Review of Perception, by Robinson, H [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Howard Robinson's Perception is now rightly regarded as essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the sense-datum theory of perception and its motivations. It should also be regarded as essential reading for those with a more general philosophical interest in perception and sensory consciousness. As well as discussing the history of the sense-datum theory, and the nature of sense-data and their relation to the physical world, Robinson offers critiques of physicalist theories of perception, intentional/representational theories, adverbial theories, and naive realist/disjunctivist theories. Along the way he also discusses Wittgenstein's private language argument and the nature of secondary qualities. Over the course of the book we are presented with a sustained, and forthright, defence of a sense-datum theory in its traditional form. The arguments are clear, briskly delivered, and challenging. Here I highlight two key elements in Robinson's case for a sense-datum theory, which I think pose an especially serious challenge for his opponents. These are his articulation and defence of the ‘phenomenal principle’ and his ‘revised’ causal argument for sense-data
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