10. Before turning aside to examine the suggestion that the language of sense data is "another language" for the situations described by the so-called "language of appearing," I had concluded that classical sense datum theories, when pressed, reveal themselves to be the result of a mismating of two ideas: (1) The idea that there are certain "inner episodes," e.g. the sensation of a red triangle or of a C# sound, which occur to human beings and brutes without any prior process of learning or concept formation, and without which it would -- in some sense -- be impossible to see, for example, that the facing surface of a physical object is red and triangular, or hear that a certain physical sound is C#. (2) The idea that there are certain "inner episodes" which are the non-inferential knowings that, for example, a certain item is red and triangular, or, in the case of sounds, C#, which inner episodes are the necessary conditions of empirical knowledge as providing the evidence for all other empirical propositions. If this diagnosis is correct, a reasonable next step would be to examine these two ideas and determine how that which survives criticism in each is properly to be combined with the other. Clearly we would have to come to grips with the idea of inner episodes, for this is common to both.

    Many who attack the idea of the given seem to have thought that the central mistake embedded in this idea is exactly the idea that there are inner episodes, whether thoughts or so-called "immediate experiences," to which each of us has privileged access. I shall argue that this is just not so, and that the Myth of the Given can be dispelled without resorting to the crude verificationisms or operationalisms characteristic of the more dogmatic forms of recent empiricism. Then there are those who, while they do not reject the idea of inner episodes, find the Myth of the Given to consist in the idea that knowledge of these episodes furnishes premises on which empirical knowledge rests as on a foundation. But while this idea has, indeed, been the most widespread form of the Myth, it is far from constituting its essence. Everything hinges on why these philosophers reject it. If, for example, it is on the ground that the learning of a language is a public process which proceeds in a domain of public objects and is governed by public sanctions, so that private episodes -- with the exception of a mysterious nod in their direction -- must needs escape the net of rational discourse, then, while these philosophers are immune to the form of the myth which has flowered in sense-datum theories, they have no defense against the myth in the form of the givenness of such facts as that physical object x looks red to person S at time t, or that there looks to person S at time t to be a red physical object over there. It will be useful to pursue the Myth in this direction for a while before more general issues are raised.

    11. Philosophers have found it easy to suppose that such a sentence as "The tomato looks red to Jones" says that a certain triadic relation, looking or appearing, obtains among a physical object, a person, and a quality.{2} "A looks f to S" is assimilated to "x gives y to z" -- or, better, since giving is, strictly speaking, an action rather than a relation -- to "x is between y and z," and taken to be a case of the general form "R(x,y,z)." Having supposed this, they turn without further ado to the question, "Is this relation analyzable?" Sense-datum theorists have, on the whole, answered "Yes," and claimed that facts of the form x looks red to X are to be analyzed in terms of sense data. Some of them, without necessarily rejecting this claim, have argued that facts of this kind are, at the very least, to be explained in terms of sense data. Thus, when Broad{3} writes "If, in fact, nothing elliptical is before my mind, it is very hard to understand why the penny should seem elliptical rather than of any other shape (p. 240)," he is appealing to sense-data as a means of explaining facts of this form. The difference, of course, is that whereas if x looks f to S is correctly analyzed in terms of sense data, then no one could believe that x looks f to S without believing that S has sense data, the same need not be true if x looks f to S is explained in terms of sense data, for, in the case of some types of explanation, at least, one can believe a fact without believing its explanation.

    On the other hand, those philosophers who reject sense-datum theories in favor of so-called theories of appearing have characteristically held that facts of the form x looks f to S are ultimate and irreducible, and that sense data are needed neither for their analysis nor for their explanation. If asked, "Doesn't the statement 'x looks red to S' have as part of its meaning the idea that S stands in some relation to something that is red?" their answer is in the negative, and, I believe, rightly so.

    12. I shall begin my examination of "X looks red to S at t" with the simple but fundamental point that the sense of "red" in which things look red is, on the face of it, the same as that in which things are red. When one glimpses an object and decides that it looks red (to me, now, from here) and wonders whether it really is red, one is surely wondering whether the color -- red -- which it looks to have is the one it really does have. This point can be obscured by such verbal manipulations as hyphenating the words "looks" and "red" and claiming that it is the insoluble unit "looks-red" and not just "looks" which is the relation. Insofar as this dodge is based on insight, it is insight into the fact that looks is not a relation between a person, a thing, and a quality. Unfortunately, as we shall see, the reason for this fact is one which gives no comfort at all to the idea that it is looks-red rather than looks which is the relation.

    I have, in effect, been claiming that being red is logically prior, is a logically simpler notion, than looking red; the function "x is red" to "x looks red to y." In short, that it just won't do to say that x is red is analyzable in terms of x looks red to y. But what, then, are we to make of the necessary truth -- and it is, of course, a necessary truth -- that

is red.<--> . x would look red to standard observers in standard conditions?

There is certainly some sense to the idea that this is at least the schema for a definition of physical redness in terms of looking red. One begins to see the plausibility of the gambit that looking-red is an insoluble unity, for the minute one gives "red" (on the right-hand side) an independent status, it becomes what it obviously is, namely "red" as a predicate of physical objects, and the supposed definition becomes an obvious circle.

    13. The way out of this troubling situation has two parts. The second is to show how "x is red" can be necessarily equivalent to "x would look red to standard observers in standard situations" without this being a definition of "x is red" in terms of "x looks red." But the first, and logically prior, step is to show that "x looks red to S" does not assert either an unanalyzable triadic relation to obtain between x, red, and S, or an unanalyzable dyadic relation to obtain between x and S. Not, however, because it asserts an analyzable relation to obtain, but because looks is not a relation at all. Or, to put the matter in a familiar way, one can say that looks is a relation if he likes, for the sentences in which this word appears show some grammatical analogy to sentences built around words which we should not hesitate to classify as relation words; but once one has become aware of certain other features which make them very unlike ordinary relation sentences, he will be less inclined to view his task as that of finding the answer to the question "Is looks a relation?"

    14. To bring out the essential features of the use of "looks," I shall engage in a little historical fiction. A young man, whom I shall call John, works in a necktie shop. He has learned the use of color words in the usual way, with this exception. I shall suppose that he has never looked at an object in other than standard conditions. As he examines his stock every evening before closing up shop, he says, "This is red," "That is green," "This is purple," etc., and such of his linguistic peers as happen to be present nod their heads approvingly.

    Let us suppose, now, that at this point in the story, electric lighting is invented. His friends and neighbors rapidly adopt this new means of illumination, and wrestle with the problems it presents. John, however, is the last to succumb. Just after it has been installed in his shop, one of his neighbors, Jim, comes in to buy a necktie.

   "Here is a handsome green one," says John.
   "But it isn't green," says Jim, and takes John outside.
   "Well," says John, "it was green in there, but now it is blue."
   "No," says Jim, "you know that neckties don't change their color merely as a result of being taken from place to place."
    "But perhaps electricity changes their color and they change back again in daylight?"
    "That would be a queer kind of change, wouldn't it?" says Jim.
   "I suppose so," says bewildered John. "But we saw that it was green in there."
   No, we didn't see that it was green in there, because it wasn't green, and you can't see what isn't so!"
    "Well, this is a pretty pickle," says John. "I just don't know what to say."

    The next time John picks up this tie in his shop and someone asks what color it is, his first impulse is to say "It is green." He suppresses this impulse, and remembering what happened before, comes out with "It is blue." He doesn't see that it is blue, nor would he say that he sees it to be blue. What does he see? Let us ask him.

    I don't know what to say. If I didn't know that the tie is blue -- and the alternative to granting this is odd indeed -- I would swear that I was seeing a green tie and seeing that it is green. It is as though I were seeing the necktie to be green."

    If we bear in mind that such sentences as "This is green" have both a fact-stating and a reporting use, we can put the point I have just been making by saying that once John learns to stifle the report "This necktie is green" when looking at it in the shop, there is no other report about color and the necktie which he knows how to make. To be sure, he now says "This necktie is blue." But he is not making a reporting use of this sentence. He uses it as the conclusion of an inference.{4}

    15. We return to the shop after an interval, and we find that when John is asked "What is the color of this necktie?" he makes such statements as "It looks green, but take it outside and see." It occurs to us that perhaps in learning to say "This tie looks green" when in the shop, he has learned to make a new kind of report. Thus, it might seem as though his linguistic peers have helped him to notice a new kind of objective fact, one which, though a relational fact involving a perceiver, is as logically independent of the beliefs, the conceptual framework of the perceiver, as the fact that the necktie is blue; but a minimal fact, one which it is safer to report because one is less likely to be mistaken. Such a minimal fact would be the fact that the necktie looks green to John on a certain occasion, and it would be properly reported by using the sentence "This necktie looks green." It is this type of account, of course, which I have already rejected.

    But what is the alternative? If, that is, we are not going to adopt the sense-datum analysis. Let me begin by noting that there certainly seems to be something to the idea that the sentence "This looks green to me now" has a reporting role. Indeed, it would seem to be essentially a report. But if so, what does it report, if not a minimal objective fact, and if what it reports is not to be analyzed in terms of sense data?

    16. Let me next call attention to the fact that the experience of having something look green to one at a certain time is, insofar as it is an experience, obviously very much like that of seeing something to be green, insofar as the latter is an experience. But the latter, of course, is not just an experience. And this is the heart of the matter. For to say that a certain experience is a seeing that something is the case, is to do more than describe the experience. It is to characterize it as, so to speak, making an assertion or claim, and -- which is the point I wish to stress -- to endorse that claim. As a matter of fact, as we shall see, it is much more easy to see that the statement "Jones sees that the tree is green" ascribes a propositional claim to Jones' experience and endorses it, than to specify how the statement describes Jones' experience.

    I realize that by speaking of experiences as containing propositional claims. I may seem to be knocking at closed doors. I ask the reader to bear with me, however, as the justification of this way of talking is one of my major aims. If I am permitted to issue this verbal currency now, I hope to put it on the gold standard before concluding the argument.

    16. It is clear that the experience of seeing that something is green is not merely the occurrence of the propositional claim 'this is green' -- not even if we add, as we must, that this claim is, so to speak, evoked or wrung from the perceiver by the object perceived. Here Nature -- to turn Kant's simile (which he uses in another context) on its head -- puts us to the question. The something more is clearly what philosophers have in mind when they speak of "visual impressions" or "immediate visual experiences." What exactly is the logical status of these "impressions" or "immediate experiences" is a problem which will be with us for the remainder of this argument. For the moment it is the propositional claim which concerns us.

    I pointed out above that when we use the word "see" as in "S sees that the tree is green" we are not only ascribing a claim to the experience, but endorsing it. It is this endorsement which Ryle has in mind when he refers to seeing that something is thus and so as an achievement, and to "sees" as an achievement word. I prefer to call it a "so it is" or "just so" word, for the root idea is that of truth. To characterize S's experience as a seeing is, in a suitably broad sense -- which I shall be concerned to explicate -- to apply the semantical concept of truth to that experience.

    Now the suggestion I wish to make is, in its simplest terms, that the statement "X looks green to Jones" differs from "Jones sees that x is green" in that whereas the latter both ascribes a propositional claim to Jones' experience and endorses it, the former ascribes the claim but does not endorse it. This is the essential difference between the two, for it is clear that two experiences may be identical as experiences, and yet one be properly referred to as a seeing that something is green, and the other merely as a case of something's looking green. Of course, if I say "X merely looks green to S" I am not only failing to endorse the claim, I am rejecting it.

    Thus, when I say "X looks green to me now" I am reporting the fact that my experience is, so to speak, intrinsically, as an experience, indistinguishable from a veridical one of seeing that x is green. Involved in the report is the ascription to my experience of the claim 'x is green'; and the fact that I make this report rather than the simple report "X is green" indicates that certain considerations have operated to raise, so to speak in a higher court, the question 'to endorse or not to endorse.' I may have reason to think that x may not after all be green.

    If I make at one time the report "X looks to be green" -- which is not only a report, but the withholding of an endorsement -- I may later, when the original reasons for withholding endorsement have been rebutted, endorse the original claim by saying "I saw that it was green, though at the time I was only sure that it looked green." Notice that I will only say "I see that x is green" (as opposed to "X is green") when the question "to endorse or not to endorse" has come up. "I see that x is green" belongs, so to speak, on the same level as "X looks green" and "X merely looks green."

    17. There are many interesting and subtle questions about the dialectics of "looks talk," into which I do not have the space to enter. Fortunately, the above distinctions suffice for our present purposes. Let us suppose, then, that to say that "X looks green to S at t" is, in effect, to say that S has that kind of experience which, if one were prepared to endorse the propositional claim it involves, one would characterize as seeing x to be green at t. Thus, when our friend John learns to use the sentence "This necktie looks green to me" he learns a way of reporting an experience of the kind which, as far as any categories I have yet permitted him to have are concerned, he can only characterize by saying that as an experience it does not differ from seeing something to be green, and that evidence for the proposition 'This necktie is green' is ipso facto evidence for the proposition that the experience in question is seeing that the necktie is green.

    Now one of the chief merits of this account is that it permits a parallel treatment of 'qualitative' and 'existential' seeming or looking. Thus, when I say "The tree looks bent" I am endorsing that part of the claim involved in my experience which concerns the existence of the tree, but withholding endorsement from the rest. On the other hand, when I say "There looks to be a bent tree over there" I am refusing to endorse any but the most general aspect of the claim, namely, that there is an 'over there' as opposed to a 'here.' Another merit of the account is that it explains how a necktie, for example, can look red to S at t, without looking scarlet or crimson or any other determinate shade of red. In short it explains how things can have a merely generic look, a fact which would be puzzling indeed if looking red were a natural as opposed to [an] epistemic fact about objects. The core of the explanation, of course, is that the propositional claim involved in such an experience may be, for example, either the more determinable claim 'This is red' or the more determinate claim 'This is crimson.' The complete story is more complicated, and requires some account of the role in these experiences of the 'impressions' or 'immediate experiences' the logical status of which remains to be determined. But even in the absence of these additional details, we can note the resemblance between the fact that x can look red to S, without it being true of some specific shade of red that x looks to S to be of that shade, and the fact that S can believe that Cleopatra's Needle is tall, without its being true of some determinate number of feet that S believes it to be that number of feet tall.

    18. The point I wish to stress at this time, however, is that the concept of looking green, the ability to recognize that something looks green, presupposes the concept of being green, and that the latter concept involves the ability to tell what colors objects have by looking at them -- which, in turn, involves knowing in what circumstances to place an object if one wishes to ascertain its color by looking at it. Let me develop this latter point. As our friend John becomes more and more sophisticated about his own and other people's visual experiences, he learns under what conditions it is as though one were seeing a necktie to be of one color when in fact it is of another. Suppose someone asks him "Why does this tie look green to me?" John may very well reply "Because it is blue, and blue objects look green in this kind of light." And if someone asks this question when looking at the necktie in plain daylight, John may very well reply "Because the tie is green" -- to which he may add "We are in plain daylight, and in daylight things look what they are." We thus see that

x is red.<--> . x looks red to standard observers in standard conditions

is a necessary truth not because the right-hand side is the definition of "x is red," but because "standard conditions" means condition in which things look what they are. And, of course, which conditions are standard for a given mode of perception is, at the common-sense level specified by a list of conditions which exhibit the vagueness and open texture characteristic of ordinary discourse.{5}

    19. I have arrived at a stage in my argument which is, at least prima facie, out of step with the basic presuppositions of logical atomism. Thus, as long as looking green is taken to be the notion to which being green is reducible, it could be claimed with considerable plausibility that fundamental concepts pertaining to observable fact have that logical independence of one another which is characteristic of the empiricist tradition. Indeed, at first sight the situation is quite disquieting, for if the ability to recognize that x looks green presupposes the concept of being green, and if this in turn involves knowing in what circumstances to view an object to ascertain its color, then, since one can scarcely determine what the circumstances are without noticing that certain objects have certain perceptible characteristics -- including colors -- it would seem that one couldn't form the concept of being green, and, by parity of reasoning, of the other colors, unless he already had them.

    Now, it just won't do to reply that to have the concept of green, to know what it is for something to be green, it is sufficient to respond when one is in point of fact in standard conditions, to green objects with the vocable "This is green." Not only must the conditions be of a sort that is appropriate for determining the color of an object by looking, the subject must know that conditions of this sort are appropriate. And while this does not imply that one must have concepts before one has them, it does imply that one can have the concept of green only by having a whole battery of concepts of which it is one element. It implies that while the process of acquiring the concept of green may -- indeed does -- involve a long history of acquiring piecemeal habits of response to various objects in various circumstances, there is an important sense in which one has no concept pertaining to the observable properties of physical objects in Space and Time unless one has them all -- and, indeed, as we shall see, a great deal more besides.{6}

    20. Now, I think it is clear what a logical atomist, supposing that he found any merit at all in the above argument, would say. He would say that I am overlooking the fact that the logical space of physical objects in Space and Time rests on the logical space of sense contents, and he would argue that it is concepts pertaining to sense contents which have the logical independence of one another which is characteristic of traditional empiricism. "After all," he would point out, "concepts pertaining to theoretical entities -- molecules, for example -- have the mutual dependence you have, perhaps rightly, ascribed to concepts pertaining to physical fact. But," he would continue, "theoretical concepts have empirical content because they rest on -- are coordinated with -- a more fundamental logical space. Until you have disposed, therefore, of the idea that there is a more fundamental logical space than that of physical objects in Space and Time, or shown that it too is fraught with coherence, your incipient Meditations Hegeliennes are premature."

    And we can imagine a sense-datum theorist to interject the following complaint: "You have begun to write as though you had shown not only that physical redness is not to be analyzed in terms of looking red -- which I will grant -- but also that physical redness is not to be analyzed at all, and, in particular, not to be analyzed in terms of the redness of red sense contents. Again, you have begun to write as though you had shown not only that observing that x looks red is not more basic than observing that x is red, but also that there is no form of visual noticing more basic than seeing that x is red, such as the sensing of a red sense content. I grant," he continues, "that the tendency of sense-datum theorists has been to claim that the redness of physical objects is to be analyzed in terms of looking red, and then to claim that looking red is itself to be analyzed in terms of red sense contents, and that you may have undercut this line of analysis. But what is to prevent the sense-datum theorist from taking the line that the properties of physical objects are directly analyzable into the qualities and phenomenal relations of sense contents?"

    Very well. But once again we must ask, How does the sense-datum theorist come by the framework of sense contents? and How is he going to convince us that there are such things? For even if looking red doesn't enter into the analysis of physical redness, it is by asking us to reflect on the experience of having something look red to us that he hopes to make this framework convincing. And it therefore becomes relevant to note that my analysis of x looks red to S at t has not, at least as far as I have pushed it to date, revealed any such items as sense-contents. And it may be relevant to suggest that once we see clearly that physical redness is not to be given a dispositional analysis in terms of looking red, the idea that it is to be given any kind of dispositional analysis loses a large measure of its plausibility. In any event, the next move must be to press further the above account of qualitative and existential looking.