1st Edition

Perception and the Physical World

By D M Armstrong Copyright 1961

    First published in 1961, Perception and the Physical World contends that there are insuperable difficulties for the Representative and Phenomenalist theories. Unreflective common sense thinks of sense-perception as a direct grasping of the nature of the physical world. But when we are confronted with facts about sensory illusion, about the physical and physiological causes of perception, and with modern scientific views of the real nature of matter, it is hard to maintain such a ‘Direct Realist’ theory of perception. We tend to substitute a Copy or Representative theory which puts sense-impressions between ourselves and physical reality. Some philosophers overwhelmed by the difficulties of the Copy theory, retreat into Phenomenalism, which identifies the physical world with our sense-impressions. The author re-examines all the traditional objections to a Direct Realist theory and tries to show that they can be overcome. This book will be of interest to students of philosophy.

    Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Arguments to prove the sensible qualities subjective 2. What are the immediate objects of awareness in perception? 3. Refutation of the representative theory of perception 4. Some features of sense-impressions 5. Refutation of Phenomenalism (1) 6. Refutation of phenomenalism (2) 7. An analysis of sensory illusion 8. The argument from verification 9. The nature of perception 10. Consequences of our account of the nature of perception 11. The argument from causation 12. The argument from science 13. Direct realism without scientific phenomenalism 14. Problems about the secondary qualities 15. Can physical objects have nothing but the primary qualities? Conclusion Index


    D. M. Armstrong