Sense‐Data (2): Additional Arguments

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI:
Sense‐Data (2): Additional Arguments

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Additional arguments for sense‐data begin by defending the claim that perceptual sensations are psychological individuals, examples being phosphenes, after‐images, and the ‘ringings’ of ‘tinnitus’. Five arguments for sense‐data follow. First, that since corresponding to every veridical visual field is a possible non‐veridical visual field of sensations, the latter merely needs a different and regular outer cause to be deemed veridical. Second, since bodily sensation experience is extremely strong evidence for the existence of a matching sensation cause, the experience of ‘ringing’ must be strong evidence that a ‘ringing’ sensation is its cause, and this holds in the veridical hearing of a ringing sound. Third, that it is inconceivable that one has a truly visual experience of a red visual field, and absolutely nothing red‐looking be there before one had noticed. Fourth, that the experience of sound might have had a different developmental history, in which first there was merely experience of auditory sensation, and then over millennia such experience gradually found itself caused by regular outer phenomena, thereby constituting the hearing of sound. And a fifth argument that resembles the first argument.

Keywords: bodily; cause; experience; individual; psychological; seeing; sensation; sense‐data; visual; visual field

Chapter.  6712 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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