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Externalists Should Be Sense-Datum Theorists

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2021

MATT DUNCAN*
Affiliation:
RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE sduncan@ric.edu

Abstract

One increasingly popular view in the philosophy of perception is externalism about 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 be transparent—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.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Philosophical Association

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