7 Pages

Rejoinder to Professor Forguson

I will make a few brief comments on what appear to me to be the main points that Professor Forguson has raised.

1. Professor Forguson thinks that Austin was mainly concerned to show that ‘the plain man’s view’ did not give rise to any philosophical problems, or at any rate not to any problems that would call for the introduction of sense-data. If this was Austin’s intention, one might have expected him to say what these problems had been taken to be, and why he thought that they were not genuine. In fact, he does not attempt to do this, except indirectly by arguing that propositions about material things do not as such stand in need of justification. He proceeds rather as if he thought that he had only to discredit sense-datum theory for the problems which had called it forth to vanish with it. Since this conclusion would have been open to question even if Austin had succeeded in disposing of sense-datum theory, Professor Forguson is quite mistaken in saying that in order to rebut Austin’s arguments I should have to show that the introduction of sense-data was ‘inevitable’. It is enough if I have been able to show that it is legitimate.