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This is when you experience the great firework display, the carnival of flowers, the enthronement of the Patriarch without being the Patriarch, the Northern Lights, a supernova, the Taj Mahal. As a second kind of b-experiencing whose object is not an event of which one is the subject, we should perhaps list the b-experiencing of a state of which one is the subject, but which is not a happening.

As when, in and by the pangs of thirst, one experiences dehydration conceived in a static sense; OT, in and by an unbearable itching, experiences the lack of some vitamin or other chemical. We are strongly inclined to introduce, and ifwe are careful we can introduce, a 'seeming' or 'ostensible' sense of b-l-experiencing X-ing, call it sb-I-experiencing X-ing, which does not entail X-ing.

The only thing is that we are then prone to fall into a certain mistake. We may get the mistaken idea that 'b-Iexperiencing X-ing' can be defined as 'sb-I-experiencing X-ing because of, or accompanied by, X-ing'. This is a mistake' I Ifin some of these cases the reader would use the noun but not the verb, then this counts in my sub-language as 'using the verb or function'. This is so because, in the case of b-Iexperiencing X-ing, which is linked to X-ing by being pretty directly due to X-ing, the links of relevance or appropriateness between the awareness and the X-ing can afford to be quite loose; it will still count as awareness of X-ing in virtne of the causal link; whereas in the case of sb-I-experiencing X-ing the links of relevance or appropriateness have got to be that much tighter or closer, since these must unaidedly make the awareness count as ostensible awareness ofX-ing, there being no causal link to help them out since there need be no actnal X-ing.

For instance, one would hardly report a sudden pain in the back, as one lay awake in bed, in terms of one's having 'seemingly had the experience of being turned over by some animal', and yet such a pain could, with the event, have constitnted Peter's actually b-I-experiencing this indignity ifit was caused by this. Thus if we say that 'sb-I' is weaker than 'b-I', we must remember that in defiance of the literal meaning of weakness it is equally true the other way round; neither logically entails the other.

A thing which may at first sight seem rather odd is this, that the feature or peculiarity, of b not entailing sb, fails to be displayed by the parallel notion of sdb-experiencing, which we can introduce ifwe like. The tourist, and this is just a fact of usage, is only at a pinch said to db'experience the enthronement ofthe Patriarch' ifhe has broken his glasses and, as a result, it might just as well have been one of those festivals where they wear masks and throw tomatoes at one another. He might keep the English language growing by saying, drily and wryly, that he really mis-experienced the enthronement of the Patriarch.

So, it is hardly, only at a pinch, possible to db-experience something without sdb-experiencing it; not that this fact gives us a deep understanding of what sdbexperiencing is. The fact ought not on reflection to seem too odd: b-I-experiencing is 'experiencing' a thing anyway, since it involves a-I-experiencing it, whereas db-experiencing has got to work harder to be 'experiencing' a thing. There is not much left ofthis idea; the man who tests metal springs is not 'experiencing' them, or if he is this would now be called trade jargon.

And it is mainly the streets of Calcutta that put the tourist to a test, rather than the other way round; still there is a trace of the suggestion that he is seeing whether they are what they are supposed to be. A warning: what we say about any form of the verb 'to experience' is about that verb, not about the verbs which report particular forms of, say, b-experiencing or db-experiencing.

Thus what we say of sb-I-experiencing and of sdb-experiencing does not go over, automatically, to such particular forms of sdb-experiencing as, say, seeming to see. To represent oneself as talking about 'kinds of thing' is a source of confusion here. Whatever is true of men, is true of Englishmen; not everything that is true of 'perceiving' or of 'b-experiencing' is true of 'seeing' or 'hearing'.

Experience: An Inquiry into Some Ambiguities

Similarly, you could say all there was to say about all these special verbs or functions without having even begun to talk about the general ones. In distinguishing so many uses of 'to experience', have I seen matters as more complex than they really are? Can it be argued in particnlar that it is a mistake to posit both the a and the b senses?

Partly recapitulating and partly expanding: if someone maintains that there is the a sense but not the b sense, then one may retort that the verb is nsed in the db sense nowadays. People do say that you should experience the Northern Lights, the Taj Mahal. Perhaps the 'a only' theorist will say they are using language bad! True, he may alternatively say that such uses are elided a uses-you should experience seeing the Northern Lights.

But there are other arguments against him. The argument from adverbs and adverbial phrases for instance: the operation is experienced hazily but not undergone hazily. To attach an adverb is, as a rule and excepting queer adverbs, to make a predicate or function more specific: to see shortsightedly or love hopelessly entails, without being entailed by, seeing or loving.

If, for instance, we idly wonder what the rook which is being swung about in its nest by the wind is experiencing, this is not a question which answers itself: we are idly wondering in what W'! J' the bird is ca-l, b-l experiencing being swung about in its nest by the wind. It reminds us of the similar use of 'What Then there is the argument that the 'of' in 'the experience of' is surely not always a mere comma, but sometimes more like a weakened form of the 'that' in 'awareness that one is X-ing'.

In other words it would surely be wrong to say that in no sense of the verb, 'to experience', was there a difference bet-ween act and object. If someone maintains that there is the b sense but not the a sense, then against him there is the retort that one can caexperience things without b-experiencing them. Moreover the previous or subsequent awareness, in such a case, need not always be an event or process, which is what experiencing is; so that there would still be ca-experiencing without b-experiencing, even if b-I-experiencing did not have to be simultaneous with the thing b-I-experienced.

There is the argument that people do not look forward to a chronicle of mental events merely, when they look forward to hearing about a sailor's experiences. There is the argument that the verb sometimes has the ua sense. There is the argument from adverbs and adverbial phrases again: it is not the patient's awareness which we mean to describe as having had no ill effects when we say that he experienced the operation without ill effects. III; cf. Lewis and Short. The shorter English dictionaries are probably going to go on saying that there is just the one sense of 'to experience', namely 'to undergo, witness'.

But from some points of view it seerns useful to stress that there is an important difference between undergoing and witnessing, even when we allow that someone can witness what he undergoes. And of course these are only very rough synonyms: there is no reason to think that any other expression means exactly the same as 'He a-experienced Xing', or that any other expression means exactly the same as 'He b-experienced Y'.

It is not hard to see how the b sense might have come into being. The sense of 'being human and being put to a test' would emerge with or soon after the obsolete English sense, 'to put to a test', since the first English users of the verb had their eye on Latin and experiri meant to try, either by testing or attempting, also to resort to or to undergo. Attention might focus on, and the verb might come to stand for, the simultaneous awareness of X-ing which ca-experiencing X-ing often involves, b-I-experiencing X-ing.

The b sense might then be broadened as to its objects. Another way of explaining why we do not find it strange that the same verb is used in the two senses, but this makes it seem more like purming on our part, is to say that both verbs can be paraphrased-'to be the subject of'. In the a sense this means inter alia the grammatical subject, and the grammatical object must be an event, while in the b sense 'subject' means something like witnesser and the object can be anything witnessable.

True, the first of those working models has imperfect application to those languages in which the word for an experience is not derived from experiri. But if a poet has to attend to his own language in order to exploit its peculiar strengths and avoid its peculiar pitfalls, then the same is true to some extent of a philosopher. Most obviously in the case of a critical philosopher, an anti-sophist, who wants to find out how much of its plausibility some conception owes to the tricks oflanguage. One would have failed to avoid such a pitfall if one were in effect to reason: 'I am at present the subject of a state of consciousness.

Such a state is a categorial thingexperienced, something that could not happen at all without being experienced. Therefore, I am in a state whose esse is to be bexperienced or otherwise caexperienced, one whose esse is to be the object of consciousness. And the occurrence and nature of this state are things I have established by the most rigorous empirical method. Things that could not happen without being experiences In what sense do we require the experiencer to be 'the conscious subject' of the event, when the event is the sort of thing that is mentioned in this section's title?

The answer which is accepted here is that we do not in this type of case require consciousness of the event itself. It is enough if the event consists in or involves consciousness of something else. This widefy heldview is tested in three types of case, and the discussion narrows to a preliminary exploration if the sense or senses in which we may besaid to experience seeing. Still under the general heading of events of which one is the subject, we come to a different kind from the kind with which Section 2 was concerned: we come properly to things you 2-experience, or Type.

Two cases as I will call them. They are non-probingly defined or demarcated as things which it is natural to describe in the really rather ambiguous way that appears as this section's title, intending some sort of indistinct contrast with Type One cases, things you I-experience. Type Two cases include seeing, being tortured, and going for a walk. Our essentialist tendencies may sometimes lead us to use the expression 'an experience' to mean 'a Type Two thing'; thus producing a special sense of the expression, a special notion of an experience, to set beside the special notions already mentioned: e.

None of these special notions is the same thing as the very special notion of Part II. As I have implied, we sometimes call Type Two cases 'categorical' or 'categorial' experiences, in contrast to the 'experiences per accidens' with which Section 2 was concerned. Let us begin cheerfully with the kind exemplified by being tortured. Being tortured is, roughly speaking, ca-I-experiencing and b-lexperiencing having your finger-nails pulled out-or some such physical abuse which would normally cause great pain.

However, this leads to a linguistic puzzle. We say quite naturally of someone that he had the experience, of being tortured, or that he experienced torture. And being tortured is the same thing as ca-l-, b-l- experiencing physical abuse. So why do we not quite naturally say that he had the experience, of experiencing physical abuse, or that he experienced experiencing physical abuse? One answer would be that, in 'He experienced torture', the verb has an unweakened 'ca-l, b-l' sense but the noun has a weakened sense-some form of torture, some form that being tortured can take such as having your finger-nails pulled out; i.

So since the noun does not occur in the unweakened sense there, you cannot substitute for it the paraphrase ' ca-l-, b-l- experiencing physical abuse'. You cannot in that way obtain the thing we do not say; but the idea of its being obtainable by substitution is what made it seem puzzling that we do not say it. True, you could substitute 'ua-experiencing physical abuse' for the noun being experiences. Or if you prefer, we are inclined to say'Experiences; that is what they are, whether they occur or not. It is not that in these cases, you invariably have some kind of awareness of the event of which you are the grammatical subject.

So ifyou express the consciousness-stipulation in a vague way, by saying that there must be the right sort of consciousness in the case, or on the part of the subject, for the case to count as an experience; then although this requirement is always satisfied in TYpe. Two cases, and only sometimes satisfied in Type One cases, It 18 ll? In the terminology I have introduced, the view can be expressed succinctly: 2-experiences are not invariably ca-experienced and a fortiori not invariably b-experienced. The examples of Type Two experiences which spring most readily to mind are states of consciousness, such as pain or the varieties of sense-experience.

However, I will first consider an in-between class. If it is, then we can say that a experiencing torture is caexperiencing torture; i. Otherwise, it will be sensible to opt for the view that by a experiencing torture we just mean, uaexperiencing it. For it would not be sensible to conclude both that there is in fact no such invariable secondorder awareness, and that we are all for ever mistakenly saying that there is such awareness-when we utter the gnomic saying, 'Being tortured is the same thing as experiencing torture'. Instead, we ought in that case to take it that 'experiencing' has a weakened, ua sense in the gnomic saying, which therefore reduces experiencing torture to being tortured rather than asserting some sort oflaw by which the latter involves the former.

Another thing that would not be sensible is, simply to assume for no reason at all that 'experiencing' does not have a weakened sense here, and to conclude from this that, since we cannot very well be mistaken in that gnomic saying of ours, there must be the invariable second-order awareness. That would be glossogenic pseudo-psychology of the worst sort; not because of any general principle that one cannot infer from language to reality, but because one cannot infer from a baseless assumption. We would be assuming that language is, at a certain point, more regular than in general we know it to be.

So the question we have to ask ourselves is this. Is it or is it not true as a matter of psychological fact that when someone is tortured by having his finger-nails pulled out, he invariably has a second-order awareness, an awareness of his awareness of having his finger-nails pulled out, or in other words an awareness of his pain? To the best of my knowledge and belief the only reason for the affirmative is the following bad reason; that we cannot make ordinary, non-theoretical sense ofthe remark'In his agony he had the awareness of his finger-nails being pulled out, awareness that makes it linguistically correct to call his having his finger-nails pulled out one of his "experiences"; however, he was in no wqy aware of hauing that awareness.

This would give you 'He ca-l-, b-l- experienced ua-experiencing physical abuse', which would be like 'He ca-l-, b-l- experienced undergoing physical abuse'. But it is not surprising that, although you can legitimately say this, we do not say it; the use of iundergo', or 'experience' in its place and in the same sense, is pointless here. Another answer, to much the same effect, would be that 'torture' and 'being tortured' have an unweakened sense in 'He experienced torture' and 'He had the experience of being tortured', but that the verb 'to experience' has the weakened, 'ua' sense here.

So by substitution you can get 'He ua-experienced ca-I-experiencing physical abuse' and 'He ua-experienced b-I-experiencing physical abuse'. But it is not surprising that we say neither of these things, i. For neither of those things is worth saying. The first would be like saying 'He underwent undergoing physical abuse not without the relevant sort of awareness', and the second would be like saying 'He underwent or "did" having the relevant sort of simultaneous awareness of physical abuse that he was undergoing'.

On neither of these views is there any regular implication, when we speak of someone's experiencing torture or having the experience of being tortured, that he has an awareness if his awareness of being physically abused. The real alternative is to say that this implication is indeed present, i. Ifwe do not naturally say 'He experienced experiencing physical abuse', this must simply be because you cannot in fact ca-l- and b-I-experience physical abuse without also caexperiencing your ca-l- and b-I-experiencing physical abuse.

How are we to choose between these alternatives?

J. M. Hinton, Experiences: An Enquiry into Some Ambiguities - PhilPapers

Surely the only way is by an independent attempt to ascertain the relevant non-linguistic facts. Not being an event in the modern sense of a change nor, for that matter, necessarily an event in the older sense of an outcome, a capacity is not a process if a process is a series of changes, or a change in which different phases can be discerned; b-experiencing is often and hence characteristically, though not always, a process in this sense. There is thus no warrant for positing a b-Z-experiencing of one's b-l-experiencing having one's finger-nails pulled out, nor is there warrant for positing any other kind of invariable awareness of the b-l-experiencing.

The conclusion to be drawn is that 'experiencing torture' just means undergoing torture, i. We are presented with an explanation of why you cannot be tortured without experiencing it; of why, and in what sense, torture is 'categorically' an. Someone who does not want to say that there is an invariable, and who consequently does not want to say that there is a necessary, b-experiencing ofone's b-experiencing physical abuse may still insist on saying that, if you b-l-experience extreme physical abuse, then you not only a-experience but also bexperience torture.

Note that if you b-experience torture, then since being tortured is a Type Z X-ing or being X-ed, you b-Zexperience torture. In this case, however, what he is pleased to call b-experiencing torture, or cognitively experiencing torture, will for him be nothing over and above b-experiencing extreme physical abuse; it will consist solely in this. You will be said to b-experience torture simply in that, inasmuch as, in the sense that, you b-experience physical abuse.

Awareness of that which, since you are in the given way aware of it, can be called torture, is to be called awareness of torture for short. This is an intelligible proposal and rule. In contrast, if someone wants to say that you b-experience your b-experiencing ofphysical abuse simply in that, or inasmuch as, or in the sense that, you bexperience physical abuse, we can hardly understand him. Your b-experiencing physical abuse is to be called your bexperiencing your b-experiencing physical abuse-for what?

For long? He must either make a substantive claim that you b-experience your b-experiencing, or else not say that you do; on pain of merely being silly. A certain kind of philosophy seeks to infer that we can make sense of, and indeed must accept as true, the remark that 'he was in some way aware of having that awareness'.

This kind of philosophy is, once again, what linguistic or glossocentric philosophy exists to destroy: namely glossogenic philosophy in the bad sense, and pseudo-psychology. From the mere fact of our not having any use for the remark, 'He X-ed, but he did not 1" that he X-ed', in ordinary language, we cannot infer that the remark, 'He who X-es, 1"-s that he X-ed', is true.

That inference wonld again involve a simplistic view of ordinary language, whose departures from logicomathematical simplicity and regularity are notorious. It is obvious, when you come to think of it, that-taking 'He 1"-ed that he X-ed' as a case of 'He 1"-ed'-we may in ordinary language have no use for either 'He X-ed but did not T or 'He X-ed and 1"-ed'.

This will necessarily be the case if we have no use for either 'He 1"-ed' or 'He did not T. Or we may have an idiomatic use for one or both of these expressions, without their being expressions that 'mean what they say'. The thesis, that one who X-es 1"-s, has got to be supported in some other way than that if it is to be well supported. Certainly a tortured man who has not been brought up by wolves will, unless he suffers from congenital mental defect, know or be aware that he is in agony and in danger ofdisclosing information, in the sense that he will be able to apply these general terms or these concepts to himself.

The capacity to apply general terms, however, so as to have the thought that 'this is agony', is not invariably attendant upon agony under any kind oflaw. One who lacks that capacity Can be tormented; even if you may wish to say that he can hardly be put to the question.

The fact, that awareness of this sort is not invariably associated by any kind of law with b-l-experiencing physical abuse, should not be allowed completely to overshadow the fact that, if the opposite were true, then still the capacity could not be called one's 'experiencing' the b-l-experiencing. Other cases, which will now be instanced, in which we are tempted to say that the thing 'could not happen without being experienced although it is not exactly a state of consciousness', are different.

They do not consist, as things like being tortured do, in having some Type One, per accidens experience together with the right kind of might-be-absent awareness of it for it to be called one of your 'experiences'. It is not in their case, as it is in those cases, a matter, of our simply generating Type Two things by introducing a set of terms that are to apply to specified Type One things, but only when you ca experience them. This new lot of Type Two cases can be distinguished into two groups. There are those like 'eyeing your food with relish', which I assume are Type Two because they involve states of consciousness like seeing and anticipation that are not, as far as common knowledge tells, the awareness of any per accidens experience.

Then there are cases that are Type Two because they are actions, things to which the question 'What did he do that for? The first group are presumably to be dealt with by talking about the states of consciousness they involve. To speak briefly of actions, some cases are ambiguous as between these and Type One cases. Chairing a meeting falls back into Type One if it just means literally being alive in the chair, as you may be asleep. On the other hand, if it is meant to entail doing something about the meeting, however ineffectually, then the appropriate sub-heading is that of action under Type Two.

Enjoying, from the chair, the disorder of a meeting would be a Type Two non-action case rather like eyeing your food with relish, though chairing catastrophically with enjoyment would be a case of action. Which again makes the point that we are not really distinguishing between things, since there is no difference between chairing catastrophically with enjoyment and enjoying, from the chair, the disorder of a meeting.

There is a difference between the verbs or terms. I do not propose here to review, still less to try to rival, the contributions which have been made in recent years to the philosophy of action. The question, when you come at it from the present angle, is this. Is an action an aexperience in a full, unweakened ca sense, or only in the ua sense of being done? In other words, when the a-2experience of Y-ing is an action, is Y-ing always accompanied by some sort of awareness of Y-ing? Partially paralleling what was said in the torture type of case, we need some better reason than a glossogenic one for giving the answer yes.

We cannot simply assume that, if we have no use in ordinary language for the remark, 'He clambered up the halyards in a gale to relight the masthead light without in any way being aware of doing so', then this in itself proves that he must have been to some extent aware of doing so. The idea may simply mean that he shall be said to bexperience his action inasmuch as, in that, he b-experiences those other things-that his doing this, given the occurrence of the action, is to be logically sufficient for what one is pleased to call bexperiencing the action.

Or the idea might mean what is more dubious, that over and above those b-l-experiencings he bexperiences the action, either by bexperiencing those b-l-experiencings or in some other way. Coming now to states of consciousness, or to speak less confusingly, coming to verbs, functions, or general terrns for things that can be involved in b-l-experiencing and dbexperiencing things; and in particular coming to seeing, since seeing is what we shall be concerned with in the next Part: is there good reason to hold-that seeing, visual perception in an unweakened objective or external sense, is a-experienced in an unweakened, ca sense?

Does one who sees, invariably have some sort of awareness of his seeing-an awareness which is what justifies us in saying that his seeing is experienced? Does he have an extra-sensory perception ofhis seeing or else get a 'bad picture' of his seeing or have some other kind of awareness of it?

Or is seeing invariably experienced only in the sense that it is 'done'? Seeing is of course also an experience in the sense that it is an instance of b-experiencing. Usually, of db-experiencing. Ius not hard to see how this truistic fact might give rise in error to the idea that seeing is an experience in the third sense of a b-experienced.

What I have just said contrasts with the view that seeing is m no sense an experience; a view to which Ryle appeared to? In this special usage there is a contrast between an 'experience' and an achievement, whereas if we avoid special dictions there is no contrast between an experience and an achievement.

Winning a game of chess against a much better player n;ay be one of my more memorable experiences, and so may seemg a flash of light if my doing so saved my life. But in order to get to closer grips with the matter ofawareness of seeing, let me make what I believe to be a familiar, though not self-explanatory, distinction between two meanings of 'see X'; 1 the meaning exemplified by 'see a cobra, in the general sense of seeing something which is, in point offact, a cobra' and 2. In this case the difference lies in whether one knows that it is a cobra; the case of seeing is similar to this extent, that seeing what is in point of fact a cobra, while knowing it to be a cobra, is sufficient even if nat necessary for 'seeing a cobra' in the narrower sense.

I must make it clear, by the way, that I shall be concerned with 'seeing what is in fact X' only to the extent that such a phrase clarifies some established non-theoretical usage of 'see X' same X as in the first expression. Not when 'see what is in fact X' is used where no such usage of 'see X' same X as in the first expression exists. For instance, I shall not be concerned with the sense in which a man who sees a table sees what is in fact a set of nltramicroscopic, i.


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The distinction I am making between 'see X, see what is X' and 'see X, as distinct from only seeing what is X', is a distinction between and within ordinary uses of 'see X' same Xl-it does not go beyond these. I was saying that it is clear that seeing a cobra, in the sense ofseeing what is in fact a cobra, does notlogically entail seeming to see a cobra in any sense.

But what about seeing a cobra in the second and narrower of those two senses, call it 'properly' seeing one? Does this entail seeming to see a cobra? If we were to say so, we should be using the notion of 'seeming to see', or ostensible visual perception, more broadly even than the broad and vague notion of the relevant visual appearance's being present or being presented.

For someone who sees what is a cobra, looking to him then and there exactly like a root, but who happens to know for certain that it is a cobra, may if you like be said to see a cobra, as distinct from just or merely seeing what is in fact one. Now we are not here interested in any sense of 'seem to see' or 'ostensibly visually perceive' which is broader than the vague notion of a visual appearance of the relevant sort's being presented.

We therefore shall not say that 'properly' seeing an X entails seeming to do so. What ifwe simply leave out ofconsideration all those cases of seeing X in the 'proper' sense in which what is seen does not look like X to the one who sees it, as well as all cases in which. This could be interpreted as the view that if you see what is X, then for some r, you seem to see r. If this is true, then the question arises whether your seeming to see r, where r is not X, can be regarded as your having a more or less 'bad picture' of your seeing X; a more or less indistinct awareness of your doing so.

The question arises, but I shall not try to answer it now; the next footnote applies here. The principles already mentioned, those anti-glossogenic ones, seem sufficient to show that it is quite unwarranted to posit any other sort of invariable awareness of one's seeing what is in fact X. The same principles will show that there is no warrant for positing an invariable awareness of plainly seeing X, or rather they will unless the case proves to be, that one's consequential 'seeming to see X' same X can be said to constitute such an awareness; another question I leave open at present.

I The case of visual apperception, since this does not entail 'seeming to see' what is apperceived, is like that of 'seeing what is'.

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Finally, there is- no justification for positing an invariable awareness of 'seeming to see', itself; a fortiori no justification for the idea that the act of 'seeming to see' is itself b-experienced, consequently no justification for the idea that it is an act whose esse is to be b-experienced, a possible philosophical meaning of 'an experience'. In contrast we can say safely enough that the esse of any a-experience is to be a-experienced, provided we do not equivocate with the c and the u: the esse of a ca-experience is to be ca-experienced, that of a ua-experience to be ua-experienced.

Certainly we have so far found no warrant for the idea that b-experiencing is ca-experienced or b-experienced. So; what sort of 'of' is the 'of'in 'the experience of seeing'? It depends what sort of 'seeing' the 'seeing' is.

"Meditation on CP-1" with Triptych for E.F. — Emily Coates

Where it is either 'seeing what is in fact' or 'visually apperceiving', the 'of' can only be the mere comma, and the mere comma that follows ua at that, unless one's seeming to see something or other can play the role of a b-experiencing of those things. It is plausible to say yes, plainiJ seeing X, in this sense, entails seeming to see X same Xl.

I defer until 7 ii-iii the question as to what truth exactly there is in this reply. I think there is truth in it. It is worth stressing a couple of things about what has just been marked out as 'plainly seeing': first, that plainly seeing X is a special case of seeing what is in fact X; second, that plainly seeing X does not entail taking what you see to be X. This last point is true because I may see what is in fact a cobra, not looking to any extent worth mentioning like anything but a cobra, in my sitting-room and yet, on the assumption that English sitting-rooms do not have cobras in them, take it to be a toy or a spoof Here I plainly see, but to revive an old word I do not 'apperceive', a cobra because I do not realize what it is, do not correctly identify what I see as a cobra.

We can now ask the question about whether there is an invariable awareness of one's seeing what one sees, in each of those cases: 1 seeing what is in fact X; 2 'properly' seeing X in the sense of seeing X as distinct from just, only, seeing what is in fact X; 3 plainly seeing X, which is to say, 'properly' and where the unambiguous testimony of the visual sense is of X; 4 visually apperceiving X; 5 strongly visually apperceiving X; 6 seeming to see X. But it will do if we consider the first, third, fourth, and sixth of those cases.

In the case of seeing what is in fact X, there is certainly no invariable knowledge that one is doing so; this is part of the main point about seeing what is in fact X. And this does not entail seeming to see X, in any sense, so there is no question of this latter act's constituting an invariable awareness of seeing what is in fact X. However, it has been argued Ayer, chap. And where 'seeing' is 'seeming to see', whatever that is exactly, the 'of'in 'the experience ofseeing' can only be the comma that follows ua.

A contrast Apart from any interest which such a philosophico-lexical study may have in itself, the main point of Part I has been to make a contrast between the ordinary biographical notion of an experience and the special philosophical notion of one, to which we shall come. The contrast emerges in its most marked form if we compare the notion of an experience in certain philosophical discussions with that of an a-experience.

When someone avers that if you dream that you are being cut into small pieces then you 'have the experience of' being cut into small pieces, he does not mean that you have the a-I-experience. Nor, when someone says that if you dream you are being tortured then you have the experience of being tortured, does he mean that you have the aexperience.

He means that you sb-I-experience being cut into small pieces, or some other form of physical abuse. This means that we are or may be getting into philosophy. Others vary the empirical object or even claim to maximally vary it to demonstrate a rigorous search to saturate observed differences Glaser and Strauss Many ethnographers demarcate types—ideal classifications of people, behaviors, cultural constructs, or places—yet acknowledge that the distinct categories are not mutually exclusive.

Still others call for observational precision through naturalism: Participant obser- vation is described as a more exacting empirical method than interviewing or surveying because it allows researchers to describe what people do instead of what people say they do Becker and Geer ; Dean and Whyte ; for a recent debate on the topic, see Jerolmack and Khan ; Lamont and Swidler Despite the prevalence of using methodological and rhetorical techniques to erase the per- ception of ambiguities, many ethnographers, even those of different research and theorizing traditions, acknowledge the need to manage ambiguities in the production of their cases.

Instead, scholars describe best practices as the skilled adjudication between changing and contradictory forms of evi- dence Knorr-Cetina ; Latour ; Vaughan It calls for cultivating a radical form of interpretive flexibility in the production of sociological knowledge. Ethnographers create their own data sets by determining which observations, subjects, and other documented evidence get included and excluded in field notes; they decide how to demarcate and con- textualize the temporal and spatial boundaries of their field sites; and they determine which units and levels of comparison to use as analytic leverage.

In building sociological cases, it matters whether researchers compare different individuals in a shared context, the same individuals across different contexts, different individuals in different contexts, the evolu- tion of specific social situations at Time 1 and Time 2, or some combination of all these possibilities and others. This interpretive complexity demands reflexivity. Reflexivity not only means researchers maintain awareness of the power dynamics and positional differences between themselves and their subjects.

It adds another layer of awareness: recognition of the wider range of interpretive possibilities and analytic techniques available in making research decisions and building cases. It enables researchers to maintain awareness of the social processes in different substantive arenas, different contexts, and through different units and levels of analysis. The flexibility that comes from observing individual and collective processes means sociologists, in developing their cases, can make subtle yet strategic choices about what kinds of social interdependencies and separations interest them and then focus their research and analysis on situations and contexts that heighten possibilities of building ana- lytic cases from them.

Contradictions can be identified to better understand and analyze empirical phenomena that do not fit the existing sociological case. Analytic induction, for example, uses negative cases to revise applicable and categorical relationships between the explanans and the explanan- dum Katz a. The extended case method uses situational anomalies to reconstruct pre- viously established theories Burawoy This article, however, illuminates ambiguity not as something outside of the case in need of incorporation but instead as something that is itself patterned and structured in distinct ways.

One might assume that the main differences in locating ambiguities stem from who sees them: the subjects or the researchers. It is important for ethnographers to be aware of this distinction as they conduct research, yet the three approaches I identified—ambiguity in shared situations, ambiguity as a transitional social form, and ambiguity as the separation of means from ends—include examples where subjects are unaware of the multisided situa- tions. In some cases, researchers have a privileged position that enables them to navigate between multiple sides of a situation, become privy to information to which not all partici- pants have access, or see contradictions that subjects do not immediately recognize.

Each approach identified here presents patterns in how ethnographers use analytic techniques to make sense of where ambiguities come from and how they can be turned into sociological cases. By making these approaches explicit, ethnographers can become better equipped at using them as provocations for sociological theorizing. The first approach locates ambiguity in shared interaction situations as a pervading exis- tential reality.

Describing interaction situations allows observers to decode possible alterna- tives and confusions in how people in face-to-face contexts—subjects and researchers alike—negotiate the meanings of a situation. This approach focuses on mundane ways peo- ple overlook, create, and repair confusions. Most explicitly, ethnomethodologists suggest that commonsense assumptions and normative conventions are powerful antidotes to the constant possibility of interaction ambiguities. Researchers attentive to interac- tion situations can show that not all participants in a shared context perceive information in the same way.

In the second approach, sociologists locate ambiguities in the relationship between subjec- tive experiences and established objective properties of social life that exist across different situations. In such cases, ambiguity is not understood as coming from the context of produc- tion. Ambiguity as a social form means researchers analyze patterned characteristics of per- sistently ambiguous types of phenomena, situations, and contexts. Examining unfolding relationships between changing forms of subjectivity and objectivity are represented in cases of in-between status, transforming phenomena in between stages, or the distinctly ordered properties of multiple sides in the same situations.

This approach locates institutional barriers that compartmentalize and conceal information. These barriers can be intentionally or unintentionally conceived and received. Rather, it analyzes established barriers to perception, which are often based on hierarchical relationships and mechanisms of social reproduction.

Actors in economic transactions can strategically rearrange relationships to establish institutional barriers that separate intended means from ends Rossman ; see also Mears A central approach to operationalizing the structural separation of means from ends is to focus on actors in hierarchical organizations or embedded in multiple levels of observation and analysis, as in the identification of analytic techniques used to configure micro and macro processes Collins ; Krause The remainder of this article further develops the three uses of ambiguity in producing sociological knowledge by drawing on exemplary ethnographic cases.

The analytic tech- niques used in each approach cut across substantive topics and social situations, which fur- ther establishes their utility for researchers. The ethnographic studies identified here are certainly not exhaustive. I chose them as instructive examples of each approach and to dem- onstrate commonplace analytic techniques that ethnographers have used to develop distinct kinds of cases.

The conclusion revisits the idea that how researchers imagine, conceptualize, empirically locate, and analyze ambiguities provides important provocations for sociologi- cal theorizing. Ambiguity in Shared Situations Ethnographers use the frameworks and tools of micro-sociology—including phenomenol- ogy, ethnomethodology, and symbolic interaction—to capture two or more subjects negoti- ating the meanings of interactions and shared performances.

Goffman —22 analyzes how participants manage and sustain the face-to-face interaction order and repair disruptions. Confusion occurs when the lines of action are disrupted or discredited. They locate ambiguity as an intersubjective prob- lem in multiple ways: decoding the contexts of meaning to highlight the fluid movements between ambiguous meanings and repairing them; showing how subjects improvise or orga- nize to limit the surfacing of situated ambiguities always present in the background of every- day life, thus reinforcing how subjects neutralize them when they do indeed surface; and calling explicit attention to the multiple meanings of shared situations—even when subjects are not cognitively aware of the differences—to analyze the characteristics of the shared context that enable interpretive contradictions to persist.

Ethnographers learn to read meaningful contexts by unraveling the polysemic possibili- ties and interpretive negotiations over words, behaviors, gestures, and other signs. Geertz argues that ethnographers contextualize situated behaviors and interpretations as reflecting the meaning-drenched local culture. For example, making sense of eye move- ments requires understanding the interaction accomplishment in a shared context. After spending time with subjects in the field, ethnographers become familiar with the variations of meanings and can decipher the situated performances of taken-for-granted knowledge to understand how subjects play with, maintain, and disrupt unfolding social situations.

Following children into various situations, she observes frictions between continuity and discontinuity in gender performances. Earnest crossing takes place when children agree that the performance is sincere and the child doing the crossing is committed to fitting in with children of the opposite gender. The ethnographer locates the fluid relationships between subjects in specific performative contexts to analyze how the ambi- guities emerge and are resolved.

To maintain the fluidity of a social situation, certain partici- pants can anticipate and neutralize ambiguities even before they occur. Wynn , in his account of tour guides, focuses on how his subjects accomplish walking tours as shared cultural contexts. Moving through the public streets of New York City involves a taken-for-granted agreement between tour guides and those on the tour to maintain interdependence.

The walking tour intertwines people, the built environ- ment, stories about the city, and spontaneous public interactions that can potentially disrupt shared performances. Despite agreement about the cultural context, tour guides and those on the tour differ in terms of their roles and privileged access to information. They do not tell their audiences their secrets. Instead, they develop interaction techniques to suppress intersubjec- tive confusions and maintain the fluidity of the shared context. When tour-goers ask ques- tions that stump the guides, the guides try not to let on.

Instead, to maintain expertise, many guides have prefabricated responses ready for anticipated challenging questions. For exam- ple, guides have stock answers for names of architects if they do not know who designed a building. Tour guides play with this information to keep the performance from falling into a state of uncertainty. Equally authentic New Yorkers, these bystanders often yell at the tour guides, mock them, and contradict their stories, which confuses the tour-goers.

The tour guides improvise—integrating such surprising circum- stances into the narrative as a real New York experience—to neutralize the interaction ambi- guity and bring the tour back on course Wynn In some shared interaction contexts, only the researcher sees the multiple meanings. Subjects might use certain words in taken-for-granted ways even as the meanings change or are seen by the researcher as contradictory. Ethnographers can locate contradictions as an investigative tool to better understand how and why contradictions persist without coherent meaning. Becker was a resident sociologist working with a group of medical students who allowed him access to how they assessed patients and let him listen in during their meetings before and after observations.

Yet Becker was confused because he witnessed the medical team label other patients as psychosomatic but not as crocks. Here, the researcher turns the continuing confusion into an investigation of the meaning of the term during ongoing observations and discussions with the medical team. As a next step, he learns more about the student culture and contextualizes why, in this world so dependent on clinical expertise, medical students routinely use an imprecise concept. He finds they do not learn much from crocks. These patients take up precious time that could be spent doing more valuable work for their professional development.

Because people take for granted so much information when they interact with others in everyday situations, ethnographers skilled at deciphering the micro-interactional spaces between subjects in a shared context can use analytic techniques to dissect the unfolding tensions between orderly interactions and disruptions. They can even locate contradictions that subjects themselves do not vocalize or perceive. Such tensions create opportunities to decode the multiple or contradictory meanings, methods of neutralizing them, and explana- tions about why the context supports ambiguity.

Heading Off Trouble

Ambiguity as a Transitional Social Form Some ethnographers locate ambiguity in shared contexts but look to analyze general proper- ties of the context as a social form that can be understood as a type of situation or phenom- enon. These types of social circumstances are persistently ambiguous—they not only exist in the specific context under investigation, but they have more general and durable proper- ties that can be dissected and analyzed.

Simmel [] showed that locating subjects within and between binary structures provides analytic leverage. I focus on two main variations of transformations from one mode of order to another: changing relationships between subjects and narrative structures and changing rela- tionships between subjects and spatial structures. Sociologists have found that subjects experience the life course through narrative struc- tures of objectively demarcated statuses and stages with identifiable properties Hughes Researchers readily decode status transitions of gender, sexuality, marriage, religion, ethnicity, age, citizenship, and careers, among many other types of transitions, making sense of the subjective process of moving between socially ordered phases.

This implies the location of orderly groupings as well as the transitions between them. Sociologists have studied life transitions to this end, describing the frictions between institutionalized stages of development with general social characteristics and the psychological experience of crossing between two coherent statuses. When people lose someone close to them, they enter into a clearly demarcated period of mourning: People adopt agreed on customs about what to wear, how to behave, how to address someone in mourning, and how long a person should follow the customs.

When that instituted period ends, grieving individuals return to everyday responsibilities and routine interactions. Yet the subjective experience of loss does not automatically resolve itself and match up with social and cultural expectations of everyday life.

Material Information

Marriage, she shows, is an instituted realm of obligations and rituals. Uncoupling is a change in status, but it is also a more pervasive structural disruption. Because temporal stages build on cultural understandings of predictable and taken-for- granted expectations and narratives about the relationship between the past, present, and future Tavory and Eliasoph , ethnographers study future-directed activities as a ten- sion between idealized expectations and the disassembling of ideals.

Anticipation is part of the durable structure of social order Merton This kind of analytic perspective, geared to the subjective sense of anticipation, is especially useful for ethnographers who spend years studying the same individuals in the pursuit of career aspirations. Subjects see people in their networks achieving their goals or have expectations about their established profes- sions. They learn to identify the narrative structure of successful careers.

Renewing Medicine’s basic concepts: on ambiguity

The ethnographer can then locate the socio-temporal stage of separating everyday experience from the dream. All the years of disciplined hard work that went into honing the craft are called into question. Subjects experience transformation in the life course, but they also experience transfor- mations in their spatial surroundings, in their social encounters with the physical environ- ment. This kind of case is often represented as the multiplication of orderly structures of meaning in shared spaces such that distinct narrative structures with external and orderly qualities seem to converge.

Studies of the competing experiences of chasing a tradition or version of authenticity—as in blues clubs, opera theaters, or neighbor- hoods—make visible patterns in competing interpretations of changing contexts Benzecry ; Brown-Saracino ; Grazian One reason urban communities are useful sites of sociological analysis is because of the readily visible friction between durability and transformation Hunter ; Molotch, Freudenburg, and Paulsen Ethnographers, however, have long moved beyond this notion of disorganization.

Now, a classic urban ethnographic trope is to highlight the social construction of orderly qualities in everyday life to debunk common perceptions of disorder Duck ; Duneier ; Gans ; Whyte [] Yet as cities and neighborhoods have become ever more com- plex in terms of the relationships between race, ethnicity, class, and uses of space, ethnogra- phers have further located and analyzed the competing meanings of change—not simply as a tension between order and disorder but as the relationship between competing forms of order, the production and navigation of ambiguities, and the power dynamics within these relationships.

Pattillo finds that the black middle class has become spatially and structurally situated between the histories of urban decline, racial segregation, urban renewal programs, and the white political elite who control citywide policy and economic decisions. Yet middle-class residents also oppose resources like new housing projects that would solely benefit poorer residents and deter renewal. Her middle-class subjects argue that black neigh- borhoods are typically chosen as sites of affordable housing, which disadvantages them economically in relationship to middle-class whites.

In this regard, the researcher pays attention to present condi- tions but also emphasizes the historical transformations of the relationships between subjec- tive and objective properties Elias and Scotson [] Individuals living in a community become interdependent with the groups, public spaces, and built infrastructures around them, yet when changes occur to these relationships, ethnographers can disentangle the structure of competing interpretations and experiences.

In some neighborhoods, changing spatial structures create conflict. In Los Angeles, devel- opers and newcomers are knocking down older beachside bungalows and building larger houses in the Venice neighborhood. Some are putting up enormous barricade-like fences around their properties. It is a place where million-dollar homes sit next to housing projects and homeless services are located near upscale retail. Competing and con- flicting orders come into contact.

Subjects observe the same physical conditions, but they do not make sense of them through the same understanding of spatial structure. Shop owners, barely getting by in this area of rising rents, fear that the gang violence that once plagued the neighborhood might reappear and affect their investments in a new neighborhood aesthetic.


  1. Conan the Invincible (Conan #1).
  2. Functional Psychiatric Disorders of the Elderly.
  3. Downplaying Dark Clouds;
  4. Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944.
  5. Counseling Students' Experiences of Ambiguity.

Longtime black residents, however, see changing boundaries of inclusion and exclusion. Consistent with a narrative research methodology, I generated data from multiple sources, including open-ended individual and group interviews as well as from documents and notes that the participants preservice teachers and the course instructor produced. This middle school English methods course consisted of nineteen female and six male students.

The twenty-one preservice teachers in the course matched the profile cited by Gomez in terms of who typically becomes elementary teachers—white, middle-class, English-only speaking females. Five male and sixteen female students were white-European American, and one male student and one female student were Asian American, one female student was an African American, and one female student was Latina. I conducted a purposeful sampling strategy to choose five case participants for this study.

These participants ranged in age from 20 to 26 years old. Only one student identified herself as a lower middle or working class student, and the others identified as a middle class student. Collected data were thematized through a qualitative coding technique in order to ascribe related labels to sections of the data sources Van Manen, Both inductive and deductive coding ensued as transcripts of interviews and documents were analyzed and categorized with both codes relating to the focus of the research questions and codes that emerged from data.

Some initial codes were common across the participants; other were more particular to each person. To make sense of and reduce these categories, initial codes were turned into theme codes, which represented concepts that came from the interviews, and documents of the five preservice teachers. Expected Outcomes The five preservice teachers entered the teacher education program with their own strong viewpoints.

They discussed how they defined being a good teacher in diverse settings and how they hoped to become an excellent teacher. They furthered the different ways they approached teaching and teacher education. Their practices provided a picture of how they were learning to transform or modify their teaching, as well as translating the pedagogical aims of the program into their teaching. This issue appeared most ubiquitous with the preservice teachers who did not have any teaching practice.

They looked for genuine stories and practical strategies of teaching that could provide change in the culturally and linguistically diverse classroom settings. Thereby, preservice teachers brought their prior experiences to life by revealing the nuances of time, place, and interactions with the different characters, including themselves, who were part of the stories. These included a the transition of preservice teachers into an actual teaching environment, b learning how to deal with ambiguity and developing a sense of authority and care, and c understanding teaching as a student-centered and culturally relevant practice.

References Clandinen, D. Didactics — Learning and Teaching Network Reserach on Arts Education Network Organizational Education Network The programme is updated regularly each day in the morning. Marginal Content.