File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 102

Subject: Re: BHA: Structures are not things that are true or false, even if Hegelian Marxists say so
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 07:16:49 -0500


Actually I don't think there's such a big difference between the fish bait
and the sexy ad (and I'm not sure ad agencies do either!).  Falsity can
certainly be embedded in social reality, but then, all sorts of signs and
representations are -- in fact, pretty much all human products either embed
signs of some sort or have signs attached to them; perhaps absolutely all,
as our attitudes to our excretions and smells suggests.  But humans are
semiosis-obsessed animals.  (Some of us more obsessed than others.)


You wrote:

> A mirage really does have the appearance of water quite independently of
> the cognitive mistake of the particular observer--i.e. in our world-line
> would have that appearance, given the laws of optics etc, to any
> observer of the relevant kind. Even when you know that it's 'only a
> mirage' it persists, so the effect is not reducible to your mistake.

But again, you're speaking of an appearance, to an observer.  The reality is
that light is reflecting off a surface in certain atmospheric and surface
conditions, etc.  If there were no observer, the light would still reflect,
but there would be no "mirage."  It doesn't matter that the appearance is
the same to all observers in a similar physical location (cf. the "broken"
stick in water, or the displaced appearance of a star near the sun).  The
light truly reflects or refracts, it's the perceiver who must interpret
correctly or pay the consequences.  To bring the issue back to the human
realm, I may tell lies, and that may lead you to invest in Enron, but that
doesn't entail that I am (ontologically) a falsehood.

But let's cut to the quick: if one understands one's perceptions of what
exists as what exists, or one attributes logical properties to natural
and causal properties, I think one commits the epistemic fallacy.

Then again, I *always* lie.  I'm lying right now!  True?

Obsessively yours,


Tobin Nellhaus
"Faith requires us to be materialists without flinching": C.S. Peirce

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