But if the coherence theory of concepts is correct and we cannot fully understand “looks red” unless we possess the contrasting concept “is red,” then it would seem that it is not logically possible to have the concept “looks red” before we have the concept “is red.”
The above sentence is taken from a 1964 article by Roderick Firth from Harvard. The article is titled “Coherence, Certainty, and Epistemic Priority” and it is taken by Wilfrid Sellars as a starting point in the first of his Carus lectures ‘Foundations for a Metaphysics of Pure Process’, namely The Lever of Archimedes.
You can imagine i found the title of the latter rather intriguing. I’m trying to get through the text at the time of this writing, so first of course i ‘m reading Firth’s paper; It never stops, does it? what one has to read to get to read what one wants to read. It’s a coherence problem, really.
Anyway, the sentence is incomprehensible to me, so i need your help. I have two questions concerning it.
My first question splashes itself out in rhetorical bonfire but basically it’s this: how for pete’s sake can one ever ‘possess a concept’? In my book concepts happen when you think them, you can define them but what we denote by the metonymy of ‘having a concept’ is having its code run through our brain: the having is a letting it happen of sorts, not one of possessing it. One could stretch one’s imagination to having the concept ‘possess’ the brain because when being thought the concept is ‘occupying’ the brains capacity to think (forgive me my neuro-cognitive ignorance, please). Is everyone among the analytically inclined ‘having thoughts’ like that? Or are they having ‘second thoughts’ these days? And, just for my mental well being: am i nuts in just having them happen to whatever the ongoing process i call myself, my consciousness? Should i have someone have a look at my thoughts?
I’m pretty sure you can easily give me a conclusive and coherent answer in no time, so please pleasure me.
The other question is a bit harder perhaps. Could i have avoided asking this question?
Thank you in advance.