Representative Realism

This is a brief summary for the topic of representative realism which is included in the unit 2 AS Philosophy exam for AQA. 

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  • Created on: 20-05-12 18:31
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Point Rejoinder Rejoinder
1. Our perceptions must be caused by a Locke also states that an external world must Creates a "veil of perception" and because we
physical world e.g. a blind man can't have an exist because we cant have sense data e.g. cant "get outside our skins" (perceive the
idea of red because you need the smell of ice cream without an object to cause external world directly) and peer beyond it
corresponding sense organ to have sense it. And our senses provide testimony to the meaning that we have no reason to suppose it
data. accuracy of perception because they all exists, this leads to solipsism because we
match up. can only be certain of own sense data
2. But unlike idealism, the existence of an Matter in the external world causing sense (Also ontologically, if sense data has no
external world provides the best explanation of data, doesn't seem to make sense as matter physical existence and is purely mental then
the continued existence of unperceived is physical but causes sense data which is where is it? And how does it relate to the
objects e.g. when I put an apple in a drawer non physical. Instead, God can explain physical realm.)
and find it there when I open the drawer. predictability and regularity (idealism).
3. Primary Secondary distinction seems But this distinction can be criticized because Although this is not overcome, it does seem
convincing as some qualities are measurable, primary qualities are not always constant e.g. that some qualities are inessential and these
constant and essential (primary). This fits with Berkeley's mite and elephant where the are secondary e.g. a `silent apple' and that
the scientific objective view of the world in quality of size varies from person to person some are constant (primary) e.g. Descartes'
chemistry and physics. "A view from and is subjective. And solidity can be broken wax candle which doesn't change in mass.
nowhere" (Nagel) down into waves of particles.
4. Explains instances of perceptual But if there is a gap between appearance and Pragmatically we can conclude that if they
variation/hallucination/illusion/time lag as reality then how can we know reality and know didn't correspond then we wouldn't survive so
these involve sense data and not the object that our representations match up to reality ­ the relationship between the two worlds must
itself e.g. illusion also only involves secondary that our secondary qualities correctly be sound. E.g. map
qualities. represent primary ones e.g. cinema

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Conclusion = RR overcomes the problems of direct realism but explaining why there is a gap between what we perceive and what exists. But it
does not become solipsistic as idealism is, in claiming that all that exists is our own sense data because for RR beyond this there is an external
world which causes the sense data allowing for subjectivity in perceptions.…read more


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