asserts that the goal of scientific realism is to provide, or aim to provide,
an accurate description of reality. In reality, science, for the most part,
does not actually do this but instead provides an idealized description. The
term idealized description refers to the intentionally distorted, or abstracted
out, descriptions that science provides; however, Weisberg states that
scientists intentionally introduce distortions to their theories. He states
that there are three relevant scientific practice positions because there are
three major reasons scientists make intentional distortions, and their
attendant models and theories, and that all three idealization types have
important roles in the research traditions of science. Weisberg believes that
the different types of idealization have enough commonalities that focusing on
each type of idealization’s governing and guiding goals, or representational
ideals of theorizing, allows one to address questions about all three in a
unified way (639).
to Weisberg, there are three kinds of idealization: Galilean, minimalist, and
multiple-models idealizations. He used modeling as the basis for discussing
theoretical representations and emphasized that idealization is the distortion
of theories or models and not merely the theory-world relationship’s property.
This leads into the creation of the grouping for the three different types of
idealization. To distinguish between these idealizations the activity that is
characteristic of that particular type of idealization and how that specific
activity is justified must be known (640).
Galilean idealization is the practice of simplifying theories by introducing
distortions with the end goal of making these theories computationally
manageable. In essence, as many confoundingly variables are dropped as possible
and produces a hypersimplification. Initially, innumerable factors are
important so that it is pragmatic and justifiable to drop some because humans
are not able to use all the pieces at once. This means that simplification is
not happening because of parsimony. The goal of this kind of idealization is to
make it possible to make, hopefully, accurate predictions. There is the hope
that eventually the abstraction can be removed by advances in computational
power and mathematical techniques (640-641).
minimalist idealization is the practice of creating and studying theoretical
models that only include a phenomenon’s core causal factors. Essentially, this
method isolates the few parts that make a difference because the other factors
are not essential because they do not have any effect. A causal factor is
something that, if removed, prevents the phenomenon’s occurrence. A canonical
explanation is a causal model that only entails factors that make a difference
(642-643). Basically, minimal idealizations isolate an explanation’s causal
factors directly, indirectly, or through counterfactual reasoning, but in each
method the explanatory key is a set of explanatorily causal components. This
implies that minimal idealization is not in actuality practical, and that an
expectation of it ending with scientific advancement is erroneous (645).
multiple-models idealization (MMI) is the practice of creating more than one
related but incompatible models, such that each one makes distinct claims about
a particular phenomenon’s nature and causal structure. Essentially, there is
more than one model for a particular theory and all are believed to be true or
correct. This form of idealization is similar to the two previous types of
idealizations, but it is different in that there is no expectation that one
best model will be created. Encounters with the MMI is most commonly found when
dealing with extremely complex scientific phenomena. Justifications for the MMI
are mixed and there is less consensus about which is correct. However, an
important justification is tradeoffs’ existence where there are different goals
(i.e., generality, accuracy, etc.) for different models and that no model alone
can have all of these properties at their highest possible magnitude so that
the need for multiple models to achieve these goals are necessary. Another justification
is that using multiple highly idealized models in conjunction assist scientists
in developing truer models. In contrast, a justification can be made that
groups of idealized models increase a theoretical framework’s generality
possibly allowing for an explanation with greater depth. Lastly, the production
of multiple, idealized models can result due to the fact that the processes of
filling in a minimal, causal model with factual details can be completed in
various ways. Of course, there are justifications that do not follow the
minimal model idealization. There are those that are scientists focus on
structure compositions and predictions and others that are not practical and
explanatory. Since this mode of idealization is the least developed of the
three and it uses more than one model, it stands to reason that justification
for its use is not agreed upon by practitioners.
to Sellars, the manifest image of man is meant as when man first encounters
himself. In other words, it is the way in which man first becomes conscious of
his place in the world. This means that there is the recognition of what kind
of thing he is, so there is a connection to self-awareness and one’s
personhood. The manifest image includes man’s impression of the world as it
appears to him as well as his thoughts and intentions, being aware of self as
separate being from other things and as a thinking self. Sellars did not mean
that there was a contrast between pre-scientific or primitive, aka the
manifest, and scientific but instead a refinement of the original manifest
image both empirical and categorial such that this image changed. In fact, he
states that the manifest image is in and of itself a scientific image that uses
correlational techniques and that excludes any postulate, principles of,
explanations, etc., of imperceptible things.
manifest image for us is far removed from the original image of man. The
manifest image underwent empirical and categorical refinement over time.
Empirically, man’s image of the world has changed over time and are the things
that are known, even if they are proven false at a later time. Categorically,
every basic and primary object of the manifest image is a person. However, what
traits defined the category of a person and what was classified as a person has
changed. Historically, man believed in superstitions and mythology, classifying
various things as persons. For example,
is a tree and a person.
statement was thought to be two independent thoughts. As superstition was
abandoned and an introduction of new base concepts occurred, the traits to be
labeled as a person changed. So, the example became,
is a tree.
of the original image of what is a person occurred. A radical change in the
concept of tree was not changed and this was not a change in belief. Instead,
there was a categorical change in what is a person and a tree no longer
belonged to this category. This change took place because the answer to the
following question changed:
The answer was
something that has a form of doing or acting a set of acts, including intent.
Originally, man thought other things were capable of all of these same acts.
For example, a tree was thought to act intentionally in that it was thought
that trees chose where to grow or change the colors of their leaves. During the
early stages in the development of the manifest image, a tree’s ability to act
with intent was removed. This resulted in a truncated person, or a lesser
person because there were less activities that it was able to engage in. Trees
became mere creatures because they only acted out of habit or impulse. Thus, a tree was not a person. As man’s
understanding of the world and himself progressed, he found that the manifest
image is not an external standard but is an objective existence that transcends
the individual thinkers’ individual thoughts. Truth and falsity of statements
can be stated with the manifest image even though image itself might be rejected
as false. In other words, one can be right or wrong about the manifest image,
even if the image is false.
say the manifest image is objective is to state that the manifest image is not
an external standard. The manifest image is an objective existence and has an
existence that transcends the individual thinkers’ thoughts in some way. As a
result, the truth and falsity of statements can be stated with the manifest
image, even though image itself might be rejected as false. In other words, one
can be right or wrong about the manifest image even if the image is false. For
example, using the following:
+ 2 = 4
+ 3 = 5
there is an
independent standard that is independent of anyone’s thoughts that states the
truth or falsity of these equations, whether one believes these equations are
right or wrong. It is for this reason that we should think that the manifest
image is objective. So, the manifest image is objective because there are
independent standards of correctness and incorrectness with respect to itself,
in description and in utilization.
American and British philosophy’s analytic tradition has progressively
succeeded in isolating the manifest image in something like its pure form and
has made it apparent the mistake of trying to replace it in bits and pieces by
parts of the scientific image. As such, the manifest image continues to exist
in perennial philosophy and is the accepted reality of the world. Perennial
philosophy runs into a problem when it attempts to explain how thinking or
reasoning is possible using the manifest image. It attempts to make sense of
human beings in the manifest image but using the manifest image. This gives
rise to a dualism between the mind and the body. Through this philosophy, it
was believed that whatever the end components of conceptual thinking are, its
process in an individual’s mind must be similar to the structure of the world
that makes sense. It is tempting to try to explain the world, external to man’s
thoughts, is qualitatively similar to the experience of consciousness and to
explain man internally to themselves as being similar to what is inside. The
first violates the naïve realism constraint while the latter attempts to take a
causal story of man and make thinking a causal process. However, perennial
philosophy does not equate the association of thought as the association of
images because a sequence of images is not a sequence of thoughts. Why are
images not thoughts? As an example, think of a 100-sided polyhedron and a
1000-sided polyhedron. One understands the difference between the two but can’t
visualize the difference using images as both would look like spheres to most
individuals. Perennial philosophy also supports that a direct action of a
perceptible nature, due to its very nature of being perceptible, on an
individual can account for associative connections but it does not account for
the rational connections of thinking conceptually. Rational connections have
correctness or incorrectness between thoughts. An example of a rational
penguins fly, then dogs bark.
Penguins fly .
There is a
connection between the first two statements and the last one. Here’s a second
penguins fly, then dogs bark.
Dogs bark .
Reasoning is present
in both of these both of these examples so both have rational connections. In
contrast, causal connections do not indicate correctness or incorrectness
between anything. So, when giving an explanation of how one thinks there must
be an explanation of how some things are correct or incorrect. However,
correctness is an evaluative term and requires a standard so one must take into
account the existence of rules. Rules are the representations of thought so one
must suppose thinking which leads into why the mind is not a physical thing.
plays an important role in perennial philosophy. It is the judge that
determines of what Y is, that Y is, and of what is not that Y is not. It is
through this that perennial philosophy must compare and make its claims
consistent with those of the scientific image.
states that there are three positions due to the conflict between the manifest
image’s claims and the scientific image. The three are: 1) perceptible objects
are identical to a set of imperceptible objects (aka the manifest image is the
scientific image), 2) the perennial philosophy is reality (aka the manifest
image is real and the scientific image is fictive), and 3) the scientific image
is reality and the manifest image is mere appearance (the scientific image is
real and the manifest image is fictive). Only the first and third position will
be discussed here. Sellar’s argument against the first position is that
manifest objects are not identical with systems of imperceptible particles. In
plain terms, he states that the parts are categorically different than the
whole. He uses his classic example of the pink ice cube to point out the error
in thinking that manifest objects are identical with systems of imperceptible
particles. The idea is that a pink ice cube must be pink through and through
but pink isn’t composed of any imperceptible traits. The pink is present in all
parts of the ice cube regardless of size, including what is considered
imperceptible, to such a degree that the ice cube is ultimately homogeneously
pink in color. As a result, the properties of macroscopic objects have
fundamental differences from those of imperceptible objects, or a whole’s
properties can be different from its parts’ properties, because the parts are
categorically different from the whole. Note, category difference is between
the perceptible and the imperceptible. However, a problem comes to light with
the idea of imperceptibility. If the smallest part of a perceptible object is
perceptible BUT the parts of a perceptible are not categorically different than
the whole then the idea that the parts are categorically different than the
whole must be false. If this is false, then the parts of a whole can differ
from the properties of the parts must also be false, so the first position
doesn’t work; however, the perceptible never changes to the imperceptible
because no matter what is done the perceptible cannot be broken down into the
imperceptible. The smallest part of a perceptible object is still perceptible
by man and as a result there is a category shift from imperceptible to
perceptible for these parts. The question then becomes if reality is just made
of imperceptible qualities and what is “seen” is just an appearance then what
does one do with the appearance. In other words, if the third position is
accepted and the first position is rejected then what is appearance’s place.
This stance makes sensations not real because they are perceivable and yet they
are only imperceivable so sensations don’t exist. However, sensations do exist
so there are contradictions. This means there are appearances that are real.
to the third position, the inclusion of people problems is required to see a
better picture. The three people problems are: 1) the perceptible qualities of
sensation, 2) cognitive thought/thinking, and 3) the normativity of person. The
first two shall be addressed here. To begin with labelling something as a
person goes beyond the physical and includes the rules, standards, duties,
etc., that make up cognitive thinking. However, in the scientific image there
are no ought to be’s or ought to do’s, and views the world as purely causal.
The fundamental problem is that part of being a person is cognitive thinking.
This is why traditionally, people were unable to explain thinking because
sensation is part of it, but sensations are qualitative and in a person.
However, there are no essential qualitative features to cognition.
to Sellars, cognitive thinking can be accommodated within the scientific image.
Cognitive thinking is part of being a person that involves rules, duties, etc.
However, the scientific image sees the world as being purely causal. A
fundamental problem is that part of being a person is cognitive thinking. This
is why traditionally, people were unable to explain thinking because sensation
is part of it, but sensations are qualitative and in a person. However, there
are no essential qualitative features to cognition.
primary analogy for thought is public language. Thinking is something like an
internal monologue. For example:
‘?’ (gwa) means and
Sentences are meant
to have meaning. However, using the sentence form of “it” means “and” implies
that there is an incomplete sentence because we learned that there is supposed
to be something following “and”. So, we learned how to use it, meaning we learned
what its job was. Thus, a meaning sentence tells us the job, role, etc., of Z.
This only works if one knows the job, role, etc., of Z to begin with. To
specify meaning is to specify the function of something within a
representational system or how it contributes to the whole system. Here’s a
representation example: the job of “There is a car” is to indicate the presence
of a car. The internal monologue is meant to serve the same exact role as this.
The thought, “The table is small.” requires that something in your head plays
the same ideas “The table is small” in English. Another example of this is when
playing chess with missing pieces. The king is the piece that plays the role of
the king and can do what the king piece does. So, a salt shaker can be the king
piece so long as it does the job of the king in chess. As a result, something
could be anything so long as it is doing the job of what it is being used to
is another issue because sensation is part of cognition but sensations are
qualitative and in a person. The key part is the quality itself. The primary
analogy for sensation is its normal causes, the external causes used to explain
the states and because weird is possible in contrast to normal. Sensing occurs
inside a person. For example: Blue sensation is to be having something like
that normally caused by blue things, meaning that there is a sensing inside a
person that is normally caused by blue things and indicates blue things.
Therefore, the job in this situation is to indicate blue things. Since a
function is now a part of sensation there is no longer an issue with sensation
being part of cognition.
important idea to address is the normativity of a person. This refers to the
constrained way that one moves from one thought to another and can correctly or
incorrectly identify something, such as a cat. This is taught to us as children
when we are told that ‘we don’t do that,’ ‘we speak quietly in the library,’
etc., and other things that constitutes the community we are part of.
Additionally, ‘we do’ becomes ‘one does’ so that to be a person is to be bound
by something broader, in the sense of being a rational being, and that there
are certain ways of thought that is permitted or not permitted but they are not
required. Specifying a role, or meaning, of thought is equivalent to specifying
the moves it can make, what one can and cannot do with an item. Now the issue
is how to get the scientific image back into normativity. Correcting children’s
behavior through rewards to reinforce behavior is just the beginning. This
continues throughout life and norms are acquired by people’s actions and the
reinforcement that corrects their behaviors, so that if something deviates then
something acts to bring it back to the pattern. As a result, thought can emerge
without any thinking required. In the end, the completion of the scientific
image requires the enrichment of it with the community’s language and the
intentions of individuals in scientific terms to go beyond the dualism
presented by the scientific image and manifest image of man.