In Charles Bradford Bow (ed.), Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 77-106 (2018)

Giovanni B. Grandi
University of British Columbia
Reid’s rejection of the “theory of ideas” implies that sensations are not copies of external qualities such as extension and figure. Reid also says that not even the order of sensations is spatial. However, in his early manuscripts Reid did not deny that sensations are arranged spatially. He simply denied that our ideas of extension and figure are copied from any single atomic sensation. Only subsequently did Reid explicitly reject the view that sensations are arranged spatially. The question of the spatiality of color sensation was a central concern of early interpreters of Reid, like Dugald Stewart, John Fearn, and William Hamilton. In particular, John Fearn thought that the denial of the spatiality of color sensations is the result of Reid’s commitment to the immateriality of the soul. Against Reid’s view, Fearn argued that the perception of visible figure necessarily implies the spatiality of color sensations.
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