(4) Text Map: Skepticism in regard to the senses

This map is a detailed map of sections 6 and 7 of
The text map of Part II of the Reading

A.

The importance of the senses to knowledge

Pg. 77 to end of last full paragraph



B.

Not enough senses to grasp reality as it is

Pg. 77 last paragraph to Pg. 78 "...and in its essence..." is


C.

The error and uncertainty of the operation of the senses.

Pg. 78 to Pg. 80 "that never was."
This section has a number of parts which together are the premises of an argument, whose conclusion is in D.

D.

There is no one able to judge the differences.

Pg. 80 "...Furthermore..." to Pg. 81 never be finished."


E.

Existence is not constant

Pg. 81 last five paragraphs


The parts of C are the premises of the argument, whose conclusion is in D
  1. Pg. 78-9 The senses present false impressions to reason, the emotions falsify impressions.
  2. Pg. 79 Being awake we may be dreaming.
  3. Pg. 79 The senses of animals, different from us, should also be consulted.
  4. Pg. 79 To those who are ill with jaundice or hyposphagma things appear differently than to us. Which of the two is true judgment?
  5. Pg. 80 The senses in normal people vary.
  6. Pg. 80 Every condition -- sickness, madness, dreaming, health imposes a particular appearance on us.
  7. Pg. 80 Since conditions make things appear to us differently, we no longer know what things are in truth.

The argument here seems to be this:

  1. Reality is determinate, everything must be in one condition or another.
  2. Our perceptions vary from one condition to another, differing from other kinds of animals as well as other people, and oneself at different times and in different condtions.
  3. So, all of our perceptions are conditioned.
  4. The condition of our perceptions effects our judgment.
  5. There is no criterion by which to judge which perception is the 'correct' one.
  6. Since any judge must be conditioned, and there is no criterion, there is no possibility of impartial (or conditionless) judgement.
  7. So we have no way to distinguish which perception is the right one.
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  8. So, we should suspend judgement about what the senses tell us.
So, we have a skeptical argument for discounting all the particular truths which one might think one has received from the senses.

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