Philosophy- Knowledge of the External World

Naive realism, representative realism, idealism

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Naive realism

What does it look like?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it fall, does it make a noise?
A naive realist would say YES. 

  • Also known as common-sense realism;
  • We perceive the world directly;
  • There are two components: the object and the perceiver;
  • The world is as it appears to be;
  • Objects have the property they appear to have;
  • The world exists independantly of our minds;
  • The world causes us to experience it

All objects are composed of matter; they occupy space, and have properties such as size, shape, texture, smell, taste and colour. There properties are percieved directly.

Objects continue to percieve the laws of physics and retain their properties whether or not they are being observed.

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Naive realism

What's wrong with it?

Vulgarity - It has been criticised for being non-philosophical. David Hume, in particular, has described the theory as vulgar, and claims it is easily refutable.

Perspective- The way the world is and the way it appears can be different: Like railway lines looking closer together in the distance or houses looking tiny.
Response- It is OK for things to look different from how they really are because we can understand the context and differentiate based on past experiences. 

Circularity - A naive realist's reasoning for how the world is the way that it appears to be is that it appears to be that way.

     The world appears to be this way
                (                                                         )                
     The world is the way it appears to be 

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Naive realism

What's wrong with it? Pt 2


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