Since Galileo, and continuing through Descartes and Locke, is the assertion that sense qualities only exist in the mind or the soul of perceivers and are not really out in the world. Berkeley also accepts mind dependence and therefore draws the conclusion that since all we know about the world are sense qualities then the whole world must be mind dependent.


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Sensations are subjective experiences that arise from the stimulation of sensory receptors in our body. While they are triggered by external stimuli, the way we perceive and interpret them is largely dependent on our minds.

For example, consider the sensation of pain. The experience of pain is not just a result of nerve impulses from the site of injury, but also involves our cognitive and emotional responses to it. Our previous experiences, beliefs, and expectations about pain can greatly influence how we perceive and react to it.

Similarly, other sensory experiences such as taste, touch, sight, and sound are also influenced by our mental processes. For instance, our taste preferences are shaped by our cultural background, social conditioning, and individual differences in sensory sensitivity. Our perception of color is affected by the context in which we view it and by our individual differences in color vision. And our hearing is influenced by our attention, motivation, and emotional state.

Therefore, it can be said that sensations are partially mind-dependent. While they are rooted in the physical world, our subjective experience of them is shaped by our mental processes.


To some extent, yes, sensations are mind dependent- but not to the extent that the entire world is mind-dependent. For example, we know that some people are colour-blind, tone-deaf and so on, so there are variations in perception. However, there seems to be a broad correspondence between the way different people perceive the world. If a hundred people were to regard, touch, hear and smell an elephant, they would all experience something you would consider to be elephantish.


there is no strong argument for believing in this mind dependence. Galileo needed to only say that the color of a falling object is irrelevant to its place in physics, not that it has no color. In distinguishing between primary and secondary qualities Locke needed to only say that certain spatial configurations and movements of matter had the power to create sensations but not that the sensations have to exist "in us".

If certain configuations of matter cause certain sensations then objects are really colored as naive common sense realists claim. However, the view is also compatible with indirect realism for the brain is continuous with the matter of the world and so as the world may be colored so may be a visual field within the brain. Then sense qualities are created through psycho-physical laws that existed before the evolution of brains and those laws biological evolution did not invent but employed.

I speculate as to what these psychophysical laws may look like by ignoring (for now) the seperate problem of subjective awareness and considering qualities as purely physical. see https://philpapers.org/rec/SLESTU


What do you mean by sensations?

There are no bodily sensations without living bodies, no sensations of seeing without eyes and consciousness, no sense of touch without incarnation. But colours may be mind independent, "sensuous" properties that bring about the experience of the sensations of colour in experience.

So "sense data" may be not mind independent (though that's the more popular view)

the immediate objects of the acts of sensory awareness... I am immediately aware of its color and shape; in hearing a bell, I am immediately aware of a certain volume, pitch and timbre (or tonal quality) which lead me to believe that I am hearing a bell. Other such sensible qualities include tastes, odors and tangible qualities.


So you have the physical constituents that makes an apple (presumably "atoms"), the apple, the apple's taste, what it is like to taste the apple, and the experience of tasting the apple. These are increasingly likely to be mind dependent (there's no space to argue for the reality of any).

To think of the difference between them: zombies "see" objects (or they wouldn't be able to navigate the world) via light (electromagnetic radiation), but not sense data, because they lack knowledge of qualia and experience.

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    The so called mind independent sense data theory employed by some consciousness-flow like phenomenology theories has been largely abandoned by philosophers, since otherwise there could very well likely be private languages, perhaps infinitely many, which contradicts the famous private language argument saying any private language is impossible... Sep 24 at 6:07
  • @DoubleKnot yeah i don't know of the arguments. just trying to explain how to best think about "sense data" rather than answer the question exactly
    – user67675
    Sep 24 at 6:54

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