n t d i s t a n c e version ( a n i n t u i t i o n of n o n - n a t u r a l q u a l i - t h a t when its implications a n d c o m m i t m e n t s are followed
ties o u t t h e r e in t h e fabric of t h e w o r l d ) , a n d t h e n he c o m p l a i n s t h r o u g h it will b e seen to l e a d to m u l t i p l e absurdities, n o t t h e
t h a t t h e m o d e l is unrealistic because it c a n n o t c o p e w i t h t h e least of w h i c h is t h a t in t h e e n d t h o s e private, relative o c c u r -
conflict of a p p e a r a n c e s . H e n c e values a r e subjective. A n d this r e n c e s of w h i t e a n d other sensible qualities c a n n o t be i d e n t i f i e d
does seem r e m a r k a b l y like D e m o c r i t u s c o n c l u d i n g that h o n e y o r described as, e.g., w h i t e r a t h e r t h a n a n y t h i n g else; p e r c e p t u a l
is n e i t h e r sweet n o r bitter o n t h e g r o u n d s that, w h i l e it a p p e a r s relativism m a k e s l a n g u a g e impossible. W h a t P l a t o most objects
sweet to y o u a n d me, it also a p p e a r s b i t t e r — s o S e x t u s assures us to i n the k i n d of e m p i r i c i s m r e p r e s e n t e d b y T h e a e t e t u s ' defi-
(PH i. 101), a n d Sextus w a s a doctor·—to p e o p l e w i t h j a u n d i c e . n i t i o n a n d P r o t a g o r a s ' e p i s t e m o l o g y is t h a t it covertly assigns
to p e r c e p t u a l experience as such those f u n c t i o n s of t h o u g h t
VIII w h i c h are r e q u i r e d for t h e p e r c e i v e r to i d e n t i f y w h a t his ex-
p e r i e n c e is of. H i s target i n this p o l e m i c is t h e Berkeleyan view
N o n e of this shows, of course, t h a t m o r a l values a r e objective or t h a t one h a s o n l y to sense w h i t e t o know it for w h a t it is.
t h a t t h e objectivist can in f a c t give a p l a u s i b l e a c c o u n t of m o r a l Accordingly, w h e n t h e Theaetetus goes on ( 1 8 4 B - 7 A ) to give
d i s a g r e e m e n t . Likewise, m y earlier discussion d i d n o t a t t e m p t to P l a t o ' s own a c c o u n t of t h e m a t t e r , a very s h a r p distinction is
p r o v e t h a t sensible qualities a r e i n h e r e n t in t h e t h i n g s we ascribe d r a w n b e t w e e n p e r c e p t i o n a n d j u d g e m e n t . I t is one t h i n g to
t h e m to. I h a v e n o t a r g u e d t h a t t h e r e is n o t r u t h in relativism perceive a c o l o u r , q u i t e a n o t h e r to j u d g e or b e a w a r e t h a t it is
or in subjectivism, w h e t h e r these a r e t a k e n as theories a b o u t t h e colour w h i t e . H o w e v e r , i n t h u s a r g u i n g t h a t p e r c e p t i o n as
values, a b o u t s e c o n d a r y qualities or a b o u t p r i m a r y qualities as s u c h c a n n o t b e knowledge, b e c a u s e p e r c e p t i o n o n its own h a s n o
well. I h a v e criticized w h a t m a y in full p r o p r i e t y be called p o w e r of j u d g e m e n t or c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n , P l a t o himself m a k e s
t h e classical a r g u m e n t s for relativism a n d subjectivism, b u t I h e a v y use of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l in t h e interests of a n i m p o r t a n t
h a v e criticized t h e m chiefly w i t h a view to u n d e r s t a n d i n g their thesis a b o u t t h e u n i t y of t h e p e r c e i v i n g consciousness.'
a p p e a l . A n y o n e w h o t e a c h e s outside t h e walls of a c o n v e n t i o n a l
» See my 'Plato on the G r a m m a r of Perceiving', Classical Quarterly NS 26
' Cf. also Mackie's remarks on the extent to which m o r a l values exist by (1976), PP· 29-51, to which I must refer for a detailed defence of the inter-
convention, pp. 36, 42 ff. pretation sketched out here.
ΙΟΟ PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY COl^rXf G i'ixVò 'jÌÌ-«^
P l a t o ' s c o n t e n t i o n is t h a t w e c a n n o t m a k e sense o f p e r c e p t i o n t o t e r m s with w h a t it is t o b e b o t h i n the w o r l d a n d c o g n i z a n t
( w h e t h e r as p h i l o s o p h e r s o r as perceivers) e x c e p t in t e r m s of t h e world. T h e eyes a n d t h e r e m a i n i n g senr.ory a p p a r a t u s
of a u n i t a r y m i n d or soul w h i c h c a n t h i n k a n d r e a s o n a b o u t of t h e b o d y a r e e n t a n g l e d i n t h e c a u s a l m e c h a n i s m s w h i c h a r e
t h e o b j e c t s of d i f f e r e n t senses a n d m a k e c o m p a r i s o n s b e t w e e n n e c e s s a r y to p e r c e p t i o n . I n c e r t a i n p h i l o s o p h i c a l m o o d s it m a y
t h i n g s p e r c e i v e d a t d i f f e r e n t times. I t m u s t b e o n e a n d t h e strike us t h a t t h e y are t o o m u c h in t h e w o r l d t o b e c o g n i z a n t
s a m e e n d u r i n g s o u l which p e r c e i v e s all t h e o b j e c t s o f the s e v e r a l of i t . T o e x p l a i n p e r c e p t u a l consciousness it is t h e n t e m p t i n g
senses a n d it m u s t b e t h a t s a m e p a r t of ourselves w h i c h a p p l i e s t o i m a g i n e o n e s e l f s t a n d i n g o f f , as it w e r e , f r o m o n e ' s o w n b o d y
t h o u g h t t o w h a t w e p e r c e i v e . F o r this thesis P l a t o offers c o o l a n d its causal i n v o l v e m e n t s , l o o k i n g t h r o u g h i t ( t o use P l a t o ' s
t h e o r e t i c a l a r g u m e n t , r a t h e r g o o d a r g u m e n t , b u t in a d d i t i o n a m b i g u o u s p r e p o s i t i o n ) a t t h e w o r l d b e y o n d . A n d h e r e too,
h e helps the a r g u m e n t along with models a n d metaphors. as i n t h e empiricists, t h e m e t a p h o r i c a l looking is f r e e of c a u s a l i t y ,
If t h e r e w e r e n o u n i t a r y consciousness, t h e several senses w o u l d b e c a u s e the c a u s a l i t y gets u s e d u p , so to s p e a k , i n the b o d y ' s
b e like t h e b a n d of w a r r i o r s i n t h e w o o d e n horse a t T r o y , e a c h interaction with the enviroment.
c a r r y i n g o n his p e r c e p t u a l a c t i v i t y i n d e p e n d e n t l y of the o t h e r s
a n d of t h e w h o l e w h i c h c o n t a i n s t h e m . I n p l a c e o f this p i c t u r e (2) I h a v e n o t s a i d a n y t h i n g a b o u t the i n a p p r o p r i a t e n e s s of
P l a t o p u t s a n o t h e r , b e t t e r o n e . C o l o u r s a n d o t h e r sensible t h e w i n d o w m o d e l to senses o t h e r t h a n sight. I h a v e n o t d o n e
q u a l i t i e s a r e o u t t h e r e , w i t h a ( n o n - r e l a t i v e ) n a t u r e or essence this b e c a u s e w h a t is i n t e r e s t i n g a n d r e v e a l i n g a b o u t t h e m o d e l
o f t h e i r o w n ; t h e soul g a i n s access t o t h e m t h r o u g h the senses is t h e w a y i n w h i c h it is i n a d e q u a t e to t h e specific m o d e of
o r s e n s e - o r g a n s ; a n d we a r e e n c o u r a g e d t o t a k e t h e p r e p o s i t i o n p e r c e p t i o n , n a m e l y sight, b y w h i c h i t is i n s p i r e d . I t h a s o f t e n
' t h r o u g h ' , o n w h i c h m u c h e m p h a s i s is l a i d , as a spatial m e t a - b e e n r e m a r k e d t h a t t h e p h i l o s o p h y of p e r c e p t i o n has t e n d e d
p h o r . ^ T h e m e t a p h o r of o r g a n s or senses as a p e r t u r e s f o r t h e t o g i v e the p r i m a c y to sight, a l l o w i n g t h e o t h e r senses to p r o v i d e
soul t o p e r c e i v e t h r o u g h c o n j u r e s u p a p i c t u r e of a u n i t a r y soul u s e f u l e x a m p l e s of illusion or c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s b u t
w h i c h , b e c a u s e i t stands b a c k as it w e r e f r o m t h e i n d i v i d u a l otherwise leaving them t o tag along. Perhaps the w i n d o w
senses, is a b l e b o t h to p e r c e i v e t h e o b j e c t s of m o r e t h a n o n e m o d e l has s o m e t h i n g to d o w i t h t h i s t e n d e n c y .
sense a n d t o t h i n k a b o u t w h a t it p e r c e i v e s i n g e n e r a l t e r m s . I n this c o n n e c t i o n t h e Theaetetus passage w e s t a r t e d f r o m
I n a w o r d , a u n i t a r y soul, a n d o n l y a u n i t a r y soul, c a n b e is q u i t e r e v e a l i n g . I t sets f o r t h its thesis i n t e r m s of c o l o u r
conscious. p r e d i c a t e s , a n d w h e n i t d o e s c o m e to m e n t i o n o t h e r s , t h e
All t h i s s t a n d s i n p o w e r f u l c o n t r a s t t o t h e e m p i r i c i s m i n i t i a t e d e x a m p l e s g i v e n a r e ' l a r g e ' a n d ' h o t ' . N o w ' l a r g e ' is c l e a r l y
b y T h e a e t e t u s ' d e f i n i t i o n . I f t h e e m p i r i c i s t w e r e to r e p l y b y s u g g e s t e d b y t h e P r o t a g o r e a n i m a g e of p e r c e i v i n g as m e a s u r i n g .
p r e s s i n g P l a t o w i t h his o w n a r g u m e n t a t 1 5 4 AB, the a n s w e r W e a r e to t h i n k of a s i t u a t i o n i n w h i c h w e literally m e a s u r e
w o u l d b e t h a t it does n o t w o r k b e c a u s e t h e n o t i o n of a p p e a r i n g ourselves a g a i n s t a n o b j e c t i n o r d e r to e s t i m a t e its size b y
already incorporates the perceiver's t h o u g h t or j u d g e m e n t c o m p a r i s o n w i t h o u r o w n . T h a t is, t h e e x a m p l e invites a v i s u a l
(cf Sophist 2 6 4 B), a n d it is t h o u g h t w h i c h a p p l i e s t h e p r e d i c a t e s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n a g a i n . W h a t is m o r e , it i n v i t e s us to p i c t u r e
' F ' or ' n o t - F ' t o t h i n g s ; t h e p e r c e p t u a l e l e m e n t i n a p p e a r a n c e o u r o w n b o d y as w i t h i n t h e v i s u a l field.
c a n b e d e s c r i b e d in c a u s a l t e r m s b u t t h a t is all t h e r e is t o s a y I t w o u l d , h o w e v e r , b e p e r f e c t l y possible t o t a k e o n e ' s i n s p i -
a b o u t it. r a t i o n from a sense o t h e r t h a n sight. C. D . B r o a d o n c e p r e s e n t e d
I g i v e this v e r y s u m m a r y sketch o f P l a t o ' s o w n p o s i t i o n , t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s in i m a g e s of j u m p i n g
n o t b e c a u s e I t h i n k his final a n s w e r s a t i s f a c t o r y , b u t b e c a u s e a n d grasping :
I t h i n k t h a t h i s use of t h e w i n d o w m o d e l b r i n g s out a n i m - I n its purely phenomenologicai aspect seeing is ostensibly saltatory. I t
p o r t a n t p o i n t . S o far f r o m b e i n g a n a b e r r a t i o n of c e r t a i n seems to leap the spatial g a p between the percipient's body and a
empiricist philosophers, t h e picture associated w i t h the m o d e l remote region of space. T h e n , again, it is ostensibly prehensive of the
is o n e c o m p e l l i n g l y n a t u r a l expression o f t h e d i f f i c u l t y of c o m i n g surfaces of distant bodies as coloured and extended, and of external
' It was this, presumably, t h a t inspired the explicit window comparison events as colour-occurrences localized in remote regions of space. ('Some
attacked by Lucretius (III p. 84 above). Elementary Reflexions on Sense-Perception', op. cit., p. 32.)
Given this i m a g e r y to w o r k with, B r o a d ' s conclusion f r o m t h e At. ί» 1»»»
usual survey of conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s is t h a t t h e p h e n o m e n o - ' I s i t F or n o t - F ? ' ( a n s w e r ; ' I t a p p e a r s to b e F') with t h e o u t -
logy is m i s l e a d i n g , the d i s t a n c e to t h o s e r e m o t e regions c a n - sider's q u e s t i o n 'Is it r e a l l y F as it a p p e a r s to h i m t o b e ? '
n o t be j u m p e d , so we h a v e to say t h a t p e r c e p t u a l experiences I t is easy to confuse t h e t w o b e c a u s e of c o u r s e the p e r c e i v e r
a r e ' p r e h e n s i o n s ' of non-physical p a r t i c u l a r s w h i c h do r e a l l y himself c a n s t e p back a n d ask a b o u t himself the o u t s i d e r ' s
h a v e t h e q u a l i t i e s of redness, squeakiness, hotness, etc., w h i c h question in t h e f o r m ' I s it really F as it a p p e a r s to m e to b e ? '
t h e y a p p e a r to h a v e (p. 4 2 ) . I t is the Theaetetus a r g u m e n t a g a i n , N o w , in a conflict case t h e o u t s i d e r needs a reason to p r e f e r
c o n d u c t e d in t e r m s of m o v e m e n t a n d t h e m o d a l i t y of t o u c h . o n e person's a p p e a r a n c e s to a n o t h e r ' s . N o t h i n g h a s been said so
N o w B r o a d ' s ^prehensions' h a v e a m o r e e m b o d i e d p r e c e d e n t f a r t o show h e c a n n o t h a v e it. S u p p o s e he does. Tlien c e r t a i n l y ,
in t h e h a n d - g e s t u r e s w i t h w h i c h Z e n o of C i t i u m illustrated t h e his knowledge t h a t the t h i n g is r e a l l y F is n o t based o n sense
Stoic t h e o r y of t h e c a t a l e p t i c or ' g r a s p i n g ' impression (Cicero, a l o n e . But for all t h a t h a s b e e n s h o w n so far t o t h e c o n t r a r y , h e
Academica i. 41, ii. 145), a t r u t h - g u a r a n t e e i n g experience w h i c h is n o w entitled to say of t h e p e r s o n to w h o m it a p p e a r s F t h a t
t h e Stoics also i m a g e d as a perfect p i c t u r e of its object (Sext. he knows it is F because a n d simply because h e perceives it to b e
E m p . M vii. 248) a n d as a clear a n d distinct impression of it so. T h a t is, t h e outsider m a y v e r y well r e a c h the conclusion
(Diogenes L a e r t i u s vii. 46). T h e d i f f e r e n c e is that, w h e r e t h a t the c o n d i t i o n s a r e right for t h e insider t o gain k n o w l e d g e
B r o a d h a s to c o n t e n t h i m s e l f with a n o n - p h y s i c a l grasp of a f r o m his p e r c e p t i o n . H u m e ' s assessment of t h e sceptical a r g u -
m e n t f r o m conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s has it e x a c t l y right :
n o n - p h y s i c a l p a r t i c u l a r , t h e Stoics h a v e e n o u g h faith i n t h e
These sceptical topics, indeed, are only sufficient to prove, that the
n a t u r a l a d a p t e d n e s s of o u r faculties t o t h e u n i v e r s e we live in
senses alone are not implicitly to be depended on; but that we must
to be w h o l e - h e a r t e d physicalists. T h e i r g r a s p i n g , p i c t u r i n g o r
correct their evidence by reason, and by considerations derived from
clear a n d distinct impression is a c a u s a l l y d e t e r m i n e d , w h o l l y
the nature of the medium, the distance of the object, and the disposi-
physical process in w h i c h o n e b o d y , t h e perceiver, achieves
rion of the organ, in order to render them, within their sphere, the
c e r t a i n t r u t h a b o u t a n o t h e r body. W h a t links t h e bodily g r a s p
proper crìterìa of truth and falsehood. {Enquiry concerning Human Under-
of t h e Stoics to Broad's e t h e r i a l p r e h e n s i o n s is o u r w o r d ' p e r -
standing Xll. 117.)
ception'. It comes from t h e Latin 'perceptio', meaning 'a taking
h o l d ο f ' , w h i c h was o n e o f Cicero's t r a n s l a t i o n s of t h e Stoic W h a t is t r u e is t h a t if as outsiders we b e c o m e c o n v i n c e d t h a t
t e r m 'catalepsis', grasp (cf. Cic. Acad. ii. 17). I t looks v e r y t h e r e is n e v e r reason t o p r e f e r o n e person's a p p e a r a n c e s to
m u c h as t h o u g h the i d e a of p e r c e p t i o n as a firm grasp of a n a n o t h e r ' s , w e shall c o n c l u d e t h a t u n d e r n o c i r c u m s t a n c e s does
o b j e c t is some sort of antithesis to t h e w i n d o w model, a n d k n o w l e d g e result w h e n t h e insider judges t h a t s o m e t h i n g is F
p e r h a p s a d i f f e r e n t , if r a t h e r less c o m m o n , w a y of c o p i n g w i t h because it a p p e a r s so t o h i m . B u t , c o n t r a r y to Berkeley, this
the same ultimate problem. c a n n o t be p r o v e d by t h e conflict of a p p e a r a n c e s alone. A c c o r d -
ingly, m u c h of Sextus' eflfort goes into a r g u i n g , explicitly a n d
(3) I h a v e n o t so far said a n y t h i n g a b o u t a r g u m e n t s i n w h i c h i n detail, t h a t there is n e v e r r e a s o n to p r e f e r o n e a p p e a r a n c e
t h e p r e m i s e of conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s is o v e r t l y and d e l i b e r - t o another ; o r as he p u t s it, t h a t t h e r e is n o criterion of t r u t h —
ately c o m b i n e d with f u r t h e r premisses. M o s t of the sceptical n e i t h e r t h e senses n o r a n y t h i n g else are ' t h e p r o p e r criteria
a r g u m e n t s in Sextus a r e of this k i n d . I n his b e t t e r m o m e n t s of t r u t h a n d falsehood'. A d d t h a t to the p r e m i s s of conflicting
Sextus k n o w s t h a t Berkeley was w r o n g to s a y it follows j u s t a p p e a r a n c e s a n d the sceptical a r g u m e n t goes t h r o u g h . F o r if
f r o m t h e conflict of a p p e a r a n c e s t h a t 'we d o not k n o w b y t h e r e is n o criterion of t r u t h , all a p p e a r a n c e s are of e q u a l
sense w h i c h is t h e t r u e extension or c o l o u r of t h e o b j e c t ' . O f strength, e q u a l l y w o r t h y a n d e q u a l l y u n w o r t h y of belief, a n d
course, if w e a r e told t h a t s o m e t h i n g a p p e a r s F to one p e r s o n w e are f o r c e d to suspend j u d g e m e n t .
a n d n o t - F to a n o t h e r , w e c a n n o t d e c i d e o n t h a t basis a l o n e So put, t h e sceptical c h a l l e n g e seems to m e to deserve some-
w h e t h e r t h e t h i n g is F o r n o t - f . B u t this does n o t p r o v e t h a t t h i n g b e t t e r t h a n the p h a n t a s y solutions it h a s so often received.
it c a n n o t b e d e t e r m i n e d a t all, n o r t h a t it c a n n o t b e d e t e r m i n e d I t calls for a detailed e x a m i n a t i o n a n d a p p r a i s a l of t h e g r o u n d s
by sense. o n which w e o r d i n a r i l y p r e f e r some a p p e a r a n c e s to others.
H
104 PROCEEDINGS O F T H E BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 105
I t is n o t e n o u g h , for e x a m p l e , to talk i n a g e n e r a l p r o m i s s o r y q u a i n t e x a m p l e s like H e r a c l i t u s ' pigs e n j o y i n g the m i r e . '
w a y a b o u t h e a l t h y m i n d s in h e a l t h y b o d i e s u n d e r n o r m a l W e know, o r h a v e g o o d r e a s o n t o believe, t h a t a t a b l e w h i c h
c o n d i t i o n s of p e r c e p t i o n . T h e j u s t i f i c a t i o n for t a k i n g these as n o r m a l l y looks b r o w n t o us looks v e r y d i f f e r e n t to a n o r m a l
t h e m e a s u r e or c r i t e r i o n of w h a t sensible q u a l i t i e s things h a v e h e a l t h y c a t , w h o has o n l y b l a c k a n d w h i t e vision a n d sees
m u s t lie i n a d e t a i l e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e i n t e r a c t i o n b e t w e e n e v e r y t h i n g i n g r a d a t i o n s of grey. I s it n o t a k i n d of e p i s t e m o -
p e r c e i v e r a n d p e r c e i v e d . T h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e reliability of t h e l o g i c a l 'speciesism' (cf. PHì. 59) t o prefer o u r o w n p e r c e p t i o n s
processes b y w h i c h we o b t a i n i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t the w o r l d to t h e cat's
m u s t b e s q u a r e l y faced in c a u s a l t e r m s , n o t a v o i d e d by t a k i n g A s it s t a n d s , this is n o t a g o o d a r g u m e n t . W e d o n o t i n f a c t
r e f u g e i n t h e w i n d o w m o d e l a n d its i l l u s o r y a l t e r n a t i v e t o t h e p r e f e r in a c o m p l e t e l y g e n e r a l w a y our o w n p e r c e p t i o n s to
c a u s a l m e d i u m i n which p e r c e p t i o n is i m m e r s e d . t h o s e of o t h e r a n i m a l s . W e r e a d i l y accept, a n d so does S e x t u s
(PH i. 62 ff), t h a t a n i m a l s a r e o f t e n m o r e sensitive t o smells
(4) I h a v e n o t so far c a l l e d a t t e n t i o n t o d i f f e r e n c e s a m o n g t h e t h a n we a r e , a n d in s o m e w a y s m o r e sensitive t o s o u n d . E v e n
t h r e e c a t e g o r i e s o f v a r i a t i o n o r conflict b e t w e e n a p p e a r a n c e s i n t h e case o f colour, w e c o u l d believe, a n d it m a y a c t u a l l y
w h i c h S o c r a t e s sets out a t Theaetetus 154 A. B u t clearly, t h e r e b e t h e case, t h a t s o m e a n i m a l s h a v e a s p e c t r u m w i d e r t h a n o u r s .
a r e i m p o r t a n t d i f f e r e n c e s b o t h b e t w e e n a n d w i t h i n these I n s u m , w e h a v e a n o t i o n of b e t t e r or worse p e r c e p t u a l e q u i p -
c a t e g o r i e s . I n m o r a l s , f o r i n s t a n c e , t h e y a r e d i f f e r e n t sorts of m e n t a n d t h a t n o t i o n is n o t species-specific. I t is a n e m p i r i c a l
d i f f e r e n c e of o u t l o o k a n d j u d g e m e n t w h i c h d i s t i n g u i s h a m a n in q u e s t i o n , w h o is best a t p e r c e i v i n g w h a t , a n d t h e c i t i n g of
his m a t u r i t y f r o m t h a t s a m e m a n in a d o l e s c e n c e , a m a n h u n g r y v a r i a t i o n s i n p e r c e p t i o n b e t w e e n us a n d o t h e r species does
a n d oppressed f r o m that same m a n w h e n he has become the n o t h i n g t o s h o w t h a t t h e q u e s t i o n c a n n o t e v e r h a v e a well-
l e a d e r of his p e o p l e , a n d a m a n i n f l a m e d w i t h passion f r o m grounded answer.
t h a t s a m e m a n reflecting n e x t d a y . A n d t h e s e differences
T h u s S e x t u s ' a r g u m e n t fails. B u t H e r a c l i t u s will c o m e b a c k
s h o u l d t h e m s e l v e s be c o n t r a s t e d , n o t e q u a t e d , w i t h t h e dif-
to m a k e t h e c h a r g e of a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c p a r t i a l i t y at a h i g h e r
f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n one m a n a n d his c o n t e m p o r a r i e s , w h i c h
level. I t is o u r h u m a n l a n g u a g e i n w h i c h all t h i s has b e e n said,
are different again from the differences b e t w e e n him a n d
o u r l a n g u a g e i n w h i c h t h e scientist's e m p i r i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n is
p e o p l e o f o t h e r times a n d places. S i m i l a r p o i n t s c o u l d b e
c a r r i e d o u t . T h e i n t e r e s t i n g case w o u l d be o n e w h e r e it is n o t
m a d e a b o u t d i f f e r e n c e s in t h e i m p o r t o f c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s
j u s t t h a t t h e o t h e r a n i m a l is m i s s i n g s o m e t h i n g w e c a n p i c k u p
f o r t h e d i f f e r e n t sense m o d a l i t i e s . B u t w h e r e p e r c e p t i o n is
o r vice versa, b u t r a t h e r t h a t h e h a s a n e x p e r i e n c e of c o l o u r ,
c o n c e r n e d , it s e e m s to m e t h a t t h e i n t e r e s t i n g c a t e g o r y is t h e
s a y , w h i c h is t h r o u g h a n d t h r o u g h d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h a t o f a n y
o n e least a t t e n d e d to i n m o d e r n discussions, t h e v a r i a t i o n
h u m a n . 3 T h e n s o m e of H e r a c l i t u s ' p a r a d o x e s c o u l d b e g i n to
b e t w e e n m a n a n d other a n i m a l s . T h e i n t e r e s t i n g p r o b l e m is
bite.
not relativity or subjectivity in general, b u t Heraclitus' p r o b l e m
of a n t h r o p o c e n t r i c i t y . ^ ^ Though Berkeley did : Three Dialoguesy "p. 181.
2 Another way of getting to the problem is by changing human beings.
S u p p o s e w e h a v e been a b l e t o j u s t i f y o u r p r a c t i c e of p r e f e r r i n g For ways of doing this, see J o n a t h a n Bennett, 'Substance, Reality and
the appearances enjoyed b y healthy h u m a n s in normal con- Primary Qualities', Amer. Phil. (^art. 2 (1965), pp. 1-17, who is concerned to
ditions o f p e r c e p t i o n o v e r t h o s e of h u m a n s u b j e c t s a f f e c t e d draw a moral about the distinction between primary and secondary qualities.
Bennett shows that the objectivity of primary qualities is more fundamental,
b y j a u n d i c e a n d other d i s a d v a n t a g e s . S e x t u s w i l l argue, a n d
in a certain clear sense, than the objectivity of secondary qualities, but it
he has both Heraclitus a n d Protagoras behind h i m , that even would be wrong to conclude that this makes my problem disappear. We
so it is a r b i t r a r y to p r e f e r h u m a n a p p e a r a n c e s , h o w e v e r c a r e - still have to explain what type of objectivity the secondary qualities can
fully selected, t o the c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s w h i c h o t h e r enjoy. And here the variety of animal perceptions (the first Mode of Pyrrho-
a n i m a l s g e t f r o m t h e s a m e t h i n g s . T h e r e is n o n e e d to r e s o r t t o nian scepticism) offers a more radical challenge than, for example, limited
colour blindness in human beings.
^ Compare David Wiggins, ' T r u t h , Invention, and the Meaning of Life', ^ If I mention here Gerald H . Jacobs and Robert L. Yolton, 'Visual
Proc. Bnt. Acad. Ixii (1976), pp. 331-78, at pp. 348-9; Thomas Nagel, ' W h a t Sensitivity and Colour Vision in Ground Squirrels', Vision Research 11 (1971),
is it like to be a Bat?', Philosophical Review 83 (1974), pp. 435-50. pp. 511-37, it is without confidence that they intend to describe such a case.
ïo6 P R O C E E D I N G S O F T H E B R I T I S H ACADEMY CONtLIClIINti
Suppose we h a d elaborated a scheme of colour predicates I n sum, the absolute viewpoint, far from being different from
to describe the other animars experience from his point of every partial viewpoint, would be one which saw that every
view. Let one of these predicates be 'huey'. Would it be a partial viewpoint is correct.
contradiction for one and the same thing to be both blue and All this may seem indulgent mystification, even if I am
huey all over at the same time? Must we oppose the colour- pardoned for thinking that we might apply what Heraclitus
qualities things have for us (the Protagorean idiom seeming says about opposed predicates within language as it is to the
inescapable as the only alternative to paradox) to those they imagined case of 'blue' and 'huey'. What possible alternative
have for the other creature, insisting that 'blue* and 'huey' to Democritus can Heraclitus offer unless he explains what the
be regarded as contraries in the same way as 'blue' and 'red' overcoming of opposition and contradiction within the god's-
within our own colour vocabulary? M a n y will prefer the Demo- eye vantage-point amounts to? But reasonable as it m a y seem
critean solution that the object in itself, absolutely considered, to ask for such an explanation, to expect Heraclitus to say that
is neither blue nor huey, all colour being equally subjective. the predicates are not really opposed, the strife image tells us
But Heraclitus himself was not so despairing. that of course they are opposed (so too frags. 102 and 23, quoted
Heraclitus' version of the absolute god's-eye vantage-point above) ; and many other fragments convey the same message
is not designed to show us the world 'as it is apart from us'. with unmistakeable force. Heraclitus' solution to the problem
O n the contrary, when he talks of the god's-eye view, he pro- of conflicting appearances is not an explanation but a certain
jects into it all our opposing, relativity-conditioned predicates : kind of awareness :
To god all things are fair and just: but men suppose some things just and
To those who are awake the world-order is one, common to all; but
others unjust, (frag. 102)^
the sleeping turn aside each into a private world, (frag. 8g)'
I interpret this to mean that our h u m a n contrast between
T h e world as we ordinarily understand it is from a god's-eye
justice and injustice has no absolute validity, even though it is
view relative to us and the categories of our language, as a
necessary to the very meaning of the terms in our language:
dreamer's world is to him. T h e trouble is that people are not
For [men] would not know the name of Dike [ = Justice] if these
aware of this. Most men 'fail to notice what they do after they
things [sc. injustices] did not exist, (frag. 23)
wake up, just as they forget what they do when asleep' (frag. i).
From an absolute vantage point everything is just—but not in a A true awakening would remember the dream world and be
way that contrasts with injustice. For at that level it is equally aware that it was a private world.
true that justice is strife, i.e. what men think of as injustice:
For those who have heard not me but the Logos wisdom is agreeing
What one ought to understand is that war [sc. that which separates] that all things are one. (frag. 50)
is common [sc. that which connects] and justice is strife, and that all
things which come to pass do so in accordance with strife and what Wisdom is becoming aware of the relativity of one's categories
ought to be. (frag. 80) and experience, not thereby denying its (partial) validity but
And what holds for moral predicates holds for the rest of our putting it into perspective along with other viewpoints. T h e
language: Logos which connects things that our language separates and
God is day night, winter summer, war peace, hunger satiety: he opposes is itself still language, our own language. The god's-eye
changes [sc. becomes many opposite things] in the way that fire [sc. view for Heraclitus is simply this : seeing that the h u m a n view
the fire at a sacrifice], when it is mixed with spices, is named according is the human view and no more. One carries on as before—one
to the scent of each. (frag. 67) speaks and can only speak from within one's own language.
But the wise man is awake to what he is doing. T h a t is how
Heraclitus could sum u p his whole philosophy in the words
No matter. We can still try to imagine a case and consider what we could
say about it.
Ί searched out myself (frag. l o r ) .

I Text as in M . Marcovich, Heraclitus, Editio Maior (Mérida, 1967), ' For a defence of the authenticity of this fragment see Marcovich, op. cit.,
pp. 480-a. pp. 99-100.
104
PROCEEDINGS OF T H E BRITISH ACADEMY CONFLICTING APPEARANCES 109
W h a t t h i s a c c o u n t of H e r a c l i t u s suggests as h i s answer t o t h e eye of t h e b e h o l d e r . O f c o u r s e the a r g u m e n t s m u s t b e
o u r e a r l i e r p r o b l e m is t h e f o l l o w i n g . T h e i n c l i n a t i o n to r e g a r d criticized. B u t t h e p o i n t is t h a t t h e criticism m u s t be j o i n e d by
' b l u e ' a n d ' h u e y ' as i n c o m p a t i b l y o p p o s e d is n o t to b e s u p - respect and understanding.
pressed b u t r a t h e r r e c o g n i z e d for w h a t it is, n a m e l y , a m a n i - I t is t h a t e l e m e n t of r e s p e c t , s o necessary f o r real u n d e r -
festation of the fact that w e c a n n o t a b s o r b the o t h e r creature's s t a n d i n g , w h i c h I miss i n A u s t i n ' s work a s a critic o f the
c o l o u r s c h e m e i n t o our o w n . T o r e c o g n i z e this is t o r e c o g n i z e t r a d i t i o n w h i c h h e r i g h t l y s a w as s t e m m i n g f r o m H e r a c l i t u s .
t h a t it lies i n t h e n a t u r e o f a v i e w p o i n t — a n y v i e w p o i n t — t o A u s t i n is a t h i r d case of d o u b l e p e r s p e c t i v e . I n his first c h a p t e r
c l a i m t h e a b s o l u t e allegiance of t h e o n e w h o s e v i e w p o i n t it is. h e explains t h a t h e c a n n o t g o b a c k to t h e v e r y earliest texts
H e r a c l i t e a n w i s d o m is t h u s c o m p a r a b l e t o t h e s t a n c e of a m a n f r o m before P l a t o , since t h e y a r e n o l o n g e r e x t a n t . S o h e
w h o r e c o g n i z e s t h a t his m o r a l i t y is o n e a m o n g o t h e r s , yet d o e s chooses A y e r a s his ' c h i e f s t a l k i n g horse', w i t h s u b s i d i a r y re-
n o t o n t h a t a c c o u n t feel, n o r t h i n k t h a t h e o u g h t to feel, its f e r e n c e s to P r i c e a n d t o W a r n o c k ' s book o n Berkeley. T h e s e
values t o b e a n y t h e less a b s o l u t e or b i n d i n g . T h e r e m a y b e w o r k s seem t o h i m 'to p r o v i d e t h e best a v a i l a b l e expositions of
difficulties i n expressing a n d m a i n t a i n i n g this s t a n c e , b u t i t is t h e a p p r o v e d r e a s o n s f o r h o l d i n g theories w h i c h are a t l e a s t as
r e a l l y n o less d i f f i c u l t to c o n c e i v e a P r o t a g o r e a n o r D e m o c r i t e a n o l d as H e r a c l i t u s — m o r e full, c o h e r e n t , a n d t e r m i n o l o g i c a l l y
life w h i c h seriously a t t e m p t e d to t r e a t first-order e x p e r i e n c e e x a c t t h a n y o u find, f o r e x a m p l e , in D e s c a r t e s or B e r k e l e y '
a n d c o n c e r n s as relative o r subjective.^ A n d t h i s brings m e t o (p. i ) . But u n f o r t u n a t e l y , this w a s a serious h i s t o r i c a l m i s t a k e
t h e q u e s t i o n of diagnosis. o n Austin's p a r t .
I t was a m i s t a k e b e c a u s e t h e r e a s o n s A y e r p r o v i d e s f o r t h e
IX i n t r o d u c t i o n of s e n s e - d a t a a r e not t h e t r a d i t i o n a l l y a p p r o v e d
W h e n I w a s discussing t h e r e l a t i o n of t h e Theaetetus a r g u m e n t reasons, t h o u g h A y e r h i m s e l f c l a i m s t h a t t h e y a r e :
t o t h e P r o t a g o r e a n p r i n c i p l e l a i d d o w n a t t h e b e g i n n i n g of t h e W h a t the advocates of the s e n s e - d a t u m theory h a v e done is to decide
dialogue, I considered t h e objection t h a t m y window-model to apply the w o r d 'see' or a n y other words t h a t designate m o d e s of
diagnosis was b o t h rude a n d unnecessary. I have, I hope, dealt perception to delusive as well as to veridical experiences, a n d a t the
sufficiently w i t h t h e c l a i m t h a t it is n o t n e c e s s a r y . But I h a v e s a m e time to use these words i n such a w a y t h a t w h a t is seen o r other-
n o t a d d r e s s e d t h e c o m p l a i n t t h a t I m a k e it s o u n d a s if s o m e t h i n g wise sensibly experienced m u s t really exist and m u s t really h a v e the
r a t h e r d i s r e p u t a b l e is g o i n g o n i n t h e Theaetetus a r g u m e n t a n d properties t h a t it appears to h a v e . N o d o u b t they also use these words
t h e o t h e r s w e h a v e b e e n l o o k i n g at. I a m v e r y f a r f r o m t h i n k i n g in other, m o r e familiar, senses. But it is this usage t h a t leads t h e m to
this to b e so. I h a v e i n d e e d e m p h a s i z e d t h e p i c t u r e s a n d t h e t h e introduction of sense-data. (p. 2 4 ) '
m e t a p h o r s , b u t so t h a t w e m a y see t h e m for w h a t t h e y a r e . T h i s was w r o n g as h i s t o r y — n e i t h e r P r o t a g o r a s n o r B e r k e l e y
W h e t h e r it is t h e flawless close-up vision or t h e p r e h e n s i v e n o r Russell r e l i e d o n a n o v e l sense of 'see' o r ' p e r c e i v e ' — b u t
g r a s p , w h e t h e r i t secures a w h o l e o b j e c t or o n l y some p a r t of c o r r e c t as a n a c c o u n t of w h a t A y e r himself w i s h e d to d o , w h i c h
t h e s u r f a c e of o n e or j u s t a n o n - p h y s i c a l s u b s t i t u t e for t h e s e , w a s to m a k e t h e w h o l e issue a q u e s t i o n of w h i c h l a n g u a g e o n e
s u c h p i c t u r e s h a v e t h e i r o r i g i n in o u r e a r l i e s t a n d d e e p e s t chooses for t h e p u r p o s e s o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h e o r y . O n t h e r e a d i n g
e x p e r i e n c e . I f t h e y h a v e elicited a smile, it s h o u l d h a v e b e e n I h a v e o f f e r e d in this l e c t u r e , t h e t r a d i t i o n a l a r g u m e n t f r o m
a s m i l e of r e c o g n i t i o n , n o t c o n t e m p t . F o r if, as H e r a c l i t u s c o n f l i c t i n g a p p e a r a n c e s sets u p a p r i v a t e s u b s t i t u t e o b j e c t to
a d v i s e d , w e r e m e m b e r o u r d r e a m s , w e will r e c o g n i z e t h a t b e p e r c e i v e d i n t h e v e r y s a m e sense of the v e r b as t h a t i n w h i c h
t h e r e w a s a t i m e in o u r o w n lives w h e n t h e p r o b l e m o f c o n - w e originally w a n t e d to p e r c e i v e w h o l e o b j e c t s o u t t h e r e i n t h e
flicting a p p e a r a n c e s e n g a g e d o u r s t r o n g e s t feelings; a t i m e , w o r l d . W h a t is c h a n g e d b y a d d i n g the relativistic q u a l i f i e r s
m o r e o v e r , w h e n p e r c e p t i o n a n d v a l u a t i o n w e r e n o t yet d i s t i n -
I A footnote on the next page refers to G. A. Paul, 'Is there a Problem
g u i s h e d . W e k n o w too little a b o u t t h e p s y c h i c r o o t s of c r e a t i v e about Sense-Data?' (1936), in Swartz, op. cit., pp. 271-87, as clearly bring-
p h i l o s o p h y to t u r n o u r b a c k s o n t h e s e sources of i n s p i r a t i o n . ing out the point that the sense-datum theorist is simply recommending a
If t h e y a r e f o u n d d i s r e p u t a b l e , t h e f a u l t r e a l l y is, for o n c e , i n new verbal usage. But Paul denies that the sense-datum theorists themselves
I For valuable discussion of this and related issues, see Wiggins, op. cit. would represent their procedure in such terms (pp. 227—9).
110 PROCEEDINGS O F T H E B R I T I S H ACADEMY ^WiNTL·!«^ 1 1J1VJ i»»
'for m e ' , ' i m m e d i a t e l y ' , ' d i r e c t l y ' , a n d t h e like, is n o t the sense r e s p e c t f u l h i s t o r i c a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the o r i g i n a l sources is a
of t h e v e r b ' p e r c e i v e ' b u t its o b j e c t . W h a t g u a r a n t e e s t h a t first step t o w a r d s realism i n o u r o w n p h i l o s o p h y .
s o m e t h i n g r e a l l y is as it a p p e a r s to b e is n o t a special sense of
t h e v e r b b u t its t a k i n g as o b j e c t s o m e t h i n g w h i c h is itself ( a n ) X
a p p e a r a n c e . ' A n d this is c o m p l e t e l y a t v a r i a n c e vsrith A u s t i n ' s
d i a g n o s i s i n t e r m s of linguistic sleight o f h a n d (cf. p p . 3-5) o r t h e I t is only fitting t h a t t h e e p i l o g u e be given t o the f o u n d e r of
u n j u s t i f i e d i n v e n t i o n of a s p e c i a l sense of ' p e r c e i v e ' (chap. I X ) , t h e series o f lectures i n w h i c h I h a v e t h e h o n o u r t o s p e a k .
I t is t r u e t h a t A u s t i n t e m p e r s his d i a g n o s i s f r o m time t o t i m e I n a p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y j u d i c i o u s a n d historically i n f o r m e d p a p e r
w i t h a n a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t t h a t it w a s A y e r w h o g a v e t h e s u b - o n ' A p p e a r a n c e and R e a l Existence''—a p a p e r which treats
j e c t a l i n g u i s t i c t u r n {cf. p . 102). B u t t h a t a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t a n c i e n t a n d m o d e r n p h i l o s o p h y a s a single c o n t i n u i n g story,
is itself m o d i f i e d b y A u s t i n ' s v i e w t h a t t h e n e w linguistic c l o t h i n g w i t h equal h o n o u r s for Plato, K a n t , and H e g e l — D a w e s Hicks
is r e a l l y j u s t a disguise f o r t h e o l d t r a d i t i o n a l a r g u m e n t s f o r a n h a s this t o s a y a b o u t R u s s e l l ' s version of t h e a r g u m e n t f r o m
ontological dichotomy between sense-data a n d material objects conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s i n The Problems of Philosophy:
( p p . 5 9 - 6 1 , 84, 105-7). A n d despite these q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , h e I t is obvious, I think, t h a t this a r g u m e n t is fallacious, a n d t h a t the
c o n t i n u e s t o discuss t h e a r g u m e n t s a n d d i a g n o s e their m i s t a k e s conclusion does not follow f r o m the premises. F o r , in order to test it,
in p r e d o m i n a n t l y linguistic t e r m s , t a k i n g it t h a t A y e r does give suppose t h a t colour of some kind is i n h e r e n t in t h e table, t h a t t h e table
' t h e a p p r o v e d reasons' f o r t h e old t h e o r y . ^ T h e effect, a s m a n y has a specific colour. T h e n , surely, t h e r e would b e nothing to conflict
r e a d e r s o f Sense and Sensibilia h a v e felt, is t h a t A u s t i n ' s o b j e c t i o n s w i t h this supposition in t h e circumstances t h a t s u c h real colour will
fall u n h a p p i l y b e t w e e n t w o stools. T h e y n e i t h e r get t o t h e present a d i f f e r e n t aspect if a n o t h e r colour be reflected u p o n it, or if
b o t t o m of the traditional arguments, w h i c h r e q u i r e a diagnosis a blue pair of spectacles intervene between it and t h e eyes of the observer,
o r if it be enveloped in darkness r a t h e r than in daylight. T h e reasoning
d e e p e r t h a n linguistic m e t h o d s c a n a c h i e v e , n o r a r e they a p p r o -
would only b e valid on t h e assumption t h a t if the table is really
p r i a t e t o t h e essentially s t i p u l a t i v e , c o n s t r u c t i v e c h a r a c t e r of
coloured, t h e real colour must a p p e a r the same i n darkness a n d in d a y -
Ayer's o w n enterprise.
light, through a pair of b l u e spectacles and w i t h o u t them, i n artificial
I t s e e m s to m e , then, t h a t as a critic A u s t i n falls short b e c a u s e light and in the sun's l i g h t — a n assumption which, on the view I a m
h e d i d n o t p r o p e r l y sort o u t t h e d o u b l e p e r s p e c t i v e he a d o p t e d taking, is a t o n c e to be dismissed as untenable. I f t h e colour d i d a p p e a r
w h e n h e d e c i d e d to l o o k a t t h e h i s t o r y t h r o u g h Ayer's spec- to be the s a m e in these v a r y i n g circumstances, then certainly there
tacles. H e w o u l d h a v e d o n e b e t t e r t o go b a c k t o the o r i g i n a l would be reason, and sufficient reason, for d o u b t i n g the reliability of
sources, w h i c h h e was of c o u r s e well e q u i p p e d t o h a n d l e . E v e n visual apprehension.- F o r obviously the conditions m e n t i o n e d — r e a l ,
t h e e a r l i e s t sources, p r i o r t o P l a t o , a r e n o t c o m p l e t e l y b e y o n d objective conditions, as I t a k e t h e m to b e — c a n n o t be without influence
u p o n any real colour the table m a y be said to possess, (p. 42)
t h e r e a c h of historical u n d e r s t a n d i n g — a s I h o p e t o h a v e s h o w n .
I n t r y i n g t o s h o w this, m y essential c l a i m h a s been t h a t a T h i s is w h e r e w e c a m e i n , R u s s e l l ' s a r g u m e n t rests o n p r o p o s i -
t i o n ( i ) , ( i ) is e q u i v a l e n t to (2), a n d (2) is m a n i f e s t l y false.
' Let me add that I have nothing to say in this lecture about phenomena- T h e r e it i s — t h e logical r e f u t a t i o n n e a t l y l a i d out, c l e a r a n d
lism. Considered as a theory about the analysis of material object statements conclusive, j u s t o n e y e a r a f t e r t h e p u b l i c a t i o n of The Problems
in terms of statements about perceptual experience, phenomenalism is a of Philosophy. W h y d i d it m a k e n o d i f f e r e n c e ? W h y , if s t r a i g h t -
separate issue from the introduction of sense-data (just one approach to
f o r w a r d l o g i c a l r e f u t a t i o n is e n o u g h , d o t h e a r g u m e n t s f r o m
perceptual experience) with which it has historically been associated.
^ T o mention just one of the historical distortions that result, Price, who conflicting a p p e a r a n c e s live o n ?
really belongs to the prelinguistic phase, gets landed with Ayer's account ' Proc. Arisi. Soc. 14. (1913/14), pp. 1-48.
(as quoted above) of hoAv sense-data are introduced (Ausün, p. 103). A - Compare Augustine, Contra Academicos iii, 26: ' I f an oar dipped in water
footnote seeks to make amends, but it does not m a k e clear that Price looked straight, I would rather accuse my eyes of false testimony'—so far as
only raised the matter of the senses of 'perceive' in chapter 2 of Perception I can discover, the point is original with Augustine, one of several that make
(pp. 22 £f.), after introducing sense-data in chapter 1 on the basis of an the Contra Academicos a pioneering work.
entirely epistemologica! argument from what we can and cannot doubt
(though cf. p. 5 η.).