Introduction to the History of Modern Philosophy Essay

a) Plato and Hobbes would both answer the question by stating that a rose is not red in the dark, however they would have separate reasons for believing this based on their view of perception. Plato would say that the rose is not red because there would firstly be no motion between the eye and the rose, in the same way we cannot see at night because the fire from the eye cannot be attracted to the fire from the daylight, because there is no motion.The eye would not see the rose, therefore although it involves the eye, there is nothing “appropriate” for it to interact with, therefore there is no birth of whiteness. Plato states in the passage, ” These could not have been born if either the eye or what it saw had gone to anything else. ” Thus if there is no motion between the eye and the rose, and the rose and the eye, the eye does not become filled with vision, and then see and then become a seeing eye, and therefore it does not give birth to colour.

There is no mutual interaction between the two, and things only come into being by mutual interaction.Plato stated that nothing exists as a self-contained unit, it has the potential to become something for someone. Therefore the rose would not be red in the dark. Hobbes would agree with Plato insofar as saying that the rose would not be red in the dark and that motion plays an important part in the explanation. The reason the rose would not be red is because no motion would be spread from the “shining, luminous and illuminated body,” to the eye, thus to the optic nerve and to the brain. Hobbes states that when, “there is no light, there is no sight.

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Therefore if there is no sight there is no colour, and thus the rose would not be red. Hobbes states that “colour must be the same thing as light,” in this instance there is no colour produced. Therefore if there is no motion the rose could not been seen firstly and secondly would not be coloured.

b) Plato states in the Theaetetus, ” when the eye and something appropriate to it approach each other, they give birth both to whiteness and to its twin sensation. ” This would suggest a causal link between the birth of whiteness and sensation.Sensation is caused by the actions of slow motions which give birth to faster motions, which in turn give birth to motion. The slow motions are passive motion, while the faster motions are the active motions, which are the sensations or the sensory qualities.

Plato states at the end of the passage, ” All the others must be understood in the same way: the hard, the warm, and everything. ” Thus sensations are formulated in the same way as perception, they are born due to a mutual interaction between an observer and the observed object, and motion between the two.Plato gives examples of sensations in the Theaetetus, he calls them, “seeing,” “smelling,” “cold feelings,” “desires,” and “fears,” to name only a few.

Plato suggests that they are in twins, that which is sensed and, ” the sensation which is always born together with what is sensed. ” He gives several examples, colours are born out of seeing and sounds from hearing. c) Hobbes states that the influence of the shining object on the eye brings about light and colour but only as a result of the body’s reaction to the stimuli given off by the shining object, this is an explanation of projection.Hobbes believes that motion is spread from the shining object, to the eye, through the optic nerve, and then to the brain.

Once in the brain both light and colour are produced. Hobbes then states that the brain resists the motion, and so is repelled back along the optic nerve. Thus we do not conceive the motion happening in the brain and as a result think that it is external to us, “and we call it ‘light’. ” Therefore Hobbes is explaining how sensory images are a product of the body’s reaction to a given stimuli.Hobbes also gives an explanation of how things travel from the shining object to the eye, this is explained through motion.

He states “from experience” the motion from the fire is a mixture of expansion and contraction, which he says is usually called, “sparkling” or “glittering”. These generate motion which thrust back from each other or push against one another, and pass the motion “right up to the eye itself. ” Thus motion travels from the object to the eye, through the pushing of motion against motion. )Hobbes explains that we see things as external to ourselves because once the motion has spread from the given object to the brain, the brain resists the motion and sends it back along the optic nerve, thus to the eye and back to the object. Hobbes gives an example of being punched in the eye, and thus stimulating the optic nerve which creates light in front of the eye. Hobbes states in this example that the light is not external, “but an apparition,” since the light does not exist outside of the head, it is simply a motion within our head. I will use an example to explain this point further, take a red rose.

The rose would generate a motion which would spread to the eye, this motion would spread to the optic nerve and thus to the brain, however the brain would reject this motion and send it back along the optic nerve to the eye and back to the rose. Hence we think that the red rose is external to us because we have not conceived of the brain rejecting the motion, when in fact the sensory image comes into being only through the body’s reaction to the stimulus; and because the motion is outward, from the rose to use, the rose is perceived as external.Hobbes explanation of how we see things as external to ourselves appears to be a valid explanation of projection. It describes how we perceive objects as external entities when in reality we perceive sensory images through the body’s reaction to the stimuli. However Hobbes does not explain why the brain resists the motion, or how the brain resists the motion, he just states that the brain does resist the motion, and therefore “it bounces back again along the optic nerve.

” e) Hobbes makes a distinction between light and colour.He states that light is ‘pure’ light, while colour is ‘confused’ light, but how does this difference come into being? He states that light comes directly from the source to the eye, or indirectly to the eye when it is reflected from clean and polished bodies. The clean and polished bodies have no motion of their internal particles and as a result ‘pure’ light is reflected from them to the eye. The distinction with colour is that ‘pure’ light is reflected from the source onto uneven, rough, and unpolished bodies.This uneven property has motion of there own which alters the ‘pure’ light and makes it ‘confused’ light, or colour. The main distinction is whether the ‘pure’ light is reflected from a polished or unpolished body.

This is because theses bodies either contain internal motion which can alter the light or whether they have no motion and simply let the ‘pure’ light reflect off it and remain ‘pure’. This demonstrates Hobbes’ distinction between light and colour but there appear to be several problems with this distinction.The first is a relatively simple problem, Hobbes suggests that colour is produced from the reflection of pure light off unpolished bodies. Therefore a body such as a metal vase can either produce ‘pure’ light and ‘confused’ light, depending on whether the vase has been polished or not.

But will the vase not still have colour even if it has been polished? The vase will have the potential to reflect ‘pure’ or ‘confused’ light but will appear to be always coloured, how is this possible according to Hobbes’ theory.The second potential problem is that Hobbes does not take into account that the source of the ‘pure’ light can be coloured. If I were to look directly into the fire I would not see ‘pure’ light, it appears yellow and golden in colour, but this is not possible due to Hobbes’ theory because it has not been reflected off any unpolished properties.

There appear several problems with Hobbes’ distinction between light and colour.


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