33 Pages

Has Ayer Vindicated the Sense-Datum Theory?

O LD friends are the best friends. They do not desert you when the chips are down. In his reply1 to J. L. Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia,2 A. J. Ayer has shown once again that he is one of the staunchest friends of the sense-datum theory of perception. His new paper is not, however, simply a defence of The Foundations of Empirical Knowledge,3 for nearly three decades have passed since it was first published, and Ayer has, understandably, had some second thoughts about the doctrine as set forth there. Yet he is still prepared to defend the theory itself with all his characteristic vigour.