Inferences about Seeing

Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 3:73-90 (1969)
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Abstract

In his book Attention , Professor Alan White says ‘When you see X , it follows that if X is Y , you see Y whether you realise it or not.’ If, in passing through Paris, I saw a tall complex iron structure and that structure is the Eiffel Tower, then I saw the Eiffel Tower whether I realised it or not. I accept this, but because recent philosophical writings and discussions have cast doubt on the validity of the inference-pattern I saw x ; x is y ; so I saw y and certain related patterns, it is clear that we cannot be content with this unvarnished statement. Various entertaining examples are produced to show that some instances of this pattern are invalid and therefore that the pattern itself is invalid. If I saw Jones at noon and at noon Jones was bribing Smith then, it is alleged, I cannot conclude that I saw Jones bribing Smith. Similarly, it is said, from the facts that I saw a man in the far distance and that that man was my father, I cannot conclude that I saw my father in the far distance; from the facts that I saw a foot and that that foot was Lloyd George's I cannot conclude that I saw Lloyd George

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References found in this work

Sense and Sensibilia.[author unknown] - 1962 - Foundations of Language 3 (3):303-310.
Sense and Sensibilia.R. J. Hirst - 1963 - Philosophical Quarterly 13 (51):162-170.
How philosophers see stars.Frank B. Ebersole - 1965 - Mind 74 (296):509-529.
Seeing, Knowing and Believing.J. F. Soltis - 1968 - Philosophy 43 (166):389-390.

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