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Thomas Reid's Theory of Perception$
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Ryan Nichols

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199276912

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199276912.001.0001

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Perceptual Awareness Through Touch

Perceptual Awareness Through Touch

(p.72) 3 Perceptual Awareness Through Touch
Thomas Reid's Theory of Perception

Ryan Nichols (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how Reid arrives at his appeal to suggestion by an argument from elimination. It then discusses his application of his theory of suggestion to tactile perception. Reid claims that the Way of Ideas operates upon the assumption that the immediate intentional objects of our thoughts are ideas or other representational intermediaries. The Way of Ideas attempts to reduce contentful mental states to non-contentful features of those states, whereas Reid takes intentional content as irreducible and basic. Special attention is given to Reid's experimentum crucis, or ‘crucial test’, a thought experiment involving a subject's systematic sensory deprivation. Reid seeks to show that the uses of sensation, custom, and reasoning are singly and jointly insufficient for the formation of our perceptual contents. He takes this as a fine objection to the Way of Ideas, on which sensations and reflection upon sensations are sufficient for providing us with our perceptual contents.

Keywords:   elimination, experience, sensory deprivation, sensations, Condillac, Way of Ideas

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