It will have been noticed that in our system the basic particulars, sensations, play much the role that sense-data do in the writings of such philosophers as A. J. Ayer and H. H. Price. Many recent philosophers not only find the concept of a sense-datum objectionable but also reject all similar concepts among which they would probably include the concepts represented by the primitive terms of our solipsistic language. Since the whole system depends entirely on the possibility of a language whose terms refer solely to sensations we will take account of these objections in considerable detail. The most important attack on the sort of position we are taking is that of J. L. Austin in his Sense and Sensibilia. Here he is explicitly considering the views to be found in Ayer’s Foundations of Empirical Knowledge, but he would undoubtedly think that many of the objections are also applicable to the sort of view presented here. Even where our theory diverges sufficiently from Ayer’s so that the objections are not applicable, it is still important to see to what extent we are departing from the traditional sense-datum position and the phenomenalism which Ayer once represented.
KeywordsPhysical Object Material Object Conscious State Ordinary Language Direct Perception
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