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Classical Phenomenalism

Classical Phenomenalism - Classical Phenomenalism Actual...

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Classical Phenomenalism: Actual Versus Hypothetical Experiences Can we, then, view physical objects as nothing over and above the actual sense experiences that people have, as nothing more than, say, certain patterns in the actual sense experiences of people? This view encounters the problem of the tree in the quad: What is one to say about the tree when nobody is present in the quad? If the tree is nothing over and above the actual sense experiences that people have, and which we would normally describe as sense experiences "of" the tree, then mustn't we conclude that the tree does not exist when there is no one looking at it? But physical objects are, by definition, things that can exist unperceived . If this is right, then we cannot identify physical objects with collections of actual sense experiences. But how, then, can physical objects be viewed as logical constructions out of sense experiences? The phenomenalist's answer is that, even when no one is in a quad, there is a difference between a quad that contains a tree and one that does not - and a difference, moreover, that can be explained in terms of sense experiences. For if a quad contains a tree, then, even if no one is observing the tree right now, it will be true that if someone were
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