The Logic of Acceptance

  • R. J. Nelson
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 155)


According to the naturalist philosophy I pursue, perception is a relation between objects and a perceiving organism. This relation falls within the domain of ordinary science; and epistemology, having no prior claim on the subject, occupies no especially privileged vantage-point. I reject the old empiricist view that one can not use ordinary observation and theorizing in order to understand perception and that correct philosophy demands a grounding in pre-scientific principle.1 For anyone bred into the tradition of the ‘problem of empiricism’ — how do you get from phenomenal objects to the real thing? — this view may be hard to take, and my use of ‘perception’ misleading; but then the tradition has no comer on the commodity. We do not have to burden ourselves with a model in which “there is immured in a windowless cell a prisoner, who has lived in solitary confinement since birth. All that comes to him from the outside world is flickers of light thrown upon his cell walls and tappings heard through the stones; yet from these observed flashes and tappings he becomes, or seems to become, appraised of unobserved football matches, flower gardens and eclipses of the sun” (Ryle, 1949, p. 223). Instead, using the objective approach, I will try to show how some of the puzzles, such as the separation of private subject and outer thing that give rise to the problem of empiricism, originate.


Turing Machine Stimulus Pattern Perceptual State Perceptual Object Family Resemblance 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Truman P. Handy Professor of PhilosophyCase Western Reserve UniversityUSA

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