Sense Data

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22 Apr 2012
October 28th Philosophy Conference
Sense data: what we perceive may be different than another persons. Instead of
thinking about the object, we isolate the visual experience. Most basic
elements/building blocks of our visual experience. Visual sense data: pixel on the
screen, a mosaic of colours.
Sensation vs Sense Data
- act of experiencing the sense data.
- Introduces the distinction to avoid confusion physical object vs sense data
(the table is brown)
- Confusion because there’s no proof that the table actually is brown in reality.
Appearance (doesn’t mean illusion, as it does for Plato)
- sense data (only thing that we know for sure)
- thing you immediately experience
- physical objects
- we can assume there aren’t any objects at all out of consciousness
Thinks Descartes isn’t critical enough in to cogital – self can change from moment to
moment (I think, therefore I am)
When you’re getting sense data, it’s very clear. You don’t have an experience in
yourself as you do with sense data.
No experience of ourselves. Don’t know who is doing to seeing or hearing – all we
know is that something is being heard or being seen. No self, no substance we can be
sure of.
Cartesian doubt
Can’t explain what/describe sense data is – you can’t explain what yellow is to a
blind person. So close to us that we can’t even say what they are. Can’t explain
colours, needs to be experienced to understand or to perceive it. Know what it
means but can’t explain it.
Sense data in relation to other people you each have different sense data
compared to someone else no way of verifying that you’re perceiving the same
thing. Can’t tell if you’re seeing the same thing or not. Private sense data – not that
they’re different, but you can’t tell if they’re different or not.
Colour = wavelengths
- can’t confine ourselves to what we immediately experience
- world as it appears to us phenomenon world
- sense data isn’t experienced by scientists – science can’t help us in
differentiating sense data
- can we even say that there ARE different people?
- Can’t use God – it’s been ruled out.
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