Direct realism

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  • Created on: 24-02-16 20:25

Direct realism

Direct realism says that we perceive physical objects independently of our minds. It describes our understanding of the world as being unmediated by sense data, and says that the physical objects we perceive continue to exist when we're not perceiving them. It outlines how we perceive mind-independent physical objects and their properties.

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Russel's argument from perceptual variation

1.       There are variations in perception
2.       Our perception varies without corresponding changes in the object we perceive
3.       Therefore, the properties that physical objects have and the properties they appear to have are not identical
4.       Therefore, what we are immediately aware of in perception is not exactly the same as what exists independently of our minds.
5.       Therefore, we do not perceive physical objects directly.

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Argument from illusion

1.            We perceive something having some property F
2.       When we perceive something having some property F then there is something that has this property
3.       In an illusion, the physical object does not have the property F
4.       Therefore, property F is something mental, a sense datum
5.       Therefore, in illusions, we see sense data, not physical objects immediately
6.       Illusions can be subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perception
7.       Therefore, we see sense data in both illusions and veridical perception
8.       Therefore, in all cases we see sense data, not physical objects, immediately

9.       Therefore, direct realism is false

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Argument from illusion

1.            We perceive something having some property F
2.       When we perceive something having some property F then there is something that has this property
3.       In an illusion, the physical object does not have the property F
4.       Therefore, property F is something mental, a sense datum
5.       Therefore, in illusions, we see sense data, not physical objects immediately
6.       Illusions can be subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perception
7.       Therefore, we see sense data in both illusions and veridical perception
8.       Therefore, in all cases we see sense data, not physical objects, immediately

9.       Therefore, direct realism is false

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The argument from hallucination

1.       In a hallucination, we perceive something having some property F
2.       When we perceive something having some property F, then there is something that has this property
3.       We don’t perceive the physical object at all
4.       Therefore, what we perceive must be something mental, a sense-datum
5.       Hallucinations can be experiences which are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perceptions
6.       Therefore, we see sense data in both hallucinations and veridical perception
7.       Therefore, in all cases, we see sense data immediately

8.       Therefore, direct realism is false

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The time lag argument

Direct realism highlights how we perceive the world as it is. In the lightning and thunder example, the theory would explain that we see the lightning before hearing the thunder because the two events occur separately (the lightning happens and then the thunder). However, we know that the two happen at the same time, leading us to conclude that direct realism is false.

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