The new realists

The realist needs to preserve the independence of the fact-objects of knowledge from knowledge itself. What we know should be justified by facts independent of that knowing. Appearances and beliefs should correspond to these facts, if they be true.

But the realist has difficulty in explaining the distinguishing nature of facts from mere appearances or beliefs. If there are facts independent of appearances, then how will we know them when they appear? Or, do facts look differently from appearances? Basically, how are facts found except through the glasses of appearances? Also, where are facts found? If they are found in the physical world then is this world accessible to immediate experience? According to an idealist, such as Royce, the realist must account for his belief in real facts or real things, independent of what is simply apparent to mind. How can the realist know these facts independent of the mind? Is the realist beyond the mind? Accessibility to the real, possible verification of it, and the ability to distinguish this real from what is unreal, all seem necessary in any account of realism.

Brentano and Meinong were the first new philosophers to re-define realism from a psychological or phenomenological angle. Both claimed that what the mind knows is an object which exists independently of the mental act of knowing. These objects of thought and apprehension are considered to have a potential stability and recurrence, and a indistinguishableness from other objects or other essences. Although there are difficult questions as to where these objects are, if not part of the mind nor part of physical existence, each object is considered to have its own independence from others and be possibly apprehensible for different minds or different mental acts. The objects are in relation to mental acts. They are what are presented or present to mind. The objects stand before mind. This object, if it can be shown to be independent and given to mind, rather than created by mind, is the new object of realism. The problem just remains that if this real object exists, regardless of being physical or actually in a publicly verifiable world, then what by meaning is this real if fantasy objects are regarded just as real? Phenomenology, though being a useful system for settling disputes in philosophical description, does not seem like much of a realism. Yet what makes this more definitely a realism, I think, is that these objects or essences can exist even without perception or apprehension. Qualities can exist before they are known. So, the objects or essences are not only independent in their relation to mental acts, but are also independent existences a-priori to mind. Such a claim will need various qualifications, though, because only extremely hard temperaments would hold that colors, for instance, could exist a-priori to mind. Certainly, it would seem, secondary properties are mind dependent, which is the position of Stout and most other realists. The better arguments about the a-priori nature of objects, I think, are that qualities are dependent on cognitions but not not dependent necessarily on my cognition. If there is any apprehension of a quality, then we might agree that this quality existed aprior to that cognition, unless we held that qualities were mind-created, and we might also agree that if one mind apprehended this quality then any mind could, in principle, apprehend the same if their perception took place from the same perspective or angle. From the position of the early empiricists, like Hume, each sense-data is believed to be particularly unique, but this in not necessarily true. In my own experience, many qualities appear to recur and to remain stable, so there is reason to believe that these same qualities could recur for other minds as well. In effect, then, we could agree that if any one quality is apprehended by any one mind, then this quality was already a possibility or potential for anyone to apprehend. The transcendental reasoning would be that the quality must have existed a-priori to its apprehension, but could never have been realized or proven to have existed before that apprehension took place. We could also say that many qualities could possibly exist [in a real world] independent of minds even if these are not as yet apprehended or even if they will never be apprehended. Since if they could, possibly, be ever apprehended then they can be said to exist independent and before any mental apprehensions. This is the kind of reasoning which realism can take.

One of the first New Realists was T.P.Nunn.

He argues that the contrast between sensa and actual properties is untenable. All shades of color which a flower presents to one or many viewers are all actual properties of the flower. Primary and secondary qualities are in the objects perceived, and these qualities are just as they are perceived. What is true of anything perceivable is how experience shows it to be. What else is there to be called real or existing, if not how things appear to the senses? Thus, the meaning of `real' or of `actual properties' is simply what is `real in experience'. No other meaning could ever be known, by experience that is.

But if I stick a very cold hand in my bath water the water is unbearably hot, while if I stick a hot hand in this same bath the water might instead be felt as cold. So is the bath water actually-really both hot and cold, simultaneously? We could say that the water is hot or cold, relative to something else such as my hand. But it seems that Nunn's position is that the water must have those properties of hot and cold, since they are experienced properties. The water may have infinite different properties, but only those are known which have been experienced. In fact, a thing is a `collection' of possible appearances or qualities. Whatever qualities are possible to experience about this thing, this thing possess, though we could never know all possible qualities.

Yet if we can never know the end of all possibilities, then how could we ever believe this thing to be different from anything else? Nunn would probably say that one can never know anything in its absolute certainty, and each person can only believe what they have experienced and maybe also believe what others have said to experience.

Each experiencer has equal right in claiming to know the actual qualities or facts about a thing, for each experience is part of the collection of facts. Each experience is significant. Each is a fact and part of the totality of possible found facts. Yet each experiencer only recognizes some of the total actual properties of a thing, and so no one can claim to know all there is about any-thing, unless he means by this that he has experienced everything anyone else has experienced, regarding the thing, as well as all that is possible to experience.

Critics of this new, different style of realism wondered if any distinction between real and unreal descriptions, or between true and false propositions, is possible in this new realism which eliminated the thing/quality distinction and maintained the plurality of possible appearances to be real.

Holt's position is that the difference between the real and the unreal is an arbitrary convention. Speaking about the `real' shape or color of an object is merely a convenience for practical or scientific purposes. `Real properties' are those which give an object its `official biography' in science texts and in general classifications of things.

Critics also wondered where the collection of qualities existed, if not in a physical world outside of and independent of sense-appearances. Are these qualities collections `in' something? Nunn's position is that descriptive language makes it appear as if qualities were `in' some-thing, and as if there were some-thing which had these qualities. But in fact, those things are just collections of all possible qualities. There are no things, thus, apart from related appearances or collections of qualities.

Holt defended the new realism position that a `thing' is identical to its `character-complex' or to the total set of apprehended qualities. A `thing' is merely a general notion of `where' this collection is in time and space. Thus, the character-complexes are not representations of a real thing, but are just what that thing is. No other meaning-sense of real is tenable.

But the `critical realists', attempting to maintain a realism without eliminating the distinction between fact and fiction or between the real and unreal, saw the character-complexes as signs to the real things. They argued that any common-sense realism would have to maintain some sense of there being real things of which qualities or appearances point to and describe. Common-sense, in their view, would not maintain that any possible qualities apprehended are necessarily true for the object at hand. But the challenge in this view of critical realism is how to put forward a newer realism without merely reverting to a traditional representation theory. They will again have to meet Berkeley's argument that qualities or appearances cannot lead us to any knowledge of a reality different in nature from those qualities apprehended. That, if all we can know is quality, character-complex, or signs, then there is no way to know anything other than qualities, signs, etc. If there is no access to real stuff, except through the medium of qualities or appearances, then how can we know there is anything other than qualities or appearances?

Some critical realists, such as Santayana, countered this by saying that the real thing is presupposed a-priori in the apprehension of qualities. Every quality-complex apprehension has the distinct quality of pointing to some-thing outside of itself. Thus, the `pointing to' is an essence already contained in character-complexes. Santayana also maintains that essences are the only undoubted knowledge we can have of real physical things. Yet these essences are `signs' of the real rather than copies or corresponding pictures. As signs, the essences merely point to their presupposed cause, rather than being replicas. The exact nature of physical things is questionable, while essences cannot be doubted. Since essences are presupposed to be signs of somethings, we cannot doubt the existence of these somethings but only doubt what their true nature is.

Santayana goes on to explain, in behavioristic language, how the implicit signification of real things is empirically assumed in human experience. The early empiricists made the error of assuming that real things are inferred from quality-complexes, so the assumption was held that this inference needs justification. But, Santayana argues, there is no inference being made since the `pointing to real things' was always presupposed in perception. So justification of a material world cannot be demanded when we just accept that a real world of things is naturally assumed by animal-man in his physical dealings with objects. In other words, our bodies simply know, by practical experience, that there is a real world of physical things which we bump into and can be hurt by, and thus the sense-appearances of objects is pragmatically justified as being signs of this real physical world.

We could argue, though, that such practical dealings do justify a knowledge of hard physical reality but does not necessarily justify the quality appearances of these things as being real properties or correspondences. Thus, we do bump into things, but how these things appear do not necessarily indicate anything other than appearances. And to argue that real properties are just presupposed in the quality-appearances is to just avoid the question of whether the presuppositions are true or not. All we can justifiably claim, given our our pragmatic dealings with physical things, is that physical stuff exists, with painful, pleasurable, or useful properties, but no justification of `real' can be given to any other sensible qualities. It seems there just isn't any sense in speaking of `secondary properties' or aesthetic properties as being real properties of the physical stuff independent of the mind's peculiar perception.

C.A.Strong, in line with Hicks and Santayana, sees essences as exemplifications of physical nature, rather than correspondences. The essences can be exemplified in a particular existence, but do not exist nor subsist in themselves. The character-complexes, made of quality-essences, are ways in which we signify or refer to real things, but they are not themselves real things. Thus, the essences of apprehension and the character-complex are not really entities. Strong distinguishes between the `physical stuff' independent of the brain's apprehension and the `structure' or `properties' apprehended by the brain. His view is that all structural properties, including what are traditionally called secondary properties, are just how the physical human organism responds to physical objects or stuff outside itself. `Physical stuff' is simply a-priori knowledge to Strong. Instead of logically beginning a-priori with `mind' or `experience', and then deducing or proving physical existence, he argues a-priori from the physical to what is traditionally called mind or experience. So, any experience of essences or qualities must be some effect of physical things interacting, such as a physical organism responding to, or interacting with, other physical things. Mind and experience are now part of the natural reality. Thus, the mind/world distinction is eliminated; mental essences or known properties can be logically reduced to material events, which also eliminates the need for a representational theory. And yet, the material stuff can only be known as structural essences. As for knowledge, then, nothing can be said of physical stuff except essences or apprehended structure. Nothing can be known of physical stuff outside of our own organism. Since mind, being a response, is a product of the physical organism, it cannot go beyond its organism to directly know the constitution of any other thing. All that is knowable is our organism's natural response. Since there is an actual response, we could infer there to be an actual thing eliciting this response, but we can only know the response and not the exact nature of what elicited it.

So some critical realists argue that speaking of the existence or where-abouts of essences or qualities is senseless, since only physical things or events can be said to exist in a time/space or real world. But others can accept qualities as being a kind of entity or existence, even if not physical. Either we regard the qualities as products of physical responses, in which case a product could be regarded as an entity, or we regard the qualities as mental correspondences to physical responses, in which case the essences are mental entities. It would seem that any material reductionism cannot be absolute, without eliminating all common-sense. A common-sense realism, it seems, would speak of qualities and appearances as real mental events or real mental essences, concerning how physical objects are perceived. When these qualities of things, or properties, are so very evident in everyday experience, it is difficult to comprehend a denial of their existence, either from the angle of idealism or from the angle of material reductionism.

To speak of these essences as real entities does not necessarily commit one to identifying them with physical particle vibrations or with physical substances, nor with anything outside of mind. Yet, though not outside mind, they can still be independent from other essences and quasi-independent of the mental act apprehending them. All the while, though, they could be dependent on physical substances which elicit them in our organism's response to those outside substances. We need not deny physical relations, nor independent existences, nor relations between an organism's experience and physical objects. The mental essences are just how physical stuff is known or qualified. Let us say that `things', the `this or that' of the supposed material world, are composed of vibrating material substances or matter-in-motion, which when perceived by human organisms are realized as colors, shapes, and other sensible properties. This does not mean that those perceived properties are identical to the vibrating material substances. Neither the experienced properties nor the material substances can be just reduced to one or the other. It just means that the properties are how these vibrating substances are perceived or experienced by our conscious sensing human organism. The act of perception, or the experience, is physical, just like the vibrating substances. There is a physical event happening, a response, an activity of a physical organism. And there is something physically happening out there, outside of this organism. But none of this can necessarily deny that there is a mental experience corresponding to the physical organism's response or to that physical event of sensation. In fact, the mental experience, constituted by quality-essences, is all that is known of these physical events or vibrating substances. The physical brain event, of which the mental experience is its knowledge, may in fact be a sympathetic vibrational response to vibrations sensed out there. The vibrations of things in the world can be known in different ways, depending on the responding instrument. Some instruments respond with electrical impulses, which give scientific evidence of there being external vibrations, and these scientific instruments translate their response into visual contours on a screen for the human eye or they sometimes translate their sense-data into sounds hearable by the human ear. So these scientific instruments are made to respond to vibrations or events outside of themselves, and then to translate the data of response into sense-data which the human organism can experience, or translate the data into physical impulses to which the human organism can respond and realize as evidential data. But if there is no invented scientific instrument for responding to outside vibrations, the human organism is just left with itself. And what kind of instrument is this organism? Shall we accept the data of our own organism as evidence of real events outside of itself, or do we need other instruments to translate their sense-data into human sense-data? Besides the implications in my question, what I am pointing to is that the properties of apprehension, or the character-complexes, are obviously mental in nature as well as dependent on the experiencing organism, and they are obviously not identical to material substances or particle vibrations. But the material substances or particle vibrations are translatable into mental essences or experiential data, if we qualify this translation with `as it is experienced' or `as it is sensed'. Secondary properties are those properties which do not at all have any meaning-sense as `material properties of the thing', and they do not have meaning as a physical nature existing independently of any consciousness. If there were no eyes, there would be no color. Yet since color could be said to be the mind's experience of external light reflected through the eyes by physical substances outside of the eyes, it makes sense that color is an `experienced property' of whatever substance reflects this vibration into the eyes. There is no reason why we cannot claim these properties as corresponding, or reflective, or translations of whatever material substances or vibrations exist independently out there. We might also say that material substance and particle vibrations are essence-terms used by physicists, while colors and secondary properties are essence-terms used by aesthetitians. Either way, the same event is being described. The same reference may apply, even if the meaning-sense of particle vibrations and color properties is quite understandably different!!

Perry says that just because something is in your mind doesn't mean it cannot be in mine as well. If contents of private thinking and apprehension were always exclusive, there would be no basis for communication nor disagreement. Disagreement about `what'? Are you speaking about the same idea as me? Content of thought, just as content of apprehensions, can very well be the same, even though their spatial occurrence, in the brain or in individual mental acts, will be different. As far as thinking is concerned, there can be no possibility of a private language, since thinking must make use of general concepts or general names learned in the context of some public language.

Perry says that `consciousness of a rock' means just that something called a brain is interested in, or responding to, something called a rock. Thus, all `contents of experience' are reduced to objective material entities or physical events. Perry eliminates `consciousness' and `mental entities' such as sensa. His neutral monism is a materialistic reduction to relations between real objects, instead of James' reduction of objects and acts to just `experience' or sense-content. Both reductions reject as untenable Moore's distinction between consciousness and sense-content, or the act of sensation and the realized sensa of that act. Perry rejected James' version because `experiences' seemed to imply a mental experiencer or `consciousness of' the experience. So he feels we should just talk objectively about those things or events which can be realized Perry's realism is a common-sense talk about real physical objects or events, while James' realism is a common-sense talk about object-experiences.

Alexander agrees that all we can really declare as objective fact is the content present in experience. He rejects any descriptions of mental acts relating to objective things. Rather, there are only objective experience-contents or sensible appearances. Yet this objective content can be presupposed to be a `response' to independent realities exterior to mind or experience. The objective content is not `in the atmosphere of mind', nor is it a physical thing, but is a response by the human organism to something outside of it. The mental act, as well as the physical thing, can only be presupposed or logically deduced from the existence of the objective content. The mental act is a response, really a brain response, but this response cannot be cognised apart from its content. The response can only be known as a sense-appearance. It is only implicit in the explicit content. It is presupposed but cannot be contemplated in itself, or it can only be known as it `appears' to be. The response is just com-present with its object-content.

Alexander defines error as a spatial-temporal misplacement of universals in relation to others. There can be no error in just what appears or in just what is a sense-content. Error only arises when certain sense-content is [mis]related to other contents of apprehension or of memory. For example, I may apprehend, and believe, the tree to be all green, when in fact the trunk and branches hidden from view are not green. There is no error, though, in this appearance or this apprehension. The error is in how the green quality is related to the whole tree. The green is a fact and the whole tree is a fact, for I self-evidently see green essence and I self-evidenly feel the presence of this tree-being, but when I combine these facts or sense-contents together in some logical form of knowledge - then there is the possibility of error. Also, if I see one shade of green while you see another, there is no error in either perception. Rather, different qualities are being selected, or we could say that different responses are in effect.

If `secondary' qualities, such as color, are not actual physical properties of physical substances but are, say, the sense-content of a brain's response to certain physical properties, then these qualities would be mind-dependent. Being the effect of an individual response to something, the quality must be dependent on this act of response as well as what elicits it from the world. If the quality is a relation between actual object and subjective response, then it cannot be independent on its own since it is an effect of something, a brain or mind, which is responding to something else - an object or physical cause. Being a `relation between' would seem to eliminate any logic to it being independent.

Yet, the quality does seem independent of the mental act or of the brain response. {can be argued that response is compresent with sense-content}

Independence because I can distinguish this content as unalterable by my mind or thought. It reamins stable, independent of my intentions or pretensions. It comes as it is, and stands before my consciousness. {{Moore's position}}

No, it just appears independent. That is the illusion which these qualities present. The quality appears as independent and stable, and unalterable by mind, because you do not apprehend the work of the mind compresent with the content of apprehension. {{Alexander}} Your individual consciousness is com-presently involved in the appearance, in the quality. The quality is a response. It is the content of a responding act. So it need not be thought of as some entity. It is just how this responding activity is realised. The act itself is not realised, unless it is realised as a content of some other act. Only the content quality is realised or enjoyed, through the act compresent in it. Unnecssary confusion arises if we do not see how the word `response' can be understood as both act and content. Each quality is a particular act of response, from a nervous system, and the act itself is particularly unique in time and space. But the act is unconscious. It is not qualified by consciousness to be any other than a certain recognisable content, and this content will be a universal essence in that it can be enjoyed again and again, possibly appearing the same again and again and it could be enjoyed by other people just the same. Thus each act of response is, itself, always unique, being a particular event in time and space.

But the act of seeing is not the `what' of seeing. Not identical with, but compresent in. `What' I am seeing is logically distinguishable from my `seeing', and I do not `see the seeing' simultaneuously with `seeing the what'. Yet although this act and content are logically independent, they are intrinsically related because every content necessitates there being a response-act for which it is the content and every response-act will have its content. The content is what is known of the response-act, and therefore it is dependent on this particular response, yet this knowing, or this known-content, is independent of knowing the physical nature of the response-act and independent of registering the fact of there being a response. Thus, in one's ordinary experience one seldom thinks of, or is aware of, there being all these response-acts, but rather one is just aware of qualities - which are the conscious contents of unconscious brain responses.

Independence and relatedness are, thus, logically compatable. We can spaek of the sense-content or qualities as independent, possibly stable and possibly recurring, while also accepting that they are necessarily related to particular mental acts or particular brain responses.

Critical realism continued................

Andrew Seth, a Scot who saw himself in the tradition of natural common-sense realism without abandoning Kantian analysis, and hence labeled himself a `critical realist', made direct attacks against phenomenalism. In his view, Mill's phenomenalistic language of `permanent possibilities of sensation' is just a round-about way of saying `real things of the world'. He felt that Mill was always presupposing a real world outside of mind or sensation. Any philosophy of experience cannot deny mind's references to objects external to itself, so any coherent philosophy, including phenomenalism and idealism, has to express itself at least somewhat as a realism.

At the same time, there is no reason we have to accept a naive realism. The conscious being cannot transcend itself. What we are sensibly aware of must be in our mind, even though it points to a world outside and independent of mind. Critics thought this sounded like Locke's theory of representative ideas, in which all we really know are our ideas in mind. But Seth argues that true knowledge is by way of ideas or by way of mental apprehensions, but the knowledge itself is about real things. Ideas are not what we know, but are what we think. We do not look at or recognise ideas in acts of perception. We look at and recognise things or objects of the world.

Thus, Seth, like other up-coming critical realists, are attempting to form a compromise between naive realism and subjectivism. They continually struggle with the three possible entities or contents of world experience, which we found in Brentano and Meinong, that is, a mental act, a character apprehension, and an object-reference. Differences of opinion arise in how each of these are understood in relation to the others.

Dawes Hicks sees each of these three as sorts of content. Yet, only the object and the perceiving act are distinct entities with qualified content. The content of immediate apprehension is not qualifying a third entity, such as a sense-datum in Moore's theory. In Moore, there is a sense-patch with certain properties which is independent though related to the act and the object. But for Hicks, there is only the act of perception and the object perceived, either of which can be qualified by properties. There is no such entity as a sense-datum which is qualified or which has properties. That would be redundant, for then what is the object qualification? In other words, there could not be two distict sorts of qualification in experience, one being a qualified sense-datum and the other being a qualified object. Moore's qualified sense-datum could only just be the qualified object. Either this or vice versa, which would then be a phenomenalist model rather than a realist model. Hicks is saying that the apprehended properties are qualifications, thus content, but this content or qualification is either `about' an act or an object. We can say, then, there is only subjective content and objective content, and no third kind in between.

The problem with this is a lack of any distinction between `appearances' and objects or reality. How can one account for the fact that one object can present different appearances to different people? If we were to study different minds, or experiences, we would find different appearances of the same object. Hicks retorts against such criticism by saying that `objects can appear differently' to different people. That seems a subtle argument. But the point is that in speaking of `appearances' there seems an implication of this being an entity or a `patch' of something known by mind. Yet we do not look at `patches' or `appearances', and qualify these. Rather, the qualification is `how' something appears to us. It `is the content' of the object, from the perspective of one's perceptual act.

The act of perception is an act of discrimination, a selection from different available qualities in our environment or regarding an object-of-perception. Different observers may pick out different sets of qualities, and neglect other qualities, which is how `errors' arise. But if we make a complete empirical study of what qualities are perceived by different people, each quality or set of qualities can be pointed out and thus recognised by each person. If we can see from other's perspective we will find the truth of their descriptions. Or, we may find that some people mistakenly related certain qualities to the wrong object, like if I thought the bird was green but then was later pointed out that the surrounding leaves made the bird just appear to me as green. Or maybe some cause external to a given object made it appear differently than it would without that cause, such as if the orange sunset made the mountain look golden. Of course, this leads to some problems when we apprehend the qualities of natural objects in different lights. Is the ocean blue? Is the sky really blue or orange? There is no sense in a `right answer' to such questions, for some qualities are caused by external relations between different substances or energy events. We can only say the sky is now blue but later is orange, depending on atmospheric facts.

So if we do speak of blue or orange skies, of sunsets and rainbows, as objective descriptions of `what is there', we would have to also say that these are temporal and relationaly dependent on various external factors; yet nonetheless there is no doubt about the there being a blue sky or arched rainbow, if your perception enjoys the same perspective as mine. The main philosophical confusions arise when one asks, "But are these essences really there or are they in your mind?" Seth's critical realism answers that the properties one is aware of are in one's mind but point to realities independent of mind. He does not mean that the physical moon, from which astronautes took samples, can be in my mind when I perceive or think of the moon. We are not here speaking of physical substances, but rather speaking of how the physical moon appears. `How' the moon appears or `how' the sky appears are possible essences or properties. These properties point to a material world independent of mind, yet they are properties only known `in' the mind.

The Hegelian Idealist Bosanquet describes mind as like an atmosphere which is empty in itself but can include or contain a world of objects. For him the moon, the sunset, the world perceived, are `in' the mind and thus cannot be independent of mind. While Alexander, following Brentano, hoped to clear the possible confusions of this `in the mind' by insisting that objects of the world stand independently before the mind, as the mind is an activity responding to or relating to these objects in some way or another. So, Hicks might say that `mind' is where, or to what, world objects appear differently.

I would say the main confusions arise when distorting the necessary empirical distinction between material essences and mental essences. Qualities such as blue and objects such as the silvery moon are mental connations, and certainly mind-dependent. Yet these connations known by mind are elicited by `somethings' outside of itself, by material entities and relations of the external world, and thus they are world-dependent as well. That is, these qualities or appearances are dependent on how the human senses and consciousness experiences or responds to materials given by the world independent of it. The mental essences are not material entities but point to material enitites and relations. They are how those material things/ events are perceived/sensed by an independent consciousness or mental act. As such, these essenses are not descriptions or names of material substances, but rather are descriptions of experiences or perceptions, of how material realities appear to mind. Material essences are of a different sort, that is, a different sort of property or description. I am not claiming the moon to be materially composed of silvery substance, nor the sky to be composed of the material substance blue. The silvery moon and the blue sky and the arched rainbow are not material descriptions. As expressions or descriptions or essences, they are not refering to material substances or material compositions which could be isolated and studied independently of the mental act and its perspective. When I refer to the rainbow in the sky, I am refering to an appearance in the sky, not refering to any supposed material substance in the sky. I am saying, "Look at that rainbow", which is equivalent to "Look at that appearance!" I am not saying, in equivalence, "I am apprehending material color essenses up in the sky." Any material substances, or composition, of this appearance are not being described. Only the appearance is being described. And this is a public appearance, available to other minds. I am not pointing to nor refering to a private appearance or sense-patch. The appearance is the object of reference, the object pointed to. "That appearance" is equivalent to "That object" or "That rainbow."

Yes but how this rainbow appears to you may be different from how it appears to me. You cannot deny that you have a private experience of this and I have my private experience. The actual sense-patch may be different for you and me, even though the public object is the same.

But there is no stability to any such private sense-patches. When I point to the rainbow and speak of its character-complex I am not pointing to some image in my consciousness. "Look at that rainbow" is certainly not refering to something private to me. It is refering to an object in the common sky, which is an appearance-complex rather than a material substance or a complex of material essences. We should not make the assumption that this object-reference is material, or that I am describing a material composition in the sky. I'm just pointing to an appearance, and this object-reference could be a spiritual or mental substance, rather than material. In fact, the complex of essences apprehended, fully composing the rainbow, are Not material substances like wood or granite.

But there is something material there, eliciting the appearance or what you call mental essences. Light waves are coming to you from the sky. One could suppose that to be, and maybe even prove it to be true, but my description still stands as not about light waves or about what material stuff exists in the sky. There is no such implication, necessarily, nor such commitment, in my apprehension or in my declaration. "Look at that rainbow" means simply to "Look at that appearance in the sky." My only commitment is that there is a complex of character-essences publically apprehendable in the common public sky, if one stands in a certain perspective, in the general location as I. There are no material implications in this declaration, except that there are these essences appearing in the public sky. I am certainly not implying that these essences are material, though they may well be, or they may be perfect reflections of certain material substances or sunlight. But a native spiritualist could say the same thing, or mean the same, and could perfectly understand what I mean and what I'm pointing to, without any presumed belief about material substances or causes. For him, the rainbow is a spiritual appearance and he could not even make sense of any notion of there being material stuff up there, either composing the rainbow or causing it. So the appearance itself just appears in its own meaning. Those essences are just how they appear. In themselves, there is nothing material about them. Yet they are just as objective as any other properties. Just that these properties are not the same sort of properties as, say, the property of wood which can be isolated for study, put in one's pocket and carried around the world. Material substances, or properties of this sort, are distinguishable from mental experiences or sensible essences, in that materials can be discected, transported, thrown about, and forced together in relations with other materials. It is a particle stuff which can be captured in some other material stuff or a wave stuff which can be deflected toward some other stuff. Material stuff can be qualified into essences or properties of a material sort. These are always qualifications of material composition, that is, this sort of property refers to what materials something is `made of'. We can call this `physical' or `material', when properties refer to what is supposed to be independently existing, mind or no mind, senses or no senses. Material substances, including energy waves, vibration and potential energy, are only knowable through some sense instrument but exist independently of being known in any sense. Such is the foundation of any material realism. But when the rainbow is described as `being made of' various colors, this could not mean the same kind of material composition as particles or waves. We could say these are object materials of a different sort, but it is clearer to say these compositions are mental essences. Or shall we say appearance essenses? What is significant is the distinguishing factor of mind-dependence vs. mind independence.

Yet such distinction is untenable, from the Berkeley view, since there is no property, distinguishably independent of mind, which can be used to exemplify or give criteria to this distinction. All properties are known by one sense or another, even the hard properties of material compositions. Of course, wood can hit us on the head and be burned for warmth or fuel, while rainbows dis-appear or retreat as we approach them. But the properties of rainbows are just different in their material composition from, say, trees which are sensed to be hard and burnable, rather than transluscent and ephemeral. Rainbows do not appear to have material substance, but of course they do, as does anything in the world of experience. All objects and events of experience are presupposed to exist, which is just to say they all are material or energy realities and parts of an actual world.

But there is a significant difference between objects we believe to exist stable independenly of mind, such as trees, and those objects, such as rainbows, which are realised to be at least partially mind-dependent. I would agree that both rainbows and trees exist not just because the mind constructs them. But the tree kind of object or event exists in-itself, while the rainbow object-event is an effect in the mind caused by actual material events.

So you would not call the rainbow a material event? That is odd. Because even if the Native believed this to be a spiritual event, I'll bet he regards the rainbow as real and existing independently of his mind. He would not think this was mind-dependent, that this event depended on his own mind for its appearing existence. If that kind of belief is not equivalent to believing in material composition, then you tell me what you mean by `material'. He would be more tempted than you to reach and grab the rainbow! So I have to call the Native spiritualist a material realist, for even if he believes this rainbow was caused by spirits, rather than light waves, or even if he believes this rainbow Is a spirit, he probably regards it as `material' in the sense of being composed of some effective `stuff' existing independently of his own mind or creative imagination. My point is that whatever appears in the outer world, or however the outer world appears, is just assumed a-priori to be material. So whatever or however we speak of this world, such description is, a-priori, regarding material things, events, or compositions. ** You think that you are Not talking about the material composition of the rainbow when describing it. But you are. You think you are not necessarily talking about the material world, but only talking about objects and essences of appearance. But you are talking about the material world, for that is a-priori in your meaning. You naturally regard this rainbow as a material event, just as the Native, though you may describe the material as various vibrations of light while he may compositionally describe various spirits. He says those spirits look like this, and he goes on to describe various color essences. You say the light vibrations look like this, and you go on to describe various color essences. In describing the rainbow, you are describing how light vibrations look, that is, how they appear in the perceptual act. The physicist is describing other properties of these light vibrations, by way of artificial sense-instruments. Both you and he are describing the same stuff, the same material composition, but in different ways, by different properties, depending on the instrument used in apprehending this material object. If we speak of `this rainbow' or `this tree' as an object or event of the public world, which could be described either in some aesthetic way or in some scientific way, then `this' must be the same object of reference. The scientist describing the material composition and inner workings of the tree is describing the same material thing, the same material substance or stuff, as the aesthetician. The only difference is that the aesthetic description is about how that stuff appears, while the scientist might describe the texture and workings of that stuff. The same stuff is being described. Just different properties apprehended, depending on the sense-instrument or depending on the interest.

I do agree that the object-reference can be the same in both aesthetic and scientific desciptions of, say, a rainbow, even though the property-sense may be different. But it is only your presumption that there is an a-priori material being described. There are no necessary or a-priori presuppositions regarding material composition in my descriptions of those essences self-evident in my apprehension of the rainbow object. You may be right about the Native mind, in that there may be a tendency to believe in some kind of stuff out there eliciting the rainbow experience. But my description can be without any such assumptions or presuppositions. I am just describing the appearance `up there and in front of me'. You can attempt to discover a hidden material composition to this appearance, to this same object we both see, but that project and its subsequent discovery is of a different logical sort than the simple inquiry about essences immediately apprehended. For one, that project necessarily involves a presupposed belief in their even being something constitutional to discover other than just what is presented to the immediate senses. I mean, why would anyone even think there was any-substance other than just the appearance, other than just the arched colors? And for two, the inquiry is about `what is this [material or appearance] made of', that is, what is hidden from immediate perception and cannot be realised without some discecting instrument. And for three, the ideal property concepts involved in this compositional inquiry are mind-independent, while the property concepts involved in appearance description are sensibly acknowledged as necessarily related to the human organism apprehending them. Thus, I maintain that descriptions and properties of appearances are significantly different from those of material composition.

The rainbow may well be a material event, made of material stuff, and I myself believe there are material causes for this rainbow, but that kind of description is logically different from descriptions of immediate appearances. The described rainbow is not a description of material composition, nor is it about physical causes. It is a description of the appearing composition. In other words, I am unconcerned with what physical atoms or particle vibrations which make up the rainbow. What is of immediate interest, that is, what is the object of my aesthetic perception, is how this event looks, rather than what kinds of material compose it or what physical events caused this appearance.

The simple mistake is to regard all properties as being of the same logical sort. An art painting can be used as example. If we ask, "what is the composition of this painting?" a distinction needs to be made between the material composition of the paint and the aesthetic composition of the appearance. Properties of paint are not of the same sort as properties of color, shape and aesthetic form. The term `composition' can be ambiguous. Yet this ambiguity arises from a conceptual ambiguity in the difference between how things are `made of' materially, various material essences, and how those same things are `made of' various essences perceived as in how they appear. I do not deny that material essences are also perceived or sensed, like perceiving and touching properties of crushed stone, but these are not the same sort of property as in how a stone-work looks or is immediately apprehended. One could argue that the stone simply looks and feels differently when it is opened or crushed, but this begs the question as to whether a description is about how something is immediately apprehended or whether it is about entities or essences hidden as material compositions.

Scientists have tended to be prejudice against properties of appearances or apparencies of the immediate senses, in favor of described material compositions and causes. The `real' has been equated with material essences and physical causes composing the world we apprehend. That is, the real is known as `what things are made of' and `what caused events'. All else seems to be regarded as just fantasy or naive folk language or unverifiable dribble.

I would prefer to say these are color essences, rather than say mental. It seems odd to say, "Look at those mental essences up there." Mental essences remind me sensa essences, and it seems odd to say, "Look up at those sense-essences." Yet it seems quite comprehensible to say, "Look up at those color essences."

As long as we know these essences to be non-material. They are essences of appearance, not necessarily refering to physical facts which can be isolated from sense experience.

The scientist can look at the rainbow and know, by a previous project of studying empirical relations and theoretical induction, that this appearance is a result of reflected light waves entering through the eyes and being perceived as color essences. Simply stated, he knows this appearance to be materially composed of light waves independent of mind, rather than being composed of color essences. So the scientist says this phenomena is composed of light waves, while the Native views this as color essences. There appears to be a disagreement, but in fact there is only a difference in how this same event is perceived or sensibly known.

There are merely different concepts being employed to describe the same substance. The two differnet `senses' can be translated in reference to the same object. The Native is describing in color-essences the reflected light waves, and the scientist is describing in light waves the color-essences. One could say that the Native is studying the color-shape appearance of light waves, while the scientist is studying the light-substance of this color-shape. The Native studies how this `thing' or `substance' appears, while the scientist studies the material substance or make-up of the appearance.

Fundamentally, the realist position has grounds to say that the color-essences are as real as the light waves, just real in a different sense or real by a different method of study. We could say, objectively, that those light waves have clearly distinguishable color properties, realised through one of the senses. The scientist finds distinguishable qualities of energy-motion through a different instrument of sensing. But the scientist's knowledge could not be anymore objective, because he would not be studying anything at all, ie. empty sky, if he did not first perceive the rainbow appearance of colors as an existing object!

Thus, we can conclude that `this object' or `this stuff' appears to the visual senses as color-shape essences, while it is measured by artificial instruments as being various light waves. There is no more contradiction in this than in the fact that I can both see and smell certain flowers. The essence knowledge is different according to different senses or methods of knowing fact. And why should we be prejudice against one sense in favor of another, regarding what is called real? Knowledge of color is visually dependent, but knowledge of light waves is also dependent on the instrument used.

Robert Adamson (tutor of Hicks) presented a neo-Kantian compromise between subjectivism and naive realism. He disagrees with the subjectivist position that experiential knowledge is mind-dependent and all we can know is of the mind, and he disagrees with the realist that experience is mind-independent and that the world can be known just as it is. His middle position is that experiential knowledge, or `experiences', must be a-priori to both knowledge of the mind and knowledge of external objects, because the other two knowledges can only be founded on experience, which itself is not necessarily identical to mind or objects. Experience stands in a middle relation between mind and objects. It must have its own independence from mind and objects, because it is the only grounds for knowing about the mind and objects of the world. Yet even though we can find a logical relation between experience and mind and object, in the experience itself we find no clearly justified distinction between the subjective and the objective.

I cannot look into my mind to discover a clear distinction between what are real objects or properties and what are mental imaginations or constructions. If we want knowledge of this sort of distinction we will not find it in the mind or in introspection. And neither can we find such distinguishing knowledge in the `world of objects', because I cannot perceive objectively what is real or mind-independent vs. what is mental construction or mind-dependent. I cannot look at something and clearly distinguish what is subjective content from what is objective. So we have no grounds for believing our expereince to be either just subjective or just objective. Such is the insurmountable problem in distinguishing truth, objectivity, subjectivity and experience. There is no a-priori solution to this and experience can never absolutely verify any proposed distinctions.

So reason and logic have a philosophical problem, yet experience itself does not appear indifferent to the inner and outer distinction. Experience gives us the starting-point for recognising and believing in an independent world. Because although no logical distinction between `inner' and `outer' is absolutely justified, given the experiential facts, experience does seem to reveal either an `inner' or `outer' sense, which is our only reason for believing in the distinction. There is no other reasonable alternative other than accepting this `experiential sense' distinction of the inner and outer. Even though this `sense' cannot be justified as true by any other sense or knowledge, no other alternative sense or logic is any more justified, and therefore we are reasonable to base our knowledge on our distinguishing `sense' of the inner and outer, of our own mind-space and the public world-space.