Adam Smith and the Problem of the External World

Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (2):205-223 (2011)
Abstract
How does the mind attribute external causes to internal sensory experiences? Adam Smith addresses this question in his little known essay ‘Of the External Senses.’ I closely examine Smith's various formulations of this problem and then argue for an interpretation of his solution: that inborn perceptual mechanisms automatically generate external attributions of internal experiences. I conclude by speculating that these mechanisms are best understood to operate by simulating tactile environments.
Keywords Perception  Distal Attribution  Sympathy  Sensation  George Berkeley  William Cheselden  Molyneux's Question  Simulation
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