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Philosophical Writings$
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P. F. Strawson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587292

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587292.001.0001

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Perception and its Objects

Perception and its Objects

Chapter:
(p.125) 11 Perception and its Objects
Source:
Philosophical Writings
Author(s):

P. F. Strawson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587292.003.0011

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

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