Objectivity Without Space

Pete Mandik

0. Introduction

[1] What, if anything, does space have to do with objectivity? In this paper I argue that the correct answer to this question is: "Not much". More specifically, I will be countering arguments due to Peter Strawson (1959) and his student Gareth Evans (1985a) that space is a necessary condition on objectivity. Even more specifically, I will be articulating a theory of objectivity that does not make space a requirement and defending the theory against Strawson's and Evans' arguments to the contrary. Along the way I hope to make some interesting remarks about what objectivity is supposed to be. I regret that I have considerably less to say about what space is supposed to be.

[2] This paper is organized as follows. In section 1, I briefly address the questions of who cares and why. In section 2, I discuss the various ways of drawing the objective-subjective distinction that have appeared in the philosophical literature. The notions I unpack in section 2 will be employed in the theory I sketch in section 3. In section 4, I defend that theory against Strawson's and Evans' arguments.


1. The Relevance of This Project to Others

[3] For several centuries and in many areas of philosophy various species of the distinction between the objective and the subjective are expressed in a spatial idiom. Philosophers alternately worry about and shrug off the problem of the external world. They wonder whether anything exists outside of the mind. Metaphorical articulations of the notions of subjectivity and objectivity exploit the spatial idiom of seeing things from a point of view. What can be seen from only one point of view is more subjective and less objective that what can be seen from any point of view. The maximally objective view is, to use Thomas Nagel's phrase, the view from nowhere (see Nagel 1986).

[4] Space and objectivity are associated in doctrine as well idiom. For Hobbes, the notion of mind-independent things just was the notion of things existing in space (Elements of Philosophy, II, 7, ii). The association of space and objectivity is particularly strong in Cartesian dualism whereby whatever is objective is physical, that it, has spatial magnitude, whereby what ever is subjective in nonphysical, that is, lacking in spatial magnitude (Meditations II).

[5] Philosophers like Thomas Nagel have worried that the subjectivity of conscious experience bars the possibility of giving a physicalistic explanation of consciousness (see also McGinn 1995). The classical distinction between primary and secondary properties, i.e., the distinction between objective properties of objects and those "in the eye of the beholder" properties fell along spatial/nonspatial lines. Primary properties, that is, objective properties, of objects were cashed out in terms of the occupation of and movement through space (see Evans 1985a: 268-81). In the philosophy of mathematics, there is a pervasive unease about attempts to cash out the objectivity of mathematical knowledge in terms of reference to non-physical objects (see, for example, Benacerraff 1965, 1973; Dummett 1975; Field 1989; Quine 1980; Wrenn 1998).

[6] Several philosophers and psychologists interested in the topic of spatial representation have identified a distinction between egocentric and allocentric representations of space and described this distinction as one between subjective and objective ways of representing space (see, for example, Brewer 1996; Campbell 1996; Evans 1982, 1985b; O'Keefe 1996). O'Keefe and Nadel (1978) argue that the function of the hippocampal structure in brain is to facilitate the construction and use of allocentric spatial representations. Cohen and Eichenbaum (1993) have offered a theory of hippocampal function that downplays its role in spatial representation: on their account hippocampal structures are responsible for a class of representation that includes but is broader than the spatial. On Cohen and Eichenbaum's account, however, mention of allocentricity is absent. If hippocampal representations are not spatial, does this mean that they are not allocentric or objective? Or can the notion of objective ways of representing things be extended to apply to representations that do not represent things as being spatial?

[7] In reviewing the above questions concerning the spatial criteria of objectivity, one may suspect that more than a single sense of "objectivity" is in question. The main point of the next section is that such a suspicion is correct.


2 The Varieties of Objectivity

[8] In this section I give a brief gloss of some of the varieties of objectivity that have been identified in the philosophical literature.


2.1. Epistemic and Metaphysical Objectivity and Subjectivity

[9] A news reporter worries whether her moral commitment to expose Bosnian war atrocities as atrocious conflicts with her journalistic commitment to write an objective news report. A microscopist worries whether an alleged cellular organelle is an objective feature of the cell or instead, like beauty and Martian Canals, merely in the eye of the beholder. Some philosophers, including the present author, are inclined to suspect that the journalist and the microscopist are worrying about two different kinds of objectivity (see Audi 1992; Bell 1992; Foss 1993; Newell 1986; Searle 1992: 93-100; Rescher 1997: 3-5).

[10] The objective/subjective distinction has two senses: a metaphysical sense and an epistemic sense. The journalist's worry concerns epistemic objectivity, whereas the microscopist's worry concerns metaphysical objectivity. At the heart of the metaphysical notion of objectivity is the notion of mind-independent existence (where metaphysical subjectivity is just mind-dependent existence). What lies at that heart of the epistemic notion of objectivity is difficult to specify without describing a particular theory of epistemic objectivity--a task I postpone until later in this section.

[11] For now I indicate the gist of the epistemic sense by way of contrast against the metaphysical sense. The difference between the epistemic and metaphysical senses hinges on the different sorts of things that may be said to be either objective or subjective. Only intentional phenomena -- things that have aboutness (e.g., knowledge, beliefs, fears, judgments, theories, sentences, mental representations, and news reports) -- are epistemically objective or subjective. So, for example, one might consider my judgment that the moon has no atmosphere an epistemically objective judgment. In contrast, my judgment that vanilla is the best ice cream flavor may be regarded as epistemically subjective.

[12] The metaphysically objective and subjective are broader categories than the epistemically objective and subjective.1 All things, in the broadest sense of the word "thing" (e.g., objects, properties, events, etc.) are either metaphysically objective or subjective.2 Something is subjective in the metaphysical sense if it requires a mind, or more specifically, being represented by a mind, for its existence or instantiation. Something is metaphysically objective if it may exist or be instantiated without being represented. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder and truth is what ever I believe to be the case and nothing is good or bad but thinking make it so, then beauty, truth, and goodness would be metaphysically subjective.

[13] It may be worth noting that something can be both epistemically subjective and metaphysically objective. My belief that vanilla is better than chocolate may be epistemically subjective. But whether I have the belief may not depend on the belief itself being represented, and thus, may be metaphysically objective. Likewise, something can be both epistemically objective and metaphysically subjective. Suppose that I believe that frogs are amphibians only if someone believes that I believe that frogs are amphibians. My belief may be metaphysically subjective then. But it may be epistemically objective on the grounds that whether frogs are amphibians isn't a mere matter of idiosyncratic opinion or something. As mentioned above, it is hard to say much about epistemic objectivity without describing some theory or other. I turn, then, to the theories.


2.2. Theories of Epistemic Objectivity and Subjectivity

[14] As far as I can tell, theories of epistemic objectivity and subjectivity fall into four main categories: consensus theories, indexical theories, metarepresentational theories, and correspondence theories.3 I discuss briefly the key features of these theories in order to situate the theory I favor within the broader philosophical literature.

[15] Consensus theories define the epistemic objectivity of a judgment in terms of agreement. Depending on the theory, the agreement may be actual or counterfactual. Where the agreement required is actual, a judgment is epistemically objective to the degree that it is agreed upon and subjective to the degree that there is disagreement. Maybe a judgment is more objective as more people agree on it or maybe a judgment is objective only if everyone agrees on it and subjective otherwise. Christopher Gauker (1995) defends a consensus theory whereby only counterfactual agreement is necessary for objectivity. For Gauker, the objectivity of a judgment has to do with the likelihood that it would be agreed upon if rational people were to entertain the judgment.4

[16] Indexical theories capitalize on the naturalness with which we describe the subjective/objective distinction in terms of the first- and third- person points of view. William Lycan's biography, as told in the first-person point of view, would be chock-full of statements employing self-referential indexicals. Examples might include "I am a philosopher" and "I have a mustache". If told instead from the third-person point of view Lycan's biography would instead contain statements devoid of indexicals. Examples might include "William Lycan is a philosopher" and "William Lycan has a mustache". In indexical theories of subjectivity, the subjectivity of a representation is explicated by the representation's having indexical components. A natural suggestion, then, is that representations that lack indexical components are objective. An indexical account of epistemic subjectivity and objectivity, then, would define as subjective representational states that had indexical components and define as subjective representational states that lacked indexical components.5

[17] On metarepresentational theories, for there to be any objectivity or subjectivity, there must be cognizers that grasp the distinction between their own representations on the one hand and, on the other hand, things that, while being what the representations are representations of, may nonetheless exist unrepresented. On the assumption that the grasp of such a distinction is itself a representation of the distinction, it becomes quite obvious why such a theory is correctly called "metarepresentational". Thomas Nagel offers a metarepresentational theory. Nagel writes:

Objectivity is a method of understanding. It is beliefs and attitudes that are objective in the primary sense.... To acquire a more objective understanding of some aspect of life or the world, we step back from our initial view of it and form a new conception which has that view and its relation to the world as its object. In other words, we place ourselves in the world that is to be understood. The old view then comes to be regarded as an appearance, more subjective than the new view, and correctable or confirmable by reference to it. The process can be repeated, yielding a still more objective conception. (1986: 4)
Nagel's account is metarepresentational since we are able to have objective beliefs only if we are able to have beliefs about our beliefs.6

[18] The core notion of correspondence theories is that an epistemically objective belief or sentence must be in some sense about something metaphysically objective. Rorty describes this notion of objectivity as "mirroring" for it is a notion of objectivity that involves the notion of representing things as they really are, that is, the way they are independent of the way they are represented.7 A description of something as being a hunk of titanium would be epistemically objective, according to the correspondence theory, because something can be a hunk of titanium independently of any one's representing it as such. In contrast, my belief that Brussels sprouts are disgusting is epistemically subjective because being disgusting requires being mentally represented as disgusting. To contort a cliché: disgustingness is in the mouth of the taster.

[19] Gauker notes that since a judgment may be objective while false, on a correspondence theory an objective belief need only purport to describe the way things really are (1995: 160). Thus, the aim of correspondence theories of objectivity is to reconcile (i) the requirement that the objectivity of a belief consists in its corresponding with metaphysically objective things and (ii) the possibility of a belief being both objective and false.

[20] A natural, but I think incorrect, way of cashing out the correspondence theory is by defining as subjective any thing that depicts a metaphysically subjective state of affairs. On such an account, the sentence "a is F" is epistemically objective just in case the subject term and the general term both pick out things that are metaphysically objective.8 This comports with the intuitions that the sentence "Jane is a mammal" is epistemically objective while "Jane is beautiful" is epistemically subjective. However, this version of the correspondence theory has the unintuitive consequence that the sentence "Beauty is a subjective property" is epistemically subjective. This seems unintuitive because while beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, whether beauty is in the eye of the beholder need not itself be in the eye of the beholder.

[21] On a correspondence theory, the difference between "John Smith is ugly" and "John Smith is a mammal" in virtue of which the former is epistemically subjective and the latter epistemically objective does not consist in the fact that the latter is true. This is because the correspondence theorist wants to allow that the former may be true as well. Nor does the difference hinge on whether the individual named by the subject term is metaphysically objective, since the cases do not vary in that regard. I offer, then, that the proper explication of a correspondence notion of objectivity requires only that the predicate correspond to something metaphysically objective.9 Metaphysically objective objects need not be referred to in singular sentences nor quantified over in quantified sentences in order for the sentences to be epistemically objective. Instead, I offer, what makes a singular sentence of the form "a is F" metaphysically objective is that the property F named by the predicate term "F" is metaphysically objective. Thus I call the correspondence theory of epistemic objectivity that I advocate the predicational theory of epistemic objectivity.10 In section 3.1. I sketch how the predicational theory deals with singular and quantified sentences and the corresponding propositional attitudes. I turn now to unpack the notions of metaphysical objectivity that the predicational theory exploits.


2.3. The Varieties of Metaphysical Objectivity

[22] I think it important to distinguish two notions of mind-independence. The first is the bare notion of something's existing only if some mind or other exists. The second is the less general notion of depending on being represented by a mind. I call these two notions "mere mind dependence" and "representation dependence".11 To illustrate the difference consider the existence of my thought that grass is green. The thought itself may exist only if there is some mind or other, thus exhibiting bare mind dependence. However, I can think that grass is green with out my, or anyone's, thinking anything about that thinking. Thus, while being merely mind dependent, my thinking that grass is green is nonetheless representation-independent.

[23] If being an F is merely mind dependent then the existence of an F entails the existence of a person. The mere mind dependence of an F, however, does not entail that any person represents an F. That is, mere mind dependence does not entail representation dependence, though representation dependence does entail mere mind dependence.

[24] As a first approximation of a definition of the representation dependence of an F I offer that the existence of an F entails and is entailed by the existence of a person that represents

(Ex)(x is F & x is representation dependent) =def (Ex)(x is F iff (Ey)(y is a person & RFyx))
where "RFyx" is a binary first order predicate used in lieu of "y represents x as F". As a second approximation of a definition of representation dependence, I would alter the definition so that the existence of Fs did not require actually being represented as Fs but instead the only the disposition to be represented as F. An F is representation dependent just in case the existence of Fs depends on a disposition to be represented as an F.

[25] I define metaphysical subjectivity in terms of representation dependence, not mere mind dependence. Metaphysical subjectivity is representation dependence and metaphysical objectivity as representation independence. I turn now to further unpack my definition of metaphysical objectivity and subjectivity by looking at the difference between the metaphysical objectivity of objects and the metaphysical objectivity of properties.

[26] An object is metaphysically objective just in case the existence of the object depends neither on (i) the inscription or utterance of any sentence about the object, (ii) the tokening of any propositional attitude about the object, nor (iii) any disposition to token sentences or attitudes about it. An object is metaphysically subjective if it is not metaphysically objective. If the planet Earth would exist even if no one ever mentioned or believed in its existence, the planet Earth would be metaphysically objective. If the mere belief that Santa Claus exists were sufficient to make Santa Claus exist, then Santa Claus would be metaphysically subjective.

[27] A property is metaphysically objective just in case its instantiation depends neither on (i) the inscription or utterance of any sentence containing a predicate naming that property (ii) the tokening of any propositional attitude that has a constituent a concept of that property (iii) any disposition of persons to token sentences or attitudes as described in (i) and (ii). A property is metaphysically subjective just in case it is not metaphysically objective.


3. The Predicational Theory of Epistemic Objectivity

3.1. Outline of the Theory

[28] I will define epistemic objectivity only for atomic sentences and their corresponding propositional attitudes.12 I will also restrict my attention to sentences containing binary or monadic predicates and attitudes employing binary or monadic concepts.

[29] The inscribed or uttered sentence token "a is F" is epistemically objective just in case the property F is metaphysically objective. "a is F" is epistemically objective regardless of whether a is metaphysically objective. The sentence "a is F" is epistemically subjective just in case it is not epistemically objective. Quantified sentences of the form "(Ex)(x is F)" and "(x)(x is F)" are epistemically objective just in case the instantiation of the property F is metaphysically objective. The objects quantified over need not themselves be metaphysically objective.

[30] I extend the treatment of the epistemic objectivity of sentences to apply to propositional attitudes such as belief. Propositional attitudes, I will suppose, require the possession and deployment of concepts corresponding to the terms used in the sentences that are their expression. My believing that a is F involves my possessing and deploying the subject concept of a and the predicative concept of being F. The same predicative concept is employed in my quantificational beliefs that all x's are F and that some x's are F. The epistemic objectivity of propositional attitudes such as belief that P and the perception that P is due to my possessing and deploying a predicative concept that picks out a metaphysically objective property.

[31] Another way of stating the predicational theory of objectivity is by saying that an intentional phenomenon is epistemically objective just in case it has a predicational structure, and the predicate names a metaphysically objective property. Thus intentional phenomenon can fail to be epistemically objective--be epistemically subjective--in one of two ways. First, they may fail to have a predicational structure.13 Second, they may have a predicational structure but have a predicate that names a metaphysically subjective property.

[32] Examples of the first kind of epistemically subjective intentional phenomena--intentional phenomena lacking predicational structure--include items in feature-placing representational schemes. Feature-placing utterances in our own language might include "It is raining". Such utterances do not serve to identify a particular and predicate some property of it, but instead to merely indicate the occurrence of some feature. A very young child or even a parrot may be trained to use a feature-placing system by being trained to utter "red" and "blue" in the presence of red and blue objects and "square" and "round" in the presence of square and round objects. Training a subject to use only feature-placing representations would yield a subject that could utter "red blue square circle" with out discriminating between the presence of a red square and a blue circle on the one hand and the presence of a blue square and a red circle on the other. If a child or parrot is trained to use only a feature-placing language, then it can indicate the co-presence of squareness and redness but be incapable of predicating either redness of the square or squareness of the red.

[33] A non-predicational feature-placing semantics is a plausible candidate for ascribing contents to sub-personal representations. Many theorists may find it plausible to allow that the activities of small numbers of neurons in my visual system serve to represent the presence of motion in my visual field. Such neural representations, however, seem not to be predication of motion of any particular thing, however, they just indicate the presence of the general feature of motion.

[34] Another way that the representations may fail to have predicational structure is if they are construed as being imagistic in nature. While something like a sentence in an public language or language of thought may exhibit predicational structure, representations in imagistic formats rarely if ever do so.

[35] Examples of the second kind of epistemically subjective intentional phenomena--intentional phenomena that have predicational structure but have predicates that name metaphysically subjective properties--would include examples like those given already. Such examples would include the belief that spinach is yucky, the judgment that Beethoven is better than Mozart, and the perception that Barney is purple. On the supposition that colors are secondary properties, an object's color, like its beauty, would be in the eye of the beholder. Color would then be metaphysically subjective. Thus the perception that Barney is purple would be epistemically subjective because his being purple depends on there being people that perceive him as purple (or, at least, a disposition to be perceived as purple).

[36] It is worth noting the following consequence of the predicational theory. That beauty is a metaphysically subjective property is insufficient to make the sentence "beauty is a metaphysically subjective property" epistemically subjective. This is a felicitous consequence of the predicational theory since beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but the fact that beauty is in the eye of the beholder is not itself in the eye of the beholder.


3. 2. The Predicational Theory and Spatial Analyses of Objectivity

[37] While I have definitions of objectivity to offer, my remarks on space will fall far short of definitions. Before attempting to spell out what it might mean for the predicational theory to incorporate spatial criteria for objectivity, I offer some brief remarks about space.


3.2.1. About Space

[38]Real space and quasi-space. I need first to distinguish real space from mere quasi-spaces. I cannot provide anything like definitions by which to guide the distinction, but perhaps the following will suffice. An object that changes location from London to Paris has moved through real space. An object that changes from red to orange to yellow may have moved through a quasi-space--"color space"--but need not have moved through real space to do so. This because dimensionality is a necessary, but not sufficient condition on space. Colors and sounds may vary along dimensions (e.g., hue and pitch) but these are not genuine spatial dimensions as those involved in varying your location from Chicago to New York. The distinction between dimensions that do and dimensions that do not satisfy the sufficient conditions for being space is the distinction between real space and merely quasi-spaces. I hereafter will simply call real space "space".

[38]Spatial properties and Spatial Relations. Describing objects as square or spherical is to predicate spatial properties of them. Describing an object as to the right of or three feet away from another is to predicate real spatial relations of those objects. I do not have definitions of spatial properties and relations and must make do with examples such as those given so far. Describing an object as the farthest pyramid from the Taj Mahal is to predicate spatial properties and relations of that object. Describing an object as a loud stinky blue thing is not to predicate spatial properties of that object.

[39]Not all experiences are spatial. Describing one sound as louder than or a higher pitch than another is insufficient to attribute real spatial properties or relations to the things heard. One may supplement one's theory of the world with theorems whereby one may infer that louder sounds are closer than quieter ones, or that higher pitched sounds are moving toward you and lower pitched sounds moving away. But, the incorporation of such theorems are optional, I will suppose. This much seems beyond doubt: we may experience things without experiencing them as having spatial properties or relations. Olfaction delivers many of what I regard to be non-spatial experiences. One may smell one odor to be sweet and another to be pungent without smelling either to be anywhere at all. In much of this paper, I will follow Strawson and Evans in supposing that auditory experience constitutes a source of non-spatial experiences.


3.2.2. What are the Alleged Spatial Requirements of Objectivity?

[40] What sense then, can we make of the claim that objectivity requires space? To stipulate the rules of the game I shall play, space will count as a requirement of objectivity only if at least one of the following sentences are added as theorems to the predicational theory of objectivity:

SO1 A sentence or attitude is epistemically objective only if it contains a predicate that names a spatial property or relation

SO2 A property or relation is metaphysically objective only if it is a spatial property or relation

SO3 An object is metaphysically objective only if it has spatial properties or bears spatial relations to some other object(s).
In section 4, I argue that Evans' and Strawson's arguments fail to establish the need to incorporate any of the three propositions, SO1-SO3, into my theory of objectivity.

[41] There is no doubt that this short list fails to exhaust the multifarious ways one could disambiguate the claim that objectivity requires space. I justify the meager length of the list on the following grounds. First, adding more items on the list while giving them the attention that they deserve arguments that follow would bring this paper to an excessive length. Second, I justify the inclusion of SO1. on the perhaps idiosyncratic grounds that it seems to me to be the most relevant to concerns arising over the notion of allocentric cognitive representations mentioned in section 1. If something like SO1 is true, then the notion of allocentric representation cannot be extended to apply to representations that do not represent objects as shaped or located in space. Third, I justify the inclusion of SO2 and SO3 on the grounds that these are very close to theses that Strawson and Evans argue for under the heading of a defense of the spatial requirements of objectivity. More specifically, one of Evans' arguments concerns SO2, while two of Strawson's and another of Evans' concern SO3.

[42] Note that given the predicational theory of objectivity, SO2 entails and is entailed by SO1. SO3, however, is logically independent of SO1. Strawson's and Evans' arguments for SO2 and SO3, if sound, would require the inclusion of SO1, SO2, and SO3 as theorems of my predicational theory of objectivity. If my arguments below are sound, however, then Strawson and Evans do not supply compelling reasons for the inclusion of SO1, SO2, and SO3 in the predicational theory.


4. Strawson's and Evans' Arguments for Spatial Objectivity

[43] Below I examine and critique two arguments of Strawson's that objects (or particulars, to use the term that Strawson favors) must have spatial properties and relations in order to be metaphysically objective. I shall call these arguments "the Reidentifiability Argument" and "the Elsewhere Argument". Evans offers an argument regarding the metaphysical objectivity of objects and I follow Strawson (1980) in calling the argument "The Simultaneity Argument". Evans also offers an argument that may be construed as an argument for the spatiality of any metaphysically objective properties. I follow Strawson in calling this latter argument "The Causal Ground Argument".

[44] Before proceeding, I first remark on the notions of objectivity employed by Strawson and Evans. In the arguments that I consider, Strawson and Evans both employ a metaphysical notion of objectivity (Strawson 1959: 60-62, 66-9; Evans 1985a: 250-251).14 Both are concerned with the concept of the mind-independent existence of particulars. More specifically, they are concerned with the concept of the perception-independence of particulars. It is worth noting, however, that throughout Strawson (1959) and Evans (1985a), the authors do not separate in their arguments the separable notions of, on the one hand, perceptible particulars that endure when unperceived and, on the other hand, things that are neither a subject, nor states of a subject. Strawson and Evans thus conflate two distinct notions of mind-independence: a perceptual instance of representation-independence and mere mind-independence. I think, however, that their arguments may be interpreted as applying only to (perceptual) representation independence.15 That is the only notion of mind independence that I am interested in here, I will interpret their arguments in suit.16

[45] At the heart of all four arguments is Strawson's thought experiment from his "Sounds" chapter of Individuals. In this thought experiment Strawson invites his readers to attempt to imagine a subject that does not experience things as having spatial properties or relations. The point of this thought experiment is to see if it is conceivable that such a subject be able to grasp the concept of objectivity. According to Strawson,

the question we are to consider, then, is this: Could a being whose experience was purely auditory have a conceptual scheme which provided for objective particulars? (66)
(For ease of exposition, Evans called Strawson's imagined subject "Hero". I follow this practice and also shall, for ease of exposition, call the imagined purely auditory world "Auditoria".)


4.1. Strawson's Reidentifiability Argument

[46] Strawson sets out to see if Hero can "make sense of" and "have a use for" a concept of objective particulars (ibid. : 69).17 Toward this end, Strawson sets out to see if Hero can make sense of the notion of particulars, postponing their objectivity for the moment. According to Strawson, in order to get a decent concept of particulars in Auditoria, one must (i) get identifiable, in the sense of distinguishable, sound-particulars (ibid. : 69-70) and (ii) get identifiable, in the sense of reidentifiable, sound-particulars (ibid. : 70). For Strawson, having an auditory perception is sufficient for the identification of a sound particular, and the auditory experience of continuity and discontinuity is sufficient for distinguishing sound particulars. A C# ("C#" names a universal here) that plays (gets instantiated for a duration), stops, then plays again, gives example of two distinguishable tokens of the same type, and if the note played did not stop and start again, there would be just be one token. But for the reidentification of sound particulars, more that continuity and discontinuity of sounds is needed: spatial criteria are needed. Below (in section 4.1.2.) I describe why Strawson thinks space is needed for reidentification, but for now I describe what Strawson thinks reidentification is. According to Strawson, a particular is reidentified if and only if it is perceived for some continuous period that ceases, and perceived some second time and identified by the perceiver as the numerically same particular perceived earlier. Thus a particular is reidentifiable only if it can be perceived twice.

[47] Reidentification lies on the path from objectivity to spatiality in Strawson's argument. Objective particulars must be able to exist unperceived. Strawson argues further that any particular that exists unperceived must be reidentifiable, which means, if it is perceived for some continuous period that ceases, it must be able to be perceived some second time and identified by the perceiver as the same particular perceived earlier. Strawson also argues that the only criteria by which one may sensibly regard some perceived thing as the same as some particular earlier perceived are spatial criteria.

[48] There are, then, two key stages to Strawson's argument, both of which I call into question. The first is the argument from the metaphysical objectivity of particulars to their reidentifiability. The second stage is the argument from reidentifiability of particulars to the necessary employment of spatial criteria for their reidentification.


4.1.1. Does Objectivity Entail Reidentifiability?

[49] According to Strawson, objectivity entails a conceptual scheme that allows for particular reidentifiability. Strawson argues that this entailment holds because objectivity entails that there are things that exist independently of whether one perceives them. It also entails the logical possibility of perceiving something at two different disjoint times that persists unperceived between those two times. Thus, if it is possible for x to exist while you are perceiving it and it is possible for x to exist while you are not perceiving it, then it is possible for you to see x at time t, not see x at t+1, and see x--the numerically same x--again at t+2. And, if you can see x twice, then you could identify x twice, that is, identify x and then reidentify x.

[50] Is Strawson right that objectivity entails particular reidentifiability? Is every objective particular that you can perceive an object that you can perceive twice? No and no. I offer that it is simply false that every metaphysically objective particular that you can perceive at some time t must be perceivable at some time t+n.

[51] Consider a particular time slice of an event or process (a slice thick enough to be perceived at least once). This seems like a particular that you can perceive only once, but nonetheless might have existed even if no one perceived it (or represented it in any other way). When I booted up my computer this morning, I perceived the beginning of that process--I perceived the particular initial time slice of my computer's booting up this morning. And, I suppose, that particular time slice may have existed unperceived. But that particular time slice is not something I can perceive a second time. The moment has passed, alas. To multiply examples, consider also extremely short lived particulars, like particular explosions or particular flashes of lightning. Again, they seem plausibly metaphysically objective without being reidentifiable.

[52] Chase Wrenn (personal communication) offers as a possibly perceived but not reidentifiable class of particulars the fictional (we assume) class of particles called "nihilons". Nihilons exist until they are finished being perceived for the first (and only) time. A nihilon may exist unperceived, but once perceived, its existence is terminated at the end of an episode of perceiving it. Any reidentified entity would not be a nihilon. Since Strawson's inquiry concerns the structure of our conceptual scheme, and since nihilons are clearly conceivable, then the conceivability of objective particulars seems not to require their reidentifiability. Strawson is committed to the claim that for any object that we can conceive of perceiving and also conceive of existing unperceived, we can further conceive of perceiving on more than one occasion. Thus, he is committed to the claim that nihilons are inconceivable. But clearly they are conceivable. At least Chase Wrenn and I can conceive of them.

[53] Counterexamples to the claim that objectivity entails particular reidentifiability include (i) particular time slices of long duration events and processes, (ii) short duration events and processes, and (iii) nihilons.


4.1.2. Does Reidentifiability Require Spatiality?

[54] Strawson takes himself to have shown that objectivity entails reidentifiability. His next move is to show that trying to get reidentifiability into Auditoria will require treating one of the dimensions of Auditoria as an analog to spatial dimensions in our conceptual scheme. According to Strawson, some non-temporal dimension in Auditoria must be sought to go proxy for the absent spatial dimensions. This proxy dimension will provide subsidized housing for unperceived yet enduring sound-particulars.

[55] Auditory candidates for this dimension include timbre, pitch, and volume. Strawson dismisses timbre immediately for its lack of obvious systematic ordering of different timbres. (I suspect this to be due to the fact that any plausible ordering scheme for timbres will be multidimensional.) Strawson prefers pitch. So be it. Experiences in Auditoria will have the following structure. Items in Auditoria are sounds and sound sequences like pieces of music. Items are accompanied by continuous back-ground noise known as the Master Sound. The pitch of the Master Sound is going to be Auditoria's psuedo-spatial dimension. The "location" of a particular sound or sound sequence is that pitch of the Master Sound that is contemporaneous with the sound sequence instance. Suppose that particular sound sequence is a particular playing of Ode to Joy (a dated occurrence or tokening of the song type/universal Ode to Joy). This instance of Ode to Joy is heard by a Hero over a finite duration. At a particular instance, the pitch of the master sound is, say, C#. Imagine hearing the pitch of the Master Sound increase while Ode to Joy's volume decreases, and eventually, at some pitch of the Master Sound, Ode to Joy's volume is inaudibly low. Imagine further that the increasing pitch of the master sound, accompanied by the decreasing volumes of Ode to Joy is also accompanied by the increasing volume of some other sound sequence instance--Jesu: Joy of Man's Desiring. All this is reversible too: as the pitch decreases, returning to C#, Jesu: Joy of Man's Desiring gradually quiets down while Ode to Joy's thunder swells. Thus, during duration d in which the pitch of the Master Sound is going up and down, Ode to Joy is maximally audible while contemporaneous with one pitch of the master sound, whereas Jesu: Joy of Man's Desiring is maximally audible while contemporaneous with a different pitch of the master-sound. The intuition being urged here is that these two different sound sequence instances, Ode and Jesu, exist during the same duration d, but at different "locations" i.e., different pitches of the Master Sound.

[56] At least as far as Strawson is concerned, we have now accumulated the minimal ingredients for citizens of Auditoria to have a distinction between numerical and qualitative identity. Qualitative identity/distinctness is easy, and needs no further comment. Numerically distinct tokens of the same type might be conceived of as follows. If, at some pitch of the master sound L, Jesu: Joy of Man's Desiring is maximally audible, and the pitch rises to some other pitch L', while Jesu gets quieter, and then promptly changed back to L while Jesu returns to its maximal volume, then we may suppose that the same token has been heard at different times. If, however, we go from L past L' to L'' while Jesu gets quieter and then louder, we may suppose that we have come across a different (numerically distinct) tokens of the Jesu sound sequence type.

[57] One might object here that in this imagined case it is hard to pretend that there is anything like a fact of the matter about such questions of "numerical identity".18 I interpret this objection as the worry that what constitutes the conditions of numerical identity for sound particulars is more a matter of a judgment-call on our part and less a matter of a discoverable and mind-independent fact. I suspect that Strawson might respond by agreeing that it is indeed more a judgment-call on our part. But, I think Strawson would add, the point of the project is to investigate what kinds of experiences would allow for us to have uses for and make sense of certain kinds of judgment-calls. To return to the example from an earlier note, suppose that we introduce by stipulation the term "blorg". The proper use of the term, since stipulated, will constitute a judgment-call on our part. But only if we have certain kinds of experiences will we be able to have a use for certain stipulations about the term's applicability to experience.

[58] Strawson's question regarding the numerical identity criteria of sound particulars is the following. Could any criteria of numerical identity--and thus reidentifiability--be stipulated that would allow for the application of the concept of objective particulars to experiences that did not consist of representations of objects as having spatial properties and relations? Strawson answers "No" but I answer "Yes". Criteria of reidentifiability need not be spatial. This can be shown by showing that criteria of reidentifiability can be spelled out with out appeal to one of the necessary conditions on spatiality, namely, dimensionality.19

[59] The Master Sound need not be a set of sounds ordered along some dimension like pitch or volume. The Master Sound could be a set of the following sounds: the sound of a washing machine, the sound of a saxophone, and the sound of a baby crying. If at one time, Hero hears Jesu accompanied by the baby cry and at another time, Jesu accompanied by the sound of washing machine, those would count as two different instances of the same sound type. If instead, both times Hero heard Jesu being played along with baby crying, that could count as hearing the same instance at two different times. Hero, need not, in this case, recognize any ordering to the Mater Sounds. There could, of course be a case in which he did, that is, in which the three Master Sounds were a saxophone playing a C, a C# and a D. But the point here is that Hero need not recognize any ordering of the Master Sound in order to identify and reidentify an instance of Jesu with respect to it.

[60] Now one might object, in a way suggested by Evans (1985a: 253), that such a move does not employ any real notion of numerical identity as distinct from a notion of qualitative identity, since if occasions of Jesu are distinguished in virtue of co-occurring with different Master Sounds (a baby cry and a saxophone blast), then the auditory experiences in question are qualitatively distinguishable. Thus reliance on the Master Sound seems not to be a reliance on genuine criteria of numerical identity.

[61] As a response against Evans, I note that this problem arises only by treating the experience of the Master Sound at a given moment and the other, non-Master, sound heard at that moment to be blended into a single particular. Allowing that this need not be the case, that is, allowing that Hero can distinguish between the Master Sound at a moment and a non-Master-Sound at the same moment resurrects the possibility of the application of genuine criteria of numerical identity. Perhaps the Master Sound and non-master sounds are distinguished by timbre: the master sounds are a perfect sine-wave, and a perfect saw-tooth wave, whereas the non-master sounds are saxophone performances. By treating the perfect sine-wave and saw tooth wave tones and saxophone performances as different particulars, Hero can make sense of qualitatively identical but numerically distinct saxophone performances.

[62] It seems, then, that Hero can apply criteria of particular reidentifiability without conceiving of the particulars as being ordered along any dimension. And insofar as dimensionality is necessary condition for spatiality, reidentifiability does not require space.

[63] It is puzzling that Strawson originally stipulated that Hero's experiences were devoid of spatial content: while satisfying some of the necessary conditions of real space, Strawson at least would grant that not all of them were satisfied in Auditoria. It seems then that even if Strawson succeeded in showing that Hero did need to treat an ordered series of master sounds as criteria for the reidentifiability of song performances, this is insufficient to make the criteria spatial.

[64] Before leaving this section I want to consider a possible objection against me. It may be objected that I have, in discussing space and reidentifiability, overlooked a way that Strawson characterizes space and thus not done justice to his Reidentifiability Argument. Strawson and Evans both characterize space as that in virtue of which different things can simultaneously exhibit a system of relations over and above those which arise from the definite (intrinsic, non-relational) character of each (Strawson 1959: 79; Evans 1985a: 253). They say little to flesh out this sparse characterization. Nonetheless, this characterization, with or without flesh, is insufficient to characterize real space. Below I show that this characterization can be satisfied by a system of non-spatial relations.

[65] Strawson and Evans do not unpack the "over and above" characterization but I think that the idea is essentially the following. In Hero's theory of the world, he subscribes to some statements the predicates of which are monadic. To these correspond the intrinsic properties of objects. Other predicates in Hero's theory are binary: to these correspond the relations. To unpack the notion of "relations over and above those which arise from the intrinsic character" of the relata, I propose the following. Let us suppose that in Hero's scheme, he has only the following kinds of predicates: monadic predicates for pitch and timbre, and the binary predicates "x has a higher pitch than y" and "x is louder than y". Hero's theory contains theorems regarding the "x has a higher pitch than y" predicate that make its application depend on the applicability of the monadic pitch predicates. For example, it may be a theorem for Hero that if x is a C and y is a C#, then y has a higher pitch than x. Thus, relative to Hero's conceptual scheme, the relation of one sound's having a higher pitch than another is a relation that arises out of the intrinsic characters of the sounds. In contrast, Hero has theorems regarding which sounds are louder than others, but the application of the relational predicate "x is louder than y" is not contingent on what pitch or timbre the sounds happen to be. Thus the relation of one sound's being louder than another, as conceived of in Hero's scheme, is my best guess as to what Strawson and Evans might mean by relations over and above those which arise from the definite (intrinsic, non-relational) character of each. This is not to say that I endorse this or any account of the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties. But I propose to grant Evans and Strawson the distinction and focus on a different aspect of their account.

[66] The next question to ask is the following. Can volume underwrite a set of relations between things (sounds) that arise over and above those that are due to the intrinsic natures of those things? Let us suppose that Hero conceives of the intrinsic properties of sounds as those of pitch and timbre. Suppose also that Hero conceives of different sounds as bearing louder than relations to each other that are over and above those that arise from the intrinsic character of each. Contrast these relations to those such as x has a higher pitch than y, which, in Hero's conceptual scheme, do arise from the intrinsic character of each. Hero can do all of this without conceiving of the sounds as instantiating real spatial properties and relations. Thus the "over and above" characterization is insufficient to distinguish real space from quasi-spaces and any argument that does not go beyond the "over and above" characterization of space is insufficient to show that real space is a requirement for objectivity. I turn now to another of Strawson's arguments.


4.2. Strawson's Elsewhere Argument

[67] In order for us to conceive of unperceivable particulars, we must, according to Strawson, have some understanding of why they might be unperceived. Before Strawson turns to consider how this necessary condition might be met in Auditoria, he asks how it is met in our familiar world. His answer, unsurprisingly, emphasizes the importance of the imperceptibility of the spatially distant, that is, the importance of

a spatial system of objects, through which oneself, another object, moves, but which extends beyond the limits of one's observation at any moment.... Thus the most familiar and easily understood sense in which there exist sounds that I do not now hear is this: that there are places at which those sounds are audible, but these are places at which I am not now stationed. (1959: 74)
Strawson considers and dismisses the following non-spatial alternative. Perhaps a subject can think of unobservable existence as a function of the failure of sensory powers. Strawson dismisses this suggestion on the grounds that such an alternative cannot allow for being able to distinguish the failings of sense from the fading of the world. According to Strawson, the application of such a distinction requires spatial criteria. Unperceived particulars must be elsewhere.

[68] I offer, contra Strawson, that we are able to conceive of objective things without conceiving of them as being elsewhere. I can conceive of myself as existing unperceived. I can conceive of myself as being knocked unconscious and locked in a darkened cellar. It is quite conceivable that several hours could pass without my being perceived by anyone, not even myself. And certainly I cannot help but be where I am. As Buckaroo Bonzai says: "Where ever you go, there you are". Thus there is at least one thing I can conceive of as existing unperceived without that thing being elsewhere: me.

[69] I offer that part of the Strawson's failure to recognize this kind of point is due to his failure of separating mere mind dependence from representation dependence. Even if we grant that I and my states of perception are where I am, I and my states of perception need only be subjective in the weak sense of mere mind-dependence. But in the sense of mind-independence that I am restricting attention to for the purposes of this paper--representation independence--I and my states of perception may be entirely objective without being somewhere I am not. The Elsewhere Argument goes nowhere.


4.3. Evans' Simultaneity Argument

[70] According to Evans, an essential feature of our concept of an objective world of spatially located objects is that of many things, perceived and unperceived, existing simultaneously. This is integral to objectivity insofar as conceiving of existence unperceived involves conceiving of the objects unpercieved as existing at the same time that they are being thought about though not perceived. Simulteneity may be a concept whose application is clearest in visual experience. Vision allows us to be simultaneously aware of distinct objects. Such experiences afford an opportunity for the direct application of what Evans calls "simultaneous spatial concepts" (1985a: 283). Simultaneous spatial concepts are concepts of the spatial relations between two or more relata the application of which requires the simultaneous perceptual experience of all of the relata. In contrast, "serial spatial concepts" require only the non-simultaneous experience of the spatial relata for their application. For examples of the latter kinds of experiences, Evans asks us to consider the way a blind person may come to know the spatial configuration of a large object such as a table by running his hands over its edges and surfaces. Here the experience of all of the table's features are not perceived simultaneously but instead, in succession. Such experiences seldom afford opportunities for the direct application of simultaneous spatial concepts. Relatively small objects, however, can be taken in tactually all at once, as when a small cube is cupped in the hands. According to Evans, a subject of purely auditory experiences, however, never has the opportunity for the direct application of simultaneity concepts and thus could never have simultaneity concepts. Thus, according to Evans, such a subject is barred from having genuinely objective experiences, since objectivity entails simulteneitiy and Hero's experience of his auditory quasi-space does not allow for genuinely simultaneous experiences.

[71] I propose to resist Evans' denial of Hero's application of simultaneity concepts as follows. I grant that simultaneity is a feature of real space. However, the mere fact that some set of properties may be instantiated simultaneously is insufficient to make those properties spatial. A purple object may be regarded as the simultaneous instantiation of two different things: a red one and a blue one. The co-perception of a red object and a blue object need not be a perception of the objects as being located at two different places. To make the same point in terms of the "sounds" thought experiment, consider the following.

[72] Suppose that, until today, Hero has been listening to a series of alternating HONKs and DINGs. Imagine that the HONKs are bass blasts from a baritone saxophone and that the DINGs are tinny tones from a diminutive xylophone. Hero is hearing the following series: HONK DING HONK DING HONK DING. Suppose that one day Hero hears a sound that is qualitatively identical to what we would hear if a DING and a HONK occurred simultaneously. Now it seems that Hero could interpret this occurrence in one of two ways, one of which involves the application of a concept of simultaneity, the other does not:

The Simultaneity Option: I (Hero) just heard two different features simultaneously: a HONK and a DING

The Non-Simultaneity Option: I (Hero) just heard a (third) feature that I've never heard before: a DONK.
Now, according to Evans, Hero is barred from the simultaneity option. But this invites the following question: Why should Hero conceive of today's experience as a DONK rather than as a simultaneous occurrence of a HONK and a DING? Evans' take on this issue has not been argued for, nor does it seem obviously correct.

[73] I am prepared to grant that if Hero only heard HONKs and DINGs simultaneously, he would never be compelled to interpret them as anything other than the presentation of the single feature DONK. However, given the supposition that he frequently, if not usually, hears them separately, then I see no reason for him to be barred from hypothesizing that DONK-ish experiences are actually the simultaneous occurrence of HONKs and DINGs, i.e., that DONKs reduce to HONKs and DINGs. It seems, then, that Hero can conceive of distinct events occurring simultaneously without having to conceive of them in different spatial locations. Thus, even if objectivity required simultaneity, as Evans suggests, simultaneity does not require space. Thus the road from objectivity through simultaneity to space is blocked at the path from simultaneity to space.


4.4. Evans' Causal Ground Argument

[74] This argument represents a departure from the previous three in that Evans attention is turned from the metaphysical objectivity of objects (i.e. particulars) to the metaphysical objectivity of properties.

[75] Evans argues that the properties we perceive objects as having--properties Evans calls "sensory properties"--can be conceived as instantiated unperceived only if they are conceived as causally grounded in spatial properties.

[76] Evans' argument can be seen as having two parts. The first part is the suggestion that we cannot conceive of the sensory properties as being instantiated unpercieved without supposing that they instantiate these properties in virtue of instantiating some other properties. The second part is the suggestion that these other properties--the causal ground of the sensory properties--must be spatial properties.

[77] The two parts open the argument to two lines of attack. The first is to question the necessity of supposing unperceived sensory properties being co-instantiated with some other properties. I pursue this line of attack at some length below. The second line of attack questions the need for these other properties to be spatial. Even if Evans is correct that sensory properties must be conceived of as having a causal ground, why must this causal ground be thought of as consisting of spatial properties? I do not pursue this second line of attack beyond pointing out here that Evans seems not to have argued for the necessity of the spatiality of the causal ground. I am more interested in pursuing a third line of attack, namely, to point out an incoherence in the way Evans' describes the objectivity of sensory properties. In the remainder of this section I offer two arguments that flesh out the first and third lines of attack, respectively. First, I argue that the objectivity of so-called sensory properties does not require them to have a causal ground. Second, I argue that Evans' characterization of sensory properties renders incoherent the suggestion that we conceive of them as objective properties.

[78] Before turning to my arguments against Evans, I want to remark upon the relevance of the Causal Ground argument to

SO2 A property is metaphysically objective only if it is a spatial property.
At first glance it may seem that the Causal Argument is not relevant to SO2 since Evans' aim is to show that sensory properties are objective only if co-instantiated with spatial properties. To be relevant to SO2, the objectivity of sensory properties must require more than co-instantiation with spatial properties but instead identification with spatial properties. I think that Evans does allow for the eventual identification of the spatial causal ground of sensory properties and the sensory properties. Evans describes sensory properties (which he identifies with secondary properties) as follows.
For an object to have such a property is for it to be such that, if certain sensitive beings were suitably situated, they would be affected with certain experiences, though this property may, in its turn, be identified with what we should normally regard as the ground of the disposition. (268-269)

4.4.1. Can Properties as We Perceive Them Be Instantiated Unperceived?

[79] Evans argues that since sensory properties are secondary properties, there is a theoretical difficulty in imagining them instantiated unperceived. According to Evans the closest that we can come to imagining sensory properties instantiated unperceived is by imagining their non-sensory causal ground unperceived. And further, this causal ground must be comprised of spatial properties. What I want to do in this section is block the very first move that Evans makes in this argument, that is, block the move that sensory properties by themselves cannot be imagined to be instantiated unperceived.

[80] Evans argues that it is quite difficult to see how an object "as we see it" can be the same as when we do not see it (ibid.: 272-274). Suppose that I am seeing an apple as red. How can it be red when no one is seeing it, when, say, it is locked in an dark cellar? Evans contends that this is inconceivable (ibid.: 274).

[81] Evans writes that "All it can amount to for something to be red is that it be such that, if looked at in the normal conditions, it will appear red" (ibid.: 272). Evans contrasts this view with one that tries "to make sense of the idea of a property of redness which is both an abiding property of the object, both perceived and unperceived, and yet 'exactly as we experience redness to be'" (ibid.). Evans objects against this latter view that "it would be quite obscure how a 'colour-as-we-see-it' can exist when we cannot see it, and how our experiences of colour would enable us to form a conception of such a state of affairs" (ibid.: 273).

[82] I want to defend this latter view by suggesting that the obscurity alleged by Evans arises due to a concealed ambiguity in sentences employing phrases like "as I see it". Once such phrases are properly disambiguated, it becomes quite clear how a color as we see it may be the same when it is not seen.

[83] I begin by considering sentences employing phrases with the form "x as I am F-ing it". Consider the sentence

The chair as I am standing next to it is the same as when I am not standing next to it.
There is a reading of this sentence whereby it is quite clearly contradictory. On such a reading the sentence expresses the claim that a chair stood next to is a chair not stood next to. This is contradictory on the supposition that a chair cannot be both stood next to and not stood next to at the same time. Suppose, then, that we were to read the following sentences along similar lines.
The chair as I see it is the same as when I do not see it.
On such a reading, Evans would be correct that it is quite obscure how the chair as I see it can be the same as when I do not see it. There is a difference between the chair as I see it and the chair when it is not seen by me, namely, in the first case I am seeing it and in the second I am not. And on the supposition that the chair cannot be both seen and unseen at the same time, the sentence under consideration expresses a contradiction.

[84] Sentences employing phrases with the form "x as I am F-ing it" may be read in different way than considered so far. This alternative reading shows the noncontradiction of

The chair as I see it is the same as when I do not see it.
I call your attention to an analogy between the above sentence and the following.
The chair as I am describing it is the same as when I am not describing it.
This sentence admits of a reading whereby it expresses a contradiction. On such a reading the above sentence is equivalent to
The chair described is not described.
But on the alternative reading I want to consider, a chair can be as I describe it even when I am not describing it. Suppose that I am describing the chair as having been manufactured in Switzerland. I am uttering the sentence "This chair was manufactured in Switzerland". My describing the chair is just my uttering a sentence. The chairs' being as I describe it however, is not its being a chair in the proximity of someone uttering a sentence. The chair's being as I describe is, in this case, its having been manufactured in Switzerland. Clearly a chair may have been manufactured in Switzerland regardless of whether I am now describing it as such. With this last point in mind, then, we may read
The chair as I am describing it is the same as when I am not describing it.
as noncontradictory on the grounds that a Swiss chair doesn't stop being Swiss when I stop talking.

[85] To sum up what I have said so far, I would say that

The chair as I am describing it is the same as when I am not describing it.
admits of two readings: a representational reading and a non-representational reading. On the representational reading, the sentence is not a contradiction. On the non-representational reading, the sentence is a contradiction. On the representational reading, I am predicating being manufactured in Switzerland of the chair. The chair may very well instantiate the property of being manufactured in Switzerland even when I am not representing it as such. On the non-representational reading,
The chair as I am describing it is the same as when I am not describing it.
is analogous to
The chair as I am standing next to it is the same as when I am not standing next to it.
and both are contradictory on the following grounds. A chair stood next to is different from a chair not stood next to and a chair described is different from a chair not described.

[86] Evans detects obscurity and unintelligibility in the supposition that "a 'colour-as-we-see-it' can exist when we cannot see it" (ibid.). I suggest that the supposition is clear and intelligible if read representationally. If we analyze perception as a representational affair, then

The chair as I see it is the same when I am not seeing it.
is no more a contradiction than the representational reading of
The chair as I am describing it is the same when I am not describing it.
I may describe a chair as being Swiss and it can continue to be Swiss during periods when it is not described. Likewise, I can see a chair as being brown and it can continue to be brown during periods when it is not seen.

[87] Allowing representational readings of sentences employing phrases of the form "x as I am F-ing it" shows how the first part of Evans' Causal Ground Argument is blocked. The first part of Evans' argument is his allegation that there is something obscure and unintelligible in the claim that objects can be the way that we perceive them even when unperceived. A representational analysis of perception renders the claim clear and intelligible. Thus the first move in Evans' Causal Ground Argument--the move by which Evans alleges to show that we cannot conceive of sensory properties by themselves being instantiated unpercieved--is blocked by adopting a representational analysis of perception. I turn now to my second problem with Evans' Causal Ground argument.


4.4.2. If Sensory Properties are Secondary Properties, then are they Objective After All?

[88] One of the upshots of a representational analysis of perception is the allowance for a distinction between the properties of perceptions and the properties of the things perceived. This distinction is analogous to the distinction between my stating that water is wet and water's being wet. The supposition that a property is objective just is the supposition that its instantiation does not depend on its being represented. Why, then, does Evans think that there is a special problem in conceiving as objective sensory properties--the properties we perceive objects as instantiating? The answer to this question, I suggest, is that the problem arises because Evans thinks that sensory properties are subjective properties. He describes them at length as secondary properties--properties whose defining essence is their disposition to cause certain experiences (ibid.: 268-272). On my view of metaphysical objectivity and subjectivity, secondary properties are the prototype of the metaphysically subjective. Thus the problem that Evans sets for himself in his Causal Ground argument is the problem of trying to figure out how it is that we conceive of subjective properties as being objective. But if we are prepared to admit that they are subjective, then it seems that we have lost interest in trying to conceive of them as objective. If sensory properties are not really objective after all, then they are an entirely useless platform from which to launch a defense of the spatial criterion of objectivity.

[89] I should note that there is something unfair about my complaint as waged against Evans. Evans analyses colors as depending on a disposition to be experienced, but does not equate them with a property that is instantiated only when experienced. Evans' notion of objectivity in the Causal Ground Argument is no more than that of a property that can be instantiated even when unperceived. Both Evans and I allow that secondary properties may be instantiated unperceived. But unlike me, Evans does not regard secondary properties as subjective, but instead, objective. In fairness, the remarks in the current section should not be regarded so much as critical of Evans, but instead as a way of showing that , as I use the terms "objective" and "subjective", secondary properties cannot serve as a platform upon which to erect an argument for the spatial criteria of objectivity.


5. Conclusion

[90] I have argued for the failure Evans' and Strawson's arguments that the objectivity of objects (particulars) and properties requires them to be spatial. Evans and Strawson thus do not provide compelling reasons for amending the predicational theory of objectivity to include spatial requirements on the metaphysical objectivity of objects (SO3) and properties (SO2). If Evans' Causal Ground argument for the spatial requirements on the metaphysical objectivity of properties had succeeded, then it would have served--given the predicational theory-- as an argument that epistemically objective intentional phenomena must have predicates that name spatial properties (SO1). Evans and Strawson's arguments fail to provide compelling reasons for the inclusion of SO1-SO3 in the predicational theory of epistemic objectivity.

[91] I want to close by noting the degree to which a broader case for spatial objectivity remains open. As already noted, it is implausible that SO1-SO3 exhaust the possible ways of interpreting the claim that objectivity requires space. Questions concerning objectivity pursued in this paper concern what it means to be objective, that is, what it means to say that some thing is objective. Other questions remain unanswered by the current account, however. Such questions include, among others, questions of how one would know whether any thing is objective or subjective and questions of how thinkers have come to have a grasp a distinction between the objective and the subjective. In other words, while the metaphysics of objectivity has been addressed here, the epistemology, ontogeny, and phylogeny of objectivity have scarcely been touched upon. These latter avenues may lead to theories of objectivity worth calling "spatial". Perhaps cognizers must acquire a concept of space before they acquire a concept of objectivity. Perhaps cognizers must know where things are before they can have any objective knowledge. These possibilities are consistent with the objectivity of nonspatial things. All I have argued in this paper is that metaphysically and epistemically objective things (objects, properties, and intentional phenomena) need not be spatial to be objective.


Acknowledgments
I owe enormous debts of gratitude to Rick Grush and Chase Wrenn for stimulating conversations on the topics covered in this paper. I am grateful for comments made by William Bechtel, Andy Clark, Rick Grush, and Joe Ullian on earlier versions of the present paper.


Pete Mandik
Washington University, St. Louis



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Notes

1 The former are exhaustive and thus include the latter. (back)

2 Note that throughout this paper I use "object" and "particular" interchangeably and reserve "thing" to denote a broader category of metaphysical types, inclucing objects/particulars, properties, relations, states, events, and processes, to name a few. (back)

3 See Rorty (1979) and Gauker (1995) for discussion of the difference between objectivity as consensus and objectivity as correspondence. For discussion of indexical theories see Bell (1992), Lycan (1996), and McGinn (1983). (back)

4 More specifically, Gauker construes the degree to which a judgment is objective as a function of three dimensions: the probability agents would come to agree, the degree of rationality of the agents, and the level of agreement (1995: 173). (back)

5 Its worth noting, however, that while Lycan explicates subjectivity in terms of representations that have indexical components, it is not clear that he intends to explicate objectivity in terms of representations lacking indexical components. Indeed, sometimes when he uses the word "objective", he is referring to things that are not representations, indicating that while he is using the word "subjective" in its epistemic sense he is using the word "objective" in its metaphysical sense. It may not be accurate then, to describe Lycan as an indexical theorist of epistemic subjectivity and objectivity, since it is not clear what his views on epistemic objectivity are. I will continue, however, to classify his view on subjectivity as epistemic. (back)

6 See also Rick Grush (unpublished) for a metarepresentational theory of objectivity. (back)

7 Note that neither Gauker nor Rorty are advocates of the correspondence theory of epistemic objectivity. (back)

8 For simplicity's sake, I consider only atomic sentences with monadic predicates (and later, atomic sentences wth binary predicates), but I intend the points made to generalize beyond these simple cases. (back)

9 I am especially grateful to Chase Wrenn for pressing me on this point. (back)

10 The predicational correspondence theory I offer differs from the non-correspondence theories I mentioned earlier in the following ways (to name a few): (i) unlike consensus theories, on the predicational theory consensus (actual or possible) is not necessary for objectivity; (ii) unlike indexical theories, being devoid of indexical components is not necessary objectivity; and (iii) unlike metarepresentational theories being able to represent a distinction between your own representational states and the things that the representations are about is not necessary for objectivity. I only note these points of departure here and defend them elsewhere (Mandik (in progress)). (back)

11 Frederick Schmitt draws the same distinction between kinds of mind-dependence under the labels "mere constitution by the mind" versus "constitution by the mind in virtue of being represented by it" (1995: 12). Ruth Millikan draws a similar distinction (1993: 208). (back)

12 I will not go into detail about the right way to deal with molecular sentences here. The question arises of what to say about the conjunctions and disjunctions in which of not all of the conjuncts and/or disjuncts are objective (or subjective). While I will not provide the argument for solution to the problem of the molecules, I do offer the following. Sentence P is objective if and only if ~P is objective. P is subjective if and only if ~P is subjective. A conjunction is objective if and only if all of its conjuncts are objective and subjective otherwise. A disjunction is objective if and only if at least one of its disjuncts is objective and subjective otherwise. (back)

13 Epistemic subjectivity of representations due to lack of predicational structure is, I think, the ultimate explication of the subjectivity of conscious experience. I thus oppose Lycan's (1996) indexical account of the subjectivity of consciousness. Unlike Lycan, I do not think that subjectivity requires the possession of self-referential indexical concepts (or any concepts). Lycan's account is as follows. Experiences are representations. My visual experience of my blue coffee mug is a mental representation of the mug as being blue. When I introspect my experience, I form a second-order representation of the first-order representation of the coffee mug. Other people may form syntactically similar second-order representations, but those representations will be about their first-order states, not my own. The crucial analogy here is to the use of indexicals in speech. When I say "my leg hurts" I am referring to my leg, and only I can refer to my leg by using that utterance. You may use a syntactically similar construction: you may utter the words "my leg hurts", but in doing so, you would be representing your leg, not mine. Analogously, only I can represent my first-order states by the introspective application of self-referential indexical concepts. (back)

14 Strawson also employs the metaphysical notion elsewhere. See Strawson (1966: 150-2). Note also that while Evans (1985a) is concerned with metaphysical objectivity, in work that was not published until after his death (Evans 1982 and 1985b) he employs an epistemic notion of objectivity (especially in his discussions of objective and egocentric ways of thinking about space). (back)

15 I also have the hunch that they are much more interested in representation-independence than mere mind-independence. (back)

16 I return to the issue of the conflation in my discussion of Strawson's Elsewhere Argument in section 4.2. (back)

17 I understand the gist of Strawson's method of inquiry as follows. Strawson's inquiry regarding Auditoria is the question of whether it can provide Hero with experiences the structure of which would allow Hero to "make sense of" and "have a use" for criteria of identification and reidentification. To unpack the idea behind the method a bit more, imagine the introduction of the sortal term "blorgs". If the identity criteria for blorg-hood are spatiotemporal, for instance, no two blorgs can occupy all and only the same spatial locations at the same time, then a creature lacking spatial sensory experience would lack "sense of and a use for" the sortal concept "blorgs". If that creature was incapable of experiencing objects as having shapes or being located in space, then that creature would be incapable of grasping the proposed identity criteria for being a blorg. This is the best sense I can make of Strawson's notions of having a sense of and a use for a concept. (back)

18 This objection was raised by Joe Ullian (personal communication). (back)

19 Evans makes this point but does not unpack the suggestion (1985a: 254). See also Locke (1961). (back)




1998 Pete Mandik

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