Physical Objects And Sense Data Essay

Good Essays
Continuing the Table Debate: Physical Objects and Sense Data
A highly debated subject among various philosophers is the existence of physical objects; if physical objects cause and resemble a person’s sense data and if objects exist outside of what is sensed. Descartes mentions a lack of trust in human senses, and does not believe that one can know what truly exists and what does not. Later on, Russell builds upon this idea, not necessarily doubting the existence of sense data, but doubting that anything can exist with absolute certainty. Hume goes further, saying that nothing exists outside of what illusion it creates in our mind. Exploring each of these philosophers arguments, I will state each of their positions and analyze the premises that they rely on. I will then give an alternative argument that builds on each of their ideas, proving that we cannot know that there are physical objects existing that cause and resemble our sense data, although most will agree that it is likely that there are. Notably, Descartes dedicates his first meditation to his views on what humans can doubt. This is where he addresses his position on the senses and the physical existence of objects. He begins this with the deception of illusion: senses can deceive. Sometimes what is seen is distorted from reality. He uses the example of a stick in water looking bent, even though it is not. Consequently, he concludes from this that it would be silly for him to assume that a table or chair that he
Get Access