Perception and its Objects

P. F. Strawson

in Philosophical Writings

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199587292
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728747 | DOI:
Perception and its Objects

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Ayer has always given the problem of perception a central place in his thinking. The movement of Ayer's own thought has been from phenomenalism to what he describes in his latest treatment of the topic as ‘a sophisticated form of realism’. The epithet is doubly apt. No adequate account of the matter can be simple; and Ayer's account, while distinguished by his accustomed lucidity and economy of style, is notably and subtly responsive to all the complexities inherent in the subject itself and to all the pressures of more or less persuasive argument which have marked the course of its treatment by philosophers. Yet the form of realism he defends has another kind of sophistication about which it is possible to have reservations and doubts. This chapter focuses on some of these doubts and reservations. It draws on Chapters 4 and 5 of The Central Questions of Philosophy, and considers a different kind of realism — that was advocated by J. L. Mackie in his book on Locke. There are points of contact as well as of contrast between Ayer's and Mackie's views. A comparison between them helps to bring out the nature of Strawson's reservations about both.

Keywords: Ayer; perception; realism; J. L. Mackie; Strawson

Chapter.  9158 words. 

Subjects: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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