O argumento da ilusão/alucinação e o disjuntivismo: Ayer versus Austin

Sképsis 12:85-106 (2015)
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The argument from illusion/hallucination have been proposed many times as supporting the strong conclusion that we are always perceiving directly sense-data. In Sense & Sensibilia, Austin argues that this argument is based on a “mass of seductive (mainly verbal) fallacies”. In this paper, I argue that Austin's argumentative moves to deconstruct the argument from illusion is better understood if they are seen as due to his implicit commitment to some disjunctivist conception of perception. His considerations should be taken as a depth discussion about how to conceive perception. If we conceive the perceptual capacity disjunctively, even the weaker conclusion that we sometimes perceive sense-data does not hold. In response to Austin, Ayer claimed that the strong conclusion of the argument from illusion could be sustained by the method of the possibility of error. I argue that this method alone does not sustain that conclusion and the controversy turns back to the conflict between different conceptions of perception. The argument from illusion is philosophically interesting by putting in evidence the problem of how the perceptual capacity should be articulated and conceived. Although matters of fact are relevant to this question, they alone do not decide it.

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Eros Carvalho
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul


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