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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 11, 1985

Robert L. Greenwood
Pages 441-452

C.I. Lewis and the Issue of Phenomenalism

According to the received view, the philosophy of C.I. Lewis is a form of phenomenalism. The first part of this paper is an argument designed to show that Lewis does not support one of the necessary conditions for ontological phenomenalism; namely, the sense-datum theory. The second part is an argument designed to show that Lewis’ theory is incompatible with linguistic phenomenalism, a view according to which there is an equivalence of meaning between physical object statements and sense-data statements. The argument is not merely that terminating judgments are not sense-data statements, but that they cannot be equivalent to objective statements.