To cognize X is to be X : predication, surrogacy, & the adoption of a truly sufficient ontic stance : a study in the metaphysics of various empiricist accounts of cognition, a tradition which includes Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, John Locke and (among others) Charles Dunbar Broad : a thesis ... presented to partially fulfill the requirements of a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy at Massey University
When I cognize a substance do I thereby enter into a special relationship with this substance? It is tempting to say that I do. When I stone-cognize, for example, I seem to be related to the stone in a special way. But how do I best characterize this relationship? Do I cognize the stone directly? Is it given to me as it exists in the paddock? Can I be mistaken about this stone? Many philosophers are reluctant to say that the stone is available to me directly. They find that paddock-stones (and the like) are not the sort of things which comfortably (reliably) accrue to souls or minds. They bruit some third thing. This third thing stands between the cognizer and the mediate cognizeable. Aristotle, for example, suggests that when I stone-cognize it is not the stone itself in my soul, but rather the form of the stone. He proposes a sufficient condition for cognition which exploits immaterial form (thus): to cognize X is to have the form of X (devoid of its matter component) accrue to the soul. This model purports to uniquely characterize a cognitive episode. We vet the model. And, reaching aporia – given the rather blunt metaphysical resources endorsed by the Stagirite – ask for refinement. Thomas Aquinas superadds to the model. His cognitive sentences invoke esse intentionale forms. For Aquinas world items come in two flavours: natural and intentional. A natural stone is answered by the lapidary object sitting in the paddock. An intentional stone, however, is the stone which accrues to my soul whenever I cognize the lapidary object. Are the two stones stones? Yes, but clearly one of the stones is a stone in some nonstandard way. Does this not undermine the special connection? We next discuss early-modern empiricism. John Locke's surrogates are mental ideas. STONE* flags a Lockean idea. But it is not a simple. It should properly reduce to the likes of, say, ROUND* and WHITE*. Ontological problems however, linger. Is ROUND* round (WHITE* white)? Yes (and no). But how can a mental item be round? We ask the idea to reveal something of its simple cause. And move forward to a reasonably contemporary strain of empiricism, viz., sense-datum theory. This theory identifies immediate cognitive objects with appearances. I never cognize substances directly. I only cognize sense-data. I cannot be mistaken about these items. They are single-propertied logical objects. Theory, under close analysis, terminates in monism. Which result, we proffer, illuminates the paradoxical nature of cognitive surrogacy. Cognizeables must be their mother objects in a way which undermines standard reality. Cognition seems inextricably linked with predication.