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Hume and Reid on the Perception of Hardness

Hume and Reid on the Perception of Hardness Hume Studies , pp. 27-48 Hume and Reid on the Perception of Hardness LORNE FALKENSTEIN Nicholas Wolterstorff has recently identified what he takes to be a "decisive" argument employed by Reid to refute "Humean phenomenalism."1 The argument turns on appeal to the specific case of our perception of hardness, which according to Wolterstorff could not possibly be accounted for by any theory that holds that all of our knowledge is based on introspective acquaintance with representative images, such as Humean impressions and ideas or twentieth-century sense data, which are supposed to instantiate the qualities of the objects of knowledge. What's fascinating about Reid's argument is that it provides us with a decisive argument of quite a different sort2 against phenomenalism: Lots of external objects are hard, perceptibly so; among their perceptible qualia are their hardnesses. But nowhere within the realm of sense data is there a hardness to be discoveredÂ--hence, none that resembles the hardness of my desk in being a hardness.3 Quite simply, the suggestion that we might come to know hardness by acquaintance with images that are themselves hard is one that Wolterstorff finds "preposterous" and "wacky."4 Neither the experience [that I have when I touch http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Hume and Reid on the Perception of Hardness

Hume Studies , Volume 28 (1) – Jan 26, 2002

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Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
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1947-9921
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Abstract

Hume Studies , pp. 27-48 Hume and Reid on the Perception of Hardness LORNE FALKENSTEIN Nicholas Wolterstorff has recently identified what he takes to be a "decisive" argument employed by Reid to refute "Humean phenomenalism."1 The argument turns on appeal to the specific case of our perception of hardness, which according to Wolterstorff could not possibly be accounted for by any theory that holds that all of our knowledge is based on introspective acquaintance with representative images, such as Humean impressions and ideas or twentieth-century sense data, which are supposed to instantiate the qualities of the objects of knowledge. What's fascinating about Reid's argument is that it provides us with a decisive argument of quite a different sort2 against phenomenalism: Lots of external objects are hard, perceptibly so; among their perceptible qualia are their hardnesses. But nowhere within the realm of sense data is there a hardness to be discoveredÂ--hence, none that resembles the hardness of my desk in being a hardness.3 Quite simply, the suggestion that we might come to know hardness by acquaintance with images that are themselves hard is one that Wolterstorff finds "preposterous" and "wacky."4 Neither the experience [that I have when I touch

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Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 2002

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