V.—FRESH LIGHT ON MOLYNEUX' PROBLEM. DR. RAMSAY'S CASE

T. K. ABBOTT
1904 Mind  
MOLTNEUX' problem, as my readers will doubtless remember, was as follows :-" Suppose a man born blind and now adult and taught by his touch to distinguish between a cube and a sphere (suppose) of ivory x and nighly of the same bigness, so as to tell, when he felt the one and the other, which is the cube and which the sphere. Suppose then the cube and sphere placed on a table, and the blind man made to see; query, whether by his sight alone, before he touched them, he could now distinguish, and
more » ... w distinguish, and tell, which is the globe, which the cube." It will be observed that the problem is reduced to a very simple form. The subject of the experiment is to be told that one of the objects presented to him is a cube and the other a sphere, and he is only asked to say which is the sphere and which the cube. Molyneux answers his own question in the negative. " For, though he has obtained the experience of how a globe, how a cube affects his touch, yet he has not yet attained the experience that what affects his touch so or so, must affect his sight so or so; or that a protuberant angle in the cube, that pressed his hand unequally, shall appear to his eye as it doth in the cube." The reasoning seems inconclusive when the question put is only which of the two objects is the cube. Locke says that he agrees with Molyneux, but it is curious that while doing so, he substitutes for Molyneux' expression "by his sight' the very different one " at first sight". Berkeley came to the same conclusion by a different path, holding as he did that the ideas of extension as given by sight and touch respectively have no resemblance cr homogeneity whatever. He thought, however, that Locke on his 1 Locke has "of the same metal ".
doi:10.1093/mind/xiii.1.543 fatcat:hgmezbwjujhhvitterata4hpzm