哲学导论:《这一切有什么意义》

1. Introduction(导论)

This book is a brief introduction to philosophy for people who don't know the first thing about the subject. People ordinarily study philosophy only when they go to college, and I suppose that most readers will be of college age or older. But that has nothing to do with the nature of the subject, and I would be very glad if the book were also of interest to intelligent high school students with a taste for abstract ideas and theoretical arguments -- should any of them read it.

这是一本简单的哲学导论,它是写给那些对这一学科的首要事情都没有了解的人看的。通常(常识),人们只有在进入大学以后才开始学习哲学,所以,我想这本书的大部分读者的年龄层次至少是大学本科生。不过,这样的常识与这一学科的本性(哲学本性)并没有关系,所以,如果这本书同样也能引起一些聪明的喜欢抽象的概念和理论论证的高中生的兴趣(他们应该读它吗?),我会非常高兴。

Our analytical capacities are often highly developed before we have learned a great deal about the world, and around the age of fourteen many people start to think about philosophical problems on their own -- about what really exists, whether we can know anything, whether anthing is really right or wrong, whether life has any meaning, whether death is the end. These problems have been written about for thousands of years, but the philosophical raw material comes directly from the world and our relation to it, not from writings of the past. That is why they come up again and again, in the heads of people who haven't read about them.

在掌握大量的关于这个世界的事情之前,我们的分析能力往往就已经高度发达了。大概十四岁左右,许多人就已经开始独自的思考哲学问题。这些问题有:什么东西真实存在?我们能否确切的知道某事?是否任何事情都有对错(——anything)?人生是否有意义?死亡是生命的结束吗? 几千年来,关于这些问题的回答一直被撰写(被回答),但是哲学的原始素材直接来源于我们的生活,以及我们与这些问题的联系,并非来自以往的著作。这就是为什么上述问题反复出现在人们(即使人们之前丝毫没有阅读过这些问题)的面前。

This is a direct introduction to nine philosophical problems, each of which can be understood in itself, without reference to the history of thought. I shall not discuss the great philosophical writings of the past or the cultural background of those writings. The center of philosophy lies in certain questions which the reflective human mind finds naturally puzzling, and the best way to begin the study of philosophy is to think about them directly. Once you've done that, you are in a better position to appreciate the work of others who have tried to solve the same problems.

本书直接介绍九个哲学问题,它们中的每一个都是独立的,不需要通过参考思考这一问题的历史而被理解。在本书中,我不会讨论过去时代的伟大哲学著作和这些著作的文化背景。哲学的核心是特定的问题,在面对这些问题时,具有反思能力的人类心灵自然会有困惑。而开始学习哲学的最好办法就是直接思考它们。一旦你开始了这种思考,你就处在理解其他试图解决这些问题的作品的更好的位置之上了。

Philosophy is different from science and from mathematics. Unlike science it doesn't rely on experiments or observation, but only on thought. And unlike mathematics it has no formal methods of proof. It is done just by asking questions, arguing, trying out ideas and thinking of possible arguments against them, and wondering how our concepts really work.

哲学不同于自然科学与数学。它不像科学那样依赖于实验或观察,而仅仅依赖于思想。它也不像数学那样依赖于形式化的证明方法。完成哲学研究只需要通过提出问题、进行论证、形成观点、思考对之前的论证提出反驳以及怀疑我们的概念是否真的好用就够了。

The main concern of philosophy is to question and understand very common ideas that all of us use every day without thinking about them. A historian may ask what happened at some time in the past, but a philosopher will ask, "What is time?" A mathematician may investigate the relations among numbers, but a philosopher will ask, "What is a number?" A physicist will ask what atoms are made of or what explains gravity, but a philosopher will ask how we can know there is anything outside of our own minds. A psychologist may investigate how children learn a language, but a philosopher will ask, "What makes a word mean anything?" Anyone can ask whether it's wrong to sneak into a movie without paying, but a philosopher will ask, "What makes an action right or wrong?"

哲学的主旨是质疑与理解那些最稀松平常的想法——那些我们每天都会用到却没有对它们思考的想法。历史学家可能会问过去的某一时间发生了什么,而哲学家会问“时间是什么?”数学家可能会探索数与数之间的关系,但哲学家会问“数是什么?”物理学家可能会问原子的成分是什么或者怎么样解释重力的存在,但哲学家会问“我们怎么能在自己的心灵之外知道存在其他东西”心理学家也许会研究孩子们是如何学习语言的,但哲学家会问“什么使得词语有意义?”任何人都可以问不付钱溜进电影院是不是错的,但哲学家会问“什么使得行动有对错之分?”

We couldn't get along in life without taking the ideas of time, number, knowledge, language, right and wrong for granted most of the time; but in philosophy we investigate those things themselves. The aim is to push our understanding of the world and ourselves a bit deeper. Obviously it isn't easy. The more basic the ideas you are trying to investigate, the fewer tools you have to work with. There isn't much you can assume or take for granted. So philosophy is a somewhat dizzying activity, and few of its results go unchallenged for long.

我们不能在没有时间、数字、知识、语言、对或错的概念(大部分时间,我们认为它是自然的、天经地义的)的情况下生活,但在哲学里,我们对这些事情本身进行研究。哲学研究的目的是为了使我们更深入的理解世界与自己。显然,这不是一件容易的事情:我们要尝试研究的概念越基础,能够帮助这项工作完成的工具就越少。哲学中并不存在太多你能够假设或视作理所当然接受的东西。所以,哲学研究是一种或多或少令人眩晕的活动,而且其研究成果不可能是长期不被他人非议的。

Since I believe the best way to learn about philosophy is to think about particular questions, I won't try to say more about its general nature. The nine problems we'll consider are these:

因为我相信学习哲学最好的办法就是去思考特定的问题,所以我接下来不会讲述更多的关于其本性的事情。下面九个问题我们将会思考到:

  • Knowledge of the world beyond our minds
  • Knowledge of minds other than our own
  • The relation between mind and brain
  • How language is possible
  • Whether we have free will
  • The basis of morality
  • What inequalities are unjust
  • The nature of death
  • The meaning of life

  1. 我们心灵之外的世界的知识
  2. 他人心灵的知识
  3. 心灵与大脑的关系
  4. 语言如何可能
  5. 自由一直是否存在
  6. 道德的基础
  7. 什么样的不平等是不公正的
  8. 死亡的性质
  9. 人生的意义

They are only a selection: there are many, many others.

它们只是从许多哲学问题中被挑选出来了:哲学问题有很多,还有许多其他的问题。

What I say will reflect my own view of these problems and will not necessarily represent what most philosophers think. There probably isn't anything that most philosophers think about these questions anyway: philosophers disagree, and there are more than two sides to every philosophical question. My personal opinion is that most of these problems have not been solved, and that perhaps some of them never will be. But the object here is not to give answers -not even answers that I myself may think are right -- but to introduce you to the problems in a very preliminary way so that you can worry about them yourself. Before learning a lot of philosophical theories it is better to get puzzled about the philosophical questions which those theories try to answer. And the best way to do that is to look at some possible solutions and see what is wrong with them. I'll try to leave the problems open, but even if I say what I think, you have no reason to believe it unless you find it convincing.

这本书中的说法只反映我个人关于这些问题的看法,并不一定代表大多数哲学家的想法。很可能大多数哲学家并没有思考这些问题:哲学家们彼此分歧,并且每一个哲学问题都存在两面性(——什么意思?)。我个人的意见是:上面的大部分问题都还没有得到解答,并且它们中一些也许永远也不会有答案。然而,本书的目的并不是要对这些问题给出答案(即使我本人也是认为这样的答案是正确的),而是将读者在最初步的意义上引向这些问题,使得他们可以自己思考这些问题。在学习大量的哲学理论之气按,最好的办法就是对这些理论试图的解决的问题产生困惑。并且最好的产生困惑的办法是了解一些可能的解决方案并且看到它们有什么问题。我将试着使这些问题保持开放(为读者思考哲学问题留下余地)。但是,即使我说了自己的想法,读者也不应该相信它,除非你觉得它确实是有说服力的。

There are many excellent introductory texts that include selections from the great philosophers of the past and from more recent writings. This short book is not a substitute for that approach, but I hope it provides a first look at the subject that is as clear and direct as possible. If after reading it you decide to take a second look, you'll see how much more there is to say about these problems than I say here.

许多经常的哲学导论收录了过去的哲学名著和最近的哲学作品的段落。这本短小的书不会取代这样的方法,但我希望这本书能够以尽可能清晰和直接的风格让读者对哲学有初步印象。如果读完这本书,读者决定做进一步的研究,就会发现除了我对这些问题的解答外,还有更多可以说的内容。

2. How Do We Know Anything?(我们能知道什么)

If you think about it, the inside of your own mind is the only thing you can be sure of.

如果你思考本节标题就会发现,自己唯一可以确信的事情在自己的心灵之内。

Whatever you believe -- whether it's about the sun, moon, and stars, the house and neighborhood in which you live, history, science, other people, even the existence of your own body -is based on your experiences and thoughts, feelings and sense impressions. That's all you have to go on directly, whether you see the book in your hands, or feel the floor under your feet, or remember that George Washington was the first president of the United States, or that water is H 2 O. Everything else is farther away from you than your inner experiences and thoughts, and reaches you only through them.

你相信的任何东西:无论是否是关于太阳、月亮、繁星、你居住的房子、邻居、历史、自然科学和他人,甚至你自己身体的存在都是建立在你的经验和思想、感觉和感官印象的基础之上。以上这些就是一切你可以直接依赖的东西,无论你是否看见自己手上的本书,或者感受到自己脚下的地板,记起乔治·华盛顿是美国的第一任总统,或者记起水是H2O。除了你的经验与思想,其他一切的东西都离你很远,而且这些东西要想被你所认知都得通过经验与思想。

Ordinarily you have no doubts about the existence of the floor under your feet, or the tree outside the window, or your own teeth. In fact most of the time you don't even think about the mental states that make you aware of those things: you seem to be aware of them directly. But how do you know they really exist?

通常你不会怀疑自己脚下地板、窗外的书或者自己的牙齿是否存在。事实上,大部分时间你甚至不回去思考:什么样的心理状态使得你意识到呢以上的这些事情——你看起来是直接意识到了它们。但,你怎么知道它们确实真的存在呢?

If you try to argue that there must be an external physical world, because you wouldn't see buildings, people, or stars unless there were things out there that reflected or shed light into your eyes and caused your visual experiences, the reply is obvious: How do you know that? It's just another claim about the external world and your relation to it, and it has to be based on the evidence of your senses. But you can rely on that specific evidence about how visual experiences are caused only if you can already rely in general on the contents of your mind to tell you about the external world. And that is exactly what has been called into question. If you try to prove the reliability of your impressions by appealing to your impressions, you're arguing in a circle and won't get anywhere.

你可以尝试论证:一定存在一个外部的物理世界,因为若非建筑物、人们或者繁星是外在于自己的,它们反映或者投射到了自己的眼睛里并使得自己产生呢视觉经验,自己就不可能看见它们。反驳很容易:你如何知道的呢?这仅仅是一个另一关于外部世界与你关系的断言,这个断言建立在你的感官经验之上。然而,你之所以可以依赖于关于视觉经验的特殊证据来进行论证,是因为通常你已经认为外部世界世界是存在的了:视觉经验仅在此基础之上才能发生。这实际上是必须被怀疑的东西。如果你试图通过诉诸自己的印象来证明自己印象的可靠性,那么你的论证就循环了,你什么也得不到。

Would things seem any different to you if in fact all these things existed only in your mind -- if everything you took to be the real world outside was just a giant dream or hallucination, from which you will never wake up? If it were like that, then of course you couldn't wake up, as you can from a dream, because it would mean there was no "real" world to wake up into. So it wouldn't be exactly like a normal dream or hallucination. As we usually think of dreams, they go on in the minds of people who are actually lying in a real bed in a real house, even if in the dream they are running away from a homicidal lawnmor through the streets of Kansas City. We also assume that normal dreams depend on what is happening in the dreamer's brain while he sleeps.

假如实际上所有一切东西都只是在你的心灵中存在,那么这些东西会对你来说有什么不同吗?(如果一切你认为来自真实世界的外部东西仅仅是一个巨大的而且永远不会醒的梦或者假象)如果事情真的如此,那么你当然无法像平时从梦中醒来那样解决这个问题,因为这意味着不存在一个你醒后可以到达的真实世界。所以,“一切东西仅仅只在你的心灵中存在”并不能完全等同于一个正常的梦或错觉。同我们通常对梦的想法一样,即使在梦中,人们在卡萨斯城的街上狂奔以躲避杀人的除草机,这也只是发生在那些实际上躺在真实的房间里真实床上睡觉的人的心里一样。所以,我们同样认为自己做梦的原因在于:人睡着的时候大脑中发生了一些事情。

But couldn't all your experiences be like a giant dream with no external world outside it? How can you know that isn't what's going on? If all your experience were a dream with nothing outside, then any evidence you tried to use to prove to yourself that there was an outside world would just be part of the dream. If you knocked on the table or pinched yourself, you would hear the knock and feel the pinch, but that would be just one more thing going on inside your mind like everything else. It's no use: If you want to find out whether what's inside your mind is any guide to what's outside your mind, you can't depend on how things seem -- from inside your mind -- to give you the answer.

但是,难道你所有的经验就不能是来自于一场不存在外部真实世界的巨大梦境吗?你怎么能知道事实并不是这样的呢?如果你所有的经验都来自于一场梦,除此之外,你没有跟外界有过接触,那么任何你用来证明外部世界存在的证据仅仅也只是梦境的产物而已。如果你敲桌子或者掐自己,能够听到敲击声或者感到疼痛,但这一切仅仅是由于你心理内部发生的事情而已,和其他所有的理解一样,那这就是无用的:如果你想要找出自己心灵内部的东西能不能作为心灵外部向导的答案,那么你不能以事情看起来怎样(这些东西来自于你自己的内心世界)作为基础。

But what else is there to depend on? All your evidence about anything has to come through your mind -- whether in the form of perception, the testimony of books and other people, or memory -- and it is entirely consistent with everything you're aware of that nothing at all exists except the inside of your mind.

但还存在其他的能够作为解答基础的东西吗?你关于所有事情的经验都来源于你的心灵(无论通过哪一种感受形式:书本或其他人的言词或记忆),并且你所意识的一切都都完全符合“除你心灵之类的东西存在以外,无物存在”。

It's even possible that you don't have a body or a brain -- since your beliefs about that come only through the evidence of your senses. You've never seen your brain -- you just assume that everybody has one -- but even if you had seen it, or thought you had, that would have been just another visual experience. Maybe you, the subject of experience, are the only thing that exists, and there is no physical world at all -- no stars, no earth, no human bodies. Maybe there isn't even any space.

你甚至有可能根本没有身体和大脑,因为你的信念仅仅来自于你的感官证据。你从来都没有见过自己的大脑(你仅仅只是认为每个人都有一个大脑而已),但即使你见过,或者你以为自己拥有,那也只是另一种来自感官的视觉经验而已。也许,作为经验主体的你是唯一存在的东西,而完全没有一个物理世界(没有繁星、没有地球、没有人类的身体)。甚至,也许根本就不存在任何的空间。

The most radical conclusion to draw from this would be that your mind is the only thing that exists. This view is called solipsism. It is a very lonely view, and not too many people have held it. As you can tell from that remark, I don't hold it myself. If I were a solipsist I probably wouldn't be writing this book, since I wouldn't believe there was anybody else to read it. On the other hand, perhaps I would write it to make my inner life more interesting, by including the impression of the appearance of the book in print, of other people reading it and telling me their reactions, and so forth. I might even get the impression of royalties, if I'm lucky.

从上面的说法中能够得出的最极端的结论就是:唯有你的心灵是存在的。这样的观点被称为唯我论。这是一个非常孤僻的观点,而且并没有多少人持有这样的观点。从我的言辞中,你也可以发现,我也并不持有这样的看法。如果我是一个唯我论者的话,我也许不会写作这本书,因为我不相信这个世界上存在读它的人。从另一方面说,也许我写作这本书的原因只是使得自己的内在精神生活更加有趣,比如通过感知到这本书印出来的样子、其他人读它并反馈给我的经验等等。如果我足够幸运的话,我甚至能够感知到自己拿了版税。

Perhaps you are a solipsist: in that case you will regard this book as a product of your own mind, coming into existence in your experience as you read it. Obviously nothing I can say can prove to you that I really exist, or that the book as a physical object exists.

也许你是一个唯我论者,这时,你会认为这本书仅仅是自己心灵的产品,它因为你阅读了它而在你的经验中存在。显然,我完全没法向你证明自己的存在,也不能说明这本书是一个存在的物理对象。

On the other hand, to conclude that you are the only thing that exists is more than the evidence warrants. You can't know on the basis of what's in your mind that there's no world outside it. Perhaps the right conclusion is the more modest one that you don't know anything beyond your impressions and experiences. There may or may not be an external world, and if there is it may or may not be completely different from how it seems to you -- there's no way for you to tell. This view is called skepticism about the external world.

另一方面,要说明你自己是唯一存在的东西,证据也是不足的。你不能基于自己心灵里的东西就说没有外部世界存在。也许,正确的结论是更为温和的,可以表达为:除了你自己的印象和经验以外,你不知道任何事情。也许存在、也许不存在外部的世界,而且如果有一个外部世界存在的话,它可能与你所看到的东西完全不符,也可能完全相符。(你对这个世界完全一无所知)。这种观点被称之为关于外部世界的怀疑主义。

An even stronger form of skepticism is possible. Similar arguments seem to show that you don't know anything even about your own past existence and experiences, since all you have to go on are the present contents of your mind, including memory impressions. If you can't be sure that the world outside your mind exists now, how can you be sure that you yourself existed before now? How do you know you didn't just come into existence a few minutes ago, complete with all your present memories? The only evidence that you couldn't have come into existence a few minutes ago depends on beliefs about how people and their memories are produced, which rely in turn on beliefs about what has happened in the past. But to rely on those beliefs to prove that you existed in the past would again be to argue in a circle. You would be assuming the reality of the past to prove the reality of the past.

怀疑主义还存在一个比上面这样的观点更极端的形式。与上面类似的论证似乎可以说明:你甚至连自己过去的存在与经验都一无所知(比如记忆印象),因为你所接触到的一切不过是当下自己心灵的内容。如果你不能确信自己心灵之外的世界存在,那么你怎么可以确认你自己在此刻之前存在?你怎么能够知道自己不是仅仅在几分钟之前才存在,并且从那时刻开始拥有了当下的记忆。仅存的关于你不是仅仅在几分钟之前才存在的证据是建立在关于人们与他们的记忆是被制造的信念之上的,这样的信念是依赖于过去发生过什么的信念的,是循环的。然而,依赖于这样的信念来证明自己过去存在就会导致论证上的循环。你这是假设了过去的实在以证明过去的真实存在。

It seems that you are stuck with nothing you can be sure of except the contents of your own mind at the present moment. And it seems that anything you try to do to argue your way out of this predicament will fail, because the argument will have to assume what you are trying to prove -- the existence of the external world beyond your mind.

看起来,你除了确切的知道自己当下内心的内容外,一无所知。并且,看起来,你想要通过论证来摆脱这种困境是失败的,因为这样的论证假设了你想要证明的东西成立(除了你自己的内心之外,外部世界也存在)。

Suppose, for instance, you argue that there must be an external world, because it is incredible that you should be having all these experiences without there being some explanation in terms of external causes. The skeptic can make two replies. First, even if there are external causes, how can you tell from the contents of your experience what those causes are like? You've never observed any of them directly. Second, what is the basis of your idea that everything has to have an explanation? It's true that in your normal, nonphilosophical conception of the world, processes like those which go on in your mind are caused, at least in part, by other things outside them. But you can't assume that this is true if what you're trying to figure out is how you know anything about the world outside your mind. And there is no way to prove such a principle just by looking at what's inside your mind. However plausible the principle may seem to you, what reason do you have to believe that it applies to the world?

比如,假设你论证说外部世界必须存在,否则就很荒谬:不通过来自外部理由的解释,你就拥有了所有经验。有两种办法来反驳它。第一,即使外部理由存在,你怎么从自己的经验内容中来说明这些外部理由是什么样子的呢?你从来也没有直接观察到它们。第二,你认为所有事情都有一个理由的想法的基础在哪里?确实,按照你的通常、非哲学的世界观念,你心灵中发生的一切必须要有理由,至少,需要由心灵外部的东西引起。但是,如果你想要理解清楚的东西就是你怎样才能知道除你心灵之外的东西的话,你就不能假设这样的观念是正确的。而且,并没有办法仅仅通过看着自己内心世界的内容就证明上面的原则(观念)是正确的。然而,这种对你来说似乎可行的原则,你有什么理由相信它可以被应用到这个世界上呢?

Science won't help us with this problem either, though it might seem to. In ordinary scientific thinking, we rely on general principles of explanation to pass from the way the world first seems to us //to a different conception of what it is really like. We try to explain the appearances in terms of a theory that describes the reality behind them, a reality that we can't observe directly. That is how physics and chemistry conclude that all the things we see around us are composed of invisibly small atoms. Could we argue that the general belief in the external world has the same kind of scientific backing as the belief in atoms?

尽管自然科学看起来有办法,但它也不能帮助我们解决这个问题。在传统的自然科学思维中,我们依赖于总体解释原则,从世界初次的样子过渡到它实际的样子。我们根据描述实在的理论试图解释其表面现象,这种实在是无法直接观察到的。这就是物理学与化学得出“我们所见的周围世界都由不见的原子组成”的方法。我们是否能够论证说外部世界存在的总体信念与科学认为原子存在的依据一样呢?

The skeptic's answer is that the process of scientific reasoning raises the same skeptical problem we have been considering all along: Science is just as vulnerable as perception. How can we know that the world outside our minds corresponds to our ideas of what would be a good theoretical explanation of our observations? If we can't establish the reliability of our sense experiences in relation to the external world, there's no reason to think we can rely on our scientific theories either.

怀疑论者的回答是:科学推理的方法一样会引起我们一直在思考的怀疑论难题:自然科学也是依赖于感觉经验,它也是有问题的。我们怎么能知道外在于我们心灵的世界符合我们的观念——什么是我们观察的最好理论解释呢?如果我们不能说明自己感觉经验与外部世界的联系是可靠性的,那么也没有理由认为我们能诉诸科学理论来解决外部世界是否存在的问题。

There is another very different response to the problem. Some would argue that radical skepticism of the kind I have been talking about is meaningless, because the idea of an external reality that no one could ever discover is meaningless. The argument is that a dream, for instance, has to be something from which you can wake up to discover that you have been asleep; a hallucination has to be something which others (or you later) can see is not really there. Impressions and appearances that do not correspond to reality must be contrasted with others that do correspond to reality, or else the contrast between appearance and reality is meaningless.

对于这个问题,还有另外一种解决方式。许多学者认为我上面所说的极端怀疑主义观点是没有意义的,因为没有任何一个人能够发现的外部实在的观念本身是毫无意义的。比如,这样的论证:梦的存在就在于我们醒来后能够发现自己睡着了,错觉的存在就在于其他人要么现在、要么以后能够看到实际上什么也不存在。感官印象和它的表现并不符合现实必须与其他的符合现实的东西进行对比,否则,说现象与现实之间的问题就是毫无意义的。

According to this view, the idea of a dream from which you can never wake up is not the idea of a dream at all: it is the idea of reality -the real world in which you live. Our idea of the things that exist is just our idea of what we can observe. (This view is sometimes called verificationism.) Sometimes our observations are mistaken, but that means they can be corrected by other observations -- as when you wake up from a dream or discover that what you thought was a snake was just a shadow on the grass. But without some possibility of a correct view of how things are (either yours or someone else's), the thought that your impressions of the world are not true is meaningless.

根据这样的观点,一个不能醒来的梦的概念并不是梦的概念:这是你所生存的现实的概念。我们关于事物存在的观念是与我们能看到它们的观念一样。(这样的观点经常被称作为验证主义)有时候我们的观察是错误的,但这意味着它们可以被其他的观察所修正。(就像你可以从梦中醒来,或者发现你以为是蛇的东西实际上只是草丛的阴影)但如果没有任何人(你自己或者其他人)能够得到关于事物是怎样的观点,那么认为自己关于这个世界的印象是不真实的想法就是无意义的。

If this is right, then the skeptic is kidding himself if he thinks he can imagine that the only thing that exists is his own mind. He is kidding himself, because it couldn't be true that the physical world doesn't'really exist, unless somebody could observe that it doesn't exist. And what the skeptic is trying to imagine is precisely that there is no one to observe that or anything else -- except of course the skeptic himself, and all he can observe is the inside of his own mind. So solipsism is meaningless. It tries to subtract the external world from the totality of my impressions; but it fails, because if the external world is subtracted, they stop being mere impressions, and become instead perceptions of reality.

如果上面的论证是正确的,那么怀疑主义的论证就是自我欺骗的(如果他认为自己唯一能够想象存在的东西就是自己的心灵)。他自欺欺人,因为除非任何人观察到了外部世界不存在,否则他说明外部物理世界并不是真实存在的说法就不正确。并且,怀疑论者试图说明的东西是清晰的,就是:不存在一个人观察到外部世界不存在(怀疑论者唯一能观察到的就是自己心中的内容)。所以唯我论是没有意义的,它试图说明仅存在自己的感官印象而不存在外部世界是失败的,因为如果外部世界不能独立感官印象而存在的话,那么外部世界不可能仅仅是给我们带来一些感官印象,它必然会发展成为我们对实在的感知。

Is this argument against solipsism and skepticism any good? Not unless reality can be defined as what we can observe. But are we really unable to understand the idea of a real world, or a fact about reality, that can't be observed by anyone, human or otherwise?

这样的反驳唯我论和怀疑论的办法是好的吗?并不是,它只有在我们将实在定义为我们能够观察到的东西的时候才成立。但我们确实无法理解某个真实世界存在的观念,或者关于实在的事实吗?(如果没有任何东西(人或者其他生物)观察到它,我们就没法理解实在吗?)

The skeptic will claim that if there is an external world, the things in it are observable because they exist, and not the other way around: that existence isn't the same thing as observability. And although we get the idea of dreams and hallucinations from cases where we think we can observe the contrast between our experiences and reality, it certainly seems as if the same idea can be extended to cases where the reality is not observable.

怀疑论者会声称:如果存在外部世界,置于其中的事物恰恰因为自己存在才是可观察的,而不是相反:存在与被观察到不是一件事。并且,尽管当我们能够观察到自己的经验与实在的差别时,就能够拥有梦和错觉的理念,但梦和错觉的理念似乎可以延伸到实在不能被观察到的世界。

If that is right, it seems to follow that it is not meaningless to think that the world might consist of nothing but the inside of your mind, though neither you nor anyone else could find out that this was true. And if this is not meaningless, but is a possibility you must consider, there seems no way to prove that it is false, without arguing in a circle. So there may be no way out of the cage of your own mind. This is sometimes called the egocentric predicament.

如果上面的论证正确,验证主义所谓的无意义就不正确:认为我们的世界除了自己心灵存在外没有其他的东西的说法有意义,即使没有任何人能够说明这一点。而且,如果这种观点没有意义的话,我们也必须考虑这种说法的可能性:除了循环论证外,没有任何方法能证明这样的看法是错误的。所以,也许你永远无法逃脱自己内心世界的束缚。人们经常把这样的看法称作是“自我中心困境”。

And yet, after all this has been said, I have to admit it is practically impossible to believe seriously that all the things in the world around you might not really exist. Our acceptance of the external world is instinctive and powerful: we cannot just get rid of it by philosophical arguments. Not only do we go on acting as if other people and things exist: we believe that they do, even after we've gone through the arguments which appear to show we have no grounds for this belief. (We may have grounds, within the overall system of our beliefs about the world, for more particular beliefs about the existence of particular things: like a mouse in the breadbox, for example. But that is different. It assumes the existence of the external world.)If a belief in the world outside our minds comes so naturally to us, perhaps we don't need grounds for it. We can just let it be and hope that we're right. And that in fact is what most people do after giving up the attempt to prove it: even if they can't give reasons against skepticism, they can't live with it either.

不过,毕竟上面的论证我已经说过了,我不得不承认实践上我们必须相信外部世界的存在。我们接受外部世界存在的观点发自本能且坚定有力的:我们不可能仅仅因为哲学论证就刨除外部世界存在的信念。我们不仅仅以其他人或者事物的存在为行动的依据,我们也的确相信除了自己以外的他人存在,即使论证告诉我们这一点不值得相信。(在我们关于世界看法的整个信仰系统之内,也许有理由相信更加具体的关于外部特定事物的存在,比如相信面包盒中有老鼠。但这与我们的论证有所不同。——相信面包盒里有老鼠也预设了外部世界的存在。)如果存在外部世界的信念对我们来说很自然,也许我们就不需要为它寻找正确的理由。我们可以随它去(姑且相信它),并且希望我们自己是对的(权当自己是对的)。实际上,这也是绝大部分放弃证明外部世界存在的人所做的事:即使他们没有理由反对怀疑主义,它们也不能不相信外部世界存在,否则自己无法生存。

But this means that we hold on to most of our ordinary beliefs about the world in face of the fact that (a) they might be completely false, and (b) we have no basis for ruling out that possibility.

但这意味着,我们虽然可以认为自己绝大部分关于这个世界的认识是对的,但也必须面对下面的事实:(a)这些信念可能完全是错的,(b)我们没有排除这种可能性的基础。

We are left then with three questions:

这就给我们留下了3个问题:

1. Is it a meaningful possibility that the inside of your mind is the only thing that exists -- or that even if there is a world outside your mind, it is totally unlike what you believe it to be?
2. If these things are possible, do you have any way of proving to yourself that they are not actually true?
3. If you can't prove that anything exists outside your own mind, is it all right to go on believing in the external world anyway?

  1. 认为你的内心世界是唯一存在的东西,这种观点有意义吗?或者说,如果存在外部世界,这个世界与你所相信的信念大不一样,这有意义吗?
  2. 如果它们有意义,你有任何方式像自己证明上面的说法实际上不正确吗?
  3. 如果你不能证明外部世界的存在,那么继续相信外部世界存在的做法正确吗?

3. Other Minds(他人的心灵)

There is one special kind of skepticism which continues to be a problem even if you assume that your mind is not the only thing there is -that the physical world you seem to see and feel around you, including your own body, really exists. That is skepticism about the nature or even existence of minds or experiences other than your own.

如果你假设自己的心灵不是世界上唯一存在的东西(你所看到和感受到的物理世界真实存在,比如你的身体真的存在),那么你将面临另一种怀疑论观点的刁难。这种怀疑论是关于心灵或经验的本质的,或者它们的存在是否你自己独有。

How much do you really know about what goes on in anyone else's mind? Clearly you observe only the bodies of other creatures, including people. You watch what they do, listen to what they say and to the other sounds they make, and see how they respond to their environment -- what things attract them and what things repel them, what they eat, and so forth. You can also cut open other creatures and look at their physical insides, and perhaps compare their anatomy with yours.

你到底知道多少他人心灵中所发生的事情呢?显然,你只能观察到其他生物的身体,比如人类的身体。你看到他们做的事情、听到他们说的话,或者它们发出的声音、看到它们对自己所处环境的反应(什么事情吸引他们、什么事情是他们避之唯恐不及的、他们吃什么,等等)。你也可以解刨其他生物的身体,看到他们身体的内部状况,也许还可以将他们的骨骼与自己比较。

But none of this will give you direct access to their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. The only experiences you can actually have are your own: if you believe anything about the mental lives of others, it is on the basis of observing their physical construction and behavior.

但是以上这些做法都不能使得你直接知道他们(它们)的经验、想法与感觉。你事实上唯一能够拥有的只有你自己的经验:如果你相信关于其他生命精神中的任何事情,这种相信的理由只能来源于你观察到的生理构造和行为。

To take a simple example, how do you know, when you and a friend are eating chocolate ice cream, whether it tastes the same to him as it tastes to you? You can try a taste of his ice cream, but if it tastes the same as yours, that only means it tastes the same to you: you haven't experienced the way it tastes to him. There seems to be no way to compare the two flavor experiences directly.

举个简单的例子,当你和某个朋友吃巧克力冰淇淋的时候,你如何知道他尝到的味道与你一样?你可以尝试吃一下他的冰淇淋,但即使这种味道与你自己的一样,也仅仅只是意味着:对你来说两个冰淇淋的味道一样,因为你无法拥有他关于这个冰淇淋味道的经验。看起来,似乎没有办法直接比较两个人的味觉经验。

Well, you might say that since you're both human beings, and you can both distinguish among flavors of ice cream -- for example you can both tell the difference between chocolate and vanilla with your eyes closed -- it's likely that your flavor experiences are similar. But how do you know that? The only connection you've ever observed between a type of ice cream and a flavor is in your own case; so what reason do you have to think that similar correlations hold for other human beings? Why isn't it just as consistent with all the evidence that chocolate tastes to him the way vanilla tastes to you, and vice versa?

好把,你也许可以说,因为你们两个人同样是人类,并且你们同样能够区分不同冰淇淋的滋味(比如,闭上眼睛,你们两个人也能说出巧克力与香草冰淇淋的不同),所以,你们两人的味觉经验似乎是类似的。但你是如何知道这一点的呢?你所能观察到的冰淇淋内心与它的味道的联系仅仅是你自己的事情,所以,你有什么理由认为两者之间的联系也被其他人类所具有呢?为什么所有的证据(他所尝到的巧克力口味与你尝到的香草口味一样)不能不是一致的,或者相反。

The same question could be asked about other kinds of experience. How do you know that red things don't look to your friend the way yellow things look to you? Of course if you ask him how a fire engine looks, he'll say it looks red, like blood, and not yellow, like a dandelion; but that's because he, like you, uses the word "red" for the color that blood and fire engines look to him, whatever it is. Maybe it's what you call yellow, or what you call blue, or maybe it's a color experience you've never had, and can't even imagine.

同样的问题也适用于更多的其他种类的经验。你这么能够知道你朋友眼里的红色不是你眼中的黄色。当然,如果你问他“消防车是什么样的”,他可能会说那看来是红色的,就像血一样,不是黄色的,不像是蒲公英。但那是因为他像你一样使用红色的单词来指称自己看到的血和消防车,而不是其他的样子。也许,你所谓的黄色,或者你所谓的蓝色,这是一种你从没拥有过的颜色经验,甚至无法想象黄色与蓝色的色觉经验。

To deny this, you have to appeal to an assumption that flavor and color experiences are uniformly correlated with certain physical stimulations of the sense organs, whoever undergoes them. But the skeptic would say you have no evidence for that assumption, and because of the kind of assumption it is, you couldn't have any evidence for it. All you can observe is the correlation in your own case.

要否认这一点,你不得不诉诸于这样的假设:味觉与色觉毫无例外的与某些来自感觉器官的物理刺激相匹配,无论谁经历它们都是一样。但是怀疑主义者可能会说,你这样的假设是没有依据的,并且正因为它是一种假设,所以你不可能获取关于它的任何证据。所有你观察到的一切仅仅在你自己身上才是互相匹配的。

Faced with this argument, you might first concede that there is some uncertainty here. The correlation between stimulus and experience may not be exactly the same from one person to another: there may be slight shades of difference between two people's color or flavor experience of the same type of ice cream. In fact, since people are physically different from one another, this wouldn't be surprising. But, you might say, the difference in experience can't be too radical, or else we'd be able to tell. For instance, chocolate ice cream couldn't taste to your friend the way a lemon tastes to you, otherwise his mouth would pucker up when he ate it.

面对这个论证,你也许会首先退一步,认为:我们关于他人的经验的确存在一些不确定的成分。刺激与经验之间的匹配也许在一个人与另一个人之间不是完全一样的:两个人对于同种类型的冰淇淋可能有少许不同的颜色与味觉经验差距。事实上,因为每个人都在生理上不同于他人,所以这样的说法并不值得惊奇。但是,你也许会说,这种经验上的差距不可能太极端,否则,过去我们早就会谈它了。例如,你朋友吃巧克力味冰淇淋时不可能尝到你吃柠檬冰淇淋时的味道,否则他在吃的时候,嘴巴就应该因为酸味而撅起来了。

But notice that this claim assumes another correlation from one person to another: a correlation between inner experience and certain kinds of observable reaction. And the same question arises about that. You've observed the connection between puckering of the mouth and the taste you call sour only in your own case: how do you know it exists in other people? Maybe what makes your friend's mouth pucker up is an experience like the one you get from eating oatmeal.

但值得注意的是,这种说法假设了人与他人之间的另一种匹配:内在经验与某种可观察到的反应是相互联系的。那么,上面的问题再次出现了。你观察到撅起的嘴与被称作酸之间的联系仅仅只是对你来说成立,你怎么知道这种联系也存在于他人身上呢?也许让你朋友嘴撅起来的经验同你吃燕麦片时一样呢。

For all you know, it could be something you would call a sound -- or maybe it's unlike anything you've ever experienced, or could imagine.

正如你所知道的,这也许是某种你称作声音的东西,或者它是你从未经历过或无法设想的东西。

If we continue on this path, it leads finally to the most radical skepticism of all about other minds. How do you even know that your friend is conscious? How do you know that there are any minds at all besides your own?

如果我们继续这样的论证路线,就最终会导致一种关于其他心灵的极端的怀疑主义观点。你到底是怎么知道自己的朋友是有意识的?你怎么知道除了你自己之外还存在其他的心灵呢?


以上两段费解,因为这与1987年版书籍的内容不同,该版本写作:

If we go on pressing these kinds of questions relentlessly enough, we will move from a mild and harmless skepticism about whether chocolate ice cream tastes exactly the same to you and to your friend, to a much more radical skepticism about whether there is any similarity between your experiences and his. How do you know that when he puts something in his mouth he even has an experience of the kind that you would call a flavor? For all you know, it could be something you would call a sound -- or maybe it's unlike anything you've ever experienced, or could imagine.

如果我们继续不松懈的追问上面这种问题的话,我们的观点将不再是温和的毫无伤害的怀疑论了,讨论不再是关于你和朋友吃巧克力味冰淇淋的味觉感受是否完全一样了,而变成了一种更加激进的怀疑论观点:你和它经验的相似性是否存在都成了问题。你怎么知道当自己的朋友把某些东西放进自己嘴里的时候,他拥有了你称之为味觉的经验呢?正如你所知道的,这种经验可能被你称之为声音,或者它是一种从未经历与想象过的东西。


The only example you've ever directly observed of a correlation between mind, behavior, anatomy, and physical circumstances is yourself. Even if other people and animals had no experiences whatever, no mental inner life of any kind, but were just elaborate biological machines, they would look just the same to you. So how do you know that's not what they are? How do you know that the beings around you aren't all mindless robots? You've never seen into their minds -- you couldn't -- and their physical behavior could all be produced by purely physical causes. Maybe your relatives, your neighbors, your cat and your dog have no inner experiences whatever. If they don't, there is no way you could ever find it out.

对于心灵、行为、身体结构和物理环境之间的联系,你能观察到的直接例子都只是对你自己而言的。即使其他人或者动物没有任何经验,没有任何一种内在精神生活,他们只是一些精致的生物机器,你也会把它们看的跟自己一样。所以你怎么知道那不是他们的实际情况呢?你怎么知道自己周围的存在物不是一个完全无心灵的机器?你从来都看不到他们的心灵——你做不到这一点——他们的物理行为也可能仅仅是纯粹来自物理原因:也许你的亲人、邻居、猫和狗根本没有任何来自心灵的内在经验。就算他们没有,你也没有任何办法发现这一点。

You can't even appeal to the evidence of their behavior, including what they say -- because that assumes that in them outer behavior is connected with inner experience as it is in you; and that's just what you don't know.

你也根本不能将自己的论证理由诉诸于它们的行为,比如它们所说的话,因为这预设它们的外部行为与你一样,是与其内在经验相联系的。这样预设的正确与否正是你没法知道的事情。

To consider the possibility that none of the people around you may be conscious produces an uncanny feeling. On the one hand it seems conceivable, and no evidence you could possibly have can rule it out decisively. On the other hand it is something you can't really believe is possible: your conviction that there are minds in those bodies, sight behind those eyes, hearing in those ears, etc., is instinctive. But if its power comes from instinct, is it really knowledge? Once you admit the possibility that the belief in other minds is mistaken, don't you need something more reliable to justify holding on to it?

设想你周围的人全都没有意识,这种可能性能使你产生可怕的感觉。一方面来说,这种设想是可想象的,并且你没有任何证据来肯定的排除它的可能性。另一方面,这是一个你不能真正相信其可能性的设想:你本能的确信他人的身体里存在心灵,别人的眼睛是能看见的,他们的耳朵也有听力,等等。但如果这样的确信的效力来自于本能,它们还是真的知识吗?一旦你承认关于他人心灵存在的信念有可能是错误的,你难道就不需要一些更可靠的东西来坚信别人的心灵存在吗?

There is another side to this question, which goes completely in the opposite direction.

该问题还有另一个完全不同的解答方法。

Ordinarily we believe that other human beings are conscious, and almost everyone believes that other mammals and birds are conscious too. But people differ over whether fish are conscious, or insects, worms, and jellyfish. They are still more doubtful about whether onecelled animals like amoebae and paramecia have conscious experiences, even though such creatures react conspicuously to stimuli of various kinds. Most people believe that plants aren't conscious; and almost no one believes that rocks are conscious, or kleenex, or automobiles, or mountain lakes, or cigarettes. And to take another biological example, most of us would say, if we thought about it, that the individual cells of which our bodies are composed do not have any conscious experiences.

通常,我们相信其他人类是有意识的,并且几乎所有人都相信其他哺乳动物和鸟类也同样是有意识的。但人们关于鱼、昆虫、蠕虫和水母是否有意识持有不同的看法。至于像阿米巴虫和草履虫之类的单细胞生物是否有意识经验就有更多人持有不同意见了,尽管这些生物能够对各种各样的刺激做出明显的反应。大部分人相信植物是没有意识的,而且几乎没有人相信岩石、卫生纸、汽车、湖泊和香烟是有意识的。再举一个生物例子,我们中的大部分人都会认为(如果我们思考过这一点的话),我们生命构成部分中的单个细胞是没有任何意识经验的。

How do we know all these things? How do you know that when you cut a branch off a tree it doesn't hurt the tree -- only it can't express its pain because it can't move? (Or maybe it loves having its branches pruned.) How do you know that the muscle cells in your heart don't feel pain or excitement when you run up a flight of stairs? How do you know that a kleenex doesn't feel anything when you blow your nose into it?

我们怎么知道所有的这些事情呢?当你砍掉树的枝干的时候,你怎么知道这样的行为没有伤害到树呢?仅仅因为树不能动没法而表达自己痛苦就这么认为吗?或者,它喜欢你修建它的树枝呢?你怎么知道当你跑上楼梯的时候,你心脏里的肌肉细胞有没有感受到痛苦或者是否兴奋呢?你怎么知道在自己擤鼻涕到卫生纸上的时候,它没有任何感觉呢?

And what about computers? Suppose computers are developed to the point where they can be used to control robots that look on the outside like dogs, respond in complicated ways to the environment, and behave in many ways just like dogs, though they are just a mass of circuitry and silicon chips on the inside? Would we have any way of knowing whether such machines were conscious?

另外对于电脑来说,它有没有意识经验呢?假如电脑已经发展到它们可以被用来控制机器,这些机器外表看起来就像是狗,这些“狗”对外部环境做出了复杂的反应,很多行为方式都像是一只真正的狗,但它们事实上仅仅是大量的线圈和硅基芯片的产物,你会怎么看?我们能有何种方式知道这样的机器有无意识?

These cases are different from one another, of course. If a thing is incapable of movement, it can't give any behavioral evidence of feeling or perception. And if it isn't a natural organism, it is radically different from us in internal constitution. But what grounds do we have for thinking that only things that behave like us to some degree and that have an observable physical structure roughly like ours are capable of having experiences of any kind? Perhaps trees feel things in a way totally different from us, but we have no way of finding out about it, because we have no way of discovering the correlations between experience and observable manifestations or physical conditions in their case. We could discover such correlations only if we could observe both the experiences and the external manifestations together: but there is no way we can observe the experiences directly, except in our own case. And for the same reason there is no way we could observe the absence of any experiences, and consequently the absence of any such correlations, in any other case. You can't tell that a tree has no experience, by looking inside it, any more than you can tell that a worm has experience, by looking inside it.

当然,上面的例子都是各不相同的。如果一个事物没有移动的能力,那么它就不能给出任何关于感觉与感知的行为证据。并且,如果它并不是一个自然生物组织,那么它就在内部构造上与我们大不一样。但是我们凭什么认为,只有与我们行为相似、有着与我们结构差不多的可观察到的结构的东西才有某种经验?也许,树木感受事物的方式与我们完全不同,而我们却没有办法发现这一点,因为我们没有办法在他们的立场下发现经验与外在表现或物理状态之间的关联。我们仅能在同时观察到经验与外在表现时才能发现上面的联系,但除了我们本人以外,我们没有办法直接观察到经验。同样的道理,我们也没有办法在其他事物身上观察到任何经验不存在,以及这导致的任何关联的缺失。你不能说通过看见树的内部情况,就说一棵树是没有经验的。同样,你也不能通过看看一条虫子内部的情况,就说这个虫子是有经验的。

So the question is: what can you really know about the conscious life in this world beyond the fact that you yourself have a conscious mind? Is it possible that there might be much less conscious life than you assume (none except yours), or much more (even in things you assume to be unconscious)?

因此问题是:除了知道自己的心灵有意识外,关于这个世界有意识的生命,你有什么是能够真的知道的?是否有可能,有意识生命的存在比你所设想的要少的多(比如,除了你自己之外再没有别的有意识生物)或者多的多(比如,你认为无意识的东西也是有意识的)?

4. The Mind-Body Problem(身心问题)

Let's forget about skepticism, and assume the physical world exists, including your body and your brain; and let's put aside our skepticism about other minds. I'll assume you're conscious if you assume I am. Now what might be the relation between consciousness and the brain?

让我们忘了关于世界存在的怀疑主义的论证:假设物理世界存在,例如你的身体和大脑存在,也抛开关于他人心灵的怀疑主义论证:我将像你假设我有意识一样也假设你也有意识。那么,现在,意识与大脑之间是什么关系呢?

Everybody knows that what happens in consciousness depends on what happens to the body. If you stub your toe it hurts. If you close your eyes you can't see what's in front of you. If you bite into a Hershey bar you taste chocolate. If someone conks you on the head you pass out.

每个人都知道意识内容的发生依赖于肉体活动。你如果踢一下自己的脚趾头,它就会使你感觉到疼痛。如果你闭上眼睛,你就不会看到你前方的东西。如果你咬一口“好时”巧克力,你会尝到巧克力的味道。如果有人猛击你的头,你就晕倒了。

The evidence shows that for anything to happen in your mind or consciousness, something has to happen in your brain. (You wouldn't feel any pain from stubbing your toe if the nerves in your leg and spine didn't carry impulses from the toe to your brain.) We don't know what happens in the brain when you think, "I wonder whether I have time to get a haircut this afternoon." But we're pretty sure something does something involving chemical and electrical changes in the billions of nerve cells that your brain is made of.

这些证据都表明,任何在你心灵和意识中发生的事都会对你的大脑造成影响(如果你腿和脊柱的神经没有将刺激从脚趾头传递到大脑的话,那么你踢自己的脚趾头就不会感觉到疼痛)。 我们不知道当你思考“我不知道这个下午是否应该花时间理发”的时候,大脑中发生了什么。但是我们非常清楚发生了一些事情,比如大脑中的亿万个神经细胞里发生了电化学改变。

In some cases, we know how the brain affects the mind and how the mind affects the brain. We know, for instance, that the stimulation of certain brain cells near the back of the head produces visual experiences. And we know that when you decide to help yourself to another piece of cake, certain other brain cells send out impulses to the muscles in your arm. We don't know many of the details, but it is clear that there are complex relations between what happens in your mind and the physical processes that go on in your brain. So far, all of this belongs to science, not philosophy.

在许多情况下,我们知道大脑如何影响心灵,心灵如何影响大脑。比如,我们知道对后脑勺中的某些大脑细胞进行刺激将产生视觉体验。并且我们知道当你决定让自己享用下一块蛋糕的时候,脑中的特定细胞就会向你手臂的肌肉发送脉冲信号。我们不知道许多具体的细节,但是很显然心灵的活动与大脑中发生的物理进程有着复杂的联系。 写到这里,我们讨论的内容还都属于科学,不是哲学。
But there is also a philosophical question about the relation between mind and brain, and it is this: Is your mind something different from your brain, though connected to it, or is it your brain? Are your thoughts, feelings, perceptions, sensations, and wishes things that happen in addition to all the physical processes in your brain, or are they themselves some of those physical processes?

但是,关于心灵与大脑的关系也有一个哲学问题,它是这样的:你的心灵是否与大脑有某些不同(尽管心灵链接到了大脑)?,心灵是不是大脑? 你的思考、感受、知觉、感情与愿望是附加在你大脑中所有的物理过程之上的吗?它们是哲学物理活动本身吗?

What happens, for instance, when you bite into a chocolate bar? The chocolate melts on your tongue and causes chemical changes in your taste buds; the taste buds send some electrical impulses along the nerves leading from your tongue to your brain, and when those impulses reach the brain they produce further physical changes there; finally, you taste the taste of chocolate. What is that? Could it just be a physical event in some of your brain cells, or does it have to be something of a completely different kind?

比如,当你咬了一口巧克力块的时候,发生了什么?巧克力在你的舌头上融化,并且导致你的味蕾中发生了化学变化。这个味蕾发送了一些电刺激信号,在神经通道里,它从舌头传递到脑部。并且,当这些脉冲信号到达脑部的时候,它们在那里产生了进一步的物理变化。因此,最终,你尝到了巧克力的味道。这是什么意思呢?这些能否仅仅是你大脑细胞中发生的物理事件,或者这样的事情是与此完全不同的东西呢?

If a scientist took off the top of your skull and looked into your brain while you were eating the chocolate bar, all he would see is a grey mass of neurons. If he used instruments to measure what was happening inside, he would detect complicated physical processes of many different kinds. But would he find the taste of chocolate?

如果一个科学家在你吃巧克力块的时候把你的头盖骨打开以便看到你的大脑,他能看到的所有东西就是大量灰色的神经细胞。如果他用工具去探测这些神经细胞内部发生呢什么,他就会发现许多不同种类的复杂物理活动。但是他能找到巧克力的味道吗?

It seems as if he couldn't find it in your brain, because your experience of tasting chocolate is locked inside your mind in a way that makes it unobservable by anyone else -- even if he opens up your skull and looks inside your brain. Your experiences are inside your mind with a kind of insideness that is different from the way that your brain is inside your head. Someone else can open up your head and see what's inside, but they can't cut open your mind and look into it at least not in the same way.

看起来似乎它不能在你的大脑中发现这种味道,因为你关于巧克力味道的经验是以一种不能被其他人观察的方式嵌入到自己心灵中的(即使科学家打开你的头骨看到你的大脑内部)。你的存在于自己心灵中的经验使用了一种特殊的隐藏方式,这不同于你的大脑被隐藏于你的头颅中。别人能打开你的头颅看到里面的内容,但是他们至少不可能用同样的方式刨开你的心灵看看里面的内容。

It's not just that the taste of chocolate is a flavor and therefore can't be seen. Suppose a scientist were crazy enough to try to observe your experience of tasting chocolate by licking your brain while you ate a chocolate bar. First of all, your brain probably wouldn't taste like chocolate to him at all. But even if it did, he wouldn't have succeeded in getting into your mind and observing your experience of tasting chocolate. He would just have discovered, oddly enough, that when you taste chocolate, your brain changes so that it tastes like chocolate to other people. He would have his taste of chocolate and you would have yours.

这不仅仅是说因为巧克力的口味是一种味觉,所以它不能被看到。假设一个足够疯狂的科学家,在你吃巧克力时舔你的大脑,尝试获取你吃巧克力时的经验,首先,你的大脑对他来说舔起来也许根本不是巧克力的味道,就算你的大脑是巧克力的味道,他也不可能成功进入你的心灵内部并且获取到你吃巧克力时的经验。他也许仅仅能够发现,特别奇怪,当你吃巧克力的时候,你的大脑有所变化,所以对于其他人来说,它吃起来是巧克力味的。它尝到的是自己的巧克力,而你则有你自己的,它们是两回事。

If what happens in your experience is inside your mind in a way in which what happens in your brain is not, it looks as though your experiences and other mental states can't just be physical states of your brain. There has to be more to you than your body with its humming nervous system.

如果你经验中发生的内容是在内在于你的心灵的,这种方式并不同于你大脑中发生的内容,看起来就像是你的经验与其他心理状态不仅仅是你大脑的物理状态。对你来说,这里有比你身体和其嗡嗡运转的神经系统更多的内容。

One possible conclusion is that there has to be a soul, attached to your body in some way which allows them to interact. If that's true, then you are made up of two very different things: a complex physical organism, and a soul which is purely mental. (This view is called dualism, for obvious reasons.)

一种可能的结论是有灵魂的存在,它以某种方式依附于了你的身体,这种方式允许身体与灵魂之间互相作用。如果这种说法是真的,那么你实际上由两种完全不同的东西构成:一个复杂的物理生物组织,和一个纯粹由心灵构成的灵魂。(有明显的理由认为,这种观点可以被称之为身心二元论)

But many people think that belief in a soul is old-fashioned and unscientific. Everything else in the world is made of physical matter -- different combinations of the same chemical elements. Why shouldn't we be? Our bodies grow by a complex physical process from the single cell produced by the joining of sperm and egg at conception.

但许多人认为关于灵魂存在的信念已经过时和不科学了。世界上任何其他的东西都是由物理因素组成的,它们的不同点只是在于对相同化学元素进行了不同的组合,那为什么独独我们自己不是这样呢?我们的身体由复杂度的物理活动从单细胞生长而成, 这个单细胞来源于精子与卵子在受精时结合而产生。

Ordinary matter is added gradually in such a way that the cell turns into a baby, with arms, legs, eyes, ears, and a brain, able to move and feel and see, and eventually to talk and think. Some people believe that this complex physical system is sufficient by itself to give rise to mental life. Why shouldn't it be? Anyway, how can mere philosophical argument show that it isn't? Philosophy can't tell us what stars or diamonds are made of, so how can it tell us what people are or aren't made of?

通常,按照上面的方式添加一些材料,细胞就能发展成为婴儿,长出胳臂、腿、眼睛、耳朵和大脑,能够移动、感觉和看,并最终能够说话和思考。许多人认为这种复杂的物理系统自身就已经足够发展成精神生活了。为什么不能这样呢?无论如何,为什么仅仅倚靠哲学论证就能够否认上面的说法?哲学不能够告诉我们繁星与钻石是由什么构成的,所以它怎么能够告诉我们人类由什么东西构成呢?

The view that people consist of nothing but physical matter, and that their mental states are physical states of their brains, is called physicalism (or sometimes materialism). Physicalists don't have a specific theory of what process in the brain can be identified as the experience of tasting chocolate, for instance. But they believe that mental states are just states of the brain, and that there's no philosophical reason to think they can't be. The details will have to be discovered by science.

认为人类仅仅由物质因素构成,他们的心灵状态仅仅是大脑物理状态的反映的观点被称作是物理主义(有时被称为是唯物主义)。比如说,物理主义者并没有特殊的关于大脑中的活动能被等同于平常巧克力经验的理论。但他们相信心灵状态仅仅是大脑的状态,而且我们也没有哲学上的原因来指出他们这样的做法不正确。关于此的细节必须由科学来发现。

The idea is that we might discover that experiences are really brain processes just as we have discovered that other familiar things have a real nature that we couldn't have guessed until it was revealed by scientific investigation. For instance, it turns out that diamonds are composed of carbon, the same material as coal: the atoms are just differently arranged. And water, as we all know, is composed of hydrogen and oxygen, even though those two elements are nothing like water when taken by themselves.

物理主义者的想法是:我们也许能够发现自己的经验仅仅是真实的大脑活动,就像我们发现其他类似的东西拥有真实的性质(之前没有办法猜测,直到科学研究揭示出了这一点)。举例来说,科学研究说明了钻石是由碳组成的,钻石的组成物同煤炭一样,只不过它们两者的原子排列方式不同。还有我们所有人都知道的水,是由氢原子与氧原子组成的,尽管我们单独看这两种元素的时候一点也不像水。

So while it might seem surprising that the experience of tasting chocolate could be nothing but a complicated physical event in your brain, it would be no stranger than lots of things that have been discovered about the real nature of ordinary objects and processes. Scientists have discovered what light is, how plants grow, how muscles move - it is only a matter of time before they discover the biological nature of the mind. That's what physicalists think.

所以,虽然物理主义者的主张看起来是惊人的,认为品尝巧克力的经验仅仅是你大脑中的物理事件,但这并不比已经发现的关于平常的对象与活动的大量真实的性质奇怪多少。科学家发现了光是什么,植物是怎样生长的,肌肉是怎样活动的——在发现心灵的生物学本性之前仅仅只需要时间而已。以上就是物理主义者所认为的东西。

A dualist would reply that those other things are different. When we discover the chemical composition of water, for instance, we are dealing with something that is clearly out there in the physical world -- something we can all see and touch. When we find out that it's made up of hydrogen and oxygen atoms, we're just breaking down an external physical substance into smaller physical parts. It is an essential feature of this kind of analysis that we are not giving a chemical breakdown of the way water looks, feels, and tastes to us. Those things go on in our inner experience, not in the water that we have broken down into atoms. The physical or chemical analysis of water leaves them aside.

身心二元论者可能会反驳说:心灵与其他的东西有所不同。比如,当我们发现水的化学组成的时候,我们与一种明显在物理世界中存在的东西打交道——这些东西我们完全可以看到和触摸到。当我们发现水是由氢原子与氧原子构成的时候,我们只是把一个外在的物质实体分解成了更小的物理部分。这种分析的关键特点是:我们并没有用化学的方式把水分解成它给我们带来的视觉、感觉和味觉。相反,上面这些东西发生在我们的内在经验之中,并没有发生在我们将水分解成原子的过程中。对水的物理与化学分析与视觉、感觉和味觉体验无关。

But to discover that tasting chocolate was really just a brain process, we would have to analyze something mental -- not an externally observed physical substance but an inner taste sensation -- in terms of parts that are physical. And there is no way that a large number of physical events in the brain, however complicated, could be the parts out of which a taste sensation was composed. A physical whole can be analyzed into smaller physical parts, but a mental process can't be. Physical parts just can't add up to a mental whole.

但是要想发现平常巧克力实际上仅仅是大脑的活动,我们就不得不将某些心灵的东西分解成物理性的组成部分(不是对那些外在的可见实体进行分析,而是对内在的味觉感知进行分析)。并且无论多么复杂,没有办法将大脑中大量的物理事件说成是味觉感受。虽然物理整体能被分解为更小的物理部分,但心灵活动不能够。许多个物理部分加在一起并不是一个整体的心灵。

There is another possible view which is different from both dualism and physicalism. Dualism is the view that you consist of a body plus a soul, and that your mental life goes on in your soul. Physicalism is the view that your mental life consists of physical processes in your brain. But another possibility is that your mental life goes on in your brain, yet that all those experiences, feelings, thoughts, and desires are not physical processes in your brain. This would mean that the grey mass of billions of nerve cells in your skull is not just a physical object. It has lots of physical properties -- great quantities of chemical and electrical activity go on in it -- but it has mental processes going on in it as well.

还有一种可行的看法,并不同于身心二元论与物理主义观点。身心二元论认为你由身体与灵魂构成,并且精神生活在你的灵魂中发生。物理主义者的观点认为你的精神生活由大脑中的物质活动构成。另外的可行观点认为你的精神生活在大脑中发生,而所有的如感觉、思考和欲望等经验并不是大脑中的物理活动。这意味着你头颅中堆积的亿万个灰色的神经元并不仅仅只是物理对象。它们中的许多由物理属性(大量的电化学活动在此发生),但它们中也发生精神活动。

The view that the brain is the seat of consciousness, but that its conscious states are not just physical states, is called dual aspect theory. It is called that because it means that when you bite into a chocolate bar, this produces in your brain a state or process with two aspects: a physical aspect involving various chemical and electrical changes, and a mental aspect -- the flavor experience of chocolate. When this process occurs, a scientist looking into your brain will be able to observe the physical aspect, but you yourself will undergo, from the inside, the mental aspect: you will have the sensation of tasting chocolate. If this were true, your brain itself would have an inside that could not be reached by an outside observer even if he cut it open. It would feel, or taste, a certain way to you to have that process going on in your brain.

这种观点认为,大脑是意识的发生场所,但这种意识状态并不仅仅是物理状态。这种观点被称为两面论。它被这么称呼的原因在于这意味着当你吃巧克力块的时候,这在你大脑中产生了两方面的状态或活动:物理方面包括各种各样的电化学变化,精神方面的内容如巧克力的味觉经验。当以上的过程发生的时候,科学家在你的大脑中就能够观察到物理方面,当你自己却可以从大脑内部经历精神方面:你将会获得吃巧克力的感觉。如果这种观点正确的话,你大脑本身就有一个不能由外在观察者看到的内隐面(即使他把你的大脑切开)。大脑的内隐面能够感觉、品尝——这是大脑中某种活动进行的方式。

We could express this view by saying that you are not a body plus a soul -- that you are just a body, but your body, or at least your brain, is not just a physical system. It is an object with both physical and mental aspects: it can be dissected, but it also has the kind of inside that can't be exposed by dissection. There's something it's like from the inside to taste chocolate because there's something it's like from the inside to have your brain in the condition that is produced when you eat a chocolate bar.

我们可以这样表述这种观点:你并不是一具身体加上灵魂,你仅仅由一具身体构成,当你的身体,或者至少你的大脑并不仅仅是一个单纯的物理系统。它是一个同时具有物理特点与精神特点的对象:它可以被拆解掉,但通过拆解它有的那个内在方面不可能被暴露出来:当你吃巧克力块的时候,这个时候,你大脑的内隐面发生了一些事,所以你从精神里品尝到了巧克力。

Physicalists believe that nothing exists but the physical world that can be studied by science: the world of objective reality. But then they have to find room somehow for feelings, desires, thoughts, and experiences -- for you and me -- in such a world.

物理主义者认为除了能够被科学研究的物理世界(客观实在的世界)外,其他东西都不存在。但这种看法使得它们不得不为感觉、欲望、思想和经验(还有你和我)在这样的世界中寻找位置。

One theory offered in defense of physicalism is that the mental nature of your mental states consists in their relations to things that cause them and things they cause. For instance, when you stub your toe and feel pain, the pain is something going on in your brain. But its painfulness is not just the sum of its physical characteristics, and it is not some mysterious nonphysical property either. Rather, what makes it a pain is that it is the kind of state of your brain that is usually caused by injury, and that usually causes you to yell and hop around and avoid the thing that caused the injury. And that could be a purely physical state of your brain.

一种为物理主义辩护的理论认为你的心灵的精神本质在于这种状态在导致它和它导致的关系里构成。比如,当你踢脚趾的时候,你感受到疼痛,这种疼痛是你大脑中正在发生某些事情。但是疼痛感并不是它的物理特征的总和,而且也不是某些神秘的非物理属性。反而,那使得你疼痛的东西是某种你大脑的状态,它总是由伤害导致,并且经常导致你喊叫和躲避可能对你造成伤害的东西。这可以是纯粹的大脑的物理状态。

But that doesn't seem enough to make something a pain. It's true that pains are caused by injury, and they do make you hop and yell. But they also feel a certain way, and that seems to be something different from all their relations to causes and effects, as well as all the physical properties they may have -- if they are in fact events in your brain. I myself believe that this inner aspect of pain and other conscious experiences cannot be adequately analyzed in terms of any system of causal relations to physical stimuli and behavior, however complicated.

当以上这些东西看起来并不足以构成疼痛。确实,疼痛感由伤害产生,并且疼痛使得你跳跃和喊叫。但疼痛也以某种方式被感觉到,这看起来与其产生的疼痛和跳跃与喊叫效应不同,也不同于有关疼痛的所有物理属性(如果它们实际上你大脑中的事件的话)。我自己相信,无论根据多么复杂的关于物理刺激以及行为的因果联系系统,这种疼痛的内在方面和其他的意识经验都不能被充分的分解。
There seem to be two very different kinds of things going on in the world: the things that belong to physical reality, which many different people can observe from the outside, and those other things that belong to mental reality, which each of us experiences from the inside in his own case. This isn't true only of human beings: dogs and cats and horses and birds seem to be conscious, and fish and ants and beetles probably are too. Who knows where it stops?

看起来,世界上有两种完全不同的东西在发生:一些属于物理实在,对于它来说,许多不同人可以在外部进行观察;另外一种属于心灵实在,每个人对于它的内在经验都仅仅只能自己体验。这种解释的说法不仅对人类成立,狗、猫、马、鸟看起来都是有意识的,鱼、蚂蚁、甲壳虫也可能有意识。所以谁知道这种区分到底在哪里?

We won't have an adequate general conception of the world until we can explain how, when a lot of physical elements are put together in the right way, they form not just a functioning biological organism but a conscious being. If consciousness itself could be identified with some kind of physical state, the way would be open for a unified physical theory of mind and body, and therefore perhaps for a unified physical theory of the universe. But the reasons against a purely physical theory of consciousness are strong enough to make it seem likely that a physical theory of the whole of reality is impossible. Physical science has progressed by leaving the mind out of what it tries to explain, but there may be more to the world than can be understood by physical science.

当大量的物理因素被按照正确的方式放置在一起,除非我们能够解释它们的形式不仅是功能性的生物组织,而且是有意识的生物,我们就不能拥有关于这个世界的充分的总体概念。如果意识本身可以被等同于某些内心的物理状态,那么这种等同的方式也应该可以被用于有关心灵和身体统一的理论,因此,找到关于这个宇宙的统一的物理理论应该也是可能的。然而,反对纯粹物理主义的理由非常强有力,它看起来已经足以说明找到关于整个现实的物理理论是不可能的。通过将心灵问题排除出自己的解释范畴,物理的自然科学已经取得了进步,然而这个世界上一定存在许多不能通过物理学来解释的东西。

5. The Meaning of Words(词语的意义)

How can a word -- a noise or a set of marks on paper -- mean something? There are some words, like "bang" or "whisper," which sound a bit like what they refer to, but usually there is no resemblance between a name and the thing it is the name of. The relation in general must be something entirely different.

为什么词汇具有含义呢(一段噪音,或者一段纸上的符号)?存在许多词汇,比如“砰砰”和“嘘嘘”,这些词的发音看起来像是它所指称的东西,但是通常,一个名字和这个名字指的东西之间并没有相似性。通常,这种联系都不像“砰砰”和“嘘嘘”那样。

There are many types of words: some of them name people or things, others name qualities or activities, others refer to relations between things or events, others name numbers, places, or times, and some, like "and" and "of," have meaning only because they contribute to the meaning of larger statements or questions in which they appear as parts. In fact all words do their real work in this way: their meaning is really something they contribute to the meaning of sentences or statements. Words are mostly used in talking and writing, rather than just as labels.

存在许多种词汇的类型:一些词是人或者事物的名称,一些是性质或活动的名称,另一些指称事物或事件之间的关系,还有一些是数量、地点、事件或其他诸如“和”、“的“之类的名词(它们拥有意义只因为它们作为更长陈述句与疑问句的一部分)。事实上,所有的词语都是通过这种方式发挥作用的:它们实际上在句子或者陈述中才有意义的。词语大多时候被用来说话和写作,而不仅仅是作为标签而使用。

However, taking that as understood,let us ask how a word can have a meaning. Some words can be defined in terms ofother words: "square" for example means "four-sided equilateralequiangular plane figure." And most of the terms in that definition can also be defined. But definitions can't be the basis of meaning for all words,or we'd go forever in a circle. Eventually we must get to some words which have meaning directly. 

然而,理解上面的意思,我们就会问词语怎么样有含义的。一些词语可以被定义为另外的词,比如“方型”是指“具有四条边的等边等角平面图形”。而且这个定义中的大部分词语依然可以被再次定义。但定义并不是一切词语意义的基础,否则我们将一直处于循环当中。最终,我们必须要面对一些词是因为自己本身而直接拥有意义的。

Take the word "tobacco," which may seem like an easy example. It refers to a kind of plant whose Latin name most of us don't know, and whose leaves are used to make cigars and cigarettes. All of us have seen and smelled tobacco, but the word as you use it refers not just to the samples of the stuff that you have seen, or that is around you when you use the word, but to all examples of it, whether or not you know of their existence. You may have learned the word by being shown some samples, but you won't understand it if you think it is just the name of those samples.

”烟草“这个词看起来就是一个很简单的例子。它指称一种植物,我们当中的大部分人不知道这种植物的拉丁文名字,并且这种植物的叶子被用来制作雪茄和香烟。我们所有的人都看过和闻过香烟,但是你所使用的这个词并不仅仅是指称那个你所看到的样本,或者你周围的东西,而是指所有的烟草个体,无论你是否知道它们的存在。也许有人通过给你看了一些烟草的样本而学会了这个词,但你如果认为烟草只是这部分样本的名字,你就永远也无法理解”烟草“这个词。

So if you say, "I wonder if more tobacco was smoked in China last year than in the entire Western hemisphere," you have asked a meaningful question, and it has an answer, even if you can't find it out. But the meaning of the question, and its answer,depend on the fact that when you use the word "tobacco," it refers to every example of the substance in the world throughout all past and futuretime, in fact -- to every cigarette smoked in China last year, to every cigarsmoked in Cuba, and so forth. The other words in the sentence limit the reference to particular times and places, but the word "tobacco" can be used to ask such a question only because it has this enormous but special reach, beyond all your experience to every sample of a certain kind of stuff

所以,如果你说”我不知道去年中国是不是比整个西半球消耗了更多烟草“,你就已经问了一个有意义的问题,并且它有答案,就算你找不到答案也没关系。但是,问题的意义和它的答案是建立在你使用烟草这个词的基础之上的,在这里,”烟草“实际上指的是世界上任何一个该实体的样本(包括所有的过去与未来,比如每一根在中国消耗的雪茄,每一根在古巴消耗的雪茄,等等)。这个句子中的其他单词限制了该词指称的时间和地点,“烟草”这个词可以被用来询问该问题仅仅因为它的数量巨大又有确实范围,即使词语“烟草”超出了你所有的经验中的关于该特定材料的样本。

How does the word do that? How can a mere noise or scribble reach that far? Not, obviously, because of its sound or look. And not because of the relatively small number of examples of tobacco that you've encountered, and that have been in the same room when you have uttered or heard or read the word. There's something else going on, and it is something general, which applies to everyone's use of the word. You and I, who have never met and have encountered different samples of tobacco, use the word with the same meaning. If we both use the word to ask the question about China and the Western hemisphere, it is the same question, and the answer is the same. Further, a speaker of Chinese can ask the same question, using the Chinese word with the same meaning. Whatever relation the word "tobacco" has to the stuff itself, other words can have as well. 

该词是如何做到这一点的呢?单单一个声音或者符号怎么能够涵盖这么大的范围?显然,这不是因为它的声音和样子。也不是因为你见到的相对来来说数量不多的烟草,以及当你说、听、读这个单词时候身边的那些烟草。有某种别的东西在起作用。并且这是一种普遍性的东西,它应用于每一个使用这个词的人。你我素未谋面,并且见到的是不同的烟草样本,但在使用这个词的时候具有相同的意思。如果我们都使用这个词来询问中国和西半球的情况,那么问题就是同样的,答案也是同样的。更进一步说,一个说中文的人也可以提出相同的问题,他所使用的中文词具有相同的含义。无论烟草这个词语与烟草本身有什么按的关系,其他语言中的这个词也同样具有。

This very naturally suggests that the relation of the word "tobacco" to all those plants, cigarettes, and cigars in the past, present, and future, is indirect. The word as you use it has something else behind it -- a concept or idea or thought -- which somehow reaches out to all the tobacco in the universe. This, however, raises new problems. 

上面这种说法显然意味着烟草这个词与它在过去、现在和将来时间下的所有的植物、香烟和雪茄的关系是间接的。你所使用的这个词背后有别的东西:概念、理念或想法,它们以某种方式涵盖了宇宙中所有的烟草。然而,这样的解释引发了新的问题。

First, what kind of thing is this middleman? Is it in your mind, or is it something outside your mind that you somehow latch onto? It would seem to have to be something that you and I and a speaker of Chinese can all latch onto, in order to mean the same thing by our words for tobacco. But how, with our very different experiences of the word and the plant, do we do that? Isn't this just as hard to explain as our all being able to refer to the same enormous and widespread amount of stuff by our different uses of the word or words? Isn't there just as much of a problem about how the word means the idea or concept (whatever that is) as there was before about how the word means the plant or substance?  

首先,什么东西是这种中介,它在你的心里,还是外在于你的心里,你将它捕捉到了自己心里?为了烟草这个词能够具有相同的意思,看起来一定有一个东西能够让你、我和说中文的人能够共同捕捉。但是,既然我们各自拥有关于这个词和其指称植物的不同体验,我们怎么能做到这一点呢?用不同的词指称同样大量和宽广的该物质,难道不是相当困难的事情吗?这个词怎样意味着理念或者观念(无论那是什么),就像,上面所说的,这个词之前怎样能够有植物或实体的含义,两者都是很大的问题。

Not only that,but there's also a problem about how this idea or concept is related to all the samples of actual tobacco. What kind of thing is it that it can have this exclusive connection with tobacco and nothing else? It looks as though we've just added to the problem. In trying to explain the relation between the word "tobacco" and tobacco by interposing between them the idea or concept of tobacco, we've just created the further need to explain the relations between the word and the idea, and between the idea and the stuff. 

不仅如此,还有一个问题:理念和概念是怎样与这些烟草的全部样本相互关联的。什么样的东西才能够与烟草有联系,而且不跟其他的东西产生联系。这看起来像是我们刚刚提到的问题。通过干预“烟草”、烟草实体与它的理念和概念之间的联系,我们试着说明词汇与实体之间的关系,这样一来,我们反而创造了更多的需求:必须要说明“烟草”与“理念”、“理念”与“实体”之间的联系了。

With or without the concept or idea, the problem seems to be that very particular sounds, marks, and examples are involved in each person's use of a word, but the word applies to something universal, which other particular speakers can also mean by that word or other words in other languages. How can anything as particular as the noise I make when I say "tobacco" mean something so general that I can use it to say, "I bet people will be smoking tobacco on Mars 200 years from now."

无论存不存在观念或理念,上面的问题看起来是这样的:每个人使用的词语里都有非常特别的声音、符号和例子,但是这些词被应用到某种普遍的东西上——其他人在其他语言环境下使用或不使用这个词都表达同样的意思。当我说“烟草”这个词的时候,我制造的这个相当特别的声音如何可能指称某些相当普遍化的东西。它太普遍了,就好像我用它就是在说“从现在开始,我打赌,人们在火星上也会吸食烟草两百年”(——我敢打赌两百年后的火星人还会吸食烟草)。

You might think that the universal element is provided by something we all have in our minds when we use the word. But what do we all have in our minds? Consciously, at least, I don't need anything more than the word itself in my mind to think, "Tobacco is getting more expensive every year." Still, I certainly may have an image of some sort in my mind when I use the word: perhaps of a plant, or of some dried leaves, or of the inside of a cigarette. Still, this will not help to explain the generality of the meaning of the word, because any such image will be a particular image. It will be an image of the appearance or smell of a particular sample of tobacco; and how is that supposed to encompass all actual and possible examples of tobacco? Also, even if you have a certain picture in your mind when you hear or use the word "tobacco," every other person will probably have a different picture; yet that does not prevent us all from using the word with the same meaning.

你也许会想,当我们使用这些词的时候,上面的这些普遍性元素来自于我们精神中共有的某些东西。但什么东西是我们心灵中共有的呢?至少在意识中,我不需要在精神中比单词本身更多的东西就能思考:“烟草每年变得越来越贵了”。不过,我当然,我在使用烟草这个单词的时候,我精神中已经有某种类型的图像了,它们也许是一颗植物,或者一些干枯的叶片,又或者是一个雪茄内部的东西。不过,这仍然不能解释“烟草”这个词的普遍性,因为你精神中的图像也只是特殊的图像。这种图像不过是关于特定的烟草样本的外貌和味道的。它如何被认为是涵盖了一切真实与可能的烟草样本?并且,即使当你听到或使用”烟草“这一单词的时候,心里出现了某个特定的图样,除了你之外的每个人都可能会有不同的图样。然而,这样的疑问没有妨碍我们用不同的词来表示相同的相同的意思。

The mystery of meaning is that it doesn't seem to be located anywhere -- not in the word, not in the mind, not in a separate concept or idea hovering between the word, the mind, and the things we are talking about. And yet we use language all the time, and it enables us to think complicated thoughts which span great reaches of time and space. You can talk about how many people in Okinawa are over five feet tall, or whether there is life in other galaxies, and the little noises you make will be sentences which are true or false in virtue of complicated facts about far away things that you will probably never encounter directly.

意义的神秘之处在于它看起来不存在于任何地方:意义不在词语中,不在心灵中,也不在判断的、独立的概念或观念中,它不在我们所讨论事实当中。但是,我们任何时候都在使用语言,语言使我们能够进行复杂的思考,为我们延伸了思考的时空的领域。你能够谈论冲绳岛上有多少人的身高超过了五英尺(1.5米),也能够谈论其他星系中是否有生命存在,你所发出的声音将具有真假属性的句子变成句子,它们的真假取决于复杂的事实,这些事实离你相当的遥远,以至于你也许从来没有机会直接面对它们。

You may think I have been making too much of the universal reach of language. In ordinary life, most of the statements and thoughts we use language for are much more local and particular. If I say "Pass the salt," and you pass me the salt, this doesn't have to involve any universal meaning of the word "salt," of the kind that's present when we ask, "How long ago in the history of our galaxy was salt first formed out of sodium and chlorine?" Words are often used simply as tools in the relations between people. On a sign in a bus station you see the little figure with the skirt, and an arrow, and you know that's the way to the ladies' room. Isn't most of language just a system of signals and responses like that?

也许你认为我将语言的普遍覆盖性说的太过了。在日常生活中,我们用语言所表达的绝大部门陈述和思考的内容都非常局限和特殊。如果我说,“把盐递给我”,然后你将盐递给我,这并不需要涉及盐这个词的普遍含义。当我没问,”在我们银河系的你历史中,盐从钠和氯中形成用了多久的时间“,盐这个词的普遍性才显现出来。词语经常只是被用作人与人之间沟通的工具。你在公交车站的牌子上,你看到一个穿着裙子的小人,还有一个箭头,你就会知道那上面指示的是通往女厕所的路。大部分语言仅仅符号-反应系统,会不会是这个样子?

Well, perhaps some of it is, and perhaps that's how we start to learn to use words: "Daddy," "Mommy," "No," "All gone." But it doesn't stop there, and it's not clear how the simple transactions possible using one or two words at a time can help us to understand the use of language to describe and misdescribe the world far beyond our present neighborhood It seems more likely, in fact, that the use of language for much larger purposes shows us something about what is going on when we use it on a smaller scale.

不错,也许部分语言确实是这样,或者真是这样的符号-反应系统让我们知道怎么样开始使用诸如”爸爸“、”妈妈“、”不“、”都走了“这样的词。但语言并非如此而已,现在还不清楚,使用一个或两个词而进行的简单的交换是怎样帮助我们理解语言的使用方法的,它怎么能够超越我们当下周围的环境而对世界进行描述或虚构。事实上,为了更大范围的目的而使用语言,向我们展示出:当我们将它使用在更小的范围里时发生了什么。

A statement like, "There's salt on the table," means the same whether it's said for practical reasons during lunch, or as part of the description of a situation distant in space and time, or merely as a hypothetical description of an imaginary possibility. It means the same whether it is true or false, and whether or not the speaker or hearer know if it's true or false. Whatever is going on in the ordinary, practical case must be something general enough also to explain these other, quite different cases where it means the same thing.

”盐在桌子上。“这样的陈述,无论它实在午餐为了实用的理由说的,还是作为遥远时空中某种场景描述的一部分,或者它仅仅只是一个关于想象场景的可能性描述,句子的含义都是一样的。这意味着,无论句子的真假。无论说话者与听话者是否它的真假,它们的含义都是一样的。不管常规意义上这样的句子会发生什么,实际的例子必须足够解释它的其他情况:完全不同的例子中它也表达了同样的情况。(出于日常的、实用的目的所说的话中一定有某种普遍的东西,这种东西应该同样能被用来解释那些出于其他完全不同的目的而说的话,从而使得这些话的意义相同。)

It is of course important that language is a social phenomenon. Each person doesn't make it up for himself. When as children we learn a language, we get plugged into an already existing system, in which millions of people have been using the same words to talk to one another for centuries. My use of the word "tobacco" doesn't have a meaning just on its own, but rather as part of the much wider use of that word in English. (Even if I were to adopt a private code, in which I used the word "blibble" to mean tobacco, I'd do it by defining "blibble" to myself in terms of the common word "tobacco.") We still have to explain how my use of the word gets its content from all those other uses, most of which I don't know about -- but putting my words into this larger context may seem to help explain their universal meaning.

当然,明白语言是一种社会现象非常重要。语言不是每个人只为自己发明的。当我们是一个小孩的时候,我们学习语言,我们就已经与一个早已存在的系统进行对接了,在这个系统中,亿万的人使用相同的词语互相交流已经很多个世纪。我对”烟草“一词的使用并没有自身独立的意义,而只是作为这个词在英语中更加广泛用法的一部分。(即使我想使用一种私人密码,在其中,我用”比例波“来表达烟草的含义,我依然得采用烟草这个同样得词来定义”比例波“)。我们仍然需要解释:我所使用的这个词的意义是怎样从它诸多的其他用法中抽离出来的,而且它们中大部分用法我自己并不知道。但将我用的单词放到更大的语言背景下似乎可以解释它的意义的普遍性。

But this doesn't solve the problem. When I use the word, it may have its meaning as part of the English language, but how does the use of the word by all those other speakers of English give it its universal range, well beyond all the situations in which it is actually used? The problem of the relation of language to the world is not so different whether we are talking about one sentence or billions. The meaning of a word contains all its possible uses, true and false, not only its actual ones, and the actual uses are only a tiny fraction of the possible ones.

不过,这样的做法也没有解决问题。当我使用单词的时候,它作为英语语言的一部分而有了意义,但这个词是怎样通过其他所有说英语人的使用而使自己具有了更宽泛的范畴呢,并且完美的超越了它实际使用的全部情况呢?(但是,当其他一切讲英语的人使用这个词的时候,这一用法是如何给予它极为普遍的应用范围,以至于能够超越一切实际使用的情景之上的呢?)语言与世界的关系问题并不因为我们谈论的是一句还是一亿句话而不同。词语的意义包含了它所用的或真或假的使用形式,并不仅仅是它实际生活中的形式,并且,实际生活中的形式仅仅是其可能形式中的极小部分。

We are small finite creatures, but meaning enables us with the help of sounds or marks on paper to grasp the whole world and many things in it, and even to invent things that do not exist and perhaps never will. The problem is to explain how this is possible: How does anything we say or write mean anything -- including all the words in this book?

我们是渺小的且有限的生物,但是“意义”使得我们能够在声音或者纸上符号的帮助下理解世界,理解其中的许多东西,甚至发明一些实际上不存在也根本不可能会存在的东西。问题是,我们怎么解释这一切如何可能:我们说或写的一切,包括这本书里的所有单词,何以具有意义?

6. Free Will(自由意志)

Suppose you're going through a cafeteria line and when you come to the desserts, you hesitate between a peach and a big wedge of chocolate cake with creamy icing. The cake looks good, but you know it's fattening. Still, you take it and eat it with pleasure. The next day you look in the mirror or get on the scale and think, "I wish I hadn't eaten that chocolate cake. I could have had a peach instead."

假设你正在吃甜品的时候,经过了食品摆放的桌台,你犹豫自己是吃一只桃子好,还是吃一大块冰淇淋巧克力蛋糕。蛋糕看起来很好吃,但是你知道它会让你长胖。然而,你最终拿起了它,并且愉快了吃了它。第二天,你从镜子中看着自己,并且知道了自己的体重,于是想:我希望自己没有吃那个巧克力蛋糕,而是吃了挑子。

"I could have had a peach instead." What does that mean, and is it true?

“我本应该可以吃桃子。”这是什么意思,这句话是真的吗?

Peaches were available when you went through the cafeteria line: you had the opportunity to take a peach instead. But that isn't all you mean. You mean you could have taken the peach instead of the cake. You could have done something different from what you actually did. Before you made up your mind, it was open whether you would take fruit or cake, and it was only your choice that decided which it would be.

当你经过食品台的时候,你可以去挑桃子:你有机会去拿一只桃子,而不是一只蛋糕。当这并不是你上面这句话要说的意思。你的意思是:你可以不拿蛋糕而拿桃子。你可以做一些与你实际做出的行为不同的事情。在你内心下决定之前,你关于吃水果还是蛋糕的决定是开放的,仅仅是你的选择决定了自己会怎样做。

Is that it? When you say, "I could have had a peach instead," do you mean that it depended only on your choice? You chose chocolate cake, so that's what you had, but if you had chosen the peach, you would have had that.

是这样吗?当你说“我应该可以吃一个桃子”的时候,你的意思是自己的行动仅仅基于自己的选择。你选择了巧克力蛋糕,那是你之前做过的事情,但是如果你之前选择的是桃子,那么你过去就吃的是桃子。

This still doesn't seem to be enough. You don't mean only that if you had chosen the peach, you would have had it. When you say, "I could have had a peach instead," you also mean that you could have chosen it -- no "ifs" about it. But what does that mean?

这样说看起来不够。你并不仅仅是:除非你选了桃子,你吃的就是桃子。当你这么说“我本来应该可以吃桃子”的时候,这也意味着你应该可以对桃子做出选择,而非“如果如果”。这样说是什么意思呢?

It can't be explained by pointing out other occasions when you have chosen fruit. And it can't be explained by saying that if you had thought about it harder, or if a friend had been with you who eats like a bird, you would have chosen it. What you are saying is that you could have chosen a peach instead of chocolate cake just then, as things actually were. You think you could have chosen a peach even if everything else had been exactly the same as it was up to the point when you in fact chose chocolate cake. The only difference would have been that instead of thinking, "Oh well," and reaching for the cake, you would have thought, "Better not," and reached for the peach.

我们没办法解释当你选择吃水果时指出的另一个场景。而且也不能解释说,如果你能对于此思考的更多,或者如果一个你的非常节食的朋友跟你在一起,你之前就会选择吃水果。你所说的实际上是:在你选择吃蛋糕的时候,同样的情况下,你也能够选择吃桃子,而非蛋糕。你认为,即使一切条件都和上一次但与你实际上选择巧克力蛋糕的条件相同,你仍然可以选择吃桃子。唯一的却别在于,本来你认为”好,很好“,并且拿了蛋糕吃,现在变成了”最好不要这样“,于是拿了桃子吃。

This is an idea of "can" or "could have" which we apply only to people (and maybe some animals). When we say, "The car could have climbed to the top of the hill," we mean the car had enough power to reach the top of the hill if someone drove it there. We don't mean that on an occasion when it was parked at the bottom of the hill, the car could have just taken off and climbed to the top, instead of continuing to sit there. Something else would have had to happen differently first, like a person getting in and starting the motor. But when it comes to people, we seem to think that they can do various things they don't actually do, just like that, without anything else happening differently first. What does this mean?

我们认为只有人(也许还有其他动物),才具有这种”能够“与”本来可以“的理念。当我们说,”这辆汽车本来可以攀爬到山顶“的时候,我们的意思是:如果有人在这里驾驶它的话,这辆车拥有足够的动力行驶到山顶上。我们并不是说,在这辆车被停在停在山脚下的时候,这辆车可以自己开动并且爬上山顶,而不是老老实实的停在那里。(如果这样的事情发生的话)一些其他的事情必须发生的与第一次不一样,比如有人进入这辆汽车,并且发动了引擎。但当我们提到人的时候,我们看起来是认为它们可以做出比实际更多的事情,比如,第二次没有任何与第一次不同。这意味着什么呢?

Part of what it means may be this: Nothing up to the point at which you choose determines irrevocably what your choice will be. It remains an open possibility that you will choose a peach until the moment when you actually choose chocolate cake. It isn't determined in advance.

上面意思的一部分可能是:你最终确定自己的选择之前,没有任何东西是不可以被改变的。选择桃子这样的行为直到你实际选择吃巧克力之前,这样的选择始终是开放的。它并没有被预先决定。

Some things that happen are determined in advance. For instance, it seems to be determined in advance that the sun will rise tomorrow at a certain hour. It is not an open possibility that tomorrow the sun won't rise and night will just continue. That is not possible because it could happen only if the earth stopped rotating, or the sun stopped existing, and there is nothing going on in our galaxy which might make either of those things happen. The earth will continue rotating unless it is stopped, and tomorrow morning its rotation will bring us back around to face inward in the solar system, toward the sun, instead of outward, away from it. If there is no possibility that the earth will stop or that the sun won't be there, there is no possibility that the sun won't rise tomorrow.

不过,有些事情是之前就决定的。比如,太阳将在明天的某个时刻升起,这样的决定就是提前做出的。不存在这样的可能性:明天太阳不升起来,天一直黑下去。这样的事情不可能因为除非地球停止自转,或者太阳不再存在,而且,银河系中所发生的任何事情都不会导致之类情况的发生。地球将会一直自转,知道它停止运行,明天的早晨,地球的转动将会使我们面对太阳内侧,晚上则相反。既然地球停转与太阳不复存在的可能性都没有,因此明天太阳不可能不升起。

When you say you could have had a peach instead of chocolate cake, part of what you mean may be that it wasn't determined in advance what you would do, as it is determined in advance that the sun will rise tomorrow. There were no processes or forces at work before you made your choice that made it inevitable that you would choose chocolate cake.

但你说你本来可以吃桃子而不是巧克力蛋糕的时候,你的部分意思是:虽然太阳明天会升起这一点已经被事先决定,但是你就将会做的事情并没有被事先决定。在你选择吃蛋糕以前,并不存在某个活动或理念使得你必然选择吃巧克力蛋糕。

That may not be all you mean, but it seems to be at least part of what you mean. For if it was really determined in advance that you would choose cake, how could it also be true that you could have chosen fruit? It would be true that nothing would have prevented you from having a peach if you had chosen it instead of cake. But these ifs are not the same as saying you could have chosen a peach, period. You couldn't have chosen it unless the possibility remained open until you closed it off by choosing cake.

这或许不是你全部的意思,但至少是你的部分意思。因为如果你选择蛋糕这一点确实是被事先决定了的话,你就不能说自己可以选择桃子。很显然,如果你本来想选择吃蛋糕的话,没有东西阻止你不要吃桃子。但这样的如果条件与你说的自己本来可以吃桃子

Some people have thought that it is never possible for us to do anything different from what we actually do, in this absolute sense. They acknowledge that what we do depends on our choices, decisions, and wants, and that we make different choices in different circumstances: we're not like the earth rotating on its axis with monotonous regularity. But the claim is that, in each case, the circumstances that exist before we act determine our actions and make them inevitable. The sum total of a person's experiences, desires and knowledge, his hereditary constitution, the social circumstances and the nature of the choice facing him, together with other factors that we may not know about, all combine to make a particular action in the circumstances inevitable.

This view is called determinism. The idea is not that we can know all the laws of the universe and use them to predict what will happen. First of all, we can't know all the complex circumstances that affect a human choice. Secondly, even when we do learn something about the circumstances, and try to make a prediction, that is itself a change in the circumstances, which may change the predicted result. But predictability isn't the point. The hypothesis is that there are laws of nature, like those that govern the movement of the planets, which govern everything that happens in the world -- and that in accordance with those laws, the circumstances before an action determine that it will happen, and rule out any other possibility.

If that is true, then even while you were making up your mind about dessert, it was already determined by the many factors working on you and in you that you would choose cake. You couldn't have chosen the peach, even though you thought you could: the process of decision is just the working out of the determined result inside your mind.

If determinism is true for everything that happens, it was already determined before you were born that you would choose cake. Your choice was determined by the situation immediately before, and that situation was determined by the situation before it, and so on as far back as you want to go.

Even if determinism isn't true for everything that happens -- even if some things just happen without being determined by causes that were there in advance -- it would still be very significant if everything we did were determined before we did it. However free you might feel when choosing between fruit and cake, or between two candidates in an election, you would really be able to make only one choice in those circumstances-though if the circumstances or your desires had been different, you would have chosen differently.

If you believed that about yourself and other people, it would probably change the way you felt about things. For instance, could you blame yourself for giving in to temptation and having the cake? Would it make sense to say, "I really should have had a peach instead," if you couldn't have chosen a peach instead? It certainly wouldn't make sense to say it if there was no fruit. So how can it make sense if there was fruit, but you couldn't have chosen it because it was determined in advance that you would choose cake?

This seems to have serious consequences. Besides not being able sensibly to blame yourself for having had cake, you probably wouldn't be able sensibly to blame anyone at all for doing something bad, or praise them for doing something good. If it was determined in advance that they would do it, it was inevitable: they couldn't have done anything else, given the circumstances as they were. So how can we hold them responsible?

You may be very mad at someone who comes to a party at your house and steals all your Glenn Gould records, but suppose you believed that his action was determined in advance by his nature and the situation. Suppose you believed that everything he did, including the earlier actions that had contributed to the formation of his character, was determined in advance by earlier circumstances. Could you still hold him responsible for such low-grade behavior? Or would it be more reasonable to regard him as a kind of natural disaster -- as if your records had been eaten by termites?

People disagree about this. Some think that if determinism is true, no one can reasonably be praised or blamed for anything, any more than the rain can be praised or blamed for falling. Others think that it still makes sense to praise good actions and condemn bad ones, even if they were inevitable. After all, the fact that someone was determined in advance to behave badly doesn't mean that he didn't behave badly. If he steals your records, that shows inconsiderateness and dishonesty, whether it was determined or not. Furthermore, if we don't blame him, or perhaps even punish him, he'll probably do it again.

On the other hand, if we think that what he did was determined in advance, this seems more like punishing a dog for chewing on the rug. It doesn't mean we hold him responsible for what he did: we're just trying to influence his behavior in the future. I myself don't think it makes sense to blame someone for doing what it was impossible for him not to do. (Though of course determinism implies that it was determined in advance that I would think this.)

These are the problems we must face if determinism is true. But perhaps it isn't true. Many scientists now believe that it isn't true for the basic particles of matter -- that in a given situation, there's more than one thing that an electron may do. Perhaps if determinism isn't true for human actions, either, this leaves room for free will and responsibility. What if human actions, or at least some of them, are not determined in advance? What if, up to the moment when you choose, it's an open possibility that you will choose either chocolate cake or a peach? Then, so far as what has happened before is concerned, you could choose either one. Even if you actually choose cake, you could have chosen a peach.

But is even this enough for free will? Is this all you mean when you say, "I could have chosen fruit instead?" -- that the choice wasn't determined in advance? No, you believe something more. You believe that you determined what you would do, by doing it. It wasn't determined in advance, but it didn't just happen, either. You did it, and you could have done the opposite. But what does that mean?

This is a funny question: we all know what it means to do something. But the problem is, if the act wasn't determined in advance, by your desires, beliefs, and personality, among other things, it seems to be something that just happened, without any explanation. And in that case, how was it your doing? One possible reply would be that there is no answer to that question. Free action is just a basic feature of the world, and it can't be analyzed. There's a difference between something just happening without a cause and an action just being done without a cause. It's a difference we all understand, even if we can't explain it.

Some people would leave it at that. But others find it suspicious that we must appeal to this unexplained idea to explain the sense in which you could have chosen fruit instead of cake. Up to now it has seemed that determinism is the big threat to responsibility. But now it seems that even if our choices are not determined in advance, it is still hard to understand in what way we can do what we don't do. Either of two choices may be possible in advance, but unless I determine which of them occurs, it is no more my responsibility than if it was determined by causes beyond my control. And how can I determine it if nothing determines it?

This raises the alarming possibility that we're not responsible for our actions whether determinism is true or whether it's false. If determinism is true, antecedent circumstances are responsible. If determinism is false, nothing is responsible. That would really be a dead end.

There is another possible view, completely opposite to most of what we've been saying. Some people think responsibility for our actions requires that our actions be determined, rather than requiring that they not be. The claim is that for an action to be something you have done, it has to be produced by certain kinds of causes in you. For instance, when you chose the chocolate cake, that was something you did, rather than something that just happened, because you wanted chocolate cake more than you wanted a peach. Because your appetite for cake was stronger at the time than your desire to avoid gaining weight, it resulted in your choosing the cake. In other cases of action, the psychological explanation will be more complex, but there will always be one -- otherwise the action wouldn't be yours. This explanation seems to mean that what you did was determined in advance after all. If it wasn't determined by anything, it was just an unexplained event, something that happened out of the blue rather than something that you did.

According to this position, causal determination by itself does not threaten freedom -- only a certain kind of cause does that. If you grabbed the cake because someone else pushed you into it, then it wouldn't be a free choice. But free action doesn't require that there be no determining cause at all: it means that the cause has to be of a familiar psychological type. I myself can't accept this solution. If I thought that everything I did was determined by my circumstances and my psychological condition, I would feel trapped. And if I thought the same about everybody else, I would feel that they were like a lot of puppets. It wouldn't make sense to hold them responsible for their actions any more than you hold a dog or a cat or even an elevator responsible.

On the other hand, I'm not sure I understand how responsibility for our choices makes sense if they are not determined. It's not clear what it means to say I determine the choice, if nothing about me determines it. So perhaps the feeling that you could have chosen a peach instead of a piece of cake is a philosophical illusion, and couldn't be right whatever was the case.

To avoid this conclusion, you would have to explain (a) what you mean if you say you could have done something other than what you did, and (b) what you and the world would have to be like for this to be true.

7. Right and Wrong(是非对错)

Suppose you work in a library, checking people's books as they leave, and a friend asks you to let him smuggle out a hard-to-find reference work that he wants to own.

You might hesitate to agree for various reasons. You might be afraid that he'll be caught, and that both you and he will then get into trouble. You might want the book to stay in the library so that you can consult it yourself.

But you may also think that what he proposes is wrong -- that he shouldn't do it and you shouldn't help him. If you think that, what does it mean, and what, if anything, makes it true?

To say it's wrong is not just to say it's against the rules. There can be bad rules which prohibit what isn't wrong -- like a law against criticizing the government. A rule can also be bad because it requires something that is wrong -- like a law that requires racial segregation in hotels and restaurants. The ideas of wrong and right are different from the ideas of what is and is not against the rules. Otherwise they couldn't be used in the evaluation of rules as well as of actions.

If you think it would be wrong to help your friend steal the book, then you will feel uncomfortable about doing it: in some way you won't want to do it, even if you are also reluctant to refuse help to a friend. Where does the desire not to do it come from; what is its motive, the reason behind it?

There are various ways in which something can be wrong, but in this case, if you had to explain it, you'd probably say that it would be unfair to other users of the library who may be just as interested in the book as your friend is, but who consult it in the reference room, where anyone who needs it can find it. You may also feel that to let him take it would betray your employers, who are paying you precisely to keep this sort of thing from happening.

These thoughts have to do with effects on others-not necessarily effects on their feelings, since they may never find out about it, but some kind of damage nevertheless. In general, the thought that something is wrong depends on its impact not just on the person who does it but on other people. They wouldn't like it, and they'd object if they found out.

But suppose you try to explain all this to your friend, and he says, "I know the head librarian wouldn't like it if he found out, and probably some of the other users of the library would be unhappy to find the book gone, but who cares? I want the book; why should I care about them?"

The argument that it would be wrong is supposed to give him a reason not to do it. But if someone just doesn't care about other people, what reason does he have to refrain from doing any of the things usually thought to be wrong, if he can get away with it: what reason does he have not to kill, steal, lie, or hurt others? If he can get what he wants by doing such things, why shouldn't he? And if there's no reason why he shouldn't, in what sense is it wrong?

Of course most people do care about others to some extent. But if someone doesn't care, most of us wouldn't conclude that he's exempt from morality. A person who kills someone just to steal his wallet, without caring about the victim, is not automatically excused. The fact that he doesn't care doesn't make it all right: He should care. But why should he care?

There have been many attempts to answer this question. One type of answer tries to identify something else that the person already cares about, and then connect morality to it.

For example, some people believe that even if you can get away with awful crimes on this earth, and are not punished by the law or your fellow men, such acts are forbidden by God, who will punish you after death (and reward you if you didn't do wrong when you were tempted to). So even when it seems to be in your interest to do such a thing, it really isn't. Some people have even believed that if there is no God to back up moral requirements with the threat of punishment and the promise of reward, morality is an illusion: "If God does not exist, everything is permitted."

This is a rather crude version of the religious foundation for morality. A more appealing version might be that the motive for obeying God's commands is not fear but love. He loves you, and you should love Him, and should wish to obey His commands in order not to offend Him.

But however we interpret the religious motivation, there are three objections to this type of answer. First, plenty of people who don't believe in God still make judgments of right and wrong, and think no one should kill another for his wallet even if he can be sure to get away with it. Second, if God exists, and forbids what's wrong, that still isn't what makes it wrong. Murder is wrong in itself, and that's why God forbids it (if He does.) God couldn't make just any old thing wrong -- like putting on your left sock before your right -- simply by prohibiting it. If God would punish you for doing that it would be inadvisable to do it, but it wouldn't be wrong. Third, fear of punishment and hope of reward, and even love of God, seem not to be the right motives for morality. If you think it's wrong to kill, cheat, or steal, you should want to avoid doing such things because they are bad things to do to the victims, not just because you fear the consequences for yourself, or because you don't want to offend your Creator.

This third objection also applies to other explanations of the force of morality which appeal to the interests of the person who must act. For example, it may be said that you should treat others with consideration so that they'll do the same for you. This may be sound advice, but it is valid only so far as you think what you do will affect how others treat you. It's not a reason for doing the right thing if others won't find out about it, or against doing the wrong thing if you can get away with it (like being a hit and run driver).

There is no substitute for a direct concern for other people as the basis of morality. But morality is supposed to apply to everyone: and can we assume that everyone has such a concern for others? Obviously not: some people are very selfish, and even those who are not selfish may care only about the people they know, and not about everyone. So where will we find a reason that everyone has not to hurt other people, even those they don't know? Well, there's one general argument against hurting other people which can be given to anybody who understands English (or any other language), and which seems to show that he has some reason to care about others, even if in the end his selfish motives are so strong that he persists in treating other people badly anyway. It's an argument that I'm sure you've heard, and it goes like this: "How would you like it if someone did that to you?"

It's not easy to explain how this argument is supposed to work. Suppose you're about to steal someone else's umbrella as you leave a restaurant in a rainstorm, and a bystander says, "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" Why is it supposed to make you hesitate, or feel guilty?

Obviously the direct answer to the question is supposed to be, "I wouldn't like it at all!" But what's the next step? Suppose you were to say, "I wouldn't like it if someone did that to me. But luckily no one is doing it to me. I'm doing it to someone else, and I don't mind that at all!"

This answer misses the point of the question. When you are asked how you would like it if someone did that to you, you are supposed to think about all the feelings you would have if someone stole your umbrella. And that includes more than just "not liking it" -- as you wouldn't "like it" if you stubbed your toe on a rock. If someone stole your umbrella you'd resent it. You'd have feelings about the umbrella thief, not just about the loss of the umbrella. You'd think, "Where does he get off, taking my umbrella that I bought with my hard-earned money and that I had the foresight to bring after reading the weather report? Why didn't he bring his own umbrella?" and so forth.

When our own interests are threatened by the inconsiderate behavior of others, most of us find it easy to appreciate that those others have a reason to be more considerate. When you are hurt, you probably feel that other people should care about it: you don't think it's no concern of theirs, and that they have no reason to avoid hurting you. That is the feeling that the "How would you like it?" argument is supposed to arouse.

Because if you admit that you would resent it if someone else did to you what you are now doing to him, you are admitting that you think he would have a reason not to do it to you. And if you admit that, you have to consider what that reason is. It couldn't be just that it's you that he's hurting, of all the people in the world. There's no special reason for him not to steal your umbrella, as opposed to anyone else's. There's nothing so special about you. Whatever the reason is, it's a reason he would have against hurting anyone else in the same way. And it's a reason anyone else would have too, in a similar situation, against hurting you or anyone else.

But if it's a reason anyone would have not to hurt anyone else in this way, then it's a reason you have not to hurt someone else in this way (since anyone means everyone). Therefore it's a reason not to steal the other person's umbrella now.

This is a matter of simple consistency. Once you admit that another person would have a reason not to harm you in similar circumstances, and once you admit that the reason he would have is very general and doesn't apply only to you, or to him, then to be consistent you have to admit that the same reason applies to you now. You shouldn't steal the umbrella, and you ought to feel guilty if you do.

Someone could escape from this argument if, when he was asked, "How would you like it if someone did that to you?" he answered, "I wouldn't resent it at all. I wouldn't like it if someone stole my umbrella in a rainstorm, but I wouldn't think there was any reason for him to consider my feelings about it." But how many people could honestly give that answer? I think most people, unless they're crazy, would think that their own interests and harms matter, not only to themselves, but in a way that gives other people a reason to care about them too. We all think that when we suffer it is not just bad for us, but bad, period.

The basis of morality is a belief that good and harm to particular people (or animals) is good or bad not just from their point of view, but from a more general point of view, which every thinking person can understand. That means that each person has a reason to consider not only his own interests but the interests of others in deciding what to do. And it isn't enough if he is considerate only of some others -- his family and friends, those he specially cares about. Of course he will care more about certain people, and also about himself. But he has some reason to consider the effect of what he does on the good or harm of everyone. If he's like most of us, that is what he thinks others should do with regard to him, even if they aren't friends of his.

Even if this is right, it is only a bare outline of the source of morality. It doesn't tell us in detail how we should consider the interests of others, or how we should weigh them against the special interest we all have in ourselves and the particular people close to us. It doesn't even tell us how much we should care about people in other countries in comparison with our fellow citizens. There are many disagreements among those who accept morality in general, about what in particular is right and what is wrong. For instance: should you care about every other person as much as you care about yourself? Should you in other words love your neighbor as yourself (even if he isn't your neighbor)? Should you ask yourself, every time you go to a movie, whether the cost of the ticket could provide more happiness if you gave it to someone else, or donated the money to famine relief?,

Very few people are so unselfish. And if someone were that impartial between himself and others, he would probably also feel that he should be just as impartial among other people. That would rule out caring more about his friends and relatives than he does about strangers. He might have special feelings about certain people who are close to him, but complete impartiality would mean that he won't favor them -- if for example he has to choose between helping a friend or a stranger to avoid suffering, or between taking his children to a movie and donating the money to famine relief.

This degree of impartiality seems too much to ask of most people: someone who had it would be a kind of terrifying saint. But it's an important question in moral thought, how much impartiality we should try for. You are a particular person, but you are also able to recognize that you're just one person among many others, and no more important than they are, when looked at from outside. How much should that point of view influence you? You do matter somewhat from outside -- otherwise you wouldn't think other people had any reason to care about what they did to you. But you don't matter as much from the outside as you matter to yourself, from the inside -- since from the outside you don't matter any more than anybody else.

Not only is it unclear how impartial we should be; it's unclear what would make an answer to this question the right one. Is there a single correct way for everyone to strike the balance between what he cares about personally and what matters impartially? Or will the answer vary from person to person depending on the strength of their different motives?

This brings us to another big issue: Are right and wrong the same for everyone?

Morality is often thought to be universal. If something is wrong, it's supposed to be wrong for everybody; for instance if it's wrong to kill someone because you want to steal his wallet, then it's wrong whether you care about him or not. But if something's being wrong is supposed to be a reason against doing it, and if your reasons for doing things depend on your motives and people's motives can vary greatly, then it looks as though there won't be a single right and wrong for everybody. There won't be a single right and wrong, because if people's basic motives differ, there won't be one basic standard of behavior that everyone has a reason to follow. There are three ways of dealing with this problem, none of them very satisfactory.

First, we could say that the same things are right and wrong for everybody, but that not everyone has a reason to do what's right and avoid what's wrong: only people with the right sort of "moral" motives -- particularly a concern for others -- have any reason to do what's right, for its own sake. This makes morality universal, but at the cost of draining it of its force. It's not clear what it amounts to to say that it would be wrong for someone to commit murder, but he has no reason not to do it.

Second, we could say that everyone has a reason to do what's right and avoid what's wrong, but that these reasons don't depend on people's actual motives. Rather they are reasons to change our motives if they aren't the right ones. This connects morality with reasons for action, but leaves it unclear what these universal reasons are which do not depend on motives that everyone actually has. What does it mean to say that a murderer had a reason not to do it, even though none of his actual motives or desires gave him such a reason?

Third, we could say that morality is not universal, and that what a person is morally required to do goes only as far as what he has a certain kind of reason to do, where the reason depends on how much he actually cares about other people in general. If he has strong moral motives, they will yield strong reasons and strong moral requirements. If his moral motives are weak or nonexistent, the moral requirements on him will likewise be weak or nonexistent. This may seem psychologically realistic, but it goes against the idea that the same moral rules apply to all of us, and not only to good people.

The question whether moral requirements are universal comes up not only when we compare the motives of different individuals, but also when we compare the moral standards that are accepted in different societies and at different times. Many things that you probably think are wrong have been accepted as morally correct by large groups of people in the past: slavery, serfdom, human sacrifice, racial segregation, denial of religious and political freedom, hereditary caste systems. And probably some things you now think are right will be thought wrong by future societies. Is it reasonable to believe that there is some single truth about all this, even though we can't be sure what it is? Or is it more reasonable to believe that right and wrong are relative to a particular time and place and social background?

There is one way in which right and wrong are obviously relative to circumstances. It is usually right to return a knife you have borrowed to its owner if he asks for it back. But if he has gone crazy in the meantime, and wants the knife to murder someone with, then you shouldn't return it. This isn't the kind of relativity I am talking about, because it doesn't mean morality is relative at the basic level. It means only that the same basic moral principles will require different actions in different circumstances.

The deeper kind of relativity, which some people believe in, would mean that the most basic standards of right and wrong -- like when it is and is not all right to kill, or what sacrifices you're required to make for others -- depend entirely on what standards are generally accepted in the society in which you live.

This I find very hard to believe, mainly because it always seems possible to criticize the accepted standards of your own society and say that they are morally mistaken. But if you do that, you must be appealing to some more objective standard, an idea of what is really right and wrong, as opposed to what most people think. It is hard to say what this is, but it is an idea most of us understand, unless we are slavish followers of what the community says.

There are many philosophical problems about the content of morality -- how a moral concern or respect for others should express itself; whether we should help them get what they want or mainly refrain from harming and hindering them; how impartial we should be, and in what ways. I have left most of these questions aside because my concern here is with the foundation of morality in general -- how universal and objective it is.

I should answer one possible objection to the whole idea of morality. You've probably heard it said that the only reason anybody ever does anything is that it makes him feel good, or that not doing it will make him feel bad. If we are really motivated only by our own comfort, it is hopeless for morality to try to appeal to a concern for others. On this view, even apparently moral conduct in which one person seems to sacrifice his own interests for the sake of others is really motivated by his concern for himself: he wants to avoid the guilt he'll feel if he doesn't do the "right" thing, or to experience the warm glow of self-congratulation he'll get if he does. But those who don't have these feelings have no motive to be "moral."

Now it's true that when people do what they think they ought to do, they often feel good about it: similarly if they do what they think is wrong, they often feel bad. But that doesn't mean that these feelings are their motives for acting. In many cases the feelings result from motives which also produce the action. You wouldn't feel good about doing the right thin unless you thought there was some other reason to do it, besides the fact that it would make you feel good. And you wouldn't feel guilty about doing the wrong thing unless you thought that there was some other reason not to do it, besides the fact that it made you feel guilty: something which made it right to feel guilty. At least that's how things should be. It's true that some people feel irrational guilt about things they don't have any independent reason to think are wrong -but that's not the way morality is supposed to work.

In a sense, people do what they want to do. But their reasons and motives for wanting to do things vary enormously. I may "want" to give someone my wallet only because he has a gun pointed at my head and threatens to kill me if I don't. And I may want to jump into an icy river to save a drowning stranger not because it will make me feel good, but because I recognize that his life is important, just as mine is, and I recognize that I have a reason to save his life just as he would have a reason to save mine if our positions were reversed.

Moral argument tries to appeal to a capacity for impartial motivation which is supposed to be present in all of us. Unfortunately it may be deeply buried, and in some cases it may not be present at all. In any case it has to compete with powerful selfish motives, and other personal motives that may not be so selfish, in its bid for control of our behavior. The difficulty of justifying morality is not that there is only one human motive, but that there are so many.

8. Justice(公正)

Is it unfair that some people are born rich and some are born poor? If it's unfair, should anything be done about it?

The world is full of inequalities -- within countries, and from one country to another. Some children are born into comfortable, prosperous homes, and grow up well fed and well educated. Others are born poor, don't get enough to eat, and never have access to much education or medical care. Clearly, this is a matter of luck: we are not responsible for the social or economic class or country into which we are born. The question is, how bad are inequalities which are not the fault of the people who suffer from them? Should governments use their power to try to reduce inequalities of this kind, for which the victims are not responsible?

Some inequalities are deliberately imposed. Racial discrimination, for example, deliberately excludes people of one race from jobs, housing, and education which are available to people of another race. Or women may be kept out of jobs or denied privileges available only to men. This is not merely a matter of bad luck. Racial and sexual discrimination are clearly unfair: they are forms of inequality caused by factors that should not be allowed to influence people's basic welfare. Fairness requires that opportunities should be open to those who are qualified, and it is clearly a good thing when governments try to enforce such equality of opportunity.

But it is harder to know what to say about inequalities that arise in the ordinary course of events, without deliberate racial or sexual discrimination. Because even if there is equality of opportunity, and any qualified person can go to a university or get a job or buy a house or run for office -- regardless of race, religion, sex, or national origin -- there will still be plenty of inequalities left. People from wealthier backgrounds will usually have better training and more resources, and they will tend to be better able to compete for good jobs. Even in a system of equality of opportunity, some people will have a head start and will end up with greater benefits than others whose native talents are the same.

Not only that, but differences in native talent will produce big differences in the resulting benefits, in a competitive system. Those who have abilities that are in high demand will be able to earn much more than those without any special skills or talents. These differences too are partly a matter of luck. Though people have to develop and use their abilities, no amount of effort would enable most people to act like Meryl Streep, paint like Picasso, or manufacture automobiles like Henry Ford. Something similar is true of lesser accomplishments. The luck of both natural talent and family and class background are important factors in determining one's income and position in a competitive society. Equal opportunity produces unequal results.

These inequalities, unlike the results of racial and sexual discrimination, are produced by choices and actions that don't seem wrong in themselves. People try to provide for their children and give them a good education, and some have more money to use for this purpose than others. People pay for the products, services, and performances they want, and some performers or manufacturers get richer than others because what they have to offer is wanted by more people. Businesses and organizations of all kinds try to hire employees who will do the job well, and pay higher salaries for those with unusual skills. If one restaurant is full of people and another next door is empty because the first has a talented chef and the second doesn't, the customers who choose the first restaurant and avoid the second haven't done anything wrong, even though their choices have an unhappy effect on the owner and employees of the second restaurant, and on their families.

Such effects are most disturbing when they leave some people in a very bad way. In some countries large segments of the population live in poverty from generation to generation. But even in a wealthy country like the United States, lots of people start life with two strikes against them, from economic and educational disadvantages. Some can overcome those disadvantages, but it's much harder than making good from a higher starting point.

Most disturbing of all are the enormous inequalities in wealth, health, education, and development between rich and poor countries. Most people in the world have no chance of ever being as well off economically as the poorest people in Europe, Japan, or the United States. These large differences in good and bad luck certainly seem unfair; but what, if anything, should be done about them?

We have to think about both the inequality itself, and the remedy that would be needed to reduce or get rid of it. The main question about the inequalities themselves is: What kinds of causes of inequality are wrong? The main question about remedies is: What methods of interfering with the inequality are right?

In the case of deliberate racial or sexual discrimination, the answers are easy. The cause of the inequality is wrong because the discriminator is doing something wrong. And the remedy is simply to prevent him from doing it. If a landlord refuses to rent to blacks, he should be prosecuted.

But the questions are more difficult in other cases. The problem is that inequalities which seem wrong can arise from causes which don't involve people doing anything wrong. It seems unfair that people born much poorer than others should suffer disadvantages through no fault of their own. But such inequalities exist because some people have been more successful than others at earning money and have tried to help their children as much as possible; and because people tend to marry members of their own economic and social class, wealth and position accumulate and are passed on from generation to generation. The actions which combine to form these causes -- employment decisions, purchases, marriages, bequests, and efforts to provide for and educate children, don't seem wrong in themselves. What's wrong, if anything, is the result: that some people start life with undeserved disadvantages.

If we object to this kind of bad luck as unfair, it must be because we object to people's suffering disadvantages through no fault of their own, merely as a result of the ordinary operation of the socioeconomic system into which they are born. Some of us may also believe that all bad luck that is not a person's fault, such as that of being born with a physical handicap, should be compensated if possible. But let us leave those cases aside in this discussion. I want to concentrate on the undeserved inequalities that arise through the working of society and the economy, particularly a competitive economy. The two main sources of these undeserved inequalities, as I have said, are differences in the socioeconomic classes into which people are born, and differences in their natural abilities or talents for tasks which are in demand. You may not think there is anything wrong with inequality caused in these ways. But if you think there is something wrong with it, and if you think a society should try to reduce it, then you must propose a remedy which either interferes with the causes themselves, or interferes with the unequal effects directly.

Now the causes themselves, as we have seen, include relatively innocent choices by many people about how to spend their time and money and how to lead their lives. To interfere with people's choices about what products to buy, how to help their children, or how much to pay their employees, is very different from interfering with them when they want to rob banks or discriminate against blacks or women. A more indirect interference in the economic life of individuals is taxation, particularly taxation of income and inheritance, and some taxes on consumption, which can be designed to take more from the rich than from the poor. This is one way a government can try to reduce the development of great inequalities in wealth over generations -- by not letting people keep all of their money.

More important, however, would be to use the public resources obtained through taxes to provide some of the missing advantages of education and support to the children of those families that can't afford to do it themselves. Public social welfare programs try to do this, by using tax revenues to provide basic benefits of health care, food, housing, and education. This attacks the inequalities directly.

When it comes to the inequalities that result from differences in ability, there isn't much one can do to interfere with the causes short of abolishing the competitive economy. So long as there is competition to hire people for jobs, competition between people to get jobs, and competition between firms for customers, some people are going to make more money than others. The only alternative would be a centrally directed economy in which everyone was paid roughly the same and people were assigned to their jobs by some kind of centralized authority. Though it has been tried, this system has heavy costs in both freedom and efficiency -- far too heavy, in my opinion, to be acceptable, though others would disagree.

If one wants to reduce the inequalities resulting from different abilities without getting rid of the competitive economy, it will be necessary to attack the inequalities themselves. This can be done through higher taxation of higher incomes, and some free provision of public services to everyone, or to people with lower incomes. It could include cash payments to those whose earning power is lowest, in the form of a so-called "negative income tax." None of these programs would get rid of undeserved inequalities completely, and any system of taxation will have other effects on the economy, including effects on employment and the poor, which may be hard to predict; so the issue of a remedy is always complicated.

But to concentrate on the philosophical point: the measures needed to reduce undeserved inequalities arising from differences in class background and natural talent will involve interference with people's economic activities, mainly through taxation: the government takes money from some people and uses it to help others. This is not the only use of taxation, or even the main use: many taxes are spent on things which benefit the well-off more than the poor. But redistributive taxation, as it is called, is the type relevant to our problem. It does involve the use of government power to interfere with what people do, not because what they do is wrong in itself, like theft or discrimination, but because it contributes to an effect which seems unfair.

There are those who don't think redistributive taxation is right, because the government shouldn't interfere with people unless they are doing something wrong, and the economic transactions that produce all these inequalities aren't wrong, but perfectly innocent. They may also hold that there's nothing wrong with the resulting inequalities themselves: that even though they're undeserved and not the fault of the victims, society is not obliged to fix them. That's just life, they will say: some people are more fortunate than others. The only time we have to do anything about it is when the misfortune is the result of someone's doing a wrong to someone else.

This is a controversial political issue, and there are many different opinions about it. Some people object more to the inequalities that come from the socioeconomic class a person is born into, than to the inequalities resulting from differences in talent or ability. They don't like the effects of one person being born rich and another in a slum, but feel that a person deserves what he can earn with his own efforts -so that there's nothing unfair about one person earning a lot and another very little because the first has a marketable talent or capacity for learning sophisticated skills while the second can only do unskilled labor.

I myself think that inequalities resulting from either of these causes are unfair, and that it is clearly unjust when a socioeconomic system results in some people living under significant material and social disadvantages through no fault of their own, if this could be prevented through a system of redistributive taxation and social welfare programs. But to make up your own mind about the issue, you have to consider both what causes of inequality you find unfair, and what remedies you find legitimate.

-85- We've been talking mainly about the problem of social justice within one society. The problem is much more difficult on a world scale, both because the inequalities are so great and because it's not clear what remedies are possible in the absence of a world government that could levy world taxes and see that they are used effectively. There is no prospect of a world government, which is just as well, since it would probably be a horrible government in many ways. However there is still a problem of global justice, though it's hard to know what to do about it in the system of separate sovereign states we have now.

9. Death(死亡)

Everybody dies, but not everybody agrees about what death is. Some believe they will survive after the death of their bodies, going to Heaven or Hell or somewhere else, becoming a ghost, or returning to Earth in a different body, perhaps not even as a human being. Others believe they will cease to exist -- that the self is snuffed out when the body dies. And among those who believe they will cease to exist, some think this is a terrible fact, and others don't.

It is sometimes said that no one can conceive of his own nonexistence, and that therefore we can't really believe that our existence will come to an end with our deaths. But this doesn't seem true. Of course you can't conceive of your own nonexistence from the inside. You can't conceive of what it would be like to be totally annihilated, because there's nothing it would be like, from the inside. But in that sense, you can't conceive of what it would be like to be completely unconscious, even temporarily. The fact that you can't conceive of that from the inside doesn't mean you can't conceive of it at all: you just have to think of yourself from the outside, having been knocked out, or in a deep sleep. And even though you have to be conscious to think that, it doesn't mean that you're thinking of yourself as conscious.

It's the same with death. To imagine your own annihilation you have to think of it from the outside -- think about the body of the person you are, with all the life and experience gone from it. To imagine something it is not necessary to imagine how it would feel for you to experience it. When you imagine your own funeral, you are not imagining the impossible situation of being present at your own funeral: you're imagining how it would look through someone else's eyes. Of course you are alive while you think of your own death, but that is no more of a problem than being conscious while imagining yourself unconscious. The question of survival after death is related to the mind-body problem, which we discussed earlier. If dualism is true, and each person consists of a soul and a body connected together, we can understand how life after death might be possible. The soul would have to be able to exist on its own and have a mental life without the help of the body: then it might leave the body when the body dies, instead of being destroyed. It wouldn't be able to have the kind of mental life of action and sensory perception that depends on being attached to the body (unless it got attached to a new body), but it might have a different sort of inner life, perhaps depending on different causes and influences -- direct communication with other souls, for instance.

I say life after death might be possible if dualism were true. It also might not be possible, because the survival of the soul, and its continued consciousness, might depend entirely on the support and stimulation it gets from the body in which it is housed -- and it might not be able to switch bodies.

But if dualism is not true, and mental processes go on in the brain and are entirely dependent on the biological functioning of the brain and the rest of the organism, then life after death of the body is not possible. Or to put it more exactly, mental life after death would require the restoration of biological, physical life: it would require that the body come to life again. This might become technically possible some day: It may become possible to freeze people's bodies when they die, and then later on by advanced medical procedures to fix whatever was the matter with them, and bring them back to life.

Even if this became possible, there would still be a question whether the person who was brought to life several centuries later would be you or somebody else. Maybe if you were frozen after death and your body was later revived, you wouldn't wake up, but only someone very like you, with memories of your past life. But even if revival after death of the same you in the same body should become possible, that's not what's ordinarily meant by life after death. Life after death usually means life without your old body.

It's hard to know how we could decide whether we have separable souls. All the evidence is that before death, conscious life depends entirely on what happens in the nervous system. If we go only by ordinary observation, rather than religious doctrines or spiritualist claims to communicate with the dead, there is no reason to believe in an afterlife. Is that, however, a reason to believe that there is not an afterlife? I think so, but others may prefer to remain neutral.

Still others may believe in an afterlife on the basis of faith, in the absence of evidence. I myself don't fully understand how this kind of faith-inspired belief is possible, but evidently some people can manage it, and even find it natural.

Let me turn to the other part of the problem: how we ought to feel about death. Is it a good thing, a bad thing, or neutral? I am talking about how it's reasonable to feel about your own death -- not so much about other people's. Should you look forward to the prospect of death with terror, sorrow, indifference, or relief?

Obviously it depends on what death is. If there is life after death, the prospect will be grim or happy depending on where your soul will end up. But the difficult and most philosophically interesting question is how we should feel about death if it's the end. Is it a terrible thing to go out of existence?

People differ about this. Some say that nonexistence, being nothing at all, can't possibly be either good or bad for the dead person. Others say that to be annihilated, to have the possible future course of your life cut off completely, is the ultimate evil, even if we all have to face it. Still others say death is a blessing -- not of course if it comes too early, but eventually -- because it would be unbearably boring to live forever.

If death without anything after it is either a good or a bad thing for the person who dies, it must be a negative good or evil. Since in itself it is nothing, it can't be either pleasant or unpleasant. If it's good, that must be because it is the absence of something bad (like boredom or pain); if it's bad, that must be because it is the absence of something good (like interesting or pleasant experiences).

Now it might seem that death can't have any value, positive or negative, because someone who doesn't exist can't be either benefited or harmed: after all, even a negative good or evil has to happen to somebody. But on reflection, this is not really a problem. We can say that the person who used to exist has been benefited or harmed by death. For instance, suppose he is trapped in a burning building, and a beam falls on his head, killing him instantly. As a result, he doesn't suffer the agony of being burned to death. It seems that in that case we can say he was lucky to be killed painlessly, because it avoided something worse. Death at that time was a negative good, because it saved him from the positive evil he would otherwise have suffered for the next five minutes. And the fact that he's not around to enjoy that negative good doesn't mean it's not a good for him at all. "Him" means the person who was alive, and who would have suffered if he hadn't died.

The same kind of thing could be said about death as a negative evil. When you die, all the good things in your life come to a stop: no more meals, movies, travel, conversation, love, work, books, music, or anything else. If those things would be good, their absence is bad. Of course you won't miss them: death is not like being locked up in solitary confinement. But the ending of everything good in life, because of the stopping of life itself, seems clearly to be a negative evil for the person who was alive and is now dead. When someone we know dies, we feel sorry not only for ourselves but for him, because he can't see the sun shine today, or smell the bread in the toaster.

When you think of your own death, the fact that all the good things in life will come to an end is certainly a reason for regret. But that doesn't seem to be the whole story. Most people want there to be more of what they enjoy in life, but for some people, the prospect of nonexistence is itself frightening, in a way that isn't adequately explained by what has been said so far. The thought that the world will go on without you, that you will become nothing, is very hard to take in.

It's not clear why. We all accept the fact that there was a time before we were born, when we didn't yet exist -- so why should we be so disturbed at the prospect of nonexistence after our death? But somehow it doesn't feel the same. The prospect of nonexistence is frightening, at least to many people, in a way that past nonexistence cannot be.

The fear of death is very puzzling, in a way that regret about the end of life is not. It's easy to understand that we might want to have more life, more of the things it contains, so that we see death as a negative evil. But how can the prospect of your own nonexistence be alarming in a positive way? If we really cease to exist at death, there's nothing to look forward to, so how can there be anything to be afraid of? If one thinks about it logically, it seems as though death should be something to be afraid of only if we will survive it, and perhaps undergo some terrifying transformation. But that doesn't prevent many people from thinking that annihilation is one of the worst things that could happen to them.

10. The Meaning of Life(人生的意义)

Perhaps you have had the thought that nothing really matters, because in two hundred years we'll all be dead. This is a peculiar thought, because it's not clear why the fact that we'll be dead in two hundred years should imply that nothing we do now really matters.

The idea seems to be that we are in some kind of rat race, struggling to achieve our goals and make something of our lives, but that this makes sense only if those achievements will be permanent. But they won't be. Even if you produce a great work of literature which continues to be read thousands of years from now, eventually the solar system will cool or the universe will wind down or collapse, and all trace of your efforts will vanish. In any case, we can't hope for even a fraction of this sort of immortality. If there's any point at all to what we do, we have to find it within our own lives.

Why is there any difficulty in that? You can explain the point of most of the things you do. You work to earn money to support yourself and perhaps your family. You eat because you're hungry, sleep because you're tired, go for a walk or call up a friend because you feel like it, read the newspaper to find out what's going on in the world. If you didn't do any of those things you'd be miserable; so what's the big problem?

The problem is that although there are justifications and explanations for most of the things, big and small, that we do within life, none of these explanations explain the point of your life as a whole -- the whole of which all these activities, successes and failures, strivings and disappointments are parts. If you think about the whole thing, there seems to be no point to it at all. Looking at it from the outside, it wouldn't matter if you had never existed. And after you have gone out of existence, it won't matter that you did exist.

Of course your existence matters to other peopleyour parents and others who care about you -- but taken as a whole, their lives have no point either, so it ultimately doesn't matter that you matter to them. You matter to them and they matter to you, and that may give your life a feeling of significance, but you're just taking in each other's washing, so to speak. Given that any person exists, he has needs and concerns which make particular things and people within his life matter to him. But the whole thing doesn't matter.

But does it matter that it doesn't matter? "So what?" you might say. "It's enough that it matters whether I get to the station before my train leaves, or whether I've remembered to feed the cat. I don't need more than that to keep going." This is a perfectly good reply. But it only works if you really can avoid setting your sights higher, and asking what the point of the whole thing is. For once you do that, you open yourself to the possibility that your life is meaningless.

The thought that you'll be dead in two hundred years is just a way of seeing your life embedded in a larger context, so that the point of smaller things inside it seems not to be enough -- seems to leave a larger question unanswered. But what if your life as a whole did have a point in relation to something larger? Would that mean that it wasn't meaningless after all? There are various ways your life could have a larger meaning. You might be part of a political or social movement which changed the world for the better, to the benefit of future generations. Or you might just help provide a good life for your own children and their descendants. Or your life might be thought to have meaning in a religious context, so that your time on Earth was just a preparation for an eternity in direct contact with God.

About the types of meaning that depend on relations to other people, even people in the distant future, I've already indicated what the problem is. If one's life has a point as a part of something larger, it is still possible to ask about that larger thing, what is the point of it? Either there's an answer in terms of something still larger or there isn't. If there is, we simply repeat the question. If there isn't, then our search for a point has come to an end with something which has no point. But if that pointlessness is acceptable for the larger thing of which our life is a part, why shouldn't it be acceptable already for our life taken as a whole? Why isn't it all right for your life to be pointless? And if it isn't acceptable there, why should it be acceptable when we get to the larger context? Why don't we have to go on to ask, "But what is the point of all that?" (human history, the succession of the generations, or whatever).

The appeal to a religious meaning to life is a bit different. If you believe that the meaning of your life comes from fulfilling the purpose of God, who loves you, and seeing Him in eternity, then it doesn't seem appropriate to ask, "And what is the point of that?" It's supposed to be something which is its own point, and can't have a purpose outside itself. But for this very reason it has its own problems.

The idea of God seems to be the idea of something that can explain everything else, without having to be explained itself. But it's very hard to understand how there could be such a thing. If we ask the question, "Why is the world like this?" and are offered a religious answer, how can we be prevented from asking again, "And why is that true?" What kind of answer would bring all of our "Why?" questions to a stop, once and for all? And if they can stop there, why couldn't they have stopped earlier?

The same problem seems to arise if God and His purposes are offered as the ultimate explanation of the value and meaning of our lives. The idea that our lives fulfil God's purpose is supposed to give them their point, in a way that doesn't require or admit of any further point. One isn't supposed to ask "What is the point of God?" any more than one is supposed to ask, "What is the explanation of God?" But my problem here, as with the role of God as ultimate explanation, is that I'm not sure I understand the idea. Can there really be something which gives point to everything else by encompassing it, but which couldn't have, or need, any point itself? Something whose point can't be questioned from outside because there is no outside?

If God is supposed to give our lives a meaning that we can't understand, it's not much of a consolation. God as ultimate justification, like God as ultimate explanation, may be an incomprehensible answer to a question that we can't get rid of. On the other hand, maybe that's the whole point, and I am just failing to understand religious ideas. Perhaps the belief in God is the belief that the universe is intelligible, but not to US.

Leaving that issue aside, let me return to the smaller-scale dimensions of human life. Even if life as a whole is meaningless, perhaps that's nothing to worry about. Perhaps we can recognize it and just go on as before. The trick is to keep your eyes on what's in front of you, and allow justifications to come to an end inside your life, and inside the lives of others to whom you are connected. If you ever ask yourself the question, "But what's the point of being alive at all?" -- leading the particular life of a student or bartender or whatever you happen to be -- you'll answer "There's no point. It wouldn't matter if I didn't exist at all, or if I didn't care about anything. But I do. That's all there is to it."

Some people find this attitude perfectly satisfying. Others find it depressing, though unavoidable. Part of the problem is that some of us have an incurable tendency to take ourselves seriously. We want to matter to ourselves "from the outside." If our lives as a whole seem pointless, then a part of us is dissatisfied -- the part that is always looking over our shoulders at what we are doing. Many human efforts, particularly those in the service of serious ambitions rather than just comfort and survival, get some of their energy from a sense of importance -- a sense that what you are doing is not just important to you, but important in some larger sense: important, period. If we have to give this up, it may threaten to take the wind out of our sails. If life is not real, life is not earnest, and the grave is its goal, perhaps it's ridiculous to take ourselves so seriously. On the other hand, if we can't help taking ourselves so seriously, perhaps we just have to put up with being ridiculous. Life may be not only meaningless but absurd.


Original English(OUP© 1987) Ebook Pdf: Download

来自当代中国出版社的中文译本:下载

《你的第一本哲学书》在美国与罗素的《西方哲学史》齐名,是哲学入门的必读书目,已被译成二十种语言出版。在这本小书中,当代西方哲学界的领军人物内格尔用生动的语言,高超的分析技巧,以及深刻而冷静的洞察力向我们充分展现了哲学思考的真正旨趣。他告诉我们如何知道外部世界的存在;如何知道他人心灵的存在;如何判断行为的对与错;如何面对死亡的恐惧;又如何寻找到生活的意义。希望你对生活的审视,就从你的第一本哲学书开始。@douban

2017-02-11 21:31 language-learning
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