now come to the final theory of perception, that of Phenomenalism.
Like Idealism, Phenomenalism argues that our knowledge about the
world comes through our senses. Furthermore, it also shifts knowledge
about the world away from any talk of "the object itself"
and replaces it with our experiences of it.
is a little bit more difficult to grasp than the previous theories,
mainly because it is a theory of truth and not just an account of
perception. We shall look at definitions of truth, knowledge and
belief in the next unit, so we shall only touch upon this theory
about the World
Phenomenalist view argues that when we talk about a thing - such
as a tree - we are actually talking about our perceptions of it.
So, instead of saying, "The leaves on the tree are green,"
I say, "I have a perception of a tree with green leaves."
This might seem to be a trifling difference, but notice that by
doing so we are not saying anything about the tree, only our perception
this way, by talking only about our perception and experience of
things, we are not led into saying things that cannot be backed
by the evidence of our senses.
of the following statements would a phenomenalist say could be backed
up by experience?
up by Experience?
see a tree with green leaves
swans are white
+ 2 = 4
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to see my answers.
do you think? Can all of these statements be backed up by experience?
If not, what status do they then have? Phenomenalists, such as the
20th century English philosopher A. J. Ayer, thought that they were
literally non-sensical. We shall look at this view in more detail
in the next unit.