Relationalism, Berkeley's Puzzle and Phenomenological Externalism
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Relationalism, also called ‘the Relational View’, is a theory of perceptual experience which sees at least a central core of such experience as consisting in a non-representational relation between subjects and features of their environment—a relation that is also seen as at least analogous to Russellian acquaintance. In addition to phenomenological support, relationalism is according to one of its major proponents John Campbell needed to solve what he calls ‘Berkeley’s puzzle’: how it can be that we can gain a conception of objects as mind-independent from sensory experience. I examine Campbell’s arguments for this claim and suggest they fail to convince insofar as it is unclear that experience is necessary to acquire a conception of mind-independent objects. I close by showing how phenomenological externalism can do justice to our conflicting intuitions regarding Berkeley’s puzzle.