Wednesday, July 2, 2008


With training, a tennis player can see where the ball coming towards her will strike the ground. Why not say this is genuine perception? That it takes training is irrelevant—most perceptions do. I guess the best reason to deny this is a perception is to require that a perception be caused by the perceived state of affairs. But now here is an interesting thing. This morning I saw a cow and I saw it as a cow. The causal criterion requires, then, that the cowness of the cow have caused my perception. And this requires an Aristotelian view of forms as causally efficacious. A Thus, it seems, either we can see the future or Aristelianism is true or we can't see any cow to be a cow. Maybe the causal criterion can be replaced with an explanatory one, though, which would weaken the Aristotelian conclusion while broadening the scope of what we can see.

[By the way, sorry for the typos in recent posts. They were typed mainly with vim over ssh on my Treo. I now have a Internet access on a device with a full-size keyboard, which should improve things.]


Vlastimil Vohánka said...

Alex, what would be the explanatory criterion?

Jonni said...

So your question is: Do we accept that (1) we can have a perception of an effect event prior to its cause or (2) are there discreet "things" whose "thinghood" causes perceptions which can only be recieved as an effect?

I think it is important that you distinguish between temporal order and order of cause and effect. While it is true that I percieve the ball hits the ground at a particular point, it is also true that I percieve that the ball is drawn toward that point by gravity and an initial impulse at a particular angle of incidence. My perception of the cause allows for my perception of effect... so in this case it seems to me that we still follow Aristotle. Because while the perception may be ahead of the temporal event it does not actually precede its cause.

Do you see my difficulty?