Charles Brown CharlesB at CNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Aug 5 13:03:33 PDT 1999

Now here's a basic philo exchange.

Charles Brown

>>> Sam Pawlett <rsp at uniserve.com> 08/05/99 03:34PM >>>
Miles Jackson wrote:
> When I hear people make ontological claims like this I can't help but ask:
> how
> do you know the object referred to by the word "orange" exists independently
> of human cognition?

This kind of global scepticism asks for a kind of certainty that is unnecessary for constructing theories that predict and explain the world. As Descartes asked in his 1st meditation "How do you know that we all aren't just brains in a vat being controlled by an evil demon?" You don't. Scepticism asks too much and is really quite boring.

The only way a human being can perceive the world is
> via human cognitive processes,

So all that exists is mental a la Berkeley? "To be is to be perceived"?

Bourdieu in his *Distinction* uses Berkeley's dictum as a theme for the bougeoise.

and it's a kind of epistemological
> whistling in the dark to claim that you know that the object exists
> independent
> of human perception.

How so? If you accept that there is at least something that exists that is non-mental it is a short way to inferring about simple objects.

It's like the claim "God exists"--you just have to
> take it on
> faith, and there is no meaningful empirical test to validate it.

I can perceive oranges, I can't perceive God (having never seen Alan Greenspan with my own eyes that is.)

> Miles "dammit I read too much Nietzsche as an undergraduate" Jackson

Nietzsche himself was a realist and believed in objective truth. see *Nietzsche on Truth and Philosphy* by Maudmarie Clark.

Sam Pawlett

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