Outline and illustrate three characteristics of sense-data. (15 marks) Anticipate the following characteristics:
• We are immediately/directly acquainted with sense-data, (from which we infer a mindindependent reality). • Sense-data are (usually) mental or mind-dependent.
• Sense-data exist only as they are perceived.
• Reports regarding sense-data are incorrigible.
• Sense-data are nothing other than how they appear – they have no hidden depths. • The sense-data I experience will vary according to the conditions in which I perceive an object.
• Sense-data, unlike physical objects, can have indeterminate process. • Sense-data and physical objects/distinguishing sense-data.
Illustrate examples are likely to differ depending on the points being made and can be drawn from various sources:
Illusions and delusions (e.g. bent sticks, mirage, hallucinations), perceptual relativity (the real shape of the coin, the real properties of the table), phenomenology (apparent and real speckled hens) or time-lag arguments (seeing the ‘sun’) that distinguish between the way the world appears and the way it is.
Consider the claim that the weaknesses of representative realism outweigh its strengths. (30 marks)
Knowledge and Understanding
Anticipate the following outline of representative realism:
There is a material reality independent of our perception of it – an external world – from which experience originates. But our perception of material objects is mediated via ‘ a veil of perception’. Our immediate awareness is of an ‘internal’ non-material something – ‘ideas’ or sense-data – that we take as representative of mind independent external reality. The claim that there is an external world is a hypothesis.
Interpretation, Analysis and Application
• Unlike common sense, representative realism can account for illusions/hallucinations by proposing we experience ideas/sense-data.