Is the sense-data theory a representationalist theory?

Macpherson, F. (2014) Is the sense-data theory a representationalist theory? Ratio, 27(4), pp. 369-392. (doi: 10.1111/rati.12085)

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Is the sense-data theory, otherwise known as indirect realism, a form of representationalism? This question has been underexplored in the extant literature, and to the extent that there is discussion, contemporary authors disagree. There are many different variants of representationalism, and differences between these variants that some people have taken to be inconsequential turn out to be key factors in whether the sense-data theory is a form of representationalism. Chief among these are whether a representationalist takes the phenomenal character of an experience to be explicable in virtue of the properties of an experience that represent something or explicable in virtue of that which gets represented. Another is whether representationalists hold a non-reductionist, or naturalistically or non-naturalistically reductionist variant of representationalism. In addition, subtle differences in what one takes phenomenal character to be on the sense-data theory – either awareness of sense-data or the sense-data themselves – together with one's account of representation, are crucial factors in determining whether sense-data theory is compatible with representationalism. This paper explores these relationships and makes manifest the complexities of the metaphysics of two central theories of perception.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This paper is also to be published in J. Stazicker (2015) (ed.) The Structure of Perceptual Experience, Wiley.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macpherson, Professor Fiona
Authors: Macpherson, F.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Ratio
Publisher:John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1467-9329
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Author
First Published:First published in Ratio 27(4):369-392
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
544751Perception, Imagination, and the Nature of ExperienceFiona MacphersonArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/I027509/1HU - PHILOSOPHY
629111"Rethinking the Senses"?Fiona MacphersonArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/L007053/1HU - PHILOSOPHY