By Roderick M. Chisholm
Reissue from the vintage Muirhead Library of Philosophy sequence (originally released among Nineties - 1970s).
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Extra info for Person and Object: A Metaphysical Study
But the man we are considering could not have so arranged things this morning. Hence this first answer is too permissive. (ii) Nor is our 'could' the 'could' of epistemic possibility. 4 For we may truly say that he could so have arranged things even though we know in fact that he did not so arrange them. Nor does 'You could so have arranged things this morning' mean the same as 'Your having arranged them this morning is consistent with everything that was known this morning'. Suppose that, unknown to everyone this morning, the man had been locked in his room, sound asleep and unable to move.
They are not entities in their own right; they are 'parasitical upon' other things. And what they are parasitical upon are persons or selves. ) It is interesting to note, in passing, that Hume himself criticises the view that appearances are modifications of persons or selves and that, in doing so, he provides us with an excellent example of the sense-datum fallacy. First he notes the absurdity of Spinoza's view, according to which such things as the sun, moon and stars, and the earth, seas, plants, animals, men, ships and houses are in fact only 'modifications' of a single divine substance.
This point is essential to marking off the sense of 'could' and 'can' that is implied by 'ought'. Consider a man in the position of Jimmy Valentine, for whom it is imperative to open the safe in the shortest time possible: he has it directly within his power to turn the dials to anyone of the 10,000 possible combinations within 10 seconds (there being 100 positions for the left dial and 100 for the right) but he has no idea at all of what the proper combination is. The man could turn the dials to the proper combination within 10 seconds; for if he undertook to set the dials to L - 84 and R - 32, then he would have the proper combination.