Defending Common Sense - The Richmond Philosophy Pages

Defending Common
Direct Realism
The trouble with sense-data
Key feature of Representative Realism and anti-realist
theories. But…
The object/appearance argument is mistaken.
2-D mental objects cannot resemble 3-D objects. Only
another three-dimensional sphere can resemble a sphere.
Sense-data can just represent – but how to make sense of
this? For X to represent Y there needs to be a
representation scheme. With sense-data we can’t know the
representation scheme as we can’t compare reality to the
Scepticism - I am trapped behind a ‘veil of perception’.
Problems for anti-realism?
Where are they? They are mental entities.
Mind is the brain - But you will not find any
coloured two-dimensional objects in my brain.
If the mind is something distinct from the brain –
a non-physical thing – then you do not have this
The Speckled Hen and the problem of
indeterminate sense-data.
Saving directness…
The plausibility of direct realism can be supported
by the way it deals with the criticisms it faces.
In particular the problem of how error,
misperception and illusion can occur.
It is part of a common-sense realism to allow
that there can be variation in the way things
But, The appeal to common-sense may just
appear to beg the question.
Perceptual states are belief states
or a mixture of belief states and sensations.
The problem of misperception or hallucination
becomes a species of the problem of false beliefs.
This is a general problem in epistemology,
so the direct realist need not
feel any particular embarrassment when
confronted by the problem of misperception.
On the realist account there is a difference
between the experience of a person having a
veridical perceptual experience and one who is
having a non-veridical experience purportedly of
the same object.
The nature of my true belief that there is a tree
before me depends on it being about that tree.
The about-ness of the belief is tied essentially to
the thing in the world.
Even if the veridical and non-veridical
perceptual beliefs feel the same, there is
no ‘separable’ purely internal element
which the true belief shares with the false
They are different and so the problem of
hallucination need not arise.
Analogy – what internal features does
the Mona Lisa share with a good fake?