60. We are now ready for the problem of the status of concepts pertaining to immediate experience. The first step is to remind ourselves that among the inner episodes which belong to the framework of thoughts will be perceptions, that is to say, seeing that the table is brown, hearing that the piano is out of tune, etc. Until Jones introduced this framework, the only concepts our fictitious ancestors had of perceptual episodes were those of overt verbal reports, made, for example, in the context of looking at an object in standard conditions. Seeing that something is the case is an inner episode in the Jonesean theory which has as its model reporting on looking that something is the case. It will be remembered from an earlier section that just as when I say that Dick reported that the table is green, I commit myself to the truth of what he reported, so to say of Dick that he saw that the table is green is, in part, to ascribe to Dick the idea 'this table is green' and to endorse this idea. The reader might refer back to Sections 16 ff. for an elaboration of this point.

    With the enrichment of the originally Rylean framework to include inner perceptual episodes, I have established contact with my original formulation of the problem of inner experience (Sections 22 ff.). For I can readily reconstruct in this framework my earlier account of the language of appearing, both qualitative and existential. Let us turn, therefore to the final chapter of our historical novel. By now our ancestors speak a quite un-Rylean language. But it still contains no reference to such things as impressions, sensations, or feelings -- in short, to the items which philosophers lump together under the heading "immediate experiences." It will be remembered that we had reached a point at which, as far as we could see, the phrase "impression of a red triangle" could only mean something like "that state of a perceiver -- over and above the idea that there is a red and triangular physical object over there -- which is common to those situations in which

  1. he sees that the object over there is red and triangular;
  2. the object over there looks to him to be red and triangular;
  3. there looks to him to be a red and triangular physical object over there."

Our problem was that, on the one hand, it seemed absurd to say that impressions, for example, are theoretical entities, while, on the other, the interpretation of impressions as theoretical entities seemed to provide the only hope of accounting for the positive content and explanatory power that the idea that there are such entities appears to have, and of enabling us to understand how we could have arrived at this idea. The account I have just been giving of thoughts suggests how this apparent dilemma can be resolved.

    For we continue the myth by supposing that Jones develops, in crude and sketchy form, of course, a theory of sense perception. Jones' theory does not have to be either well-articulated or precise in order to be the first effective step in the development of a mode of discourse which today, in the case of some sense-modalities at least, is extraordinarily subtle and complex. We need, therefore, attribute to this mythical theory only those minimal features which enable it to throw light on the logic of our ordinary language about immediate experiences. From this standpoint it is sufficient to suppose that the hero of my myth postulates a class of inner -- theoretical -- episodes which he calls, say, impressions, and which are the end results of the impingement of physical objects and processes on various parts of the body, and, in particular, to follow up the specific form in which I have posed our problem, the eye.

    61. A number of points can be made right away:

   (1) The entities introduced by the theory are states of the perceiving subject, not a class of particulars. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the particulars of the common-sense world are such things as books, pages, turnips, dogs, persons, noises, flashes, etc., and the Space and Time -- Kant's Undinge -- in which they come to be. What is likely to make us suppose that impressions are introduced as particulars is that as in the case of thoughts, this ur-theory is formulated in terms of a model. This time the model is the idea of a domain of "inner replicas" which, when brought about in standard conditions, share the perceptible characteristics of their physical source. It is important to see that the model is the occurrence "in" perceivers of replicas, not of perceivings of replicas. Thus, the model for an impression of a red triangle is a red and triangular replica, not a seeing of a red and triangular replica. The latter alternative would have the merit of recognizing that impressions are not particulars. But, by misunderstanding the role of models in the formulation of a theory, it mistakenly assumes that if the entities of the model are particulars, the theoretical entities which are introduced by means of the model must themselves be particulars -- thus overlooking the role of the commentary. And by taking the model to be seeing a red and triangular replica, it smuggles into the language of impressions the logic of the language of thoughts. For seeing is a cognitive episode which involves the framework of thoughts, and to take it as the model is to give aid and comfort to the assimilation of impressions to thoughts, and thoughts to impressions which, as I have already pointed out, is responsible for many of the confusions of the classical account of both thoughts and impressions.

    (2) The fact that impressions are theoretical entities enables us to understand how they can be intrinsically characterized -- that is to say, characterized by something more than a definite description, such as "entity of the kind which has as its standard cause looking at a red and triangular physical object in such and such circumstances" or "entity of the kind which is common to the situations in which there looks to be a red and triangular physical object." For although the predicates of a theory owe their meaningfulness to the fact that they are logically related to predicates which apply to the observable phenomena which the theory explains, the predicates of a theory are not shorthand for definite descriptions of properties in terms of these observation predicates. When the kinetic theory of gases speaks of molecules as having mass, the term "mass" is not the abbreviation of a definite description of the form "the property which . . ." Thus, "impression of a red triangle" does not simply mean "impression such as is caused by red and triangular physical objects in standard conditions," though it is true -- logically true -- of impressions of red triangles that they are of that sort which is caused by red and triangular objects in standard conditions.

    (3) If the theory of impressions were developed in true logistical style, we could say that the intrinsic properties of impressions are "implicitly defined" by the postulates of the theory, as we can say that the intrinsic properties of subatomic particles are "implicitly defined" by the fundamental principles of subatomic theory. For this would be just another way of saying that one knows the meaning of a theoretical term when one knows (a) how it is related to other theoretical terms, and (b) how the theoretical system as a whole is tied to the observation language. But, as I have pointed out, our ur-behaviorist does not formulate his theory in textbook style. He formulates it in terms of a model.

    Now the model entities are entities which do have intrinsic properties. They are, for example, red and triangular wafers. It might therefore seem that the theory specifies the intrinsic characteristics of impressions to be the familiar perceptible qualities of physical objects and processes. If this were so, of course, the theory would be ultimately incoherent, for it would attribute to impressions -- which are clearly not physical objects -- characteristics which, if our argument to date is sound, only physical objects can have. Fortunately, this line of thought overlooks what we have called the commentary on the model, which qualifies, restricts and interprets the analogy between the familiar entities of the model and the theoretical entities which are being introduced. Thus, it would be a mistake to suppose that since the model for the impression of a red triangle is a red and triangular wafer, the impression itself is a red and triangular wafer. What can be said is that the impression of a red triangle is analogous, to an extent which is by no means neatly and tidily specified, to a red and triangular wafer. The essential feature of the analogy is that visual impressions stand to one another in a system of ways of resembling and differing which is structurally similar to the ways in which the colors and shapes of visible objects resemble and differ.

    (4) It might be concluded from this last point that the concept of the impression of a red triangle is a "purely formal" concept, the concept of a "logical form" which can acquire a "content" only by means of "ostensive definition." One can see why a philosopher might want to say this, and why he might conclude that in so far as concepts pertaining to immediate experiences are intersubjective, they are "purely structural," the "content" of immediate experience being incommunicable. Yet this line of thought is but another expression of the Myth of the Given. For the theoretical concept of the impression of a red triangle would be no more and no less "without content" than any theoretical concept. And while, like these, it must belong to a framework which is logically connected with the language of observable fact, the logical relation between a theoretical language and the language of observable fact has nothing to do with the epistemological fiction of an "ostensive definition."

    (5) The impressions of Jones' theory are, as was pointed out above, states of the perceiver, rather than particulars. If we remind ourselves that these states are not introduced as physiological states (see Section 55), a number of interesting questions arise which tie in with the reflections on the status of the scientific picture of the world (Sections 39-44 above) but which, unfortunately, there is space only to adumbrate. Thus, some philosophers have thought it obvious that we can expect that in the development of science it will become reasonable to identify all the concepts of behavior theory with definable terms in neurophysiological theory, and these, in turn, with definable terms in theoretical physics. It is important to realize that the second step of this prediction, at least, is either a truism or a mistake. It is a truism if it involves a tacit redefinition of "physical theory" to mean "theory adequate to account for the observable behavior of any object (including animals and persons) which has physical properties." While if "physical theory" is taken in its ordinary sense of "theory adequate to explain the observable behavior of physical objects," it is, I believe, mistaken.

    To ask how impressions fit together with electromagnetic fields, for example, is to ask a mistaken question. It is to mix the framework of molar behavior theory with the framework of the micro-theory of physical objects. The proper question is, rather, "What would correspond in a micro-theory of sentient organisms to molar concepts pertaining to impressions?" And it is, I believe, in answer to this question that one would come upon the particulars which sense-datum theorists profess to find (by analysis) in the common-sense universe of discourse (cf. Section 23). Furthermore, I believe that in characterizing these particulars, the micro-behaviorist would be led to say something like the following: "It is such particulars which (from the standpoint of the theory) are being responded to by the organism when it looks to a person as though there were a red and triangular physical object over there." It would, of course, be incorrect to say that, in the ordinary sense, such a particular is red or triangular. What could be said,{26} however, is that whereas in the common-sense picture physical objects are red and triangular but the impression "of" a red triangle is neither red nor triangular, in the framework of this micro-theory, the theoretical counterparts of sentient organisms are Space-Time worms characterized by two kinds of variables: (a) variables which also characterize the theoretical counterparts of merely material objects; (b) variables peculiar to sentient things; and that these latter variables are the counterparts in this new framework of the perceptible qualities of the physical objects of the common-sense framework. It is statements such as these which would be the cash value of the idea that "physical objects aren't really colored; colors exist only in the perceiver," and that "to see that the facing surface of a physical object is red and triangular is to mistake a red and triangular sense content for a physical object with a red and triangular facing side." Both these ideas clearly treat what is really a speculative philosophical critique (see Section 41) of the common-sense framework of physical objects and the perception of physical objects in the light of an envisaged ideal scientific framework, as though it were a matter of distinctions which can be drawn within the common-sense framework itself.

    62. This brings me to the final chapter of my story. Let us suppose that as his final service to mankind before he vanishes without a trace, Jones teaches his theory of perception to his fellows. As before in the case of thoughts, they begin by using the language of impressions to draw theoretical conclusions from appropriate premises. (Notice that the evidence for theoretical statements in the language of impressions will include such introspectible inner episodes as its looking to one as though there were a red and triangular physical object over there, as well as overt behavior.) Finally he succeeds in training them to make a reporting use of this language. He trains them, that is, to say "I have the impression of a red triangle" when, and only when, according to the theory, they are indeed having the impression of a red triangle.

    Once again the myth helps us to understand that concepts pertaining to certain inner episodes -- in this case impressions -- can be primarily and essentially intersubjective, without being resolvable into overt behavioral symptoms, and that the reporting role of these concepts, their role in introspection, the fact that each of us has a privileged access to his impressions, constitutes a dimension of these concepts which is built on and presupposes their role in intersubjective discourse. It also makes clear why the "privacy" of these episodes is not the "absolute privacy" of the traditional puzzles. For, as in the case of thoughts, the fact that overt behavior is evidence for these episodes is built into the very logic of these concepts as the fact that the observable behavior of gases is evidence for molecular episodes is built into the very logic of molecule talk.

    Notice that what our "ancestors" have acquired under the guidance of Jones is not just another language" -- a "notational convenience" or "code" -- which merely enables them to say what they can already say in the language of qualitative and existential looking. They have acquired another language, indeed, but it is one which, though it rests on a framework of discourse about public objects in Space and Time, has an autonomous logical structure, and contains an explanation of, not just a code for, such facts as that there looks to me to be a red and triangular physical object over there. And notice that while our "ancestors" came to notice impressions, and the language of impressions embodies a "discovery" that there are such things, the language of impressions was no more tailored to fit antecedent noticings of these entities than the language of molecules was tailored to fit antecedent noticings of molecules.

    And the spirit of Jones is not yet dead. For it is the particulars of the micro-theory discussed in Section 61 (5) which are the solid core of the sense contents and sense fields of the sense-datum theorist. Envisaging the general lines of that framework, even sketching some of its regions, he has taught himself to play with it (in his study) as a report language. Unfortunately, he mislocates the truth of these conceptions, and, with a modesty forgivable in any but a philosopher, confuses his own creative enrichment of the framework of empirical knowledge, with an analysis of knowledge as it was. He construes as data the particulars and arrays of particulars which he has come to be able to observe, and believes them to be antecedent objects of knowledge which have somehow been in the framework from the beginning. It is in the very act of taking that he speaks of the given.

    63. I have used a myth to kill a myth -- the Myth of the Given. But is my myth really a myth? Or does the reader not recognize Jones as Man himself in the middle of his journey from the grunts and groans of the cave to the subtle and polydimensional discourse of the drawing room, the laboratory, and the study, the language of Henry and William James, of Einstein and of the philosophers who, in their efforts to break out of discourse to an arche beyond discourse, have provided the most curious dimension of all.