• Srap Tasmaner
    3.3k


    Thank goodness! (I was genuinely puzzled by the ever so slightly hostile tone of your response. I like science!)

    Insofar as I was indeed quibbling with the science, it was with the concept of representation, which, as I understand it, is still a bit of a thorny issue in cognitive science circles. I think it mostly no longer means what, say, Locke might have meant when he used the word, but the specifically philosophical tradition of indirect realism probably owes much more to the early moderns than it does to contemporary brain science, and that presents some particular challenges when talking about brain science, challenges I'm certainly not up to.
  • NOS4A2
    5.2k


    Yes, we need to observe the stone, otherwise we have no data to work with. When we investigate in close detail what this stone is made of, we discover it is made of colourless, odourless, insubstantial particles. So the stone is made of stuff that lacks the qualities we attribute to them in ordinary life.

    So close investigation reveals the stone to be a projection, yet without this projection, we wouldn't be able to get to the stuff that makes up the stone.

    Hence the paradox. As I understand it

    I think that’s what Russell was getting at. But is it true? I don’t know if naive realism leads automatically to physics or some form of atomism. I would also say the stone does not lack the qualities we attribute to them in orderly life. So the paradox exists more in physics or atomism than naive realism.
  • Manuel
    1.9k


    It's a good question and again, I think that part of it has to do with what naïve realism imples for you. If it implies that stones and rivers would be as they are exactly as they appear, absent people, then I think naïve realism is problematic.

    I wouldn't say a stone itself has colour absent or, or texture. For that to happen there needs to be a creature who appreciates or distinguished these things.

    On the other hand, you make a good point. I think we switch from realism to something else once we enter physics, that is, we use mathematics to discover what physics is doing and mathematics seems to be of a different nature than perception.

    But do we have good reasons to believe that the stuff mathematics is describing is accurate or true? I think that we do, given its results.
  • frank
    9.2k
    Thank goodness! (I was genuinely puzzled by the ever so slightly hostile tone of your response. I like science!)Srap Tasmaner

    :nerd: I trying out being all: you gotta bow down to the God of Science you heathen!



    The best theories around now really do amount to indirect realism. It's obviously assumed that the brain is coming up with something trustworthy enough, but once one part of the representation is declared wrong, the whole thing is now in question (for lack of any vantage point for verifying what's right and what isn't).
  • unenlightened
    6.1k
    Naive realism simply isnt backed up by recent research in perceptual psychology or the more sophisticated thinking in A.I.
    — Joshs

    That may appear to be the case, but appearances in this if not in every case are deceptive. :death:
    unenlightened

    Then sketch out how it is appearances that deceive us.baker

    Naive realism simply isnt backed up by recent research in perceptual psychology or the more sophisticated thinking in A.I.
  • RussellA
    232
    "Naive realism" (a/k/a direct realism) is the view that those things we deal with every day, indeed every instant, taken for granted by all but philosophers and their students (so it may seem), are perceived by us immediately or directly.Ciceronianus

    Consider our perception of the colour red. The cause of our perception is not the colour red but a wavelength of 700nm. As it is commonly agreed that that humans when observing a wavelength of 700nm consistently perceive the colour red, it is therefore not unreasonable to say that our perception of the world is valid and presents no concern. However, it does not necessarily follow from this that what we perceive, the colour red, is being caused by the colour red. In fact, it is being caused by a wavelength of 700nm.

    This question refers back to the debate about Kant's thing-in-itself. In the dual object view, the thing-in-itself is an entity distinct from the phenomena to which it gives rise. In the dual aspect view, the thing-in-itself and the thing-as-it-appears are two "sides" of the same thing. As the perception of the colour red is a distinct entity from what caused the perception, a wavelength of 700nm, it seems reasonable to say that the dual object view is the more reasonable.

    Science shows us that our perception of red has been caused by a wavelength of 700nm, so it is science that has "inserted" something between our perception and the external world, a science with its roots in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3000 to 1200 BCE.

    One could conclude that, taking this example of our perception of the colour red, Direct Realism does not explain how we perceive the world.

    However, the fact that Direct Realism is not the explanation does not mean that our senses don't function quite well, it does not mean that we are detached from the world and it does not mean that our interaction with the world is not immediate.

    As regards the "veracity of our senses", our senses accurately translate a wavelength of 700nm into a perception of the colour red, and as regards "perceived by us .......directly", there is a direct correspondence between our perception of the colour red and the wavelength of 700nm.

    IE, Direct Realism would mean that our perception of the colour red has been caused by a colour red, but science has shown us that this is not the case. A better term would be Indirect Realism, allowing for the fact that our perception of the colour red has been caused by the wavelength of 700nm.
  • magritte
    331
    "Naive realism" (a/k/a direct realism)Ciceronianus

    I suggest that in spite of the a/k/a the two terms are not equivalent. Naive refers to what we see and experience without any philosophy at all. Direct realism is a specific philosophical technical term for formal philosophy that asserts the reality of what we see and experience among other things that are less naively obvious. The formal version is broader, as it also claims existence for things that are neither seen nor experienced, like numbers for instance.
  • magritte
    331
    But then we know objects themselves don't have colours nor sounds, etc.Manuel

    Why would we as philosophers care what some scientists think?
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    As it is commonly agreed that that humans when observing a wavelength of 700nm consistently perceive the colour red, it is therefore not unreasonable to say that our perception of the world is valid and presents no concern. However, it does not necessarily follow from this that what we perceive, the colour red, is being caused by the colour red. In fact, it is being caused by a wavelength of 700nm.RussellA

    It isn't caused by a wavelength. It isn't caused by the color red, either. It's the entirely natural result of our interaction with another object in the world. I don't think it's appropriate to speak of a "cause" for our seeing the color red, unless we wish to be hyper-technical for a reason. It's what takes place in certain circumstances. If it's appropriate to speak of "cause" the cause isn't the wavelength. The cause isn't in other words "out there" or in the "external world." It's the interaction.

    Science shows us that our perception of red has been caused by a wavelength of 700nm, so it is science that has "inserted" something between our perception and the external world, a science with its roots in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia around 3000 to 1200 BCE.RussellA

    I'd say we're responsible for the insertion (for science as well, in fact). If we're part of the same world, there is no insertion of anything. There's nothing (no thing) between us and the rest of the world that is the "red" of which we speak. This purported "thing" is something we dreamt up, I think.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    Yet already popular phrases like "People see what they want to see" suggest there is a folk understanding that perception isn't the passive, reactive process we generally believe it to be.baker

    Rather, the salient point is that perception is an active, deliberate process.baker

    I agree.

    Yet already popular phrases like "People see what they want to see" suggest there is a folk understanding that perception isn't the passive, reactive process we generally believe it to be.baker

    I don't think it's passive. There are circumstances when "people see what they want to see" and those circumstances, as I understand them, may involve an interpretation. But there's no reason to infer from that fact that we always interpret in our interactions with the rest of the world, if what is meant by that is that we can never make a reasonable, or the same, judgment regarding out interactions with the rest of the world.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    His complete epistemic self-confidence is that reason.
    Once you see yourself as the arbiter of the truth about other entities, what's there to stop you, except perhaps a little common decency?
    baker

    The understanding that what's involved in making judgments regarding the existence and nature of a chair differs from what's involved in making moral judgments? Do you really think there are people who don't have that understanding, and that people who believe they see a chair necessarily can't recognize the difference involved? I'm quite certain I'm sitting on a chair this moment, but I'm also quite certain there's a difference between making that judgement a making a moral judgment.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    Cartesian systematic doubt (Deus deceptor) & Harman's brain in a vat skeptical scenario (Evil genius) come to mind and given these rather disconcerting possibilities can't be ruled out with certainty, realism needs to be adjusted accordingly and what we leave behind is naïve realism and what get are fancier versions of realism.TheMadFool

    These "possibilities" are of no concern, to me. I'm with Peirce when it comes to the employment of faux doubt. I think we should have a reason to doubt before we doubt. But what is it you demand before possibilities are "ruled out with certainty"? Can anything be "ruled out with certainty"? If not, why impose such a standard when making judgments, decisions? We live in a world of probabilities. What the best evidence shows to be the case is acceptable to me. That means that new evidence may be discovered, of course, but for me that's not a disconcerting thing.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    I think we should have a reason to doubt before we doubt.Ciceronianus

    These "possibilities" are of no concern, to me.Ciceronianus

    :chin:
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    We live in a world of probabilities.Ciceronianus

    The statement "the probability of rain is 95%" is either 100% true or 100%false i.e. even if rain is only probable, the forecast itself is certain.

    There's a similar issue with multivalent/fuzzy logic. If I say "the apple is 70% red", the redness maybe 70% but the proposition itself is stated as 100% true. There seems to be no escape from binary (true/false) logic.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    faux doubt.
    — Ciceronianus

    What's that?
    TheMadFool

    It's what Peirce refers to in Some Consequences of Four Incapacities:

    1. We cannot begin with complete doubt. We must begin with all the prejudices which we actually have when we enter upon the study of philosophy. These prejudices are not to be dispelled by a maxim, for they are things which it does not occur to us can be questioned. Hence this initial skepticism will be a mere self-deception, and not real doubt; and no one who follows the Cartesian method will ever be satisfied until he has formally recovered all those beliefs which in form he has given up. It is, therefore, as useless a preliminary as going to the North Pole would be in order to get to Constantinople by coming down regularly upon a meridian. A person may, it is true, in the course of his studies, find reason to doubt what he began by believing; but in that case he doubts because he has a positive reason for it, and not on account of the Cartesian maxim. Let us not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not doubt in our hearts.

    2. The same formalism appears in the Cartesian criterion, which amounts to this: "Whatever I am clearly convinced of, is true." If I were really convinced, I should have done with reasoning and should require no test of certainty. But thus to make single individuals absolute judges of truth is most pernicious. The result is that metaphysicians will all agree that metaphysics has reached a pitch of certainty far beyond that of the physical sciences; -- only they can agree upon nothing else. In sciences in which men come to agreement, when a theory has been broached it is considered to be on probation until this agreement is reached. After it is reached, the question of certainty becomes an idle one, because there is no one left who doubts it. We individually cannot reasonably hope to attain the ultimate philosophy which we pursue; we can only seek it, therefore, for the community of philosophers. Hence, if disciplined and candid minds carefully examine a theory and refuse to accept it, this ought to create doubts in the mind of the author of the theory himself.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    The statement "the probability of rain is 95%" is either 100% true or 100%false i.e. even if rain is only probable, the forecast itself is certain.TheMadFool

    And yet it remains the case that the rain is probable, not certain.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    :up: Thanks for posting C. S. Peirce's thoughts on doubt. It was an eye-opener for me.

    That said, what I gleaned from Peirce is that he's not saying we should stop doubting for the reason skepticism is nonsensical but because he believes there's value in certainty in that it enriches our lives. I prefer pepsi to water but not because I hate water; it's just that pepsi is more interesting to my taste buds.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    That said, what I gleaned from Peirce is that he's not saying we should stop doubting for the reason skepticism is nonsensical but because he believes there's value in certainty in that it enriches our lives. I prefer pepsi to water but not because I hate water; it's just that pepsi is more interesting to my taste buds.TheMadFool

    What I think he's saying (and I don't pretend to be the last word on this), what I think he's criticizing, is similar in some sense to what Dewey would call the Philosophical Fallacy. That's the tendency to ignore the significance of context, which Dewey felt was prevalent in philosophy, and coming to conclusions in abstract. We can't just pretend to doubt everything and then apply as a maxim what we come up with in purporting to doubt what we clearly don't doubt. Dewey used to say we never really think until we encounter a problem. There's no problem until we have a real problem to solve or situation to resolve.

    Although I suspect a Pragmatist--at least a classical Pragmatist--wouldn't speak of certainty, the value of the results of intelligent inquiry, the results of testing in practice and consideration of the results, the forming of a consensus based on the resulting evidence, would be of great, maybe the greatest, value.
  • TheMadFool
    13.7k
    What I think he's saying (and I don't pretend to be the last word on this), what I think he's criticizing, is similar in some sense to what Dewey would call the Philosophical Fallacy. That's the tendency to ignore the significance of context, which Dewey felt was prevalent in philosophy, and coming to conclusions in abstract. We can't just pretend to doubt everything and then apply as a maxim what we come up with in purporting to doubt what we clearly don't doubt. Dewey used to say we never really think until we encounter a problem. There's no problem until we have a real problem to solve or situation to resolve.Ciceronianus

    I concur with Dewey. I'm only guessing but many questions philosophy begins with have practical significance - there's a problem and we're looking for a solution (off the top of my head, morality) - but oftentimes many levels of abstractions are executed that even if a solution is found, it doesn't work in the real world.

    Although I suspect a Pragmatist--at least a classical Pragmatist--wouldn't speak of certainty, the value of the results of intelligent inquiry, the results of testing in practice and consideration of the results, the forming of a consensus based on the resulting evidence, would be of great, maybe the greatest, value.Ciceronianus

    Yes, why look for the perfect in an imperfect world. That would be silly, not to mention dangerous.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    All living things incapable of immediate experience of the universe, yet living in it. It's a remarkable belief indeed, one that is premised on a belief that we can't "really" know anything. We somehow stumble through our lives ignorant of the inaccessible real, it seems.Ciceronianus

    Only if you define knowing what a thing is as that which you can successfully interact with do you avoid the problem that bees perceive objects differently from humans, and perhaps treat and react to them quite differently than humans, do you avoid the problem that they know the objects differently.

    It's undisputed that bees perceive flowers differently than humans, and it's undisputed that both are fully able to navigate flowers successfully. That a flower is X to a bee but Y to a person begs the question of what is a flower. Is it X or Y? Is it whatever I believe it to be so long as it facilitates my survival?
  • RussellA
    232
    I'd say we're responsible for the insertion (for science as well, in fact). If we're part of the same world, there is no insertion of anything. There's nothing (no thing) between us and the rest of the world that is the "red" of which we speak. This purported "thing" is something we dreamt up, I think.Ciceronianus

    A letter box emits a wavelength of 700nm. When looking at the letter box we perceive the colour red.

    Direct Realism claims that when we do perceive something, the immediate and direct object of perception is the external world, not the mind.

    I cannot understand how the immediate and direct object of perception (the colour red) is the external world (the wavelength of 700nm).

    How does the Direct Realist justify that the colour red exists independently of any observer in the wavelength of 700nm ?
  • Cuthbert
    397
    I think naive realism can cope with only certain changes in air pressure being perceived by us as trees falling. As I understand it, naive realism is this:

    If I see a chair, then it is possible that there is a chair and that the presence of a chair is the main cause of my seeing a chair.

    This is quite consistent with my sometimes hallucinating chairs and also with some chairs emanating wavelengths of light that I cannot perceive or causing changes in air pressure that are beyond my perception. Another couple of straw naive realisms to mention. Naive realism is not this:

    If I see a chair, then there's a chair.

    That is more properly termed 'psychotic realism', i.e. I cannot even in theory distinguish hallucination or delusion from reality.

    Naive realism is not this:

    If I see a chair, then there's a chair and if I see injustice then there's injustice.

    That is a theory mentioned above and it combines psychotic realism with moral realism. It's probably the scariest straw realism you could get.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    What I think he's saying (and I don't pretend to be the last word on this), what I think he's criticizing, is similar in some sense to what Dewey would call the Philosophical Fallacy. That's the tendency to ignore the significance of context, which Dewey felt was prevalent in philosophy, and coming to conclusions in abstract.Ciceronianus
    :100:


    If mind itself is nonmind-dependent (i.e. not ideal, more-than-just-ideal), then neither mind nor nonmind are mind-dependent (i.e. both facts are external-to-mind); therefore, nonmind is mind-invariant and not "mind-independent" (or ontologically separate from mind) insofar as mind is an aspect, or phase-state, of nonmind (i.e. more-than-ideality aka "reality" ~Spinoza, Anselm). — 180 Proof's Prolegomena for the Fourfold Root of Insufficient Reason
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    I cannot understand how the immediate and direct object of perception (the colour red) is the external world (the wavelength of 700nm).

    How does the Direct Realist justify that the colour red exists independently of any observer in the wavelength of 700nm ?
    RussellA

    For me, there's no "external world." There's a world of which we're a part. There isn't one world for us and another world for everything else. We see red because we're a particular kind of living organism existing in the world which, when interacting with certain other constituents of the world, see them as having what we call a "red color." That takes place in one and the same world. It's a function of what the world is and what it encompasses.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    It's undisputed that bees perceive flowers differently than humans, and it's undisputed that both are fully able to navigate flowers successfully. That a flower is X to a bee but Y to a person begs the question of what is a flower. Is it X or Y? Is it whatever I believe it to be so long as it facilitates my survival?Hanover

    I think the person and the bee are interacting with the same thing (the flower). However, one is a person, and the other is a bee. It's unsurprising that our interaction with a flower (which results when we see it, smell it, grow it, etc.) differs from that of a bee and a flower. The difference is the result of the fact we're entirely different creatures, but living in the same world.
  • Ciceronianus
    2k
    Naive realism is not this:

    If I see a chair, then there's a chair and if I see injustice then there's injustice.
    Cuthbert

    I agree.
  • Hanover
    7.2k
    It's unsurprising that our interaction with a flower (which results when we see it, smell it, grow it, etc.) differs from that of a bee and a flower. The difference is the result of the fact we're entirely different creatures, but living in the same world.Ciceronianus

    What do you mean by "the same world"? This implies the flower is the same to me and the bee, but you've said otherwise. The question then is to describe those features of the flower that are the same regardless of the perceiver.
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