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Refuting Objections To Direct Realism Essay

1305 words - 6 pages

Refuting Objections to Direct Realism

Realism is the form of perception in which it is believed that there is an external world outside of our own minds. It is the belief that regardless of what we may belief is true of false, the external world is independent of these beliefs. There are two forms of realism which are direct and indirect. In this essay I will argue that direct realism is a more plausible theory of perception than indirect realism by refuting the main arguments against direct realism. I will begin by briefly describing direct and indirect realism and follow with countering two of the main arguments indirect realists use against direct realists.
Direct Realism vs. Indirect Realism
Direct Realism is the belief that perception is an immediate and direct understanding of objects that are existent in the external world, independent of the mind. The objects in this external world have qualities such as shape, size, texture, colour taste and smell which exist and continue to obtain their properties regardless of whether they are being perceived or not. Direct realists hold that through our senses we have the ability to obtain knowledge about the object itself and what is being perceived is the exact object that exists in this external, mind-independent world. Indirect realist do not believe in the direct perception of objects in the external, mind-independent world, but rather in the indirect perception through, what is called, sense-data. Sense-data is the supposed mind-dependent objects through which we are able to perceive the external world. When perceiving an object, indirect realists claim that what we see is not the object itself but a representation of the object and this representation that is seen in our minds is sense-data.

Partial Character of Perception Argument

One of the main arguments against direct realism is the partial character of perception argument. The argument is as follows;
P1: Direct realists claim that we directly and immediately perceive material objects.
P2: But in order to perceive a material object, all parts must be observed at once.
P3: It is not possible to perceive all of an object at once, only a section of its exterior surface.
C: We do not directly perceive material objects and therefore direct realism is false.
The issue with this argument lies within the second premise which claims that in order to perceive an object, all parts must be observed at once. This claim is invalid as perceiving an object does not require all parts to be observed as once just as reading a book does not require all pages to be read at once or visiting friends does not require all friends to be visited at once. In the direct perception of an object we do not see the whole object, however only a section. It is correct that we may not recognise or identify the object we are perceiving, however it is not true that in doing this we are not in fact directly perceiving the section of the object exposed for...

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