Seeing Things As They Are by John Searle


I’ve always been fascinated by philosophy. It seems so deep, so utterly important that we think properly about the world and about ourselves. It also seems impenetrable, and Seeing Things as They Are: A Theory of Perception was entirely impenetrable, to me at least. I gave up on page 36, so may not be entirely worthy of attempting a review. Let’s just call it the review of the first 36 pages.

It started well, with what promised to be a quick summary of terminology, with lovely shorthands like this one:

Bel (it’s raining)   — meaning that there is a belief it is raining. I can deal with that. But in a few pages we get to sentences like “States that have entire propositions as contents are called “propositional attitudes”. This is a disastrous terminology because it suggests the false view that the intentional state is an attitude to a proposition.” Disastrous indeed! I would empathize, if I only knew to what…

It gets worse, with promises of accompanying charts that are not there, and not on the next page, and appendices that pertain to the chapter, rather than the book itself. I concede defeat.

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