More Info
									              FREGE, FATHER OF DISJUNCTIVISM

          The concept of the ‘inner picture’ is misleading, for this concept uses the ‘outer picture’ as a
          model; and yet the uses of the words for these concepts are no more like one another than
          those of ‘numeral’ and ‘number’. (Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, IIxi (p. 196))

Some philosophers wonder why disjunctivism. Why its seeming complexities and
quirks? In the case of perception, Frege has a compelling answer to such questions. It
gains him claim to fatherhood there. (In the case of knowledge, one might well look to
Cook Wilson as parent. For singular thought, Russell will do as inspiration. In the case
of one’s reasons for doing and thinking things, disjunctivism remains to be explored
adequately.) My main aim here is to explore Frege’s reasons. They seem to me
conclusive. A subsidiary aim is to begin to sketch some wider implications of those
reasons—their general bearing on the nature of our ‘inner lives’—our enjoying of any
specifiable aspect of which must, as with the careers of inanimate things, be part of
what is to be met with in the environment we all share—and of our special access to
these things.
        Disjunctivism about perception and disjunctivism about knowledge share a
common form of target. The target ideas are of an ingredient in seeing a lemon, or
knowing there to be one, which could be present anyway, lemon or no. Things might
look (to you) as if there were a lemon; there would, anyway, be that to be aware of. It
might seem to you that there was a lemon; there would be that way for you to be
impressed. And this posited ingredient has a further posited feature: if it occurs in the
presence of specifiable further conditions, of which you need not be aware, then, ipso
facto, you see the lemon, or, casu quo, know there is one.
       But there is a disanalogy. Disjunctivism about perception is a thesis about what
experience provides to be responded to. (‘It appears to X that’ can report an attitude (a
response to things). What matters here, though, is (for seeing) something visual, an
object of, or for, awareness, to which, on an encounter, one might respond.
Disjunctivism about knowledge is a thesis about our responses to what we encounter.
Part of its target is the idea that there is a sort of response—thinking something so—
which may or may not enjoy the status of knowing that. The first disjunctivism’s brief is
as to what we encounter in experience, so what we might respond to: not what its target
posits. This is not per se a case against the sort of response the other disjunctivism’s
target posits: one eligible to count as, but not inevitably, knowledge. Nor do current
disjunctivists about knowledge—as opposed to Cook Wilson—generally aim to make
such a case. Their attention is rather directed to the further idea that this common
response is knowledge where certain further conditions are satisfied, of whose
satisfaction the knower need not be aware. If disjunctivism about perception is
successful, then the parallel question whether something which need not be seeing
would be that on satisfaction of further conditions simply lapses: there is nothing of
which to pose it.
       Expressions such as ‘It looks (things look) yellow to me (over there)’, or ‘it looks
as though there were something ovoid and yellow just there’ are good English. They
need, not excision, but proper understanding. ‘Looks to me’ can report an attitude;
‘looks’, perhaps with a ‘to me’, can also report something one witnesses and detects.
The present target posits witnessable looks, to wit, things looking thus and so, where no
corresponding attitude—that things look to me (the witness) to be thus and so—is
discernible in, or detachable from, the specific circumstance of the witness responding,
on the occasion, as he does to things appearing as they then do (so witnessed). In which
case there is, equally, no witnessable look for such an attitude to be beholden to for truth.
Or so the present charges run. Here, the brief is, the role of words like ‘It looks yellow
(to me) (there)’, if any, is not that of reporting what one purports to witness. Rather,
one’s so responding to what one thus undergoes goes towards constituting one’s
undergoing such-and-such—experiencing a yellow flash, say—in undergoing what one
thus does.

1. Common Factors: Disjunctivism just is rejection of a view. Here the view consists of
one or both of the following two claims. (The topic here is perception. Following
tradition I take seeing as my example.)
        First, when I see a lemon on the sideboard, I am afforded visual awareness, not
just of the lemon, and its cohabitants in the scene before me, but also of something there
could be to be aware of—to encounter, to witness—no matter what was, in fact, in the
scene in view. (‘Could’: there is such a thing as that.) This further object of awareness is
a certain way. So, the idea is, it is certain ways. It may be taken (judged) to be (or not)
those ways, and, perhaps, others. That is, there is such a thing as judging this. (An
object of awareness need not be an object. I am aware of prices rising. I may also be
aware of things appearing a certain way.)
       The environment I inhabit, along with you, is the home of things to be met with
(in space, in the perceptual case). That subjectless passive is by design. Things to be met
with are met with by anything suitably placed in space, time or spacetime. They will be
objects of awareness for anyone suitably equipped to enjoy such—as, for any list of

subjects, others might be. The objects of awareness just posited are not thus to be met
with. They do not inhabit our environment—though if each perceiver were to be
credited with his own environment, made up of things for him alone to meet with, they
might be to be met with there. They are to be, for all that, objects of someone’s awareness.
        Second, where I see the lemon, I am visually aware of something, as per 1, such
that, in the right surrounding circumstances to be visually aware of just that is to see
that lemon. The obtaining of those circumstances is not, or need not be, an object of
visual awareness, and certainly not something I am visually aware of (only) in the case
where I see the lemon. If I see the lemon I also see part of its rind—a denizen of the
environment in its own right. But in the happy case where these circumstances obtain,
to be aware of the above would be to see that much rind too. The background intuition
here is that so long as I am aware of the object of awareness just posited, I could not tell,
by taking up the visual awareness thus afforded, whether I was actually seeing a lemon,
or merely being afforded awareness of this further object of it. I could not tell because
there would be no visual difference to be detected.
       I will call something which satisfies point 1 a common factor, or CF, and something
which also satisfies 2 a highest common factor, or HCF. I will use the terms CFer and
HCFer for theorists who posit such things. The critique to be set out here focusses on
point 1, though it applies to 2 as well. So its target is not obliged to hold 2.

2. Ringers: J. M. Hinton is the father of the notion perception-illusion disjunction.
Suppose, again, that I see the lemon on the sideboard. For any such experience, Hinton
allows a further type of experience which would be a ‘perfect illusion thereof’ (here of
seeing what one then does in seeing that lemon). I will use the term ‘ringer’ for this. A
wide range of diverse cases might qualify as ringers for my experience of seeing that
lemon. Seeing a clever wax lemon might do. So, too, would seeing a perfect illusion of
that lemon. But so, perhaps, too, might certain hallucinations. And there might be much
else. There is then the disjunctive phenomenon, seeing that lemon or experiencing a
ringer for this; and a disjunctive statement that I did either the one thing or the other. If
I saw the lemon, then I made that disjunction true. Equally if I had a ringer experience
of doing so.
        Hinton (1967, pp. 219-220) doubts that there is an object of visual experience (he
calls it psi) which satisfies certain further conditions. First, if I saw the lemon, then I
experienced psi. And if I experienced a ringer for that seeing of a lemon, then, again, I
experienced psi. This corresponds to point 1 above. Second, if I experienced psi, then
either I saw a lemon (which we could then identify as ‘that one’), or I experienced a

ringer for seeing (such) a lemon. This corresponds to point 2 above. Third, a claim that I
experienced psi would be “hard to understand if prefixed by ’I am inclined to believe
that …’.”
       Not that I could not be wrong as to the features of a thing like psi. I might, for all
it matters here, take psi to be canary yellow because I do not know my yellows. What
makes it ‘hard to understand’ someone who professes merely to be inclined to believe
that he encounters psi, I suggest, is that psi, by nature, is not to admit of ringers. I could
not be (or even, comprehendingly, take myself to be) encountering, not psi, but
something else, where there was nothing visually detectable—nothing I could garner
from the visual awareness thus afforded—from which I could learn that I witnessed, not
psi, but this other thing. That idea is to make no sense.
        Conversely, then, where I encounter psi, I cannot learn from the visual awareness
I am thus afforded whether I merely encounter psi, or in fact see the lemon (or, in
Hinton’s case, a flash). Which encourages the idea that if I do see the lemon, that must
consist, in part, in circumstances other than those available to be, strictly speaking,
solely through visual awareness—since circumstances other than ones through which I
could learn, through visual awareness thus afforded, that I did see the lemon, and not
merely experience psi. With that idea in place, psi becomes an HCF. This suggests that it
is the idea of an HCF which Hinton is developing in terms of psi, though if he was only
concerned with CFs, that will do for present purposes.
       (H)CFs cannot, in any case, admit of ringers. For if there were a ringer, H*, for a
given HCF, H, then there would be something of which one was afforded awareness,
both in encountering H and in encountering H*, from which awareness one could learn,
neither whether it was H or H* one confronted, nor whether it was merely one of those
two, or, in fact, a lemon on the sideboard. If there are HCFs at all, then this thing, rather
than H* or H, would be the HCF which one confronted in viewing the lemon on the
        (H)CFs, if they do not admit of ringers, are outside of the environment; not
objects of perception. For, as to what is in the environment, my taking things to be thus
and so is always compatible with their not being. As Frege tells us, “By the step with
which I win an environment, I open myself to the possibility of error.” (1918, p. 73) So if
I say, for example, ‘It is all yellow in that area of my visual field’, and am characterizing
a CF, then that area of my visual field cannot be part of the environment—say, that bit of
the glade with rays of sun filtering through the needles on the trees. My visual field
would be the geometrical limits of the extent of my visual awareness of a non-
environment—supposing for a moment that a non-environment can have a geometry.

My non-environmental visual awareness cannot be of something looking yellow if that
‘something’ is to be understood as ranging over objects to be met with (in a scene). That
is what presses us to postulate patches, or appearances not of a scene, and so on—
notions which then need making sense of.

3. Distinguishability: Disjunctivism’s case against (H)CFs is, inter alia, a case against
CF: point 1 is all its target need assume. But the package of 1 and 2 can seem attractive.
       Suppose that I am taken with the lemon on the sideboard, and decide to fashion
an exact replica—a perfect ringer—out of soap. I produce my replica. Is it a (visual)
ringer? That can be checked. One might discover some visible feature that the lemon
has but my soap lacks, or vice-versa. Perhaps it is a barely visible feature. One may need
to train people to detect it. But suppose that can be done. Then trained observers, in
suitable conditions of viewing, can distinguish my soap from the lemon. So I have not
produced a perfect ringer. But suppose there is no such discovery to be made; no visible
feature which the lemon and my soap do not share. Then I have succeeded.
       We might now introduce a notion of phenomenal—in the present case visual—
character as follows. Every visible object has one; wherever two objects are perfect
ringers in the above sense—there is no visible feature they fail to share—they share one.
Similarly for a scene one might have in view. This notion is as good as—no better than
—the phenomena allow. Perhaps, for example, sharing phenomenal character is not
always transitive. But if we bracket such inconveniences there is an idea here. One need
not identify an object’s, or a scene’s, (visual) phenomenal character by specifying—say,
enumerating—all of its visible features. At least one need not insofar as what matters is
sharing that character. Rather, for something to share an object’s, or a scene’s, visual
character is for it to be, in the sense set out, indistinguishable from it.
Indistinguishability here is a matter of what there is to see, or visually detect.
       We might now try to extend this notion to the non-environment, or inner world.
When one sees a lemon, the idea is, one is visually aware of something someone could
be aware of no matter how the scene before one were in fact laid out. Aside from the
present case (seeing the lemon) when would one be aware of this? The idea would be:
when what (all) one was visually aware of shared phenomenal character with (was
indistinguishable from) what one now is (in viewing the lemon). The promise: we can
thus make sense of the idea of an experience of non-environment being (visually) just
like some experience of seeing some lemon in advance of making sense of its being of
things being thus and so. We can then read off the ways things then visually were from
the ways the lemon (in that experience) visibly was (so witnessed). Thus might a non-

environment inherit specific ways it was.
       What would we need for making sense of this idea? The notion ringer, as it
applied to the lemon, was defined in terms of what is visible. When we move to the
inner world, we must substitute ‘visual’ for ‘visible’. The phenomenal character of what
I am aware of anyway, independent of what inhabits the scene before me, cannot be a
matter of what is visible about it, since it is not visible—not to be met with in seeing. It is
part of my visual experience regardless of what is to be seen. So there is no discovering
features by which it can, or cannot, be told from other things. For with room for
discoveries comes room for ringers. And, as we have seen, what I met with anyway, no
matter how the environment was laid out—is to admit no ringers.
        If we already had a notion of distinguishability in play, perhaps we could use it
thus: so long as what (in the non-environment) I was visually aware of remained
indistinguishable from what it once was, I could, e.g., by attending harder to what I was
presented with, investigate what visual properties it had. But our problem is precisely
to introduce such a notion of distinguishability. To do that as above, we need a prior fix
on what it would be for what I was investigating to be the visual features of what I had
already confronted. When would a discovery be one about how things visually were (for
me)? Indistinguishability was meant to help answer that.
       There is a related worry. The idea is that things could be as they were visually for
me (appearances, say, could have been just the same) in a certain range of possible cases
in which the scene was laid out differently—e.g., in which there was no lemon. Now,
there is sense to be made of the idea that things might be visually the same (for me) if I
were viewing the soap. It can be arranged for me to view the soap, and even to compare
it with the lemon. One can investigate, in an indefinite range of encounters, what its
visible features are, and which of them I can detect. In an inner world all this changes.
In another case I might see the soap, or merely seem to see the lemon, and have an
experience which, we will suppose for the moment, is of visual awareness of how
things visually then are for me; an experience of its, or, perhaps, things, seeming to me
visually as they then do. But, even allowing all that, there is surely no sense to be made
of comparing what I am then visually aware of with what I am aware of in the present
case. They cannot, for example, be set side by side.
      I may say (take it) that what I now confront visually is just the same as what I
once before confronted. But my so responding to the soap is not what it is for the soap
to be visually indistinguishable from the lemon. If we are to preserve, for the inner
world, the idea that I confront things being, visually, a certain way—that I am afforded
awareness of this, and may detect things being that way—then indistinguishability had

better not be defined in terms of my responses to what I confront in this case either.
       We cannot avail ourselves of the same means here as we can for understanding
the idea of two objects, or scenes, or other denizens of the environment, being visually
indistinguishable. What makes sense of that idea in the environmental case is
unavailable for the inner. We need to understand the notion here in some other way. I
have not yet said that this cannot be done.

4. Judgement: In perception (here seeing) I confront—am afforded—some (here visual)
awareness of some of the environment: some of what is there to be met with; some of
things being as they there are. I may respond to the awareness thus afforded by taking
things to be (visibly) thus and so. I am then right or wrong—I make out what I see for
what it is, or mistake it for something it is not—according to what I thus encounter.
Whether I am right is decided (entirely) by what is thus to be met with. Perception thus
furnishes the opportunity for a very special sort of response to experience. It furnishes a
paradigm of a very special sort of attitude—one eligible for evaluation as true or false.
Frege called this sort of attitude judging. One might also call it thinking so, or taking to be
       The hallmark of judgement is that it is liable to be correct or incorrect in a sense
in which this is decided (if at all) solely by things being as they are. If Frege judges that
the wind is howling outside his study, then he is right or wrong about this by virtue of
how things are outside his study. Its correctness depends solely on how things are. In a
particular case it depends on that in a particular way. How it thus depends—how it is
thus beholden to the way things are—depends on how he judges things. If it does so
depend in some determinate way, then there are two determinate, and exclusive, ways
for things to be. If things are one way, then they are as judged, so the judging is correct
in the relevant sense. If they are another, then things are not as judged, so the judging is
incorrect. With any possibility for judging a further one thus comes into view.
          How can we make sense of this idea of someone taking an attitude which
depends for correctness solely on how things are? To make such sense we will need, for
a start, to be able to distinguish the attitude thus taken—an attitude there is to take—
from that, or any, taking of it. The attitude thus taken must be identifiable independent
of that, or any other, taking of it. It must be an attitude there for the taking anyway;
something to be met with, so to speak, in thought. Such is a precondition for making
sense of one of judging’s most distinctive features: it is the taking of an attitude eligible
for a sort of correctness such that it would be thus correct (or incorrect) on any taking of
it iff it would be thus correct (or incorrect) on all. That is a way in which, as Frege insists

about his judgement that the wind is howling outside his study, the correctness of a
judgement depends solely on how things are, and (where there is judgement) is
independent of anyone’s (or everyone’s) attitudes towards that on which its correctness
thus turns. (Even if everyone should judge otherwise on the point in question.)
        This central feature of judgement distinguishes the relevant sort of correctness
(truth) from the sort of bad taste there may be in finding jellyfish a disgusting entrée
(assuming that bad taste is all this is). It also distinguishes truth from being justified. My
stance that it is snowing. as I awake in my light-proof chamber, may simply evince my
intrinsic pessimism; whereas your stance that it is snowing may be a response to your
seeing it to be. So you are justified and I am not. For all that, I thus think truly iff you do.
        The distinguishability of attitude taken from any given taking of it is what
entitles us to the idea of something identifiable (in things being as they are) for
correctness (truth) to turn on. If presupposed by the notion what is judged, it is equally so
by the idea of there being something to be judged about. There is such a thing as what is
judged just where there is a determinate way in which the holding of an attitude is
beholden for correctness to things being as they are; a determinate way in which things
being as they are matters to the right sort of correctness. There is a judgement that P
only where there is a question whether P; so only where there is a way, P, for things to
be in being as they are—a way they may thus be, or again, not. Where it is fixed how
things being as they are matters to correctness, one may give full credence to the idea
that it is how things are, and that alone, on which correctness (of the wanted sort) turns.
There is then no room for other factors—what may now be incidental accompaniments
of takings of the attitude—to make how things are matter in one way or another, so that
they, too, would play a role in deciding what such correctness might come to in a given
       In seeing I confront the visible—say, the pig wallowing. What is visible is what is
to be met with—inter alia, by looking. What is to be met with is something there is for
judgement to be beholden to. There is something to encounter in experience; there is,
correspondingly, something on which the correctness of a judgement may turn: one may
take himself to be encountering that. When we have got that far, we have already got to
the point of detaching the object of a judgement, so something to be judged, from any
particular judging of it. The idea of environmental judging is, thus far, unproblematic.
Where, if ever, someone encounters the non-environmental, we lose these materials for
making sense of judgement. Such an encounter in visual experience, if, perhaps, with
things being visually a certain way, is not with the visible. It is not with what one might
take oneself to be encountering. The encounterer alone could do that. If we are to make
room for the notion of judgement here—most notably, the needed independence of that
which is judged from some judging of it—that room will have to be made in some other
way. What might such an other way be? It is time to turn to Frege.

5. Inner Confrontations: If there is something it is for a rubber ball, or a towel, or a
sunset, to be red, it does not follow that there is something it is, or would be, for the E
flat above middle C, or the rate of recidivism in Ohio, to be red. Sense may yet need to
be given to those ideas. (Cf. Wittgenstein on the idea that a rose has teeth. Sense needs
to be given to that idea, which is not to say that this could not be done—perhaps, for
example, so that the rose’s teeth are in the cow’s mouth, which dungs it. (Investigations
IIxi, pp. 188-189)) Of a different, but parallel, case Frege tells us,

          The word ‘red’, if it does not indicate a property of things, but is
          meant to indicate marks of sense-impressions which are part of my
          consciousness, is applicable only in the domain of my
          consciousness. (1918, p. 67)

The words ‘is red’, in speaking of what they do, speak of a way for an environmental
thing (a thing to be met with) to be; a way for it to be coloured. For those words to speak
of a way for non-environmental things to be would be for them to speak of a new way
for things to be; a way not fixed by what they speak of in the environmental case. (Nor,
conversely, would what they said of a non-environmental thing fix what it was, if
anything, they said of an environmental thing.) To make them speak of the non-
environmental we would need to extend, or change, their sense. They would need new
sense. Conversely for words which, so far, made sense used only of the non-
environmental. What it is for an environmental item to be red does not yet fix what it
would be for a non-environmental item to be some certain way—red, say, or, for that
matter, coloured—as, conversely, what it would be for a non-environmental object of
awareness to be ‘red’, whatever that might be, does not fix what it would be for an
environmental item to be that. If visual experience affords me awareness of, say,
patches, or looks, which, along with their visual features, are visible only to me, our
grasp of what it would be for a ball to be coloured does not fix what it would be for
such things to be coloured—to be a red patch, say, or to look red. Or so says Frege.
       Why should ‘red’, applied to non-environmental items, require new sense? This
must turn on the absence, in the non-environmental case, of certain materials present in
the case of things to be met with; materials which, when present, may constitute, in
whole or part, something being red—that way we say it to be in deploying ‘red’ with its
usual sense. The most conspicuous such material is what I will call re-encounterability.
An item to be met with is what could, or would, be (or have been) met with in any of
indefinitely many episodes: for any meeting with it, there can be, or could have been,
another. It would be met with by anyone suitably placed in the environment. Such an
item may exhibit (instance) a re-encounterable phenomenon, and its instancing this may
be re-encounterable. So it is with an item’s being red. For any red item, there might
have been another. For any red item, its being red is a re-encounterable feature of the
environment. Where there is a re-encounterable phenomenon, there is room for the idea
of recognizing it, or (what would be) instances of it. To recognize is to get something
right; to locate something there to be located. Which makes room for the idea of
something to be judged about.
        The most fundamental effect of re-encounterability is that it permits making
sense of a ‘would’ distinct from ‘is’. If the ball is red, then that is something one would
encounter on a meeting with it, a remark transcending any particular meeting. It is,
similarly, something one would be afforded awareness of if suitably placed and
equipped. If an encounter is with the ball’s being red, then what one thus encounters
matters in systematic, identifiable, ways to what one would, or ought to, encounter in
other encounters. For one thing, a ball’s being red has an etiology, a constitution, and its
effects. A ball’s being red has a place (or places) in causal networks, or, more generally,
networks of factive meaning (networks in which such-and-such circumstance means
(entails) that such-and-such other also obtains). If a ball is red, then (barring ceteris
understandably non paribus) it would look purple in blue light. But for it to be so that
blue light would so effect that ball is for there to be something one would encounter on
encountering (under suitable conditions) the ball’s being red—an idea which itself
invokes the most fundamental effect of the re-encounterability of that ball’s being red
(of that which we judge so in so judging it). That effect is essential for the very idea of
fitting into networks of what would be.
        How something’s being red behaves (where it may have behaviour)—just how it
matters to what would be there to be encountered in such-and-such encounters with the
environment—depends, of course, on how the world is arranged. (Such dependency
itself essentially exploits the ‘would’ to which re-encounterability entitles us: there is
something that paint, or dye, or exposure to sunlight, would do to this ball.) But it also
depends on what it would be (for given purposes, perhaps) for such-and-such to be red
—what one would judge, in a given case, in so judging something. This dependency is
vivid in the contrast between one thing one might judge, encountering the sun sinking
over Hackney in judging it to be red with one thing one might judge in judging the ball
to be red. What one would encounter in then encountering the sun over Bristol need not

bear at all on what one judges in the first case. It is no part of what it is for something to
be red on the understanding of that on which one so judges the sun. Whereas what one
would encounter then encountering that Ball in Bristol (if one did) does bear on what
one judged of it in the envisioned second case—even if nature, and circumstance of
such encounter, hold lessons as to precisely how (the lessons they can hold depending
on just what is thus judged).
       Content and nature work in tandem here. What would, or ought to, be so of
something to be met with if it were as judged in a particular case of judging it to be red
is the joint work of the way things re-encounterably are, and of what being as thus
judged is to be taken to be—what one says of it in calling it red. So that just-used
‘would’ works to form the sense ‘red’ bears as applied to re-encounterable things
(denizens of our environment). And nature can have lessons only where this ‘would’ is
securely in place.
        I summarize. In the realm of what is to be met with, for something’s being as it is
to be its being red is for its being as it is to matter in a certain way—for there to be
something one would meet on meeting it. Its being red is something to be met with.
There is something suitable encounters with its so being would be like. And its being red
is the sort of thing which is liable to matter in ways nature provides. Stop signs are red
to catch the eye, as red does, even if, understandably, not always. Being red is the sort of
thing apt for fitting in networks of such mattering. What it would be for something
environmental to be red just is, then, for its being as it is to matter, and to be liable to
matter, as this would. This idea of mattering makes sense only where the ‘would’ which
re-encounterability permits does. That ‘would’ thus works essentially in forming the
sense ‘red’ bears as applied in the environmental case. Thus it is that ‘red’ calls for new
sense if it is to apply to what is not re-encounterable in our present subjectless sense.
Here something’s being red is not to matter as it does in the environment. (Precisely not
if CFs are to fill their role.) So there cannot be the same sense to the idea of what one
would encounter. What, then, is being red to come to here? This is not settled by what it
comes to in the environmental case.
       What might it be for things non-environmental to be red? One might hope to find
that in what remains of being red, where all contributions founded on what (re-
encounterably) would be drop out. One might, e.g., seize on this idea: a non-
environmental thing is red just in case it looks the same (in colour) as an environmental
red thing. But looking red, and looking the same colour as X, are environmental notions.
For something to look red is for there to be something one would encounter in meeting
it. That familiar notion of ‘would’ must be in place. So ‘looks red’ (etc.) here needs new
sense. Or, again, perhaps a non-environmental thing is red if it is indistinguishable in
colour from an environmental red thing. Someone encountering the non-environmental
might mistakenly take himself to be seeing something red, or even declare what he
experiences indistinguishable in colour from a red thing to be met with. But that is not
the notion of indistinguishability on which my soap is, or is not, indistinguishable from
a certain lemon. That notion is a matter of what would be there to meet with in an
encounter. The notion of indistinguishability on which it is object of encounters which
are indistinguishable is founded on that now familiar ‘would’. So ‘indistinguishable’
here also needs a new sense. Or, again, if someone knows red when he sees it, and takes
some non-environmental object of his awareness to be red, well, he ought to know. He
ought to know if he is able to tell. But the notion of ability invokes that same ‘would’ if
anything does. Someone who is able would get it right. So ability and related notions
again need new sense to apply in the case at hand. It is at least hard to see what
materials in play in the idea of something environmental being red remain over to
function as they stand when we move to the non-environmental.
       If what it was for a CF to be red was, in part, suitable fit into networks of what
would, re-encounterably, be, then CFs could not be proof against ringers. Just that drove
us to a non-environment. And just that now calls for new sense for ‘red’. But re-
encounterability plays a role in the very idea of a judgement, as that idea applies in the
environmental case. A re-encounterable phenomenon is one a thinker would meet up
with in such-and-such encounters with things. Where there is such a phenomenon,
there is the intelligible question when he would be meeting up with it. That is something
one may judge about. So where there is a re-encounterable phenomenon, there is,
correspondingly, a re-encounterable range of items to be met with in thought, namely,
judgements to the effect that that phenomenon is (or is not) present. When we enter a
domain in which ‘red’ calls for new sense, that fact signals that sense is going to have to
be made of the idea of something there to be judged, detachable from any judging of it
—that such-and-such is red*, where ‘red*’ bears the new sense that ‘red’ calls for in this
domain—in ways other than the ways available to us in the realm of the re-
encounterable. If ‘red’ requires new sense, so, too, it seems, will the very notion ‘that P’.
Where might such sense come from? That is our next problem.

6. Framework: The idea of judgement, we saw, presupposes making sense of the idea of
an attitude there is to take; of there occurring in a particular taking of an attitude a
particular way of standing towards things; an identifiable way there would have been to
stand towards things independent of (even without) this particular case of so standing.
In the special case of judgement, making such sense would be making sense of a
particular way of being beholden for correctness to how things are; so of something
identifiable in things being as they are, or might be, to which thus to be beholden. What
permits making this sense?
       An attitude there is to take is one there would be to take whether ever actually
taken. It would have been there to take anyway. An attitude corresponding to an open
sentence—taking something to be red, say—is one that could be taken, on different
occasions, towards different things. It is one there would be to be taken towards any
suitable thing even if, in fact, never taken. Further, if it might be taken towards G, then
it might have been even were G—and things in general—different, and without G being
as thus thought. One could think something red even were it not, even were it larger,
and even had Bush spoken a sentence. An attitude corresponding to a closed sentence—
say, that this scarf is red—is one there would be to take even if not taken, even were
things different, and even were they not as they are according to that attitude. One
might still have thought the scarf red even were it not.
        An attitude there is to take is an identifiable way of standing towards things
being as they are. If a judgement, it is a certain way of being beholden (hostage) for
correctness to the way things are, a way there would be anyway even were no one ever
so beholden. Such talk—say, of an attitude that the scarf is red—makes sense only given
sense for the notion same attitude applied in that case. Here same attitude is in the same
boat as same colour, or same look. Whether my violet singlet is the same colour as my
purple shorts is settled not just by what it is for there to be a colour, jointly with any
sense attaching to same as such. Whether two goths have the same look depends on how
finely we distinguish gothish looks. A thought to the effect that my singlet and shorts
are the same colour needs a particular sense for same colour if it is to be a sensible
thought, possibly true, or false, at all. I have not seen your scarf and do not think it red.
Whether I would have thought that had I seen it, or will do when I do see it—whether
my being as I then would, or will, be would be my thinking that—depends on what is to
count as same attitude when it comes to holding this one. We may speak sensibly of ‘this
one’ only given suitable sense for the corresponding notion of same attitude. What same
attitude is to come to here and what the attitude we speak of is meant to be are fixed
together or not at all, and not just by what same and attitude anyway mean.
       Here, now, is an analogy. For its first term, suppose it were said of a given
proposition—say, that that pig is wallowing—that it articulates into certain elements:
that pig, or the feature of being about it, and something wallowing, or the feature of
being about that. What could it mean to speak of elements here? Wittgenstein, in January
1930 (see Waismann, 1979, p. 90), had this to say. An element of a proposition is simply
an identifiable respect in which it is the same as some other range of propositions, an
identifiable something all these share in common. So it makes sense to speak of
something as an element of a proposition only insofar as that proposition is part of such
a range. If there were no such contrasting propositions, and if there were still such a
thing as a proposition made true or false according to whether that pig is wallowing,
that proposition would be unstructured. It might be more perspicuously written
        For the analogy’s second term, we might think of a thinker, at a time, as having a
posture towards things being as they are, this consisting simply in all his sensitivities,
affinities, aversions, propensities to disappointment, deception, gratification, triumph,
all his propensities to set, change, or hold, course. To identify an attitude there is to take
is to identify a way in which such a posture is liable to articulate. It is liable to be part of
someone’s posture towards things, say, that he takes that pig to be snuffling beneath an
oak. That would be an identifiable element in his standing as he does towards things.
And now the analogy. It makes sense to speak of such an element—of a posture so
articulating—only if there is a range of postures which it is part of. For the posture to
articulate so just is for there to be a determinate range of postures which would be the
same in a certain identifiable respect.
        So to identify an attitude there is to take is to identify a common element. It is
thus to identify a range of postures: those with just this in common. There are those
cases of someone standing towards things which are alike in that they are all cases of
taking this pig to wallow. That is one identifiable way for postures to be alike. In the
case at hand, a posture may be recognizable as belonging to this range. Someone may
manifestly take the pig to wallow; be exposed to disappointment and success in that
certain way. Where we can identify likenesses in people’s exposure to such
disappointment, etc., we thus, thereby, identify something there is to judge about, so a
range of judgements there for one to make. Conversely, for any judgement there for one
to make, there is a determinate likeness in such exposure, which would be there in some
determinate range of postures some thinker might take. That would have to be so even
if, as may be with postures towards a non-environment, the presence of the likeness is
inaccessible to anyone other than the owner of the posture harboring it. (the problem
about judgements about a non-environment is precisely whether there is such a thing as
the presence of thusly inaccessible likenesses.)
       There are now two points. First, someone’s engagement with the environment is,
or certainly can be, itself part of the environment—something to be met with. His
exposure to going right or wrong in his transactions with the environment, according to
how it is, can itself be to be met with—as one may meet with Pia’s and Sid’s
discomfiture as, arriving at de Quincy Hall for the eagerly awaited talk on tropes, they
find the doors locked. (The talk must have been on Thursday.) Here, then, we may look
in the environment for common elements in postures. One could be like Pia and Sid in
re the talk. One’s so being can be part of the environment.
       Second, the environment, so exploited, gains us right to that now familiar
‘would’. What would it be to be the same as Pia and Sid with respect to the following:
that there is a talk on tropes at 3 today? What would it be for someone’s posture to
contain that certain element: taking it that just this is so? If someone held that attitude,
then, while holding it, he would go wrong in his engagements, disappointment or
deception would loom, if such-and-such, not if such-and-such else. To be so exposed to
error just is what it would be to hold that attitude. But now we need to make sense of
the idea that someone would be holding that attitude in a range of circumstances in
which he would be to be encountered. The ‘would’ here is just that to which the
environment won us right. Where the attitude, towards the environment, is itself part of
the environment—as with thinking that the talk will be at 3—our right to the needed
‘would’ has been won. All is unproblematic.
       But right to this ‘would’ must be won somehow in the environmental case as
well if, there, confrontations with something of which only the confronter is afforded
awareness are to afford opportunity for judgement as to how that is. Where there is no
such thing as how things are according to a judgement, there is no such thing as a range
of cases which are the ones in which someone’s posture would have, as an element,
judging that. But, equally, where there is no such thing as the range of cases in which
someone would be judging thus and so, there is no such thing as what would be judged
in judging that. For that range of cases we need that ‘would’ which, so far, we see only
how an environment could afford us.
        It matters here that someone’s engagement with his non-environment is itself
part of a non-environment. Or, more soberly, this is so insofar as we conceive such
engagement as (afforded) awareness of what only that engager is eligible to be aware of,
where that something is a certain way, and where that engagement consists in a posture
in which that something is judged to be thus and so. If there is anything there for this
engager to judge in such a case, then for him to judge it would be for him to expose
himself to disappointment and triumph in a certain range of cases, to success and
failure in some non-environmental transactions. So it is to judge what he would be
judging in a certain range of cases, where this employs that now-familiar ‘would’. But
when, in a posture towards his non-environment, would he be exposed to
disappointment in just that way? Only he is eligible for access to that which is thus
liable to disappoint or gratify. So at most only he could recognize it, so recognize it as
what would disappoint, etc., in the case of a taking of just that attitude. So only he—if
anyone—could be in a position to answer this last crucial question. The problem is then
how there could be an answer. When would things in his non-environment be such as to
matter to his particular way of engaging with it (in a given case of doing so)? It is from
that that it is to be extracted when it would matter to a given way there is for him to
engage with his non-environment—a certain sameness in a certain range of cases
(postures towards it). One might suggest that the answer to this question is given by
what this person is prepared, or equipped, to recognize. But ‘recognize’ is an
environmental notion, which, like red, would need new sense to apply to the case in
        To summarize. The phenomenon thinking (accepting, taking it) that P must be at
least recurrable. It must be what would occur in a certain range of postures. Only then
does the idea think that P have sense. Where thinking that P is an encounterable stance
towards the encounterable, someone’s so thinking matters in a certain way to what one
would encounter on encountering him, just as something’s being red does to what one
meets with in an encounter with it. One encounters someone exposed to success and
failure, delivered by the encounterable in a certain way; someone prepared to treat the
world in a certain way—as serving up a certain encounterable thing. Further specifics of
what one would encounter—of how encounters with him are linked together by what
he thus would be, of how he thereby falls into networks of factive meaning—will
depend, in detail, on further circumstance, where, as with red, such dependencies again
rest on that now-familiar ‘would’. In any event, that ‘would’ works here, as with ‘red’,
to form the sense which ‘think that P’ bears, applied in such an environmental case.
Where thinking that P is not to be an encounterable way of standing towards the
encounterable, all this web of what is to be met with is stripped away. So think that P
requires new sense to apply here, just as red did. We are then left with the question how
sense is to be made here, as it must be, of thinking that P as a recurrable phenomenon. I
turn now to Frege’s way with these ideas.

7. Truth*: Frege’s treatment of red is the first term of an analogy. Here is the second:

          I said that the word ‘red’ would only be applicable in the domain of
          my consciousness if it did not cite a property of things, but only
          indicated certain features of my sense impressions. So, too, if the
          words ‘true’ and ‘false’, as I understand them, didn’t concern
          something I am not the bearer of, but were fixed so as to
          characterize, somehow or other, contents of my consciousness, they
          would be applicable only in the domain of my consciousness. Thus

          would truth be limited to the contents of my consciousness, and it
          would remain doubtful whether anything similar occurred in the
          consciousness of another. (1918 pp. 68-69)

Frege tells us here that if a thought needed a bearer, then for the word ‘true’ to apply to
it, that word would need new sense, not fixed yet by its sense as applied to thought
which needs no bearer—just as ‘red’ would need sense not yet fixed in, or by, its
application to environmental objects, if it were to apply to what needed a bearer (in
Frege’s terms, an idea): something to be met with only in a certain non-environment.
The words ‘true’ and ‘false’, with a sense on which they applied to thoughts that needed
a bearer would not apply to thoughts to be met with. And vice-versa.
       For a thought (something one might judge) to need a bearer would be for it to be,
not to be met with (in thought) in our intentionally subject-less sense, but to be met with
only in my (or so-and-so’s) thought. There would be no sense in the idea of it to be met
with by, or in the thought of, any other thinker. To think (judge) such-and-such is to be
beholden to the world for correctness (so exposed to error) in a particular way. A
thought which needed me as its bearer would be one only I could think, or so much as
entertain, or grasp. Only I could be beholden, exposed, in that particular way. If the
thought were that things are such-and-such way, whether things were that way could
matter only to me, or at least only to my thought, and my exposure to error. So but for
me, there would simply be no such thing one might think. Frege tells us of such a
thought that the words ‘true’ and ‘false’, in their usual sense, would not apply to it.
        Truth began life here as part of a package. It was a particular kind of correctness
(contrasting, e.g., with being justified), where explaining what kind of correctness that is
and explaining what special sort of attitude judgement is are one and the same
enterprise. To be a judgement just is to be subject to that sort of correctness. What Frege
tells us here is thus that to speak of thoughts (judgeable things) which require bearers is
to sunder this package. For one would need new sense for that special sort of
correctness which is judgement’s hallmark—a new notion of it. What something’s being
red would be in the environmental case does not tell us at all what this would be in the
non-environmental case. In the non-environmental case, it could not be the same thing
at all—a matter of mattering in certain determinate ways. Similarly, Frege tells us, for
truth. If so, one might suspect, to introduce a new notion of it, if this could be done,
would be to retract what one had said as to what it would be for an attitude to be a
judgement. But then, in speaking of the attitudes to which this new notion would apply,
we would not be speaking of judgements (thoughts). ‘Judgements’, perhaps, but only

with a new sense attaching to that word. So we may see Frege as being a bit laconic
here, as if, seeing the Ching vase smash on the slate floor, one opines that it will never
be quite the same again.
        Before we worry too much, though, for our present purpose, we need to see that
a thought about a non-environment—a thought about some object only of my
awareness that it is thus and so—would be a thought that needs a bearer in the present
sense. We may start from the point that to be a thought is to have a certain generality. It
is not just that things being as they are is, or is not, things being as that thought has
them. If things were, or had been thus, or, again, so, that would be things being the way
they are thus thought to be. So, as already noted, for any thought there is an indefinitely
extensive range of cases in which things being as they were would be things being the
way they are thus thought to be. For a thought about the environment, things being as
they would be in a case within the range may be something to be met with. For a
thought about my non-environment, things being as they would be in a case within the
range would be, in at least indefinitely many instances, something only I could meet
with. Only I could be acquainted with a case within the range. So only I could think of it
that this is a case of things being the way in question. To grasp what it is that is so
according to the thought would be, inter alia, to grasp, or be able to grasp, of what
would be things being that way (and of what would not) that this is being the way in
question, this not. But such (singular) thoughts are ones available only to me. So only I
could grasp what the generality of this thought was. So only I could grasp it. Which is
just to say that such a thought would have, and require, me as its bearer.
       The initial hope (for such things as CFs) was that what I encounter in my inner
world may be (some of) those very same ways that what is to be encountered in the
environment may be, and I may take it to be, or not, those ways. The thoughts I would
thus think about the (my) non-environmental would be (the hope was) ones that did not
need a bearer. For, though you can never see whether I am right or wrong, you can
grasp what it is I am thinking of that which only I encounter. The point of the first leg of
Frege’s argument (section 5) was to dash those hopes. To grasp what it is I was thinking
in thinking something environmental ‘red’, you would have to grasp what new sense I
attached to ‘red’. Reflecting on what one would grasp in grasping the generality of the
thoughts I thus think, one can see why grasping this new sense would be beyond your
reach; so why the hopes here should be dashed. If there were a way which both
environmental things and objects of my non-environmental encounters might be, there
would be a range of cases in which things being as they are would be there being that
way, where you could think these to be such cases—the environmental ones—and a
range such cases which you could not think to be such cases—the ones where objects of

my non-environmental encounters were the relevant way. The range of which you
could think would not determine what the range of which you cannot think should be.
What you can grasp as to what the generality of such a thought would be leaves
undetermined what its generality in fact would be. So you cannot grasp the thought.
This is a way of appreciating just how right Frege was about ‘red’. It now means:
thoughts about a non-environment do need a bearer.
        Frege tells us: what it would be for a thought about what is to be met with to be
true does not fix what it would be for a thought that needs a bearer to be true. A
thought about what is not to be met with (in our present sense) would be one case of a
thought which needs a bearer. So a thought about a thought about what is not to be met
with, since a thought about what is not to be met with (in thought) would need a bearer.
That would include thoughts as to its correctness, and thoughts as to just when, or
where, it is, or would be, thought. If it is a potential common element in postures
towards a non-environment, that it is, and where it is present, are matters on which only
the thinker who bears the thought could so much as have a view. Any such thought
could be called ‘true’ or ‘false’ (if Frege is right) only if ‘true’ then bore new sense. It
would be more perspicuous to speak of such thoughts as true*, or false*. What one
would say of it is not fixed at all by what one says of a thought about what is to be met
with in calling it true. (Mathematical facts, though not perceivable, are to be met with,
e.g., in re-encounterable proofs of them.) This amounts to saying that being true, like
being red, is an environmental notion. One might still want to resist that idea. I will take
up such resistance later. For the moment, though, suppose that the idea is right.
        If this idea is right, then the idea of judgements as to how things are in an inner
world, that there are things to be judged as to which ways things not to be met with are,
is in clear trouble. Judgement is precisely that sort of attitude eligible for a certain sort of
correctness. We understand what the sort is in the environmental case: truth. This does
not tell us what it would be in a non-environmental case. So what judgement would be
in such a case must be fixed by a new notion of correctness, true*. A judgement as to the
non-environmental is to be an attitude eligible for being true*.
       Can we introduce this notion? To introduce (make sense of) any notion is to fix
(adequately) what it would be for it to be true of something, or when it would be. So
what needs fixing here is what it would be for true* to be true of something—
specifically, of something not to be met with in thought, neither thinkable, nor
graspable, except, at most, by one thinker. Which, as we have seen, is what a judgement
about a thinker’s non-environment would be. ‘True’, if an environmental notion, would
not apply to what ‘true*’ thus did. So nor would it apply to such things being true*, nor
to a thought (if there were one) that something was true*, neither of which would be
something to be met with. There is nothing it could be for it to be true that such a thing
was true*. So there could be no fixing what this would be. There is, then, no such thing
as introducing, or making sense of, the (supposed) notion true*. Nothing could count as
doing that, given what making sense is, on its present understanding. The notion true
cannot be extended in the envisioned way. So a would-be judgemet about one’s non-
environment that it was thus and so could not be liable to that sort of correctness that
identifies an attitude as judgement: not to that correcteness which truth is, nor to any
suitable substitute. Truth allows for no such substitutes. So there are no such
judgements. There are no such ways for a non-environment to be judged to be.
        Must the notion true figure in the making sense of any notion? Suppose we want
to make sense of something being red*. Would it not do just to say what it would be for
something to be red*, or when something would be that? Truth need not be mentioned.
But truth need not be mentioned to figure in thought. It is what thought aims at. There is
such a thing as something’s being red* just where there is such a thing as the range of
cases in which something’s being as it was would be its being red*. That is just the
range of cases in which something would be as judged in judging it red*; thus, in which
the correctness of such a judgement would be decided solely by things being as they
are, in a way such that the judgement would be true. Where we can make the right sense
of being red*—of something’s being as it was being what was needed for its being red*—
we can make equal sense of the idea of its being true that the thing is red*; and vice-
versa. For ‘red*’ we may substitute any way for things to be, notably, the supposed
true*. We cannot make sense of its being true that something is true*. So we cannot make
sense of something being true*, full stop.
       What it would be for something to be red is fixed just so far as it is fixed in what
range of cases something’s being as it is would be its being red. An understanding of
what it would be for something to be red is formed in part by what one is prepared to
recognize as to what, specifically, would, and what would not, count as something’s
being red; so by singular thoughts to the effect that this being as it is would so count. So
it is limited by what singular thoughts are thinkable (by a possessor of that
understanding). Our notion of being red—that notion on which we are positioned to
discuss such things—is thus limited by the singular thoughts there are for us to meet
with; thus to such thoughts which need no bearer. So it ranges only over cases in which
something’s being as it is, and, in so being, being red, is something to be met with. What
belongs to that range of cases of something’s being red leaves it open what would
belong to some other range—some range of cases of things being unreëncounterably,
and unthinkably (bracketing one thinker) so. If there are any such cases, then any range
of them, appended to what our understanding of being red does determine, would

capture some generality. None of these, as opposed to the others, earns the status what it
would be for something to be red in such a case. For no such status is fixed by the
understanding being red in fact bears. There is, thus, no such thing as something thus
unreëncounterable being red. (No given generality uniquely chooses any other.)
       Mutatis mutandis for being true. Our understanding of being true extends no
farther than there are thoughts to be met with to the effect that such-and-such is true.
The range of cases this fixes does not extend to cases of ‘thoughts’ not to be met with in
thought (as a thought of something not to be met with that it was thus and so would
be). So, by the argument above, there is no such thing as what it would be for such an
attitude to be true. Nor does truth admit of substitutes. For it admits of no way of
introducing one. The last leg of Frege’s argument brings us to this point.
        I have supposed throughout that truth is an environmental notion. It applies only
to thoughts which do not need a bearer: if that thought is that such-and-such, one need
not be so-and-so to think that so.) This combines with the idea that a thought about
something non-environmental would need a bearer to deliver this result: the idea of a
judgement about the non-environmental has no sense. But one might resist the idea that
truth is an environmental notion. Frege tells us:

          The meaning (Bedeutung) of the word ‘true’ is unfolded in the laws
          of being true. (1918., p. 59)

Being true is what those laws (the laws of standard logic) thus unfold. Such laws are
purely formal. If they exhaust truth’s content, then so is truth. So, the thought would go,
nothing in it could demand application only to the environmental.
       This, though, misunderstands both Frege and truth. Frege’s laws of being true
chart (mirror) connections between thoughts; specifically, inferential, notably truth-
preserving ones. But the idea of truth begins with a thought about the relation of an
attitude to its object—of a representation to that which it represents as some way or
another. Such relations, though part of truth, are not the inferential ones those laws
mirror. The thought was that judgement is that attitude which is liable to a certain kind
of correctness, which may be settled, and if so, is settled solely, by things being as they
are. The correctness (of this sort) of a judgement that the wind is howling outside
Frege’s study is settled solely by howling wind, or the absence thereof. The way in
which meteorological conditions settle that sort of correctness for that attitude (that the
wind is howling) is one way in which the right sort of correctness may be settled; one

thing that would count as settling that. Truth just is that sort of correctness which is at
issue here. So each judgement represents a particular way in which truth might be
settled. Each judgement might thus be seen as a small, bit-wise, unfolding of the content
of the notion true (of what being true is).
       That truth is an environmental notion flows from this fact: for there to be
something truth-eligible—a thought that P—is for there to be a common element in
(potential) postures towards things being as they are. To which we need only add points
already made (themselves mimicking points about being red). Where that P is a
common element in encounterable postures towards the encounterable, the
phenomenon of someone thinking that P is to be met with. It is re-encounterable in
postures held on various occasions, by a thinker, towards what is itself re-encounterable.
Thinking that P is, grammatically, a state. Which is to say: if someone thinks that P, then
(where that is an encounterable stance towards the encounterable) his doing so is
something to be met with in encounters with him. What one would meet with on one
such encounter is thus connected systematically to what one would meet with on
another. (As with being red, details of what one would meet with are matters on which
circumstance may contain understandable lessons for us.) For someone to think that P is
for things being as they are to matter in a certain way to his dealings with things being
as they are; for him to be exposed, in a particular way, to error and (or) vindication—a
way which makes this form of rubric fit: ‘Whether P—that is what matters.’
        In this domain of the re-encounterable, there is a certain sense to be made of the
idea of error (or vindication) to which someone is thus exposed in thinking that P. If he
thought this, and things were re-encounterably thus, that would be a case of error; if re-
encounterably thus, that would be a case of vindication. For him to be in error, or
vindicated, is, here, intrinsically a re-encounterable feature of things being as they are.
Re-encounterability, as usual, entitles us to a certain ‘would’. In terms of it we can make
sense of the idea, when he would be in error (vindicated). He would be in a certain range
of re-encounterable eventualities. Entitlement to such a range (and nothing short of it)
entitles us to the idea of a particular generality to what he thinks—the sort of generality
there must be for there to be (genuine, non-degenerate) representation-as-so at all.
       A re-encounterable stance entitles us to speak of when its holder would be in
error; a stance towards the re-encounterable entitles us to an idea of being in error on
which this is, intrinsically, a re-encounterable phenomenon. One would encounter him
being thus in error in an indefinitely extensive range of meetings with him. When
someone would be in error, on this notion of error, is what makes for that generality
intrinsic to a particular way for things to be—that P; that sort of generality is what
makes for thinking something so at all. But this notion of when someone would be in
error (vindicated) is unavailable for thoughts that need a bearer. Someone’s thinking
such a thought is not re-encounterable, since not to be met with at all. So there is not
that route to a ‘would’ with which to make sense of the idea: if he thought that, and
things were thus, then he would be in error. So there is not that route to entitlement to
the idea that he does think something with a specific generality such as to make for
thinking something so at all. The problem is particularly vivid in the case where his
stance—a would-be thought that P—is towards what is not re-encounterable (as a
stance towards a CF would be). For here being in error cannot be what it is in the case of
what is re-encounterable. It cannot be embedded systematically in webs of ways one
encounter with it matters, or would matter, to others. Being in error as to something’s
being ‘red’, where its so being is not something to be met with, calls for new sense for
‘error’ just as something’s being unre-encounterably red calls for new sense for ‘red’.
       Eligibility for truth goes with eligibility for error. Our grasp of that generality
which identifies error, and that which identifies truth—of what range of cases would be
ones of error, or of something being true—extends as far as our ability to think, of a case
in the range, that it is such a case. So, as just elaborated, it extends just as far as re-
encounterable postures towards the re-encounterable, and no farther. The range of such
cases of something being an error, and of something being true, leaves it open what the
range is to be of cases of stances towards a non-environment being in error, or true.
What error comes to where being one is something re-encounterable does not tell us
what it would come to where being one is not. (How could it?) So, too, for truth. The
above merely elaborates the point. Thus it is that truth is an environmental notion.
        ‘How things to be met with are’ is pleonastic. ‘How things are’ would speak of
just the same. For something to be true is for it to be vindicated by things being as they
are. That, and only that, is to decide truth. Pleonastically put, for something to be true is
for it to be vindicated by things to be met with being as they are. Such is the lesson of
this section.

8. Varieties of Attitude: We do have inner lives. There is something it is like to be me,
something it is like to experience what I do (on an occasion). On occasion I respond to
my inner life. Such responses may be part of what is to be met with, as when I say, ‘I am
in a fog today.’ Insofar as they are to be met with they may play important, even,
sometimes, constitutive, roles in our mental lives. But if they are responses to something
(as a judgement would be a response to that which is thus judged thus and so), their
standing as they do towards what they are thus to is not something to be met with. Or it
is not insofar as inner life is not something to be met with. Which means that, whatever

these responses are, they cannot be judgement. Which does in disjunctivism’s target, (H)
CF. In an experience of perceiving (e.g., seeing) things, we do not encounter what, on
the one hand, there could be to be encountered anyway, regardless of the layout of the
scene in view (thus, something not to be met with) and something which is, or not,
determinate ways it may be judged to be. Perception is no other than an encounter,
more or less clear, detailed, or, again, distorted, with what is to be met with—its clarity,
etc., again being part of what is to be met with.
      So it is if judgement, and truth, are what I have made them out to be. But the
present view of judgement can seem beyond the pale. Using ’inner sense’ for a mode of
awareness whose objects are non-environmental, John McDowell has said,

          If we can make out that judgements of “inner sense” are about
          anything, it has to be that they are about impressions of “inner
          sense” themselves, not about something independent of which the
          impressions constitute awareness.
                 This is a very difficult area. Wittgenstein himself sometimes
          seems to betray an understandable wish to duck the difficulties.
          What I have in mind here is the fact that he sometimes seems to toy
          with denying that self-ascriptions of sensations are assertions,
          articulation of judgements about states of affairs at all. (1994, p. 22)

And McDowell calls such ‘ducking of difficulties’ a cop-out. But that is to miss two
things: first, what a very special attitude judging is; and, second, how special the sort of
case is where that attitude is unavailable.
       McDowell himself just misses locating the right point when he says,

          In ancient scepticism, the notion of truth is restricted to how things
          are … in the world about us, so that how things seem to us is not
          envisaged as something there might be truth about … whereas
          Descartes extends the range of truth and knowability to the
          appearances on the basis of which we naively think we know about
          the ordinary world. In effect, Descartes recognizes how things seem
          to a subject as a case of how things are; and the ancient sceptics’
          concession that appearances are not open to question is transmuted
          into the idea of a range of facts infallibly knowable by the subject

           involved in them. (1986/1998, p. 239)

Crediting Miles Burnyeat for the insight, McDowell presents this as the bottom of the
garden path to Descartes’ ruin: his irrecoverable loss of an environment.
        McDowell is very nearly right here. But he conflates two notions of appearing, or
seeming. Perhaps just that conflation started Descartes on his road to ruin. Appearance
on the basis of which we judge about the world would be features of what we perceive,
or perceptually experience. The lemon appears to be rotting, or anyway its appearance
suggests so. Appearances had, anyway, better be, for this purpose, in that to which, in
affording awareness of it, experience affords the opportunity for us to respond. That is a
perfectly good notion of appearance. But if things seem to me to be a certain way—it
seems to me, say, that there is a cliff yonder—that is all attitude, on the most natural
reading of this locution. It is my response to what I am presented with; to that on which
I base the setting of my course. And it is attitude that the ancient sceptics had in mind.
       For Sextus et al, there was an attitude—a response—one could have towards
things which simply was not in the business of being beholden for correctness to how
things are. It does not aim for that kind of success or failure. There is simply how things
now impress me, where, no matter how things in fact are, I was, anyway, so impressed.
Such an attitude, the ancients took it, does not threaten tranquility as judgement would.
But it can be a valuable attitude. Through the kindness of nature, my natural
inclinations, pursuant to being so impressed, may be, as a rule, my best bet for getting
along well in the world. It is, as a rule, rational, or at least not irrational, to follow them.
Things impress me as though there were a cliff two steps away. My natural inclination is
to stop. More often than not, my inclination will be life-preserving. Such an attitude, its
seeming to me that thus and so, cannot, of course, be false, since it cannot be true either.
There is nothing on which its truth or falsity depends.
       Impressed in the wrong way by the fact that a seeming-to-me cannot be false, one
might try to transmute this attitude into judgement, preserving that immunity to
falsehood. Such would make for a judgement that was infallibly correct. Which, of
course, would be a road to ruin. But this would be to misread the ancients, who, in fact,
adumbrated Frege, but with a different spin. A judgement must be beholden to the
world as not every attitude is or could be. Seemings-to-me are not. As to spin, the
ancients cherished the domain of attitudes not beholden, while Frege sought the
domain of attitudes which were. But the distinction was of first importance to both. And
Frege’s point was that to win a domain of attitudes so beholden, I must first win an
environment. Judging is, intrinsically, an environmental phenomenon.

       For the second point we can again turn to Frege. Describing an ill patient in pain
Frege says,

          The patient who has a pain is the bearer of this pain … the doctor
          who treats him, who thinks about the cause of this pain, is not a
          bearer of the pain. … The patient’s pain may correspond to an image
          in the doctor’s consciousness; but this is not the pain, and not that
          which the doctor is concerned to remove. Perhaps the doctor
          consults another. Then we need to distinguish: first, the pain, whose
          bearer is the patient; second, the first doctor’s image of it, third the
          second doctor’s image of it. This image belongs, of course, to the
          contents of the second doctor’s consciousness, but is not the object
          of his thought, though perhaps an aid to that thought, as a symbol
          might be. Both doctors have as common object [of thought] the
          patient’s pain, whose bearer they are not. One can see from this that
          not only a thing, but also an idea, can be the common object of
          thought of people who do not have that idea. (1918, p. 73)

The patient is the one in pain. Only he has the pain. Only he undergoes that experience.
But (Frege’s point is) his having the pain may be part of the environment: something to
be met with (in space), e.g., by the two doctors; something thus, and thereby, to be
judged about. His being in pain is to be met with in space; judgements as to his pain are
thus to be met with in thought. The patient’s attitudes towards his pain may be to be
met with. But they need not be judgements as to the features of that which is not to be
met with, and which he encounters in being in pain. There are other ways for these
attitudes of his to relate to his being in pain. They need not be judgements at all.
        There is a general moral here for mental life. Wherever someone is,
psychologically, a certain way, his so being is a feature of the environment. It is
something to be met with, not merely something to be met with by the subject. It is the
sort of thing that may be observable, or ascertainable, where these are environmental
notions. That is the core point Ryle meant to insist on. It is Frege who showed us why
that might be right. Someone’s attitudes towards his being, psychologically, as he is, or
towards his undergoing, or feeling, sensing, etc., what he does in so being, may be an
important part of what is to be met with in his being, psychologically, thus and so. The
sort of role such reactions to himself, or to his experience, plays in his so being depends
very much on the case in hand. But there is a wide range of roles those reactions could

not play if they were judgements as to how things were with him. It is important that
there are other things for such attitudes to be.
       Where someone’s being thus and so is part of the environment, his being so may
be something he encounters, or can do, in a way that no one else can. Insofar as it is that
—something environmental—which he thus encounters, he encounters something he
can judge about. Some of our attitudes towards ourselves may sometimes correctly be so
understood. I may encounter myself sitting, or speeding up as I walk across the quad
(late again). I thus encounter something there is for me to judge about. (‘I have started
to walk very fast.’) I do not mean here to set limits to what can be so understood. I
merely point to the importance of understanding some of our attitudes towards
ourselves otherwise—an importance I can here no more than gesture at.
       There is, notably, the case of pain. Pain is, notoriously, the sort of thing one minds
(even if one would welcome it, administered by a lover), the sort of thing which, if
severe enough, one would find awful. How one minds one’s pain may be integral to its
being the sort of pain it is. When the patient says, ‘It is becoming unbearable’, that may
be, in the right surroundings, expression, not of canny judgement, nor acuity in
observation, but rather of a response in which its being unbearable pain he experiences
(in part) consists.
       Or, again, walking home, I say to you, ‘I think there is enough beer at home to
last the match.’ I express an attitude towards my refrigerator, which is,
unproblematically, judgement. In saying what I think, I may also, sometimes, for some
purposes, be viewable as manifesting an attitude towards my being as I am. Opening
the refrigerator door, I see that it is empty. I say, with certitude (surprise and regret),
‘There is no beer.’ My certitude manifests an attitude. That attitude could, for some
purposes, be described this way: the world has so impressed itself on me that I could
not but take it that there is no beer; thinking that there is some is not an option open to
me. That is an attitude about myself. But there is little reason to think it is judgement
either that I do take it that there is no beer, or that I am certain. To have that attitude is
for me to be certain on the point in question.
        Or, again, I, knowing what chocolate tastes like, generally able to detect
undertones of that taste in things, tasting something which, uncontroversially, does not
taste like chocolate, say, ‘For a moment, it tasted like chocolate to me’—not that I take
myself to be tasting a substance which in fact has a chocolate taste, but just that I had a
brief sensation as of chocolate, or, briefly, that is how it impressed me. The Pyrrhonian
model suggests itself here. For me to be briefly so impressed, and for me to have had
that brief sensation, are at least not far from being one. Which is to say that I am not

judging as to how some brief sensation was.
       Investigating, in detail, the particular ways in which, in particular cases, the
attitudes we take relate to what we are responding to seems to me a fruitful approach to
grasping, and mapping out, the shape of our minds. Frege’s case for disjunctivism
points the way (though no more than that) in the case of perceptual experience. But
there is still a source of resistance to looking at things in this way. Gareth Evans, and
others, have stressed that if I say of myself that I am such-and-such environmental way
—that I think there is beer, that I have just experienced a red flash, that the print on the
page looks all blurry to me—then I must be saying precisely the same about myself as
you would say about me in saying me to be doing, or undergoing, those things. And
that idea has sometimes been read this way: If you say that things look blurry to me,
you express a judgement; so if I say things look blurry to me, I must be expressing one
too—my judgement is true just in case yours is. If one is tempted by that reading, one
will do well to heed Wittgenstein:

          ‘But surely ‘I believed’ must tell of just the same thing in the past as
          ‘I believe’ in the present!’—Surely √-1 must mean just the same in
          relation to -1 as √1 means in relation to 1! This means nothing at all.
          (1953, p. 162)

If we are to speak of ‘√’ as making a constant contribution to what is said in using it,
then we must be able to say that it makes the same contribution to what ‘√-1’ speaks of
as it does to what ‘√1’ does—if the former expression speaks of anything. So, if it has
been fixed, adequately, what ‘√-1’ does speak of, we will then be able to say this. But in
thus fixing what it speaks of, we will be fixing something as to what making the same
contribution is to be; something which was not fixed in advance of laying down what
‘√-1’ is to speak of. Similarly, ‘to think there is beer’ must make a uniform contribution
on all occurrences, which is not to say what that contribution must be. If you say ‘He
thinks there is beer’, you express a judgement about me. If I say, ‘I think there is beer’, I
may be said to speak of myself as the same way you judged me to be. It does not follow
that I express a judgement to that effect. The generality constraint, whatever its other
merits and demerits, should not be used as a club to beat us into thinking otherwise.
       Frege set himself consciously and with determination against a view of
perception which was pervasive in the 19th century, and much of the last, and which, I
have tried to show, is still operative in the view the rejection of which just is
disjunctivism. In its full traditional form, it has a very odd feature. It begins with the

question what we see (hear, etc.), and ends with, as answer, objects of awareness which
could not possibly be objects of sight (or etc.) As Frege puts it,

             Ideas cannot be seen, or felt, neither smelled nor tasted, nor heard.
           I take a walk with a companion. I see a green meadow; I have
           thereby a sense-impression of green. I have it, I do not see it. (1918,
           p. 67)

Frege saw that he needed an environment, and thus perception, and not merely
sensation, if there was to be something for logic to be about. Not that logic applies only
to environmental thoughts. But rather, only given an environment for thinkers can the
notion of judgement gain a foothold. The position disjunctivism opposes need not go so
far as to propose as objects of perception what could not be that—what does not belong
to an environment. But in positing perceptual experiences outside of an environment it
strays beyond the bounds of judgement. The oddity it thus collapses into entirely
parallels that strange idea of seeing what could not be in sight.

Charles Travis
King’s College London
(for Philosophical Topics, Fall 2005)


To top