File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2003/bhaskar.0312, message 159

Subject: Re: Re[6]: BHA: Structures are not things that are true or false,even if  Hegelian Marxists say so
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 11:08:59 -0000

Your right it doesn't bear on your original point but it does bear on issues
of semantics consciousness and the relation between varieties of reality and


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "GŁnter Minnerup" <>
To: "jamie morgan" <bhaskar-AT-lists.village.Virginia.EDU>
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2003 10:36 AM
Subject: Re[6]: BHA: Structures are not things that are true or false,even
if Hegelian Marxists say so

Dear jamie,

on Friday, 12 December 2003, you wrote:

> I understand your point Gunter but it eldies the significance of the
> interpretation for the semantics of mirage - by definition a mirage is a
> variable interpretation or construction of human based desire or
> intentionality out of a natural phenomenon (otherwise it is simply a more
> passive (not totally passive) sensze data experience (like the rainbow) -
> the role of cognition is quite different - if it were not we would not
> a term mirage - we would simply refer to heat a) somthing like heat hazes
> that we view or b) something like heat exhaustion that we experience. It
> importantin analytical terms that we experience mirages variably in a way
> that we donot (in quite the same way) experience rainbows (we may
> the significanc eof rainbows in different ways but two equiovelant minds
> producing sense data images of the same kind from that experience - they
> simply cutting it up in different ways. To ignore this distinction is not
> be realist by stating actuaklly alls we are seeing is a mirage - the
> phenomenon - it is to elide the equally realist aspects of mind  taht are
> significant both to SEPM and to taking seriously as a staring point in
> explaining phenomena - their hermentuic aspects - effectiverly you are
> arguing for a structuralism without one important aspect of the human that
> we must start from before we can get tp explanatory critique and the
> possibility of better explanation (that it is actually an illusion)

I think we're getting somewhere. As a non-native speaker of English, it is
quite possible that I failed to do justice to the usage of the word "mirage"
and actually used it like your suggested alternative of "heat haze". So if I
understand you correctly, the word "mirage" does entail the illusion of
water (as in the prospect of salvation for the thirsty explorer?) whereas
"heat haze" would be merely descriptive. So far so good? OK then, but aren't
you in fact talking about the meaning of the word rather than the properties
of the natural phenomenon? Doesn't that mean that the *word* is "false",
precisely because it has those resonances beyond the natural phenomenon, and
that if in fact we did commonly call it "heat haze" things would be
different, like the "rainbow" example?
If that's what you mean I think we're in agreement, except that it doesn't
then bear on the original point - which I think was whether aspects of
(intransitive) reality can be "false" as Mervyn and Phil claim.
Does this make sense to you? I've just thought of another way of putting it.
Since were were originally talking about the "wage form", which is a real
structure which nobody other than Marxists actually call that, the analogy
with the mirage would be if a trade union calls for a wage increase "to
obtain the full fruits of our labour". That's "false". But if they asked for
a rise to be a "living wage" (as they usually do, so much for false
consciousness), that would not. Sort of like the "heat haze"?


GŁnter Minnerup
School of History
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Tel. (+61 2) 9385 3668 (work)
Tel. (+61 2) 9398 3646 (home)

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