The mechanism—the secret—of the given

Synthese 199 (3-4):10909-10928 (2021)
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There is, of course, The Given: what is given in experience. The ‘Myth Of The Given’ is just a wrong answer to the question ‘What is given?’ This paper offers a brief sketch of three possible right answers. It examines an early account by Charles Augustus Strong of why The Myth is a myth. It maintains that a natural and naturalistic version of empiricism is compatible with the fact that the Myth is a myth. It gives proper place to enactivist considerations. It is ) broadly in line with the Sellarsian view as refined by John McDowell. It meets an important constraint: acknowledging the reality of something that seems at first to lend support to The Myth—i.e. the fact that we can engage in ‘non-inferential self-attribution of … sensations’ —without in any way succumbing to the Myth.

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Galen Strawson
University of Texas at Austin


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