Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Objectivity, reality, the 'already-out-there-now-real'

Phil and I talked all the way down to Mumbai yesterday, and then more during the day at Provincial House. One of the points he kept making was about the strangeness of reality: what you see is not really real; it is an illusion; try taking off your glasses. He cited Lonergan at the end of "Cognitional Structure", which I must really look up. But: I am uncomfortable with this way of speaking. I prefer to say: the data of seeing is just that - the given, the data. To say it is an illusion is already to have made a judgment! I prefer to say: we do not know the real by seeing - otherwise we would not say, "The stick in the jar of water seems bent, but it really is not." We know the real by judging.

The 'already-out-there-now-real', in my understanding is the real as a part of what is already out there now: one part is real, the other unreal; and real and unreal are fixed by relevance to biological satisfaction.

The given is valid in all its parts, but differently significant. If I am seeing, I am seeing; but I may realize, upon judging that I have been hallucinating, or, perhaps, dreaming. The given still remains valid; but it may be of interest to the psychologist or the psychiatrist rather than the physicist or chemist.

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