• frank
    14.6k
    Indirect realism is probably the most prevalent ontological view in the world today. It goes a little like this:

    maxresdefault.jpg

    The question is: does indirect realism undermine itself? If you note in the image above, the indirect scenario has a guy seeing a faulty representation of the object. If this is his only access to the world, can he be an indirect realist without contradiction? In other words, if his view of the world is faulty (or at least possibly unreliable), why should he believe the impressions that led him to consider indirectness in the first place?
  • Mww
    4.6k


    Why does the indirect guy have that cloudy thing in front of his face?
  • frank
    14.6k
    Why does the indirect guy have that cloudy thing in front of his face?Mww

    That's the representation cloud isn't it? Wait. Do we need a different picture?
  • Mww
    4.6k
    Do we need a different picture?frank

    Yes. Otherwise, you’d be forced to admit the two guy’s eyes don’t work the same way, and by association, it is indeterminable who’s eyes will see the cloud and whose will not, or, the world itself is different depending on who is looking at it, any one of which gets you into all kindsa trouble.
  • frank
    14.6k


    How's this? All the images of indirect realism have a little cloud like that.

    indirect-realism-768x183.jpg

    Is this wrong?
  • frank
    14.6k
    Direct realism:

    direct-realism-1-768x321.jpg
  • Mww
    4.6k


    The guy on the left. Take away the figure in his head, put in the cloud with the figure in it. The cloud indicates the figure is a representation of the object, the real object perceived directly but represented indirectly.

    Notice there’s nothing indicating the operation of the senses, in the second illustration. And notice the figure is in the head, beyond sensory apparatus. This indicates the brain works with that which is not given from the senses, but rather, works with the representations for which the senses merely provide the occassion.
  • frank
    14.6k
    The guy on the left. Take away the figure in his head, put in the cloud with the figure in it. The cloud indicates the figure is a representation of the object, the real object perceived directly but represented indirectly.Mww

    The guy on the left is an image of direct realism. He doesn't get a cloud. He just directly sees the tree. But your comment does say something about this topic. You can quickly get lost with the representations that people see, except the tree is in their head, but it can't be, so what's that in the guy's head? Is it a representation or is it a tree? How do you get a tree in your head? You can't get a tree in your head, so you have to have a cloud with a tree in it.

    Notice there’s nothing indicating the operation of the senses, in the second illustration. And notice the figure is in the head, beyond sensory apparatus. This indicates the brain works with that which is not given from the senses, but rather, works with the representations for which the senses merely provide the occassion.Mww

    I don't think there are any representations in direct realism. Maybe you get a little tree? A head-sized tree?
  • plaque flag
    2.7k

    I don't know which 'ism' fits this approach best, but I suggest that the perspective metaphor is useful here. We don't see a picture of the tree. We see the tree 'with' or 'through' our nervous systems 'from' this or that bodily-linguistic perspective. Personality is mediation, but mediation need not and seemingly ought not be understood to cast up a second image of the tree.

    Brains and trees need to be kept in the same world of inferential-causal 'plane,' else (seems to me) nonsense ensues, though it's not obvious nonsense.
  • frank
    14.6k
    Personality is mediation, but mediation need not and seemingly ought not be understood to cast up a second image of the tree.green flag

    Ok, but just consider indirect realism for a moment. The idea is that the world around you is a product of your bodily apparatus. The world you take to be real is a collage of representations.

    Is this view self undermining?
  • Mww
    4.6k
    He just directly sees the tree.frank

    Everyone directly sees the tree.

    I don't think there are any representations in direct realism.frank

    Maybe not, but there are representations necessarily. It is impossible that there are not. Or if not representations, than something that supports the fact that the real object directly sensed, is not what is present in the brain.

    The confusion is in what the terms themselves are meant to indicate. What we perceive is real directly; what our cognitive system works with, is real indirectly.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    ..The world you take to be real is a collage of representations.

    Is this view self undermining?
    frank

    I think so. The brain which is supposed to generate the picture is part of the picture. All arguments for the brain throwing up a picture depend on features of the very picture which is 'derealized' and not be trusted. Brains become the creations of brains. Sense organs become the creation of the very same sense organs, themselves. Note that the dreamer is part of the dream. It doesn't make sense. It eats itself.

    There is and can be only one 'inferential-causal nexus.'
  • Banno
    23.5k
    Here we go again.

    When the indirect realist says "I see the Earth", they are referring to the brown thing.

    When the direct realist says "I see the Earth", they are referring to the Earth.
  • frank
    14.6k
    Everyone directly sees the tree.Mww

    Maybe not, but there are representations necessarily.Mww

    I'm not sure you're getting the distinction between direct and indirect realism. Or maybe I'm not.

    With direct realism, there are no representations. In some way unknown to cognitive science, the spectator is somehow seeing the earth with no intermediary constructions involved. As you mention, it's a problematic view, which is why indirect realism is the view of the "man on the street" as Searle the serial sexual harasser put it.

    The confusion is in what the terms themselves are meant to indicate. What we perceive is real directly; what our cognitive system works with, is real indirectly.Mww

    How do you know that?
  • frank
    14.6k
    Here we go again.

    When the indirect realist says "I see the Earth", they are referring to the brown thing.

    When the direct realist says "I see the Earth", they are referring to the Earth.
    Banno

    Yes. Even boy scouts are indirect realists. Sad, isn't it?
  • frank
    14.6k
    I think so. The brain which is supposed to generate the picture is part of the picture. All arguments for the brain throwing up a picture depend on features of the very picture which is 'derealized' and not be trusted. Brains (or the 'illusions' thereof) becomes the creations of brains (of their illusory selves). The sense organs become the creation of ... the sense organs. Note that the dreamer is part of the dream. It doesn'tgreen flag

    :up:

    There is and can be only one 'inferential-causal nexus.'green flag

    What does this mean?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    My seeing is all images. Are photographs images or is my seeing the photograph an image? What are my seeings images of?
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Indirect realism is probably the most prevalent ontological view in the world today.frank
    I think you're mistaken, frank. "Indirect realism" is an epistemological view (i.e. representationalism).

    The question is: does indirect realism undermine itself?
     I don't see how.
  • frank
    14.6k
    I think you're mistaken, frank. "Indirect realism" is an epistemological view (i.e. representationalism)180 Proof

    Ok. That's fine. Although it has an ontological dimension wrt the nature of what you take to be the world. Ontology and epistemology are usually joined at the hip I think.
  • 180 Proof
    14.4k
    Ontology and epistemology are usually joined at the hip I think.frank
    Only in idealism.
  • Mww
    4.6k
    distinction between direct and indirect realismfrank

    I do prefer the other names.

    What we perceive is real directly; what our cognitive system works with, is real indirectly.
    — Mww

    How do you know that?
    frank

    Because I can tell you what a real basketball is, but I promise you there’s never been a real basketball in my head.
  • plaque flag
    2.7k
    What does this mean?frank

    I'm suggesting (exploring the thesis) that our lifeworld and our semantics is inferentially articulated, and that our language ("an organ of perception") is unified, which is to say a system of differences ("without positive terms") with inferential relationships. It's like a game of chess with arbitrary but established names for roles rather than Platonic forms. A bishop by any other names, moves diagonally all the same.


    "If I discover that all the boxes in the attic I am charged with cleaning out have been labeled with red, yellow, or green stickers, all I learn is that those labeled with the same color share some property. To learn what they mean is to learn, for instance, that the owner put a red label on boxes to be discarded, green on those to be retained, and yellow on those that needed further sorting and decision. Once I know what follows from affixing one rather than another label, I can understand them not as mere labels, but as descriptions of the boxes to which they are applied.

    Description is classification with consequences, either immediately practical (“to be discarded / examined / kept”) or for further classifications. Michael Dummett argues generally that to be understood as conceptually contentful, expressions must have not only circumstances of appropriate application, but also appropriate consequences of application.

    That is, one must look not only upstream, to the circumstances (inferential and non-inferential) in which it is appropriate to apply the expression, but also downstream to the consequences (inferential and non-inferential) of doing so, in order to grasp the content it expresses."
  • L'éléphant
    1.4k
    The question is: does indirect realism undermine itself? If you note in the image above, the indirect scenario has a guy seeing a faulty representation of the object. If this is his only access to the world, can he be an indirect realist without contradiction? In other words, if his view of the world is faulty (or at least possibly unreliable), why should he believe the impressions that led him to consider indirectness in the first place?frank
    This is wrong. It's the indirect realist that actually gets it. Their view is not "faulty", rather they acknowledge that their view is a representation of the world-as-it-is.

    Also, it is incorrect to contrast the indirect realism with direct realism. The latter is also called the naive realism because the adherents take their perception of the world as the world-as-it-is.

    Just for good measure, Banno's thread External world's poll has the non-skeptical realism as one of the choices. That's a fitting description of any realist.
  • NOS4A2
    8.4k


    The fact our eyes point outwards is something the indirect realist is unable to overcome. But the matter is simple. The contact with the rest of the world is direct. So how can one perceive indirectly a world that he is in direct contact with?
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    I am a direct realist, and I do not have a tree in my head. Some people say that I have an image of a tree on the retina of my eye, but if that is true, I certainly cannot see it, because I am busy looking at the tree.

    they acknowledge that their view is a representation of the world-as-it-is.L'éléphant

    One sees sign posts to particularly fine views, and sometimes there is a plaque with sight-lines indicating various features. A view is not a representation; a photo or a painting is a representation of a view. It is quite easy to tell the difference between a real view and a representation of a view, by trying to walk around to the back of it or better still through it.

    If the view is of a valley with a fine village with an old pub in it, and you can walk down the hill to the pub and enter and order a beer and drink the beer, then the view was not a representation, whereas if you just get a squashed nose and the taste of paint, it was a representation. I hope this helps.
  • RussellA
    1.6k
    The guy on the left is an image of direct realism. He doesn't get a cloud. He just directly sees the treefrank

    You say the Direct Realist is not seeing an image of the tree, which is what the Indirect Realist would say, but is directly seeing the tree.

    An Indirect Realist would say that they are looking at an image of the tree, and therefore don't know, just from the image, whether the tree is 5m tall 10m away or is 10m tall 20m away.

    If the Direct Realist is directly seeing the tree and not an image of the tree, how does the Direct Realist know, just from the image, whether they are looking at a 5m tall tree 10m away or a 10m tall tree 20m away ?

    How can the Direct Realist justify that they are not looking an an image of the tree ?

    mo9pa19bdzynp2hn.png
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    12.6k


    The representation in the op is incorrect. it is inherently biased, direct realist, by showing the external as the same as the image which the direct realist has in mind.

    What the diagram needs to show is that the direct realist, and the indirect realist both have the same, or similar image in the mind. But the direct realist thinks that this image is as the external world is, and the indirect realist thinks that it is not.

    Indirect realism is a prevalent ontological view because it is supported by ideas derived from modern science. Principally, there is the idea that the world really consists of a bunch of tiny particles moving at a high speed, or perhaps even in some sort of superposition, and objects don't really exist in the way that that they are imaged through sense representation.
  • Mww
    4.6k
    But your comment does say something about this topic. You can quickly get lost with the representations that people see, except the tree is in their head, but it can't be, so what's that in the guy's head? Is it a representation or is it a tree?frank

    Yeah….something said is the superficial silliness of it all on the one hand, re: the implicit absurdity involved in denying there are real basketballs in my head (like…you know…well, DUH!!!), and the fascinating complexity of an organ that can present itself as, or make it seem like there is, a subject present, that the subject has images of things……when (gasp) there never really is either subject or image to be found anywhere in that organ.
  • jorndoe
    3.4k
    There's something off about the in/direct dichotomy.

    Does direct mean that the perceived becomes part of the perceiver? Maybe that the perception and the perceived are the same? Not really. (I think.) Maybe that there's no strange otherworldly theater at work?

    The perception is an (interruptible) occurrence, like a process, where perceiver perception perceived are parts of the same larger environment.

    Refraction is part of what the swimmer-in-the-water looks like, regardless that the swimmer's head isn't separate from the rest of their body.

    2vvpssejwqxk8edi.jpg

    Does this work then?

    t5o5ehqv4j0v6gru.jpg

    Looks indirect (I think), but at least interruptibility, same environment, and whatever, are clearer/intuitive. The perception is (ontologically) part of the perceiver when occurring. In the image, hallucination is mistaking "≠" for "=", and solipsism is mistaking "=" for non-identity "≠". Different wording, not the in/direct dichotomy.
  • frank
    14.6k


    The contact with the rest of the world is direct. So how can one perceive indirectly a world that he is in direct contact with?NOS4A2

    The ocean contacts the shore, but it's not perceiving the shore. We don't fully understand how perception works, but it's apparent that a multitude of afferent nerves present electrical stimulus to the central nervous system, which is doing something with those impulses that coincides with awareness.

    Lets be clear that indirect realism is the dominant view among scientists, because as @Mww noted, direct realism doesn't make any sense on its face. If we directly perceive objects without any nervous interface, how exactly do with do that? Your eyes don't see things. Your ears don't hear things, and your fingers don't feel things. Your central nervous system sees, hears and feels. There clearly is an interface between the CNS and the world. Thus, indirectness appears to be the way it works.

    The onus is on direct realists to explain, if only broadly and superficially, how direct realism is supposed to work. Thoughts?
  • Richard B
    369
    Your eyes don't see things. Your ears don't hear things, and your fingers don't feel things. Your central nervous system sees, hears and feels. There clearly is an interface between the CNS and the world.frank

    When I enter a room and turn the light switch off, I do not see, “my eyes do not see”, and “my nervous system does not see”. Clearly, there is an interface between the light switch and the world.

    Long live “indirect realism”.
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