Externalists Should Be Sense-Datum Theorists

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (2):338-355 (2022)
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One increasingly popular view in the philosophy of perception isexternalismabout 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 betransparent—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 (if not all) 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

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References found in this work

Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reference and Consciousness.John Campbell - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The intrinsic quality of experience.Gilbert Harman - 1990 - Philosophical Perspectives 4:31-52.
Mind and World.Huw Price & John McDowell - 1994 - Philosophical Books 38 (3):169-181.
How to speak of the colors.Mark Johnston - 1992 - Philosophical Studies 68 (3):221-263.

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