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act-object theory

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


T heory of knowledge An analysis of sensation introduced by Moore and Russell in their sense-data theory, which suggests that sensation consists of sense-data (objects) and the act of sensing. Sense-data are entities that are distinct from the act of seeing. A sensation is a genuine relation between a subject and a really existent object. Objects exist independently of acts. Moore uses this distinction in criticizing Berkeley 's idealist thesis that esse est percipi by saying that it fails to distinguish between the object sense-datum and the act of consciousness that is directed upon it. “Yellow” is an object of experience, and the sensation of “yellow” is a feeling or experience. Russell claims that perceiving and other cognitive processes are acts of attention, directed at some object. But under the influence of adverbial analysis, Russell later abandons this act-object analysis. For Broad , sensa-data cannot exist independent of the act of sensing, and he call them “sensa.” “The sensum theory … holds that this [sensation] is a complex, and that within it there can be distinguished two factors: X itself, which is the sensum and is an object, and a subjective factor, which is called the ‘act of sensing’.” Broad, Scientific Thought ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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