File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0110, message 8

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 17:00:12 +0100
Subject: Re: Crucial Questions on Life

That would be called "extreme idealism". While at the same time your reducing all mind
activity to that of the brain is a form of extreme materialism. But these are very
classical questions that have been debated over and over by philosophers of all stripes.
Consider reading about the Doctrine of Immediate Perception defended by Reid, Kant,
Peirce, ...

Peirce in Collected Papers 7.619:
"Let us say that, as I sit here writing, I see on the other side of my table, a yellow
chair with a green cushion. That will be what psychologists term a "percept" (res
percepta). They also frequently call it an "image." With this term I shall pick no
quarrel. Only one must be on one's guard against a false impression that it might
insinuate. Namely, an "image" usually means something intended to represent, -- virtually
professing to represent, -- something else, real or ideal. So understood, the word
"image" would be a misnomer for a percept. The chair I appear to see makes no professions
of any kind, essentially embodies no intentions of any kind, does not stand for anything.
It obtrudes itself upon my gaze; but not as a deputy for anything else, not "as"
anything. It simply knocks at the portal of my soul and stands there in the doorway"

    5.57 "If, therefore, our careful direct interpretation of perception, and more
emphatically of such perception as involves surprise, is that the perception represents
two objects reacting upon one another, that is not only a decision from which there is no
appeal, but it is downright nonsense to dispute the fact that in perception two objects
really do so react upon one another."
    5.56 "That, of course, is the doctrine of Immediate Perception which is upheld by
Reid, Kant, and all dualists who understand the true nature of dualism, and the denial of
which led Cartesians to the utterly absurd theory of divine assistance upon which the
preestablished harmony of Leibniz is but a slight improvement. Every philosopher who
denies the doctrine of Immediate Perception -- including idealists of every stripe -- by
that denial cuts off all possibility of ever cognizing a relation. Nor will he better his
position by declaring that all relations are illusive appearances, since it is not merely
true knowledge of them that he has cut off, but every mode of cognitive representation of

So there is not, on the one hand the thing on the other the image of the thing which are
separated, but there is a "percept" which is both physical and psychical at the same time
and not reducible to either aspect.


Berk Turkcan wrote:

> I am a student who is attending Yeditepe University in Turkey. I would like to
> have your ideas on a very crucial point of science, which I describe briefly
> below. I am working on this subject as a project and will be privileged to hear
> your interpretations on the following questions:
> 1. The light coming from an object is transformed into electrical signals by
> the cells in the eye and then transmitted to the center of vision in the brain.
> And the electrical signals there are turned into an image. For example you actually
> see this message in your brain. Then who is the one that sees and perceives the
> image of this message in the brain? How do you define the consciousness that
> can see this image in the brain without the need of an eye?
> 2. Brain is a piece of flesh composed of lipids, proteins and other various molecules.
> Could the consciousness that sees this image be this piece of flesh? Or could
> the brain cells make up a consciousness that sees these electrical signals as
> a sea view or an e-mail message?
> 3. No light penetrates the skull, which means the brain is entirely in darkness.
> Then how does such an illuminated, clear image is formed in this pitch-dark place?
> For instance how are the rays of the sun seen over the unlit brain cortex?
> 4. Also no sound enters the brain. This means there is deep muteness where the
> brain exists. However, people listen to all different sounds inside the brain.
> The sound waves are turned into electrical signals inside of the ear and then
> transmitted to the center of hearing. And the consciousness inside the brain
> listens to these for instance as a melody. Then who is it that listens to the
> loud music aired from powerful loudspeakers and how?
> 5. The image is formed inside a miniature spot in the brain. Then how is the
> three-dimensional image with depth is formed on this diminutive screen? For instance
> when I look at the horizon or the sky, how is such an image with vast depth is
> formed at this tiny spot of center of vision just as identical to its original
> with the same depth and sense of distance? What is it that gives me the feeling
> of distance and space?
> 6. When a person sees a glass of water, in fact he does not see its real form
> but only a copy of it in his brain. The coldness that he feels when touching
> the glass surface is not the real coldness of the glass but only a copy of it.
> This means nobody is ever able to feel that he touches the real glass. Since
> it is not his fingers that feel the sense of touch, but merely the sense of touch
> in the brain. Should we not in this case conclude that people are never able
> to reach the reality of objects and can never touch the reality of a glass? But
> not every person knows this fact. Everyone thinks they touch and see real objects.
> Is it not strange that people are not aware of this and they never think about
> this?
> 7. Nothing changes when a person is hit by a bus or comes across a lion. Since,
> just like the image of the bus, the sense of collision or the fear while running
> away from a lion, all form in the brain. When I see a bus, I see it at the center
> of vision inside my brain. If I go and hold the door of the bus, I feel the coldness
> of the metal inside my brain. Then I cannot discriminate from this fact what
> happens when I feel pain if a bus hits or a lion bites. Then is it not very illogical
> when people say 'it shows I am in contact with the bus or the lion because I
> feel pain when the bus hits or the lion bites'?
> 8. We live the entire period of our lives inside our brains. In a similar way,
> we also have dreams in our brain. For instance when we touch a piece of ice in
> our dream, we feel it is wet and cold. Or, when we smell a rose, we get the wonderful
> scent of it. We again sense the feelings of fear, pain, anxiety and panic in
> a similar fashion. Then are the dreams and the real life the same in this sense?
> 9. The person's own body is also included in the images a person see. So, a person
> only sees the copy of his own body. This means every person all through his life
> lives in the cave in his skull where he never knows what is outside, including
> his own body and other objects. Now think over this happening once more: Right
> now are you inside of the room you are present or is the room inside of you?
> Isn't the second alternative the right answer scientifically?
> 10. Let us imagine 5 different people who look at a garden of roses. Since every
> one of these people see the rose garden in his own brain, then aren't there 5
> different rose gardens in the brains of every one of the 5 people? Is the color
> red that each one sees the same with the other's perception of red? Would there
> be any possibility to compare these?
> 11. We say that the original objects we see the copies of in our brain exist
> outside, but what if nothing exists outside? Because we never have the ability
> to test this or observe this. Then is it not dubious that the original objects
> are outside? At least there is a 50-50 percent possibility. Then how can we be
> sure that the original objects are outside? If there is no original object outside,
> then what is the entity that makes the images and the senses in our brain?
> 12. If we are living an illusion that has the possibility of not having any reality
> outside, then we may be existing in a very different place. For instance is it
> not possible for the entire humanity to exist right over a piece of crystal?
> Or is it not possible that the complete history of humanity has been experienced
> in a place not bigger than the head of a pin? Would there be anything to stop
> us thinking in such a broad extent?
> 13. Some people are incredibly afraid when these topics are discussed? What do
> you think the reason for this may be?
> Yours sincerely,
> Berk Turkcan
> **********************************************************************
> Contributions:
> Commands:
> Requests:

Jean-Marc Orliaguet ( )
- Tel: +46 31 772 8581


Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005