PHIL 4120 Lecture Notes - Sense Data, Direct And Indirect Realism

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15 Nov 2011
A.J Ayer/J.L Austen
Ayer thinks the theory that – the first thing you’re aware of when you open your mind is
an object – cannot explain illusions, delusions – is false.
When the brain is stimulated a mental image appears in your minds eye. When you open
your eyes, the first thing you’re aware of isn’t the object, but the presence of the object in
your mind. (Theory of Indirect Perception)
Sense data – non-physical object that exists only in the mind of the observer
Ayer argues that all we’re aware of is sense data.
Sometimes sense data is caused by things it resembles (accurate perceptions)
Representational Theory of Perception, Indirect Theory of Perception
If we’re not aware of the world around us, how do we know it exists? Brings back
Descartes problems
Problem: Only
How can a non-physical thing make a causal difference to the brain; if it can send
a signal to the brain, it wouldn’t be non-physical - law of physics would be
Psychology would be impossible – only you would have knowledge of your own
Couldn’t be language
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