you should by now begin to see, the direct or naïve realist
has great difficulty in differentiating between true and false perceptions.
This is because the only appeal that such a view can make is to
perception itself. As we saw in the above situation, perception
alone could not help us: the kettle was there, and now it's gone.
there is another version of realism that deserves some exploration.
This is called Representative or Indirect Realism. This view argues
that we experience reality indirectly by perceptions that represent
the real world. So, if we see a brown table, what we are actually
seeing is not the table itself but a representation of it. In this
way, differences of perception which occur due to changes in light
conditions, position of viewer, etc., can be easily explained: it
is not the object which is changing, only the perception of it.
naïve or direct realism is a two part theory (perceiver and
perceiver), representative realism has three parts: the perceiver,
the perception of the object and the object itself.
this situation: A man is standing on the corner of a busy road and
witnesses two cars collide. Neither driver is hurt, but both step
out of their cars to inspect the damage. Driver A is a young mother
with a young child in the back of the car; driver B is a business
executive in a hurry; the witness is an old man wearing glasses.
As the two drivers argue about whose fault it was, the man approaches
them and offers to confirm what he saw happening. What do each of
them see? Whose is the correct view?
of Representative Realism
you can see, it is difficult to clearly define what a real or objective
experience might consist of because every description is also another
viewpoint. This is the same with anything, from physical objects
to ideas. The problem then seems to be that if we can only ever
experience perceptions of objects (what Locke would called secondary
qualities), who is to say that they actually exist?
this is an extreme point of view, there have been philosophers -
such as Berkeley - who have used this argument to point out the
problems with the representative theory.
are next going to look at how these criticisms gave birth to something