A new look at the speckled hen

Analysis 69 (2):258-263 (2009)
We owe the problem of the speckled hen to Gilbert Ryle. It was suggested to A.J. Ayer by Ryle in connection with Ayer’s account of seeing. Suppose that you are standing before a speckled hen with your eyes trained on it. You are in good light and nothing is obstructing your view. You see the hen in a single glance. The hen has 47 speckles on its facing side, let us say, and the hen ap­ pears speckled to you. On Ayer’s view, in seeing the hen, you directly see a speckled sense-datum or appearance. Ryle wondered how many speckles there are on the sense-datum. After all, intu­ itively, the hen does not appear to you to have 47 speckles. And if this is the case, then it does not present to you an appearance with 47 speckles. Equally, however, the hen does not appear to you not to have 47 speckles. So, it does not present an appearance that lacks 47 speckles either
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Ned Block (2013). The Grain of Vision and the Grain of Attention. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (2):170-184.

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