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A.J. Ayer and other logical positivists have contended that the problem of perception is a central issue in modern epistemology and metaphysics. Ayer himself argued from a position of phenomenalism to what he termed “sophisticated realism.” Ayer represented more or less the end of the “psychologistic” approach to perception, even with later defenses of realism, and P.F. Strawson gives a biting critique of Ayer in his article “Perception and Its Objects.” Likewise, Alva Noe has argued for what he terms an “enactive approach” to perception, outlined in his Action in Perception. In this paper, I will compare the criticisms of both, in regard to the empiricist and psychologistic approach, as well as arguing that Strawson’s view of theory-laden approaches and common sense realism are also crucial for Noe’s thesis.
In order to understand Strawson’s criticisms of Ayer, it…
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