Single Idea 16638

[catalogued under 12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / a. Sense-data theory]

Full Idea

Whatsoever accidents or qualities our senses make us think there be in the world, they are not there, but are seemings and apparitions only. The things that really are in the world without us are those motions by which these seemings are caused.

Gist of Idea

The qualities of the world are mere appearances; reality is the motions which cause them


Thomas Hobbes (The Elements of Law [1640], I.2.10), quoted by Robert Pasnau - Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 10.2

Book Reference

Pasnau,Robert: 'Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671' [OUP 2011], p.181

A Reaction

This seems to count as a sense-datum theory, rather than a representative theory of perception, since it makes no commitment to the qualities containing any accurate information at all. We just start from the qualities and try to work it out.