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visaging™s content is what makes it seem problematic how something
could appear at the same time both red and not red, or to be both mov-
ing and not moving, or to be the same color as, yet a different color
from something else (Section 7.3).
A sister result is that there could be no visaging that does not visage
also all logically necessary or internal features of what is visaged. For ex-
ample, there could be no visaging of properties without a simultaneous
visaging of their internal relations. Contents lacking, failing to claim,
logically necessary or internal features associated with their contents
would have to correspond, per impossible, to vehicles lacking logically
necessary or internal features of themselves. We can call this the “de-
mand for completeness” in content. Examples of submission to these
various demands will be given below.
Internalizing and externalizing moves are enormously interesting, for
in certain forms these moves can survive the contemporary turn that
explicitly denies the phenomenally given, substituting neural represen-
tations for phenomenal ones. Indeed, there are forms in which these
moves can survive even the turning of inner representations into mere
cognitive dispositions and capacities, or into the states that account for
these. I will soon argue that in the case of Fregean senses these moves
also can survive turning from perception to cognition, a mode generally
thought of as very unpicturelike. For example, the demand for consis-
tency and the demand for completeness each finds subtle expression in
Frege™s views on conceptual content. Because the confusions that I wish
to discuss cut in this way across both theories that postulate experi-
enced and those that postulate nonexperienced inner representations or
other nonphenomenal states, I propose to ignore such distinctions en-
tirely. Sense data, percepts, sensations, neural states and acts of grasping
Fregean senses, even when the last are interpreted as mere capacities or
as states that account for these, are none of them exempt from internal-
izing and externalizing moves. I will speak indiscriminately, then, of
moves covering postulated “intermediaries.” Let me emphasize this: I
am counting as “intermediaries” even capacities and the states in which
they are grounded when these are understood to account for the in-
tentional contents of mental episodes.
The move that I am objecting to is not, of course, that of positing
intermediaries. Postulation of intermediaries of some kind is essential to
understanding perception and thought. The error is that of projecting,
without argument, chosen properties of what is visaged or conceived
onto these intermediaries, and vice versa. The error is equally that of

taking this sharing of properties to constitute an explanation of mental
representing. The passive picture theory causes the underlying nature of
the vehicle of thought to disappear from (the theoretician™s) view as an
agent. The nature of the actual intermediaries for perception or
thought, the actual mechanics of these, retires, leaving in its place a fric-
tionless substitute that translates meaning directly into mental action
and vice versa.


Now for examples from perception. No one supposes, nowdays, that
visaging colors or shapes requires that any similarly colored or shaped
intermediaries should appear either before the mind or in the brain.3
But have we assimilated the parallel truth about temporal visagings?
Daniel Dennett and Marcel Kinsbourne (1992) have spoken to the
multitude of confusions about this that persist in the psychological and
philosophical literature, citing experiments that show clearly that the
order in which one perceives events is not the same as the order in
which one perceives the events to occur (see also Jarrett 1999). A suc-
cession of impressions does not necessarily produce the impression of
succession. But here are two leftovers that are still worth examining.
In “Molyneux™s Question,” Gareth Evans (1985a) discusses the classic
view that the blind cannot perceive space, this because the parts of an
object can only be touched in succession, and because successive touch-
ings could not yield a perception of the object™s simultaneous spatial lay-
out. Evans™ counter is that one cannot argue “from the successiveness of
sensation to the successiveness of perception” and that there is no reason
why “the information contained in the sequence of stimulations” might
not be “integrated into, or interpreted in terms of, a unitary representa-
tion of the perceiver™s surroundings” (1985a, p. 368). So far, so good,
were he to mean by “unitary representation” only a representation of
something unitary. But Evans proceeds to call such representations “si-
multaneous perceptual representations of the world” (1985a, p. 369), thus
expressing his basic agreement with the assumption behind the classic

3 Recall, however, this passage from Strawson™s Individuals, Chapter 2: “Sounds . . . have no
intrinsic spatial characteristics . . . [by contrast] . . . Evidently the visual field is necessarily
extended at any moment, and its parts must exhibit spatial relations to each other” (Straw-
son 1959, p. 65). The visual field is itself extended?

view, that a representation of simultaneity can only be accomplished by
simultaneity among elements in the vehicle of representation.4
In a similar vein, Evans answers with a confident but unargued “yes”
the question “whether a man born deaf, and taught to apply the terms
˜continuous™ and ˜pulsating™ to stimulations made on his skin, would, on
gaining his hearing and being presented with two tones, one continu-
ous and the other pulsating, be able to apply the terms correctly”
(1985a, p. 372). The assumption behind Evans™ confidence seems to be
that continuousness and pulsatingness in whatever medium must be
represented by continuousness and pulsatingness, hence will always be
recognized again.Yet first Evans, and then I, have just now represented
pulsatingness and continuousness to you without using the pulsatingness
or continuousness of anything in order to do so. Evans™ assumption il-
lustrates first “content internalizing,” then “content externalizing.” Per-
ception of pulsatingness both in pressure on the skin and in sound must
be represented by pulsatingness in the vehicle of representation, and if
these two vehicles possess the same property, pulsatingness, this sameness
in properties must produce a visaging of sameness to match.5


A second example concerns the perception of change versus constancy.
Consider one of Christopher Peacocke™s arguments (Peacocke 1983) for
the existence of an intermediary called “sensation.”6 Ironically, his argu-
ment is presented in support of the view that the properties of sensa-
tion are not derivable as mere correlates of the intentional contents of
perception. The argument concerns the “switching of aspects” that oc-
curs as one fixates on a neckar cube (or, say, a duck-rabbit). “The suc-

4 That this is indeed what Evans intends comes out very clearly in his discussion of “simul-
taneous” vs. “serial” spatial concepts in Part 4 of Evans™“Things without the Mind” (1980).
5 But see also McDowell™s footnote in Evans (1985a, p. 373), suggesting that Evans may later
have rethought this issue.
6 I am grateful to Christopher Peacocke™s challenging work on perceptual content (Peacocke
1986, 1987, 1989a, 1989b), in which he introduces “manners” of perception (1986, 1989a),
and contrasts these with Fregean modes of presentation, for leading me to investigate the
possible roots of Frege™s senses to be discussed here. Although we disagree on some quite
fundamental points, without Professor Peacocke™s help I should never have thought of
looking at Frege in this light. My ungrateful choice of a couple of Peacocke™s claims and
arguments to use as negative examples in the text that follows reflects that these happened,
thus, to be on my desk at the time of first writing, not that they are unusual in any other

cessive experiences have different representational contents,” Peacocke
says, yet “the successive experiences fall under the same type . . . as
Wittgenstein writes, ˜I see that it has not changed™ ” (Peacocke 1983,
p. 16). Peacocke™s conclusion is that beneath the change in representa-
tional content lies a constancy in properties on the level of sensation.
Now assuredly,“that it has not changed” is something that I see, but that
what has not changed? My visaging has as part of its content that the
world has not changed “ that is where the constancy lies. Peacocke has
internalized this content to yield an intermediary, a sensation, that has
not changed. Compare a man looking through a perfectly ordinary
window who erroneously believes he is watching a 3D movie. He quite
automatically takes it that whenever he sees a change or a constancy,
that is because the movie screen image has changed or been constant.
Analogously, Peacocke™s assumption seems to be that a perception of
constancy can only be accomplished via an inner intermediary that is
itself constant.
This particular assumption, call it “constancy internalizing,” which
both philosophers and psychologists routinely fall into, has pervasive
and far-reaching effects. It produces the illusion of constancy at an in-
termediary level, not just as shifts in aspect occur, but more devastating,
as shifts in attention occur, and even over episodes of perceptual learn-
ing. Shifts of attention are, of course, routinely coincident with percep-
tion of constancy in the object perceived, indeed, coincident with per-
ception of constancy in the very properties upon which attention
focuses and then withdraws. This is true also for episodes of perceptual
learning. Learning to perceive, for example, learning to distinguish ma-
jor triads or learning to see what™s in the field of the microscope as mi-
crobes, is simultaneous with the perception that what is perceived is not
itself changing or undergoing reorganization over the interval. When
these constancies are internalized, the illusion is produced that there is
a background intermediary corresponding to the whole detailed scene
before or around one in perception, an intermediary that changes only
when caused to change by changes in the world outside, or by shifts in
the perceiver™s external relations to that world. This intermediary is tra-
ditionally labeled “the sensory field,” for example, “the visual field.”
Nearly everyone still believes in it.
The constancy of the hypothesized sensory field may then be exter-
nalized again. If the intermediary that supposedly stays the same is pro-
jected to become a constant intentional content for the visaging, we ar-
rive at a backdrop of continuing content from which there emerges a

varying foreground as learning or attention switches occur “ perhaps as
connections are made into conception. Peacocke calls such contents,
which in the case of vision determine (densely grouped alternative sets
of 7) complete spatial configurations of objects or surfaces around one,
“scenarios” (Peacocke 1987).8
Internalizing and externalizing of constancy threatens to produce in-
consistency. What is visaged “ the intentional object “ changes yet the
visaging also claims that the world has remained constant. But how
could the intermediary of perception remain constant so as to account
for the perception of constancy, yet change so as to account for changes
in content over changes in attention or over learning? When inconsis-
tency threatens, distinguish levels. Peacocke distinguishes two levels of
properties for his intermediaries, “representational properties,” and “sen-
sational properties,” the first of which concern content, the latter of
which do not, although “experiences with a particular sensational prop-
erty also have, in normal mature humans, a certain representational
property” (1983, p. 25).9 As we will see later, Frege, in a related sort of
bind, distinguishes two levels of content so that differences can be pro-
jected from one level that are not found on the other.
What would it be to refuse to internalize constancy? Perhaps the
perceptual-cognitive systems manufacture perceptual intermediaries
piece by piece, only as one needs them, each expressing only a fragment
of the content that would be available for expression given other needs.
The question whether this is how it works surely turns on empirical
evidence, perhaps on neurophysiological evidence, rather than a priori


If some aspect of content, taken by itself, is merely internalized and then
externalized again, this will not result in any change of content. But if
an aspect of content is internalized and then filled out so as to make

7 This feature allows for indefiniteness or indeterminacy due to lack of perfect visual acuity.
8 I had much the same view in mind when I wrote Millikan (1984).There are passages there
on perception that may be uninterpretable if one declines to take this view “ and with it
another relative of Peacocke™s views, namely, that perception involves some type of ana-
logue intermediaries. What I claim here is that at least certain arguments for this don™t go
9 Drawing the distinction between these two kinds of sensational properties is not always
easy. See Peacocke (1983, pp. 24“6).

consistent the hypothesis of its inner reality before it is externalized
again, the result may be an apparent change in content.This changes the
scope of the visaging operator in a way Quine called “importation”
(Quine 1956). For example, any property or relation that is internalized
from a visaging to an intermediary demands to be filled out and made
determinate. For if the intermediary really has the visaged property or
relation it must have it in determinate form. Nothing real has indeter-
minate properties, being, say, rectangular but neither square nor non-
square.This is how Berkeley argued against abstract ideas. Contents that
have been internalized cannot be abstract. But when they are first made
to be concrete and then externalized again, the result is a change of
scope for the visaging operator. Using a familiar example, if my visag-
ing claims that there exists a large number that is the number of speck-
les on a certain hen, then there must exist a definite large number that
the visaging claims to be the number of speckles on the hen. If
V:[(Ex)(x is a number and x is large and there are x spots on a hen)]
then (Ex)[x is a number and x is large and V:(there are x spots on a
hen)]. There may not be anything wrong with exporting the existence
of a number, but the result here is also to import determinacy to within
the scope of the visaging operator. That this move is in error becomes
clearly evident when one applies it to the visagings of imagination.
There the result is that I should not be able to imagine a speckled hen
without imagining that it has a certain definite number of speckles. But
of course I can easily do so.
Call the move that first introduces determinacy at the intermediary
level, then externalizes it as part of the visaging™s content, thus moving
the intentional verb™s scope brackets over, “importing determinacy.”
This move illustrates the demand for content completeness (Section
8.3), the internal feature required for completeness in this case being
A significant form of completeness importing imports determinate
relata. Any internal relation between properties, such as larger than or, for
tones, a fifth higher than, that is internalized from a visaging to an inter-
mediary must be provided with appropriate relata, for real relations can™t
be instantiated, of course, without also instantiating their relata. If the
relation larger than is actually exemplified, there must be two things hav-
ing definite sizes for it to be between. If a visaged concrete relation
were to be internalized directly, its intermediary being taken to embody
that very relation, then the intermediary would be thought, most im-
plausibly, to contain things literally having, say, determinate sizes or

pitches. Of course most forms of internalizing for concrete properties
and relations are more subtle than this, not the very content itself but
an analogue being taken to characterize the intermediary. The interme-
diary is taken, implicitly, to have properties existing in a logical space
isomorphic to that of the visaged. For example, the intermediaries for
colors and shapes are taken to “stand to one another in a system of ways
of resembling and differing which is structurally similar to the ways in
which the colours and shapes of visible objects resemble and differ”
(Sellars 1956, p. 193). In either case, determinate relata must be intro-
duced at the level of the intermediary. Externalizing, it then appears that
the original visaging must have been of determinate relata. Again, the
result is to move scope brackets over for the intentional verb involved.
From the fact that my visaging claims that there exist relata related by a
certain relation, it is concluded that there exist relata that the visaging
claims to be related by that certain relation.
An easy example of the importing of determinate relata is found in
Evans™ “Molyneux™s Question” (1985a). Molyneux™s question concerned
a man born blind who much later regains his sight. Molyneux asked
whether, lacking any prior visual experience, such a man would imme-
diately be able to distinguish a square from a circle by sight. Evans has
a contender, B, who gives the question an affirmative answer, use the
“very familiar” argument that there could not be an experience of
something rotating “in the visual field” without there being “four sides”
to the visual field, “a, b, c, d, which can be identified from occasion to
occasion” (1985a, p. 386). That is, the experience of rotation requires
four determinate “directions” for the rotation to occur from and to.
The importing of determinate relata is implicit in Peacocke™s claim
that a “matching profile” can be described, for example, for the visual
experience of the direction from yourself in which the end of a televi-
sion aerial lies (Peacocke 1986, 1989a).This matching profile is the area
within which the aerial must lie if your experience of its direction is
veridical. It is described as a solid angle with yourself at the vertex, and
it is determined by seeing how far in space the aerial can be moved
without your noticing a difference. But the fact that you can perceive a
discrepancy when a certain magnitude has been introduced between
direction A and direction B would be evidence that you are discrimi-
nating the absolute directions of A and B within that range only if vis-
aging a discrepancy required one to visage a direction or range of di-
rections for A and a different direction or range for B. And this would
be necessary only if visaging a discrepancy required that the intermedi-

aries for the visagings of A and of B be discrepant, thus having differ-
ent absolute values.
To appreciate that something has gone wrong here, compare pitches. If
I can tell there™s a difference between two pitches when these are as little
as 2 Hz apart, does it follow that I can visage pitches taken separately each
within 2 Hz? I don™t have absolute pitch. So either I don™t hear absolutely
“ I don™t “visage” absolutely “ within any such narrow range. That is, I
don™t definitely visage C# and definitely visage C#-plus-2 Hz in order to
visage a discrepancy. Or else I can visage exactly the same content, say the
C# content, twice without being aware of the sameness “ a possibility to
which I will turn a bit later. Certainly it is not clear that my visagings of
absolute pitch are in fact so accurate. Indeed, notice that there is no rea-
son to think that there is even any natural information present in me to
represent the absolute values of the pitches I hear, for the phenomenon of
adaptation is very deep-seated in the structure of the nervous system.
Quoting Oliver Selfridge (unpublished), “the range of stimuli that can be
distinguished is greatly increased by the power of adaptation [of the ner-
vous system], although the ability to signal absolute intensities is lost.”
Peacocke also remarks on “what you can learn about the size of the
room by seeing it” that you cannot necessarily learn by measuring it
(1989a, p. 299). But my absolute sense of distance is not too good.What
I can learn is mostly relative, it seems to me, and will help me only if I
know independently something about the sizes of other relata involved.
Suppose that I wrongly perceive two items on opposite sides of the
room as different in length. In fact they are just the same length. Does
it really follow that one or the other of my absolute distance percep-
tions is wrong? How then is it determined which one is wrong? “ Or
can one, perhaps, grasp wrongly that the intentional contents of two
perceptions are different? In the case of the Müller-Lyer arrows, for ex-
ample, do you perceive one, or both, as having the wrong length? Or do
you perceive each as having its correct length but fail to grasp that this
length is the same in the two cases, as one might think of Cicero and
think of Tully, that is, think of the same, without grasping the sameness?
Similarly, if I perceive things of different length as being the same
length, which of the two lengths am I perceiving them both to have?
Another change in scope produced by internalizing and externaliz-
ing moves imports internal relations. Any relata that are projected from
a visaging to an intermediary must then be provided with all necessary
internal relations. If an intermediary really embodies the relata (or ana-
logues of them) it must also embody these relations. Externalizing, it

follows that the visaging was also of these relations. Thus, from the fact
that A and B bear an internal relation R to one another, and the fact
that I visage A and also visage B, it is concluded that I visage R. For ex-
ample, I could not truly visage middle C and then orchestra A without
visaging one as higher in pitch than the other, or visage a square and a
triangle without visaging one as having more sides than the other. Or,
using the example just above, I could not perceive each of the
Müller-Lyer arrows as having its correct length but fail to grasp that this
length is the same length.The demand here is for content completeness
(Section 8.3).
A final alluring example of importing completeness found in many
places is warned against in Lorenz (1962). Animals, presumably, do not
represent the world in the same respects that we do. They represent
those aspects of the world that are of practical significance to them.
There are narrow limits on what they represent. From this it may be
concluded that animals represent the world as having narrow limits, or
as having only the aspects they represesnt it as having. Similarly, our own
understanding of the world has limits, though different limits. So we
represent the world as having different limits. It follows that our repre-
sentation of the world conflicts with that of the animals, indeed, the
representation of the world by each type of animal conflicts with the
representation by each other type. Every animal™s representation of the
world, including ours, is necessarily a distortion of the world. Each ani-
mal lives in its own world, and none of these worlds are objectively real.
The mistake here involves importing and exporting the limit of a
representation. If there is a limit to what is represented, there is a cor-
responding limit to the vehicle of representation, and a limit to the ve-
hicle of representation is then exported to be a representation of the
limits of the represented. But the limit of a representation is not a rep-
resentation of a limit. Representing only part of the world is not repre-
senting this as the only part.

Sames versus Sameness in
Conceptual Contents and Vehicles1

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