I am taking care of my granddaughter this week while my daughter is taking some time off. The little one is just starting to associate sounds with objects. The more pleasing an object is to her, the more likely it is to have a name other than “bah”. “Apple” is one of those objects with its own name, being called “bahpo”. But it seems that “bahpo” only refers to the red ball that is “apple”. When I slice it up and give her a slice, the slice is not “bahpo”. I tried my best to convince her that both the slice and what was left of the red ball were both “bahpo”. It wasn’t easy and in end she started pointing at all sorts of things and saying “bahpo”; not exactly what I had in mind.
The funny, interesting, and philosophical part of all this is that it never occurred to me that a slice of apple would not be “apple”. Indeed, you may not think it is either. But taking into account the features that matter to me, it makes sense to call them both “apple”. This is perhaps going a step beyond the anthropocentrism of knowledge that Keith talks about and making it even more personal.
So which of us knows the thing in itself, reality’s own divisions, the Truth? Does reality even offer up “apple” in the first place, or do we just divide up reality in that way because the consequences of doing so are advantageous? As I understand it, a central thesis of “Leaving Truth” is that our divisions of reality can never be presumed to be realities own divisions, so everything I might tell you about my apple is and cannot be other than my experience of things important to me.
And a slice of apple is still apple.