Here or there
Now and then
You reaching for I
The aim of Perry’ article is to make two key points. The first point is on the nature of change and the second point is on beliefs in general. Perry uses the doctrine of propositions in order to represent traditional ways of thinking about beliefs. His argument is that for certain justifications of beliefs, essential indexical’ create problems for the more plausible accounts of traditional beliefs. An indexical is a linguistic expression whose reference can shift from context to context. Change seems to be just another placebo prescription for reality. It is us that exist in an infinite and perpetual state of transition(belief states). The arrow of reality is a timeless and motionless experience. We simplistically just perceive the experience of reality in a multiplicity of ways. Indexicals can point at a moment(belief state) within that multiplicity but they do not help describe them.
For example take a random instagram selfie post tagged with the caption “I am the object and I am not the object”. Out of context it seems to be a logical contradiction, that the agent (I) could at the same time both be the object and not the object. However, if context can manipulate the relationship between our agent and object Perry is correct about the problematic nature of indexcality and belief. Support for this example is can be seen in three ways: a) (I) is in fact just witness to the agent's instagram actions. So the (I) being read is really a he/she. b) The agent is a witness to a past act on instagram. So the (I) being read is in fact a (me). c) In the context of the act of viewing instagram the (I) of experience is the object and instagram is an illusion and not the person (Me). Support for the example challenges the doctrine of propositions in several ways. The relationship between subject and object is challenged by (a). Truth value in the absolute sense is addressed by (b). While (c) concerns truth value, object relation, and same concepts.
The second example problematizes the proposition “I stole the milk”. If it is the case that the context of this proposition happens in a dream, its truth value in the absolute sense can be questioned. Or if I read this proposition in a book, the relationship between (I) and the object is context sensitive. Finally the answer to the question who stole the milk could and would change dependent on the context of all the known facts; concerning truth value, the same object of relation and same concepts. Both examples highlight Perry’ challenge to traditional ways of thinking about belief. It seems a objects of belief are not complete until we can know who the experience is for. Objects of belief do not contain the agent of experience without the indexical. However, belief states inherently do contain the who of experience. Hence the reason to me he points out the limited accessibility of objects of belief.I personally take away from Perry the question “what do you mean about what do I mean”. In that the I of experience seems to act as a signal rather than an accessible feature of truth. Complexity in regards to the multiplicity of objects of belief seems to demand a useful tool such as indexical’ in order to describe our world. Yet the truth when tethered to experiences becomes hard to grasp.