16. MANIFEST IMAGE AND SCIENTIFIC IMAGE It’s time to erect some staging before proceeding in our quest to understand what meanings are. Here is a thinking tool that provides a valuable perspective on so many issues that it should be in everybody’s kit, but so far it hasn’t spread far from its home in philosophy. The philosopher Wilfrid Sellars devised it in 1962 to clarify thinking on what science shows us about the world we live in. The manifest image is the world as it seems to us in everyday life, full of solid objects, colors and smells and tastes, voices and shadows, plants and animals, and people and all their stuff: not only tables and chairs, bridges and churches, dollars and contracts, but also such intangible things as songs, poems, opportunities, and free will. Think of all the puzzling questions that arise when we try to line up all those things with the things in the scientific image: molecules, atoms, electrons, and quarks and their ilk. Is anything really solid? The physicist Sir Arthur Eddington wrote, early in the twentieth century, about the “two tables,” the solid one of everyday experience and the one composed of atoms, widely separated in mainly empty space, more like a galaxy than a piece of wood. Some people said that what science showed was that nothing was really solid , solidity was an illusion, but Eddington knew better than to go that far. Some people have said that color is an illusion. Is it? Electromagnetic radiation in the narrow range that accounts for human vision (the range in between infrared and ultraviolet) is not made of little colored things, and atoms, even gold atoms, aren’t colored. But still, color is not an illusion in the sense that matters: nobody thinks Sony is lying when it says that its color televisions really show the world of color, or that Sherwin-Williams should be sued for fraud for selling us many different colors in the form of paint. How about dollars? These days the vast majority of them aren’t made of silver or even paper. They are virtual, made of information, not material, just like poems and promises. Does that mean that they are an illusion? No, but don’t hunt for them among the molecules.