RESPONSE TO PROFESSOR PUTNAM

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  • RESPONSE TO PROFESSOR PUTNAM

    WILLIAM H. HYDE

    Being a f i r m b e l i e v e r i n t h e l a w of d iminish ing r e t u r n s on j o u r n a l d i s - c u s s i o n s and r e j o i n d e r s , l e t me pass over Putnam's somewhat u n f r i e n d l y ac- c u s a t i o n s of g e n e r a l misunderstanding on my p a r t and focus only on the one i s s u e where Putnam f i n d s genuine d isagreement . l defense t h a t t h e p o i n t of t h e earlier arguments i n t h e paper was t o show how Putnam's p o s i t i o n l e a d s t o t h e r a i s i n g of t h a t i s s u e a s t h e issue t h a t must be r a i s e d i f w e a r e t o d e a l w i t h Empir ical Realism a s a p p l i e d t o o ther minds.)

    (But I w i l l s a y i n my

    The p o i n t of t h e l a t t e r p o r t i o n of my d i s c u s s i o n w a s t o a s k : K l i a t would i t be l i k e t o d i s c o v e r t h a t COhd a person i n another t r i b e has i s p u h , when t h a t person i s behaving i n ways s i g n i f i c a n t l y o t h e r than our s tandard pain- behaving ways? Ply claim w a s : Discovering t h i s would be cont ingent upon connect ing t h e anomolous behavior (my example w a s " l e t t i n g out a long sigh") wi th some s u b s e t of pa in- re la ted concepts such as sympathizing, comfort ing, e t c . My f u r t h e r c la im was t h a t our confidence i n appea l ing t o Z\I&~C? concepts w i l l i n t u r n , u l t i m a t e l y , be cont ingent upon t y i n g them t o t h e r e l e v a n t s o r t s of behavior . I f t h e r e a r e f u r t h e r behaviora l o d d i t i e s hehe, i f s tandard "comforting" behavior involves , say , pushing and shoving, i f s tandard "sympathizing" behavior involves , say , g i g g l i n g , then w e s h a l l j u s t have t o conclude: "We cannot ' f i n d our f e e t ' w i t h t h e s e people ," t o borrow a catchy phrase from W i t t g e n s t e i n . And my argument ( t h e non-exis tent one, on Putnam's r e a d i n g ) was: t h e sense i n which we cannot ( i n a l o g i c a l sense) "f ind our f e e t " w i t h such people i s t h e s e n s e i n which t h e concepts i n q u e s t i o n a r e l o g i c a l l y t i e d t o behavior "not i n d i v i d u a l l y b u t . . . as a c o r p o r a t e body."

    Putnam c la ims t h a t t h i s is not so . He s u g g e s t s a n a l t e r n a t i v e p i c t u r e of what i t would be l i k e t o d i s c o v e r t h a t L U ~ t h e oddly behaving person i n t h e odd t r i b e w a s s u f f e r i n g from was i n f a c t pa in . Roughly, w e f i n d o u t from s c i e n c e what p a i n is , and then i n q u i r e whether t h e oddly behaving person i n f a c t has what s c i e n c e says he must have i f he i s i n f a c t i n pa in . And i f t h i s , & t h e c o r r e c t model of what i t would be l i k e t o d i s c o v e r (when t h e normal methods f a i l u s ) t h a t a n oddly behaving person i n an odd t r i b e was i n f a c t s u f f e r i n g p a i n , t h e n h i s l t h e i r behavior a s s o c i a t e d wi th what they c a l l "pain", h i s / t h e i r behavior a s s o c i a t e d w i t h what they c a l l "sympathizing", h i s l t h e i r behavior a s s o c i a t e d w i t h what they ca l l "comforting", etc. more o r less anyth ing you p l e a s e .

    can be

    L e t us g r a n t then , f o r t h e sake of argument, s c i e n t i f i c advances h e r e and L e t us assume t h a t s c i e n c e h a s discovered see how t h i s might work c o n c r e t e l y .

    a c e r t a i n micro-s ta te of t h e c e r e b r a l c o r t e x , c a l l i f M-S1, which has a

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    WILLIAM H . HYDE

    comple t e b i l a t e r a l c o r r e l a t i o n w i t h p a i n - b e h a v i o r . be p a i n , what "pain" names o r means.2 And p e o p l e w i l l b e i n p a i n j u s t i n case N-S1 i s p r e s e n t i n t h e c e r e b r a l c o r t e x , j u s t i n case t h a t v e r y t h i n g , t h e p a i n i t s e l f , as d i s t i n c t f rom i t s outward " s i g n s , " i s p r e s e n t . L e t u s a l s o assume t h a t s c i e n c e h a s made t h e sanie headway w i t h , s a y , joy--"joy" h a s been d i s c o v e r e d t o name a d i f f e r e n t m i c r o - s t a t e , c a l l i t If-Sz. P e o p l e are j o y f u l j u s t i n case M-SZ i s p r e s e n t i n t h e c e r e b r a l c o r t e x , j u s t i n case t h a t v e r y t h i n g , t h e j o y i t s e l f , a s d i s t i n c t from i t s outward " s i g n s , " i s p r e s e n t . L e t u s f u r t h e r s u p p o s e t h a t t h e c o r r e l a t i o n between t h e b e h a v i o r and m i c r o - s t a t e s is as well-confirmed a s t h e c o r r e l a t i o n be tween , s a y , t h e s e n s i b l e q u a l i t i e s of water and the micro- s t r u c t u r e o f water ( H z O ) .

    On Putnam's view, M-S1 w i l l

    L e t u s now imag ine i n s t e a d of a t r i b e w i t h odd b e h a v i o r a t r i b e w i t h odd m i c r o - s t a t e s . ( S i x o f one , ha l f -dozen of a n o t h e r , I b e l i e v e . ) S p e c i f i c a l l y , t h c p e o p l e of t h i s t r i b e are j u s t l i k e u s i n v i r t u a l l y a l l respects--same l a n g u a g e , same cus toms , same b e h a v i o r , e t c . e x c e p t : Examina t ion r e v e a l s t h a t p e o p l e ex- h i b i t i n g t h e " s i g n s " of p a i n , i n t h e u s u a l p a i n - c i r c u m s t a n c e s , are found t o be i n M-Sz ("our" j o y ) ; and p e o p l e who e x h i b i t t h e " s i g n s " o f j o y , i n t h e u s u a l j o y - c i r c u m s t a n c e s , are found t o b e i n M-Sl ("our" p a i n ) .

    Is s u c h a t r i b e l o g i c a l l y p o s s i b l e ? C e r t a i n l y . But how would w e dencube s u c h a t r i b e ? I mean--I'm a5kLkcng: How WoLLed w e d e s c r i b e i t ? Would w e s a y : h4MCC p a i n .b M-S1 ("pain" i n o u r l a n g u a g e meunh M-Si), and s i n c e j o y 16 ? I - S 2 (" joy" i n o u r l a n g u a g e r n w I l -Sz) , when t h e s e p e o p l e b a y t h e y are i n p a i n t h e y are r e a l l y e x p e r i e n c i n g j o y (M-S2); and when t h e y hay t h e y are e x p e r i e n c i n g j o y , t h e y a r e r e a l l y e x p e r i e n c i n g p a i n ( W S l ) ? So, when t h e y u s e t h e word "pa in" t h e y mean what w e mean by " joy"; and when they u s e t h e word " joy", t h e y mean what w e mean by "pain". o c c u r s r e f e r r i n g t o a p e r s o n ' s s t a t e , we s h o u l d s u b s t i t u t e "pain" t o c a p t u r e What Zhey m a n ; and e v e r y time t h e i r word "pain" o c c u r s r e f e r r i n g t o a p e r s o n ' s s t a t e , W e s h o u l d s u b s t i t u t e "joy" t o c a p t u r e what fithey m m . And t h i s d e s p i t e t h e f a c t t h a t , e x c e p t f o r t h e d i f f e r e n c e i n micro-state, t h e i r use o f l a n g u a g e , b e h a v i o r , e t c . I s a l l on a p a r w i t h o u r s .

    So, t o a l i g n t h e i r t a l k w i t h o u r t a l k , e v e r y t i m e t h e i r word "joy"

    Now, I do n0.t t h i n k t h a t w e s h o u l d d e s c r i b e s u c h a t r i b e i n s u c h a way. I s h o u l d h a s t e n t o a d d , do I t h i n k w e s h o u l d s a y of t h i s t r i b e : Since t h e i r be- h a v i o r , cus toms , l a n g u a g e , e tc . are t h e same as o u r s , t h e i r m e n t a l s ta te must b e t h e s w as ours, s t a t e s ) a re di66ehent? O r a t any r a t e , homCttking i s d i f f e r e n t . where w e have M-Sl; and t h e y have M-S1 where we have M-SZ.) w e j u s t would n o t know W h d t o s a y . And t h e r e a s o n w e w o u l d n ' t i s t h i s . While t h e b e h a v i o r a l , v e r b a l , and o ther outward ' ' s i gns ' ' of p a i n may w e l l n o t b e of d e c i s i v e l o g i c a l r e l e v a n c e f o r i d e n t i f y i n g p a i n , n e i t h e r i s i t the case t h a t t h e y a r e t o t a l l y i r r e l e v a n t . T h e i r l o g i c a l relevance i n t h e p r e s e n t example is j u s t t h e e x t e n t t o which i t is t hese ou;turvrd " h i g n A " which p r e v e n t u s from d e s c r i b i n g t h e example i n t h e above manner .

    How C o u l d w e s a y t h a t when, h y p o t h t . b , t h e y ( t h e m e n t a l

    The t r u t h i s t h a t (They have M-S2

    I w i s h I had t h e s p a c e t o t a l k a b o u t t h e r e l e v a n c e of t h e new t h e o r y of r e f e r e n c e t o t h i s c o n t r o v e r s y , bu t I d o n ' t ; s o I w i l l c o n c l u d e w i t h a c o u p l e o f g e n e r a l r emarks and a s k , w i t h Putnam, f o r t h e r e a d e r t o s u p p l y t h e d e t a i l s .

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    REPLY

    What I o b j e c t t o i n t h e new theory of r e f e r e n c e as a p p l i e d t o n a t u r a l k inds i s t h e i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t " s u p e r f i c i a l s igns" and under ly ing m i c r o - s t r u c t u r e s , b e t h e case t h a t of pa in o r water o r t i g e r s , t h a t t h e s e s i g n s and micro- s t r u c t u r e s are o r , a t any ra te , may b e i n l o g i c a l compet i t ion , b U n g , as i t were, f o r t h e r i g h t t o l a y c la im t o a t h i n g ' s i d e n t i t y . Although I cannot a r g u e f o r t h i s h e r e , not only I s t h i s n o t t h e case, t h i s cannot be t h e c a s e i f our conceptua l scheme is t o have t h e coherence i t h a s . " s u p e r f i c i a l s igns ' ' and t h e under ly ing micro-s t ruc ture g i v e us a t h i n g ' s ident i ty--what i t h. s t a n c e which looked, smelled, and t a s t e d l i k e water but which t e s t e d out as having a micro-s t ruc ture o t h e r than H20, t h a t such a subs tance was "water , only w i t h a d i f f e r e n t micro-s t ruc ture ." t h a t a subs tance w i t h a l l t h e phenomenal q u a l i t i e s of g a s o l i n e , b u t which tested o u t as HzO, t h a t such a subs tance w a s "water, only with d i f f e r e n t phenomenal q u a l i t i e s . ' ' Whether w e are t a l k i n g about pa in and i t s "outward s i g n s " o r water and i t s " s u p e r f i c i a l q u a l i t i e s , " t h e r e arc l o g i c a l l i m i t s to t h e k inds of wierdnesses s h i c h w e can conceptua l ly absorb . t n d my only ppin t i s that t h o s e l i m i t s are as much set by so-cal led "outward s igns" and "super- f i c i a l q u a l i t i e s " as they are by t h e c u r r e n t state of s c i e n c e . L i k e i t o r n o t , w e are s t u c k ( l o g i c a l l y ) wi th t h e o r d i n a r y ways of d e s c r i b i n g t h e o r d i n a r y world.

    Togetheh t h e

    O f c o u r s e w e would n o t s a y , j u s t l i k e t h a t , t h a t a sub-

    But neithen would we s a y , j u s t l i k c t h a t ,

    P.S. "any set of s e n t e n c e s t o g e t h e r wi th I t s deduct ive consequences," then I must p lead g u i l t y t o t h e charge of misunderstanding, s i n c e I took him t o be pre- s e n t i n g a p o s i t i o n wi th which someone might conceivably d i s a g r e e . For n o t even t h e most wild-eyed W i t t g e n s t e i n i a n could deny t h a t s t a t e m e n t s w i t h psychologica l p r e d i c a t e s are expressed w i t h s e n t e n c e s , which may c o n s t i t u t e sets of s e n t e n c e s , which have deduct ive consequences, and which are hence " t h e o r i e s , " i n thaX sense. W.H.H.

    I f Putnam i n t h e o r i g i n a l a r t i c l e was u s i n g "theory" t o mean merely

    PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY LONG BEACH. CALIFORNIA 90840

    NOTES

    See t h e above response by H i l a r y Putnam t o my a r t i c l e "Empir ical R e a l i s m and Other 1Iind.s" which appeared i n t h e Spr ing 1979 i s s u e of t h i s j o u r n a l .

    1.

    2 . See Putnam's "Psychological Concepts, E x p l i c a t i o n , and Ordinary Language," J a u t n d 06 Pkiea.4ophy, 54 (February 14 , 1957): 97, 99.

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