Monday, January 4, 2010

Indeterminate Determinables in Reality, Belief, and Experience

Here are three theses concerning determinates, determinables, and beliefs and experiences thereof:

  1. There are instances of determinables that aren't instances of any of that determinable's determinates.
  2. There are beliefs that a determinable is instantiated that aren't beliefs about any of that determinable's determinates being instantiated.
  3. There are perceptual experiences of a determinable being instantiated that aren't experiences of any of that determinable's determinates being instantiated.
Remarks:

R1. If there were any examples of 1, one might be a shape that was polygonal without being any particular kind of polygon. I'm guessing 1 is widely held to be false. If anyone has advocated the truth of something like 1 in print, I'd love to hear about it.

R2. I'm guessing that 2 is widely held to be true. I believe that there's a car parked outside that's painted a color, but there's no particular color that I believe it to be painted.

R3. Of 1-3, is 3 the most controversial? I tend to go for 3, but I had a couple of conversations recently with some strongly anti-3 philosophers. If anyone knows of an argument, in print, that, for instance, something can't be seen to be green without being seen to be some determinate shade of green, I'd love to hear about it.