Knowledge of the external world

  • Created by: RupertV1
  • Created on: 30-04-14 11:20
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  • Knowledge of the External world
    • Representative Realism
      • Key claim: There is an external world independent of the mind
        • We perceive it indirectly via mental representations of it (sense data)
      • Arguments for: Illusions, variability of perception and hallucinations
      • Argument from Physics: Material objects appear solid but contain more space than matter
        • Distance between subatomic particles is a matchbox to the ceiling of the Royal Albert hall
      • Solipsism: We do not know what causes our sense data, so we don't know their is an external world at all
        • Descartes evil demon
      • Against: the veil of perception- we can't remove the veil and step outside to see what the external world is really like (if there is one)
      • Against: Where is the sense data located? it seems to be outside the mind, but since they are ideas that would make sense data misleading
      • Reply: The best working hypothesis is that there is an external world
    • Idealism
      • Key claim: There is NO external world, just minds and ideas
      • The PHYSICAL world does exists, but it is made of the ideas we perceive (sense data)
      • For: Variability of perception
      • For: The argument that we can not even conceive of matter, as Ideas cannot come from experience
        • Perception is direct, so no scepticism
      • Against: physical object cease to exist when you are no longer perceiving them- doesn't make sense
        • Because they are sense data
        • Reply: God perceives everything continuously
      • Idealism relies on God to work
        • ad hoc: no independent justification for God
      • Solipsism: Objects are made of ideas which are sense data, ideas and sense data are private. Meaning that we must all experience the word differently
    • Direct Realism
      • External world exists independently of the mind
      • For: It's simple- only involves two types of entity- our minds and material objects
        • Occam's razor- Simplest answer is the right answer
      • The theory is supported by our common-sense understanding of perception
      • Argument: Illusions- appearance can be different from reality, our minds can be tricked
        • Stick bending in water- looks like it is bent but it isn't
      • Against: Variability of perception- appearance can be different from reality
        • Different people see things from a different lighting/angle- perception varies
      • Against: Hallucinations- Appearance can be different for reality
        • Macbeths Dagger
        • Untitled
        • Argument against Hallucinations- Hallucinations must be distinguishable from reality because we otherwise we wouldn't have a concept of hallucinations
      • For DR: Appearances need not be in the mind but can be apart of the world
        • Church disguised as a barn, doesn't involve seeing sense data
          • we perceive relational properties of material objects directly


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