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Objective and subjective propositional attitudes attribution.

What is objectivity and subjectivity? Some philosophers claim that subjectivity is a so much vague concept that it should be entirely rejected, hence every subjectivity should be replaced with impartial objective description of things. They think that any cognition which is made only from one point of view may not be true, because the truth lies beyond all the points of view, beyond all the perspectives--the truth is what the reality really is, without any particular bias of a knower. Therefore science may not be subjective. On the other hand we have so called humanities. They deal with human points of view, hence subjective perspectives is what they work on every day. It seems impossible to remove the subjective aspect from their domain. Moreover even claims of an ultimately objective scientist are merely claims of a single man, and thus they are equally subjective as any other subjective claim. Science as society of singles is an object of humanistic research too.

The problem looks like an unsolvable antinomy. We believe that knowledge may be only objective but the only possibility to strive for it is our singular human subjective perspective. Thus it seems that knowledge would be impossible. Such conclusion is completely contrary to our everyday experience, because in fact we know many things, do we?

Take the popular skeptic puzzle (cf. Cohen 1986, DeRose 1995; Neta 2003a). That is a contemporary version of Descartes' evil genius problem (Med. 2).

1.If you do not know that you are not a brain in a vat, then you do not know anything.

2. You do not know that you are not a brain in a vat.

Therefore:

3. You do not know anything.

Let me remind briefly for clearness what the case of a brain in a vat (BIV) means. A human brain is put into a vat which maintains the brain's life. The levels of all the chemical substances solved in the blood which are important for the correct work and impressions of the brain are secured by the vat. A conjoined computer delivers electric impulses to the brain, and they are one and the same as impulses which a normal human brain receives from the senses. The impulses contain a projection of a reality, hence the brain has a delusion of a normal human life.

Easily you see that the person believes that he has got hands. Whole his experience is a vast consistent evidence for this belief. That is his subjective perspective. But in the same time you know that he is wrong, cause his hands do not exist after being destroyed. Objectively speaking his belief is only a delusion. It seems impossible that he knows all these facts, because his situation seems to be cognitively hopeless. But you (say you are the mad scientist who has put the person's brain into the vat (cf. Putnam 1981, p. 5) know all this things merely upon your own subjective perspective. How can you know that the brain, the vat and your own hands in fact exist? How can you know that you are not a brain in a vat yourself? It seems that such strange, a little disturbing riddles do not have any end. Do we know many things or not?

In the present article I give a theory which makes an important step toward the solution of these problems. Besides of the skeptic puzzle in paragraphs 1-3 I will present more riddles to be solved. Kant's theory of understanding and Wittgenstein's Tractatus will be mentioned. At the end of the beginning remarks I will add some hints that helped me to formulate my theory (paragraphs 4 and 5). The presentation of the theory will take the paragraphs 6-27. I am going to discuss such concepts like belief, certainty, truth, justification, knowledge, impression and perception. Tarski's theory of truth will be noticed too. Afterward all the puzzles will be solved in paragraphs 28-30.

INTUITIVE HINTS AND PROBLEM SITUATION

1.Qualia and Other Transcendental Elements

There are numerous other problems more or less similar to the above one connected with the objectivity an subjectivity dualism which are to be solved. Take the concept of qualia. The question may be raised how can anybody know about them if you never perceive them. When you see a chair for example in fact you do not perceive your visual qualia but merely you perceive the chair. If you were to say that you perceive your qualia in the same meaning as in the case of perceiving a chair the result should be that qualia are equally material objects as chairs, and usually a qualia theorist does not accept such a conclusion. For similar reasons you can never know about your qualia and have any other cognitive relation to them. On the other hand if you wanted to avoid the consequence you would commit an equivocation; it would be upon the concept of perception, belief, knowledge or any similar. Or you would have to make a distinction, and have object perception and qualia perception etc. No need to add that the latter would be extremely mysterious, smelling with the analogous meaning known from theology.

And do not think that you can easily avoid the problem with rejecting the concept of qualia at all. Sometimes it is really difficult to avoid them or at least something like them. Take Wittgenstein's duck-rabbit (Investigations part II, chap. IX). It seems very tempting to explain the phenomenon with a concept of some visual data which lie somehow under what we really consciously experience. These raw visual qualia could be schematized in various forms according to the schema actually being used by the subject's mind in the given act of perception. When the schema of a duck is used you perceive a duck and when the schema of a rabbit is used you perceive a rabbit. There may be also a schema of chaotic patches in the visual field as in the Dalmatian hidden within black patches against the white background case, or you can see it with the schema (pattern) of a dog if you can.

The chaotic patches could be a candidate for the raw qualia but in fact they cannot. When you finally catch sight of the dog you do not dress the chaotic patches which you have seen before in the pattern of a dog but simply the seeing chaotic patches is replaced in your mind with the seeing the dog. Chaotic patches is not something that is already to be schematized but it is one of possible results of schematization. And this kind of schematization is one of the most common. You always experience it when you see the surface of your sweater, of your skin, of the table in the front of you, of the lawn behind the window, when you see the leafage of a tree, sand at the beach etc. When you see a cloud in the sky which looks like president Lincoln's face the cloud and the Lincoln patterns are not in any hierarchical or logical relation they simply exist one near one. You may see a cloud, you may see Lincoln and perhaps it is possible that somehow you can be conscious of both these visions in the same time. The same situation is with any picture made with black patches on a white sheet of paper. You see the patches and the content of the picture (like a rabbit or a duck) "one near one".

Certainly you may insist that Dalmatian and Lincoln patterns are made upon the black patches and a cloud seeing respectively. No matter if you find qualia-like beings as hypothetical and lying somewhere in mind under what is really experienced or you find them as these lying on the surface of experience chaotic patches waiting for schematization the question still may be asked how can you know about them if in fact you see (know) merely sheets of paper with patches, chaotic patches on sheets of paper, drawings of rabbits, ducks or Dalmatians, clouds and clouds looking like Lincoln.

2. Kanfs Unknowable Theory of Understanding

The conceptual problem which we can see here is of the crucial kind. Take Kant's theory of understanding. From one point of view it looks like a rousing stroke of genius when it explains step by step the way of cognition (even if many details need some further discussion and corrections), but on the other hand it includes many really strange statements and raises many serious questions which may be asked.

What is really breathtaking in Kant's work is his theory of understanding. It contains a theory of cognition. The theory explores one (explained in details) concept of knowing. According to it the way of cognition starts form the object which is to be known and ends with knowledge concerning it. The object somehow emanates the raw sensual data which are captured by the subject. In the mind the raw data are ordered into the form of external sense (space) (cf. CPR Bxxvi, B67), and afterwards into categories of understanding (like substance, number and causality) (A68ff.). Also they are gathered together by schemata of understanding (concepts) into representations of objects (phenomena, appearances) (A137if.). Phenomena are the basis for further cognition ending with physical laws.

Kant's idiom is difficult and not literally consequent in all details. Sometimes he commits statements which sound paradoxical. For example he claims that the thing in itself is unknowable. It is surprising when you remember that whole his theory is a theory of cognition starting with objects which are to be known, and the beginnings are just the things in themselves. So how can they be unknowable if whole the stuff concerns knowing them? The point is that Kant saying this paradoxical statement strives to say that it is not possible to know them without whole the mental machinery which he describes.

The objective and subjective problem appears when you notice that Kant is also speaking of other kinds of cognition. For example he considers the cognition performed by God:

There is, moreover, no need for us to limit this kind of intuition--intuition in space and time--to the sensibility of man. It may be (though we cannot decide this) that any finite thinking being must necessarily agree with man in this regard. Yet even if this kind of intuition were thus universally valid, it would not therefore cease to be sensibility. It would remain sensibility precisely because it is derivative (intuitus derivations) rather than original (intuitus originarius), and hence is not intellectual intuition. For the reason just set forth, intellectual intuition seems to belong solely to the original being, and never to a being that is dependent as regards both its existence and its intuition (an intuition that determines that being's existence by reference to given objects). [CPR B72].

If intellectual intuition of an object did not rely on the sensual data coming out from the contact of the subject with the object, then what the kind of cognition this would be? How could cognition go on without any contact between the object and the subject and without any transfer of information from the proper to the latter? It seems impossible to think of any such relation as a relation of knowing.

The other question is similar to the qualia problem mentioned above. The question may be asked how Kant can know his theory of understanding. Not only how can he know about the sensual data but also about all the rest of the stuff like things in themseves, forms of sensibility, categories of understanding, schematization, imagination, appearances, ego etc.?

For example, how mathematics is possible? According to Kant, it comes out from intellectual analysis of the space as the form of external sense, but is it cognition or not? And what in fact it is? If mathematics would be knowledge then where is its object, were are the data coming from it to our minds, where are the representations etc.? There is no room in Kant's theory for such questions. To tell the truth he writes quite much about the deduction of the pure concepts of understanding (A84if.), also he describes quite minutely the way of mathematical cognition (A712if.). Nevertheless his descriptions have nothing to do with the object-subject cognitive relation. Simply it means that mathematics is not knowledge in the basic meaning. There should be an entirely different concept of knowing for it. The questions:

"Do you know that Tom is in the kitchen?"

and:

"Do you know that two plus two is four?"

should apply some two entirely different meanings of the word "know," do they? Similarly as in the qualia problem the only alternative is equivocation.

Unfortunately Kant nowhere gives a sign that he understands the problem. On the contrary he considers the possibility of knowledge a priori, it is, knowledge before (without) experience. Strikingly he commits an equivocation here. From the point of view of his theory of understanding knowledge a priori is like dancing without a body, simply it is nonsense. Therefore if it were to have sense this should be something different.

3. Wittgenstein's Senseless Tractatus

Let us consider Wittgenstein's Tractatus yet. In more or less understandable manner he describes the way of reference: the way from a fact to the thought of it. It includes such concepts like a form of an object (2.025), atomic fact (2.0272), a picture of a fact (2.1),a form of representation (2.15), a logical form (2.18) etc. The problem is that according to the theory presented in Tractatus a sentence is significant only if it speaks of some objects or expresses some facts. Things like a form of an object or an atomic fact are not facts in the meaning of Tractatus thus all sentences concerning them are senseless. Wittgenstein himself admits this in his famous thesis 6.54:
   My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands
   me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed
   out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak
   throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
   He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world
   rightly.


Literally it means that his theory is irrational and not worth of attention of any rational researcher, as any other absurd speaking. Though Wittgenstein poetically seems to deny it speaking of the ladder etc. Kant could have invented something similar. In fact he did. He invented the idea of concepts not understandable but possible to defend. This is what he writes of freedom (but the same could be written perhaps on any other concept of his theory):

But freedom is a mere idea, whose objective reality can in no wise be established in accordance with natural laws, hence also not in any possible experience; for the same reason, because no example may ever be attributed to freedom itself in accordance with any analogy, freedom can never be comprehended, nor even can insight into it be gained. It is valid only as a necessary presupposition of reason in a being that believes itself to be conscious of a will, i.e., of a faculty varying from a mere faculty of desire (namely, of determining itself to action as an intelligence, hence in accordance with laws of reason, independently of natural instincts). But where the determination in accordance with natural laws ceases, there too ceases all explanation, and there is nothing left over except defense, i.e., aborting the objections of those who pretend to have looked deeper into the essence of things and therefore brazenly declare freedom to be impossible. [Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals 459]

To make it clear my purpose is not to show that Kant and Wittgenstein were irrational writers but to expose the point in which the problem of the objective and the subjective touches their works. And because their theories are of conceptual kind (analytical) then the problem leads to inconsistencies. It means that if to remove the errors coming out form the problem and thus to improve these theories the inconsistencies would disappear, and only the valuable core of their theories would remain. Below I will show how to do this.

4. Impossible Self-Gettierization

An important observation that had helped me to formulate my theory is that it is not possible to formulate a Gettier case referring to oneself. If a Gettier case is to be correct the narrator is to be somebody else than the subject. Gettierization requires an external observation. In other case it is not possible to know that even if the subject works perfectly from his own point of view he was somehow mislead and his beliefs even if accidentally true and subjectively justified are not knowledge.

5. Contextualist External Attributor

Finally I admit that also helping was the stress which contextualists put on the presence of the attributor within the context that is important to interpret the actual meaning of the concept of knowledge, and that the attributor is to be somebody else than the subject.

PRESENTATION OF THE THEORY

6. Two Divisions of Mental Concepts

In general my theory is extremely simple. Nevertheless because of our conceptual customs and the complexity of the matter it is quite difficult to accept and understand it. However when you apply it with an adamant consequence lots of problems get solved. It goes as follows.

The discourse of our mental activities is notoriously ambiguous. Almost every concept which we use to describe propositional attitudes has two meanings, each of them belonging to one of two major divisions. The divisions I will call "objective" and "subjective."

Simply speaking the subjective division in fact serves to speak of propositional attitudes of subjects. What is interesting (and what is in fact the original part of my theory) concepts from the objective division seem to do the same but actually they do much more. Shortly in addition they serve to state the accordance (or discrepancy) between the subjective propositional attitudes of the subject and the propositional attitudes of the attributor. Intuitively the word "subjective" may be explained as "from the point of view of the subject," and the word "objective" as "from the point of view of the subject when it is in accordance with the point of view of the attributor."

There are words to name some of these concepts separately, without equivocation (like "belief" or "impression"), but most of them are ambiguous. The equivocations based on this fact lead to an incredible variety of philosophical problems. The analysis of them is in fact the aim of a large part of epistemology in the wide sense.

Let us take two examples to make my theory clear. The first one will refer to the concept of knowledge, the second to perception. Thus first consider such concepts like belief, truth, certainty, justification and knowledge.

7. Belief

The concept of belief is--as I have mentioned--unique in this family. It simply belongs to the subjective division without the said equivocation. Of course it is still polysemous because of some other problems which here we are not interested in. For simplicity I assume that a belief is a proposition that the subject is conscious and certain of and uses it as the basis for his actions. For weak beliefs, it is, such which are not certain, I will use the phrase "a view which is not certain".

In whole the article I will consider the propositional attitude of affirmation only. It is when somebody has a belief and expresses it in his utterance. When Tom says:

"There is a tree in front of me."

he means in fact:

"I (Tom) believe that there is a tree in front of me (Tom)."

Now of course it is possible that somebody else expresses the fact that Tom has got the belief. Say Jake could say:

"Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him."

Saying this Jake in the same time expresses his own belief concerning Tom's belief, thus his utterance means also:

"I (Jake) believe that Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him."

It means that speaking a sentence you always speak subjectively toward yourself, it is, you speak in the same time that you have a belief. (In fact the phrase "I believe that" could be infinitively iterated at the beginning of the sentence but this makes no problem. Simply all these sentences are logical consequences of the first one, and the question is connected with the so called closure principle, which is not our topic here.)

8. Subjective Knowledge

The rest of the enumerated concepts are essentially ambiguous (besides certainty). Therefore I will speak of subjective and objective truth, justification and knowledge. Subjective knowledge means in fact the same as belief. It is, the sentence:

"Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him."

Means the same as:

"Tom knows (in the subjective sense) that there is a tree in front of him."

This meaning of knowledge is used in such contexts like:

"According to astronomical knowledge before Copernicus the Sun circled around the Earth."

"Tom considered the situation quickly. He knew that a man was following him and striving to kill him. Panic-stricken he was looking for a way to run. In fact he did not know that the man was not watching him, and even had not heard about him ever, but merely by accident he was passing by." In the second example the subjective use is performed in the phrase "He knew that a man was following him ...", if fact it means the same as "He believed that a man was following him ...", whereas in the phrase "In fact he did not know that the man was not following him" the word is used in the objective sense. The sentence about astronomers means in fact the same as:

"Before Copernicus astronomers had believed that the Sun circled around the Earth."

9. Subjective Truth

The subjective truth means the same as subjective knowledge and belief. Thus the sentences above mean the same as:

"It is true for Tom that there is a tree in front of him."

"For astronomers before Copernicus it was true that the Sun circled around the Earth."

The phrases "true for Tom" and "true for astronomers" use the subjective meaning of truth.

10. Negation of Belief

The negation of a sentence concerning a belief means that there is not the given belief in the subject's mind, it is, a negative belief means lack of the belief. Hence the following sentences mean the same:

"It is not true that Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him."

"Tom does not believe that there is a tree in front of him."

"It is not true for Tom that that there is a tree in front of him."

"Tom does not know (subjectively) that there is a tree in front of him."

"There is not in Tom's mind (memory) the belief that there is a tree in front of him."

11. Certainty and Subjective Justification

Certainty is one of the concepts which are not disemous in the involved sense. It belongs to the subjective division. The subjective justification means certainty.

12. Negation of Certainty

A negation of a sentence concerning certainty means that there is not certainty in the subject's mind referring to the given view. The following sentences mean the same:

"It is not true that Tom is certain that there is a tree in front of him."

"Tom is not certain that there is a tree in front of him."

"The view that there is a tree in front of Tom is not subjectively justified for him."

"There is no certainty in Tom's mind toward the view that there is a tree in front of him."

"Within Tom's mind the view that there is a tree in front of him is not certain."

Notice that on the basis of my assumptions made above you cannot say anything like:

"Tom is not subjectively justified in believing that there is a tree in front of him."

because it suggests that Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him even if he is not subjectively justified in it. Such situation is excluded upon my assumption that beliefs are certain, so they are subjectively justified as well.

13. Objective Truth

As I will show the objective mode of speaking is reducible to the subjective mode. What is the objective truth? First we use the concept to state the accordance between our beliefs and a subject's belief. When Jake says:

"Tom's belief that there is tree in front of him is true."

He means in fact:

"1. Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him.

2. There is a tree in front of Tom."

The second point (2) means in fact that Jake himself believes that there is a tree in front of Tom. So in fact he means:

"1. Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him.

2. I (Jake) believe that there is a tree in front of Tom."

Perhaps the third point should be added:

3. These beliefs are the same.

Or simply add the word "also" in the second point (2). Another possible formulation is:

"1. Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him.

2. One of my (Jake's) beliefs is the same as this Tom's belief."

or:

"2. This Tom's belief belongs to my (Jake's) beliefs."

14. Absolute Truth

The objective meaning of truth is used also when you state the truth of a sentence or a proposition in isolation from any subject. I call it the "absolute" mode of speaking the truth, because then you state the truth in disconnection from any particular subject. For example if Jake says:

"It is true that there is a tree in front of Tom."

He uses the absolute mode, and it is a kind of the objective mode. Such statements are elliptic and they refer in fact to any subject external to Jake which believed the proposition. (Of course it is still possible that Jake means his subjective truth here, and he has just omitted the phrase "for me," but usually he does not.) Thus such a statement means in fact:

"If anyone believed that there is a tree in front of Tom his belief would be the same as one of mine (Jake's)."

Of course in the same time such a Jake's statement means:

"The sentence <There is a tree in front of Tom> is true." thus in the same time:

"If the sentence <There is a tree in front of Tom> were true for anyone his belief would be the same as one of mine (Jake's)."

or:

"If the sentence <There is a tree in front of Tom> were true for anyone his belief would be the same as my (Jake's) belief that there is a tree in front of Tom."

This formula (or some earlier above) should resemble Tarski's definition of truth (1933). His way to avoid the liar paradox was that you must not speak of sentences belonging to a language in the same language. Therefore he introduced the concept of metalanguage and seeking for the correct formulation of his theory discovered his formula of the definition of truth (by the way the strangest definition in history of logic).

From my point of view his work were one of the first formulations of the idea of what the objective mode of speaking really is. Going beyond Tarski I claim that to avoid the liar paradox one must not speak of objective truth toward himself. The question of language separation is in fact not important, only you have to separate the subjects. Tarski's metalanguage is not in fact another language but simply the attributor's speech.

Generally Tarski's theory is not correct because it ignores the fact that there are no absolute sentences but sentences obtain their meaning only when used, and every use of a sentence is always a use by a subject. Therefore the question always arises who are the object language and the metalanguage speakers. When you realize this easily you see that what is to be separated is the subject's and the attributor's utterances but not their languages. In fact they might speak the same language.

Of course the formula works also reversely:

"If one of anyone's belief is the same as my (Jake's) belief that there is a tree in front of Tom then the sentence <There is a tree in front of Tom> is true for him."

Therefore my counterpart of Tarski's definition is:

"The sentence ?There is a tree in front of Tom> is true for anyone iff one of his beliefs is the same as my (Jake's) belief that there is a tree in front of Tom."

Of course the statements of objective truth mean in the same time the belief of the attributor. Therefore Jake's statements:

"Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him is true."

"The sentence ?There is a tree in front of Tom> is true."

imply:

"I (Jake) believe that there is a tree in front of Tom."

or:

"There is a tree in front of Tom."

For such formulae Tarski's theory is literally correct, given that the separation of language and metalanguage you interpret as separation of subjects (and given that you ignore the fact that he insisted that his theory applied for artificial languages only (cf. 1933, p.164)).

Therefore the absolute truth statements are equivalent to subjective belief statements of the speaker. Actually this is the correct core of the disquotational theory of truth.

15. Negation of Objective Truth

A negation of objective truth means that there is not within the attributor's beliefs a belief the same as the given subject's belief. Thus when Jake says:

"Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him is not (objectively) true."

he means the same as:

"1. Tom believes that there is a tree in front of him, but

2. There is no such belief among my (Jakes) beliefs."

And when Jakes says:

"It is not (objectively) true that there is a tree in front of Tom."

he means:

"If anyone believed that there is a tree in front of Tom his belief would not be the same as one of mine (Jake's)."

16. Objective Justification

Now let us take the objective justification. If Jake believes that there a tree in front of Tom, he is sure of it. He has obtained his sureness upon some reasons. In simple cases Jake would say that Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him is objectively justified when their reasons for certainty were basically similar, e. g. both they saw the tree. In more difficult cases it may be that their reasons are different, it could be that Tom is blind but he touches the tree, or that merely he is told about the tree by a trustworthy person (it could be even Jake himself). The general idea is that it is necessary that if Jake believes that:

"Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him is (objectively) justified."

or:

"Tom is (objectively) justified in believing that there is a tree in front of him,"

he in fact believes that:

"1. There is a causal connection between a tree and Tom's mind and that

2. The causal signal contains enough information to draw the conclusion that there is a tree in front of Tom, and that

3. Tom has drawn the conclusion from his perceptions in the proper way."

In other words it is to be excluded from Jake's point of view that Tom's cognition has been Gettierized (cf. Gettier 1963).

17. Negation of Objective Justification

One of the presuppositions of objective justification statements is that the subject believes in the relevant objective truth. In other case there would be no possibility to consider the way from the real state of affairs to the subject's belief. The content of the objective justification statements is that the cognition went correctly. Thus the negative statement claims that it did not, it is, that one of the three conditions was not fulfilled, even though the subject believes the objective truth. When Jake thinks that:

"It is not true that Tom is (objectively) justified in believing that there is a tree in front of him."

In fact he thinks:

"1. There is no causal connection between the tree and Tom's mind or

2. The causal signal does not contain enough information to draw the conclusion that there is a tree in front of Tom or

3. Tom has not drawn the conclusion from his perceptions in the proper way."

18. Objective Knowledge

Objective knowledge is an objectively justified objectively true belief. And because it is hard to think that a belief which is objectively justified is objectively false it is enough to say that objective knowledge is an objectively justified belief. It is so because, as I have just written above, the truth belongs to the presuppositions of objective justification. Thus if Jake claims that:

"Tom knows (in the objective sense) that there is a tree in front of him."

He means that:

"1. Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him belongs to mine (Jake's) beliefs and

2. I (Jake) believe that this Tom's belief is (objectively) justified."

19. Negation of Objective Knowledge

When we say that somebody does not know something we mean that there is a fact to know, but that the subject has no knowledge of it. When Jake believes that:

"Tom does not know (in the objective sense) that there is a tree in front of him."

he means:

"1. The belief that there is a tree in front of Tom is one of mine (Jake's), and (one or two of the following)

2. Tom does not believe that there is a tree in front him or

3. Tom's belief that there is a tree in front of him is not objectively justified."

These are the basic statements concerning the group of cognitive concepts including belief, truth, certainty, justification and knowledge. Now let us focus on two concepts of perception.

20. Impression, Subjective Perception

Impression (quale, pl.qualia) belongs to monosemous concepts like belief. What is ambiguous is the concept of perception, and all the concepts referring to particular senses, like seeing. Thus the sentences:

"Tom perceives (in the subjective sense) a tree."

"Tom sees (in the subjective sense) a tree."

mean the same as:

"Tom has an impression of a tree."

"Tom has a visual impression of a tree."

We use the perception words in the subjective sense when we describe dreams, imaginations, memories, and when a suspicion arises that the subject's perception does not work well, like in the sentence:

"Tom sees a tree but there is no tree in front of him."

In the subjective sense Jake can say also that:

"Tom perceives (in the subjective sense) the tree."

It means that Tom's impressions collected in his memory make a system within which he differentiates at least two trees. Therefore such saying means that in the given moment Tom has got the impression of the given one of the trees from the system.

21. Negation of Impression

The negation of subjective perception means that there is not the given impression in the subject's mind. The sentences:

"Tom does not perceive (in the subjective sense) a tree."

"Tom does not see (in the subjective sense) a tree."

mean the same as:

"Tom has no impression of a tree."

"Tom has not a visual impression of a tree."

The statement:

"Tom does not perceive (in the subjective sense) the tree."

means that in the given moment Tom has not got any impression of the given one of the trees from his memory system of impressions.

22. Objective Perception

In the case of perception the situation is a little different than in the case of knowledge. Speaking objectively you do not state the accordance between your impressions and the impressions of the subject. Rather you state the accordance between the impressions of the subject and your beliefs related to the content of these impressions. When Jake says:

"Tom perceives (in the objective sense) the tree."

In fact he means:

"1. There is a tree which I (Jake) have on my mind, and

2. Tom has got an impression of a tree such that:

a. The tree interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of a tree is the result of the interaction.

The objectivity of such saying relies on that Jake himself believes that the tree exists. (In fact the first condition may be omitted because the existence of the tree which Jake has got on his mind is a supposition of the interaction of the tree and Tom.)

In the objective sense you can also say that somebody perceives any object of a kind. Jake may say:

"Tom perceives (in the objective sense) a tree."

He would mean then:

"Tom has got an impression of a tree such that:

a. There is a tree which interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of the tree is the result of the interaction."

Jake may also speak of Tom's perception of properties of objects:

"Tom perceives (in the objective sense) that the tree is an oak."

He would mean then:

"1. There is a tree which I (Jake) have on my mind, and which is an oak, and

2. Tom has got an impression of a tree such that:

a. The tree interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of a tree is the result of the interaction, and

c. The tree in the impression is an oak (the impression of a tree is an impression of an oak).

(Notice that when you speak of objective perception of properties of objects you assume that these objects are perceived by the subject and the only question is if the properties are perceived too.) (A problem arises if Tom can distinguish an impression of oak from an impression of elm or beech or even trees from people or cars, but I am not going to analyze it here.)

In sum when you talk about yourself all the objects which you perceive are your own impressions, whereas when you speak of somebody else you may talk about his impressions or about his objective perception.

23. Negation of Objective Perception

When we say that somebody does not perceive an object we claim that there is an object to perceive but the subject has not a proper impression of it. It is, when Jake claims that:

"Tom does not perceive (in the objective sense) the tree."

In fact he means:

"1. There is a tree which I (Jake) have on my mind, and

2. Tom has got no impression of a tree such that:

a. The tree interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of a tree is the result of the interaction.

Jake might also say that:

"Tom does not perceive (in the objective sense) any tree."

He would mean then:

"Tom has got no impression of a tree such that:

a. There is a tree which interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of the tree is the result of the interaction."

Again it is worth to add that the objectivity of such statement is based on this that the question of the existence of the trees Jake refers to his own believes.

Referring to properties of objects Jake could say:

"Tom does not perceive (in the objective sense) that the tree is an oak." He would mean:

"1. There is a tree which I (Jake) have on my mind, and which is an oak, and

2. Tom has got an impression of a tree such that:

a. The tree interacted with Tom's sensory organs, and

b. The impression of a tree is the result of the interaction, and

c. The tree in the impression is not an oak (the impression of a tree is not an impression of an oak).

24. Recap

Therefore we have two divisions of concepts. (Intentionally I avoid the word "families" not to mix my idea with Wittgenstein's family meaning.) The subjective division contains the following:

Belief (subjective truth, subjective knowledge)

Certainty (subjective justification)

Impression (subjective perception).

The objective division contains:

Objective truth

Objective justification

Objective knowledge

Objective perception.

For technical purposes it is worth to introduce some order into the vocabulary. The aim is such simplification that the labels "subjective" and "objective" would become not necessary and any ambiguity would disappear. Therefore let me decide that from now I will use the terms in such a manner that the words "truth," "justification," "knowledge," and "perception" will mean only the concepts from the objective division. Also all the detailed kinds of perception, like seeing, hearing, smelling etc., will belong to this. On the other hand the subjective concepts will be belief, certainty and impression. Sometimes I will use the term "subjective justification," because it is useful to isolate the justificationary segment of certainty. The labels may be also used to underline the objective or subjective aspect of a concept.

The presented concepts are the most important for the epistemological puzzles but the divisions are larger. (I call "epistemology" here the wide domain where all the problems of the objective and subjective are discussed.)

25. Two Minds, Objectivity and Knowledge

The most important conclusion from the theory (partially already mentioned above) is that objective speech of knowledge, justification or truth requires two minds. I will call them "objective cognitive concepts." One cannot say that some of his beliefs are true or justified. He cannot say that he knows anything. Only he can say that he has such and such beliefs or that he is certain of something. The use of these objective predicates requires the presence of the second person--the second mind, second subject--and without this it is logically senseless. Only the second person can use these concepts, when talking of a subject.

On the other hand it is possible to talk objectively about one's perception, because it is possible to have impressions contrary to one's beliefs. I will elaborate this point below.

26. Self-objective Mode of Speech

Of course the statement above that the use of the objective cognitive concepts requires the second person may not be entirely true, because otherwise we would not be able to understand what other people speak of our knowledge when they use the objective mode. If we are to understand them we have to be able to use the objective concepts toward ourselves. The remark is right that we cannot use them referring to ourselves directly, but we can use them as if somebody external to us would do it. Thus the self-objective mode of speech requires that we in a way create a fictional person in our mind and put the words in his mouth. Usually it is something like an our alter ego because he has got all our believes, his mind is a copy of ours. For instance Tom can say:

"I know that there is a tree in front of me."

and this would mean that:

"If there were a well informed attributor then

1. My (Tom's) belief that there is a tree in front of me (Tom) would belong to his beliefs and

2. He would believe that my (Tom's) belief was objectively justified."

The phrase "well informed" means here "having the same beliefs that I have."

If Jake said to Tom:

"You do not know that there is a tree in front of you, cause you are blind. Thus only you guess it."

Tom could answer:

"I know that there is a tree in front of me, cause I hear its leaves rustling in the wind and I feel its shadow on my face."

The controversy would concern Tom's justification, therefore Tom would give Jake arguments that in fact even if he is blind he could be justified on the basis of some other perception. The point is that saying this Tom would use the objective meaning of knowledge. He would not mean merely his belief:

"I believe that there is a tree in front of me (Tom)."

Because it would be pointless. Jake did not undermine his belief or his certainty but his justification, therefore a reminder that Tom actually believed that there is a tree would not work. He would have to say something what could be convincing for Jake, hence he would have to look at himself from Jake's point of view, which in fact is the point of view of an external attributor, and he would have to say something relevant to the objective meaning of knowledge.

27. Negative Self-objective Mode of Speech

Nevertheless it does not change the fact that self-objective mode of speaking concerning knowledge, truth and justification is only "as if' speaking, and the logical content of such utterances may never go beyond the beliefs of the subject, because all the beliefs the subject can put into the fictional external attributor's mind may be only his own beliefs. That is the reason why even when the self-objective mode is used you still cannot think out a Gettier case referring to yourself. You cannot because you cannot say about yourself that you do not know something. Such attempt would mean that you claim that:

1. You have a belief that is not one of your beliefs or that

2. You have a belief which is not justified from your point of view,

or both. Point (1)is a simple contradiction. Point (2) would mean that you have some beliefs which in fact undermine your certainty of the given belief. The certainty would not be possible and you would not have the respective view as one of your beliefs. Therefore you never use the objective mode in negation. If Tom says:

"I do not know that there is a tree in front of me (Tom)."

he always means it in the subjective sense:

"I do not believe that there is a tree in front of me (Tom)."

On the other hand you may formulate negative self-objective statements if they do not concern knowledge, but for instance perception. Say you see a spoon in a glass of water. It seems bent to you, but on the other hand you believe that it is not, and that only your eyes are mislead by optical properties of the glass of water. You could say then:

"I do not see that the spoon is straight"

In fact you would mean:

"1. There is a spoon which I have on my mind, and which is straight, and

2. I have got an impression of a spoon such that:

a. The spoon interacted with my sensory organs, and

b. The impression of a spoon is the result of the interaction, and

c. The spoon in the impression is not straight.

It is possible to speak like this because an impression does not imply the respective belief, thus it is possible to have impressions contrary to one's own beliefs.

SOLUTION OF THE PUZZLES

28. The Skeptic Puzzle

As I have promised after presenting the theory now I will solve the puzzles mentioned at the beginning. Let us start from the skeptic puzzle. I will show that the second premise of the reasoning is always false. Let us analyze the sentence:

"You do not know that you are not a brain in a vat."

If the verb "know" were in the subjective meaning here, the sentence would mean:

"You do not believe that you are not a brain in a vat."

or:

"There is not the belief in your mind that you are not a brain in a vat."

This would be simply false because if you believe that you are a man with hands etc., this means automatically that you believe that you are not a brain in a vat. The result is on the basis of the so called closure principle, which I am not to discuss extensively here. Similarly you believe that you are not a tomato or an elephant, because you believe that you are a man. With the second premise false the reasoning stops to be disturbing.

If the verb "know" were used here in the objective sense an additional attributor would be necessary. The sentence would mean:

"1. The belief that you are not a brain in a vat is one of mine (the attributor's), and (one or two of the following)

2. You do not believe that you are not a brain in a vat or

3. Your belief that you are not a brain in a vat is not (objectively) justified."

Let us consider two cases. In the first one the attributor believes that you are a man, and in the second he believes that you are a brain in a vat. In the first case (1) is true because the attributor believes that you are a man. (2) is false as we saw it a while ago. (3) is false two because the attributor believes that you have basically similar reasons to believe that you are a man as he has. Thus whole the sentence is false. In the second case (1) is false and hence whole the sentence is false too. Therefore the premise is always false, no matter if you consider it in the subjective or objective meaning and if the attributor believes or not that you are a brain in a vat.

Probably the seducing strength of the premise relies on this that you seem to be forced to know objectively that you are not a brain in a vat because otherwise you would not know anything (according to the first premise). But knowing that the subjective perspective of your own beliefs can never give you the objective knowledge of your situation you feel that you have to agree that you cannot know if you are not a brain in a vat. The error lies in it that you do not realize that there are two meanings of knowledge and thinking this way you mix them. Especially the idea that you could know anything objectively is senseless.

29. The Puzzle with Kant

The solution of the problem with Kant relies on the observation that in fact his theory is an objective theory of cognition, it is, this is a theory of knowing from the point of view of an external attributor (or it is spoken in the self-objective mode). Of course the remark is strikingly contradictory with Kant's explicit words that an external theory of mind is not possible. Kant even goes as far as to say that thanks to the distinction between the thing in itself and the appearance he can, without any contradiction, speak of causality and freedom in reference to one and the same object, i.e. human being (CPR Bxxviii).

But as I have sketched above Kant's theory in its historical version is paradoxical and it is obvious that it contains some errors. I do not want to say that these are some simple mistakes. In fact Kant's theory is a stroke of genius, but usually even the genius cannot know everything. (The concept of freedom is to be explained in a different way, but I am not going to discuss it here.)

Thus the attributor, say Jake, can see a subject, say Tom, and an object to be known by the subject, say a tree. Jake can analyze the object and subject as physical objects as deeply as he wants. As the results he will obtain some beliefs concerning the tree and some concerning Tom. Analyzing conversations with Tom Jake can have a theory of cybernetic (functional, psychological) structure which stands behind Tom's utterances, even if Jake cannot know it directly upon the analysis of Tom's brain. The theory would be the theory of Tom's mind. In this way Jake would be able to know what processes go on in Tom's mind when he sees consciously the tree. Kant's theory is one of possible theories concerning such processes. It includes sensual data, space as the form of external sense, categories of understanding, schemata of understanding, and representations of objects (appearances) etc. The idea of qualia lying under a duck or a rabbit is another one of the same kind, though it is more fragmentary. All of these objects are real objects existing in the cybernetic structure of mind. (These claims concern the mind-body problem, but I am not going to discuss it here. It is enough to say that if I speak that a subject has got an impression of a tree, it is necessary that I can believe this upon my beliefs concerning his body.) Let me add here that if we are to say that we know mathematics in the same meaning of knowledge as the being discussed here, then there is to be an object which is known within this domain, and according to Kant reinterpreted in the proposed manner the object should be the mind (cybernetic structure of the brain). Mathematics would be the theory of some properties of the mind.

Therefore this is the solution of the riddle. Kant's theory is a very interesting, worth to analyze, theory of cognition, but he was wrong saying that the subject may not be known upon the appearances of a human body containing it, and in fact Kant's theory is an example of possible results of such knowing.

30. The Puzzle with Wittgenstein

The problem with senselessness of Wittgenstein's Tractatus is in fact very similar to the problem with Kant. Wittgenstein also assumes, though it is hard to find a statement in his text which would be literally the same (cf. 5.541if., 5.641, 6.423), that you cannot speak of the mind, or that the mind is not one of the objects which you can speak of. Therefore you cannot speak of this how a mind can think of objects or facts.

But in fact Tractatus is an objective theory of speaking of objects and facts. Wittgenstein's error is in fact the same as Kant's. Thus you can save it by the statement that in fact the subject may be known by the facts, and this is the way how one (Wittgenstein for instance) could formulate this theory. Wittgenstein may be right in his theory of speaking of objects and facts, but for sure he is wrong in his thinking that the mind and the processes going on in it are not facts that it is possible to speak of. Actually he does it himself. Merely it seems that saying that his Tractatus is senseless Wittgenstein strived to express the intuition that the subject cannot speak of himself objectively.

REFERENCES

Cohen, S. (1986), "Knowledge and Context," The Journal of Philosophy 83: 574-583.

DeRose, K. (1995), "Solving the Skeptical Problem," The Philosophical Review 104(1): 1-52.

Neta, R. (2003a), "Skepticism, Contextualism, and Semantic Self-Knowledge," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67(2): 397-11.

Putnam, H. (1981), "Brains in a Vat," in Reason, Truth, and History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-21.

Tarski, A. (1933), Pojccieprawdy w jczykach nauk dedukcyjnych. Warsaw: Towarzystwo Naukowe Warszawskie, cited on the basis of translation "The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages," in Tarski, A. (1983), Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics, 2nd edn., J. Corcoran (ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 152-278.

ROMAN GODLEWSKI

rogodlewski@wp.pl

Institute of Philosophy, Kazimierz Wielki University, Bydgoszcz
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