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The Enigma Of The Universe : Rebuttal of Eddington’s View

Published: 09.12.2014
Updated: 13.01.2015

Eddington accepts that the external world, which is the cause of sensations in different consciousnesses, exists objectively. But he fights shy of admitting that sensory qualities exist objectively in the object. Now, the variety of colour, taste, etc. is directly perceived by us and even Eddington accepts it. If the plurality of the sensory qualities is not objective, how the same percipient would perceive different objects as possessing different qualities, and also, if it is the consciousness that creates sensory qualities[1] and if the object itself is completely devoid of these qualities, how a single object can be perceived identically by different percepients? For it is obvious that if the object itself were totally devoid of colour, etc. it would not be possible for different consciousnesses to have congruous perception of the same object.

It may be noted here that sometimes it happens that the same object is perceived by different percipients to be possessed of unidentical properties of colour etc.; but this dissimilarity is created due to the difference in the nature or structure of the sensory equipments of the different percipients and the means used by them. For example, colour-blind persons cannot distinguish between some colours or persons suffering from jaundice perceive everything as yellow. But this is obviously due to their subjective inability and not objective unity of colours. In the same way, it is possible that the same object may be perceived to have different tastes by two percepients (as in the case of a person suffering from fever and a healthy person) but it does not mean that there does not exist any taste objectively in the object.

It is clear that dissimilarity in tastes is caused due to the difference in the nature of their tongues.

The above fact becomes clearer by expressing it in our mathematical symbols:

Let S1 and S2 denote the functions of the sensory equipments (say tongues) of two percipients A and B respectively, and P1, P2 denote the tastes perceived by them respectively. Then,

P1 = f (O S1)

P2 = f (O, S2)

If S1 S2, P1 P2 and on the contrary, if S1 = S2, P1= P2.

It means that if the functions representing the tongues of A and B are unidentical, P1 will differ from P2, and if, on the other hand, the tongues of A and B have identical structures, P1 will be equal to P2. Actually this is what happens generally, for in normal conditions, the value of S remains identical for different percipients.

Another interesting inference from the above equations is that if for the same percipient the value of S may not remain the same in different conditions (i.e. if the structure of the tasting equipment itself undergoes a change), the same percipient would experience the same object in different forms. For example, say, a person drinks milk containing sugar. In normal conditions he will perceive its taste as "sweet". But if the same person first eats some sweet meat and then drinks the sugar mixed milk, he would perceive it as "unsweet". This is obviously due to the change in the value of S in the second case, due to the effect of sweetmeat on the tongue. In normal conditions, however, S may be considered to remain constant, and hence, we find that different percipients have identical perception of the same object.


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Title: The Enigma Of The Universe Publisher: JVB University Ladnun English Edition: 2010 HN4U Online Edition: 2014

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  1. Consciousness
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