Externalists Should Be Sense-Datum Theorists

Abstract

One increasingly popular view in the philosophy of perception is externalism about sensible qualities, according to which sensible qualities such as colors, smells, tastes, and textures are features, not of our minds, but of mind-independent, external objects in the world. The primary motivation for this view is that perceptual experience seems to be transparent—that is, when we attend to sensible qualities, it seems like what we are attending to are features of external objects, not our own minds. Most externalists are either naïve realists or externalist representationalists. However, in this article, I argue that those who are moved by the primary motivation for externalism should instead be sense-datum theorists, for externalists’ primary motivation supports the sense-datum theory, not their actually favored views. I argue that externalists should focus on different motivations, get new ones, or become sense-datum theorists.

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Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College

References found in this work

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The Transparency of Experience.Michael G. F. Martin - 2002 - Mind and Language 17 (4):376-425.
Naturalizing the Mind.Fred Dretske - 1995 - Philosophy 72 (279):150-154.

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