• Quk
    24
    If making a distinction is foolish, and you're making a distinction, then are you doing something foolish?flannel jesus

    I think this question isn't adequately put.

    I'd put the question like this: "If making a distinction is foolish, and you're saying that making a distinction is foolish, then are you doing something foolish?" Answer: No. I'm just saying what action is foolish, namely the action of making a distinction. Saying A and making B are not the same.
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    you did not understand that exchange. Your edit to my question is nonsensical and not what I was asking at all.
  • Richard B
    370
    So what more can be added to this experiment so that it supports indirect realism?Banno

    Let me add one more experiment: again the subject is blind-folded but this time the subject has his nervous system numbed. The scientist places the ball in his hands, “in direct contact”. In this scenario the subject never reports out that he has made contact with the ball.

    In summary, in one case, the subject does not have contact with the ball yet the causal process is present in the nervous system. In the other case, the causal process is not present in the nervous system even though the subject is in contact with the ball.

    What I believe this shows indirect realism does not get support from science as much as they would think. Certainly, there is not enough support to revise the way we talk about every objects like balls, trees, etc…. What science can do is described how the nervous system works under a variety of conditions.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    We can't see a single photon because it's too small. Similarly we can't see the star Alpha Centauri because its projected diameter on our retina is too small.Quk

    Sure we can see Alpha Centauri. Here it is:
    1920px-Alpha%2C_Beta_and_Proxima_Centauri_%281%29.jpg
    It's a triple star system, Alpha Centauri A on the left, Alpha Centauri B on the right and Proxima Centauri, the closest star apart from the Sun, circled in red.

    You are not seeing them directly, but in a photograph. You can resolve the main pair with a small telescope or binoculars.

    None of the light that is entering your eye as you look at Alpha Centauri, originated at Alpha Centauri. It originated from your screen.

    So it would seem reasonable to say in this case that you are looking at Alpha Centauri indirectly, as opposed to when you stare up a the southern night sky and see it directly.

    That's not like seeing a single photon. Nor like not seeing a single photon.

    None of which is to deny that we see because light from the thing we see enters our eyes. We see with light: we don't see light.

    So you are right, if you like, that there is a whole lot going on between Alpha Centauri and your eye, none of which stops you sometimes seeing it directly, sometimes indirectly.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    The offence of indirect realism, so much as it commits one, is found in the dictum "We never actually see the world as it is, but only ever see the..." and then suggest variously "sense data", or "qualia", or some variation of "mental model".

    Regardless of that, we do, on occasion, see, hear, smell or touch the world as it is, and thereby make true statements about things in the world. It is true that you are now reading a sentence written by me.

    Now there are a range of arguments brought against this view. You can read a summary of them in SEP; there are various articles on the philosophy of perception, but the one most germane to this discussion is The Problem of Perception. I commend it to those who would treat the topic with a bit more rigour than might be found in a quick Google search, WIki article or YouTube video. But don't stop there - the article has a fine bibliography: read on!

    The article ends with the following conclusion: "The question, now, is not so much whether to be a direct realist, but how to be one."

    For those who are relatively new to the forums, there is a thread on this topic about every three or four months, and they generally go for two or three dozen pages. They consist in the main in some folk expressing pop accounts of indirect realism while others with a background in Philosophy point out the many flaws in those pop arguments, only to be informed repeatedly that they "have not understood the argument".

    It is a good topic for a forum like this, because there are some neat arguments involved. Just don't think that what you are presenting is original, or hasn't been addressed previously.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    What I believe this shows indirect realism does not get support from science as much as they would think.Richard B

    Yep. When held down, their arguments tend to fall apart.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    Per above, on my account, there is still going to be this obstacle to establishing a direct link between the experience and the object, in any given case denoted to be 'direct' in a half/half system. So, my issue isn't so much 'what hypothesis is the most workable' and which one gets off the ground.AmadeusD

    Under your criterial demand the only "direct link" would be if the object was the experience. If the object is separate from the experience of it, then you would presumably say there is a gulf between them, and that this gulf justifies saying we do not experience objects directly. As others point out it all comes down to what is meant by "direct". I have long thought that experience can be thought about as direct or indirect, depending on the definitions and framing. So, the whole argument is undecidable in any absolute sense and is thus really a non-starter, another confusing artefact of thinking dualistically.
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    For those who are relatively new to the forums, there is a thread on this topic about every three or four months, and they generally go for two or three dozen pages. They consist in the main in some folk expressing pop accounts of indirect realism while others with a background in Philosophy point out the many flaws in those pop arguments, only to be informed repeatedly that they "have not understood the argument".Banno

    This entire post gives this air of being above the conversation, because the answers are all there and you've read deeply into enough to know what the clearly true answers are. Which is fine, sometimes that's the case.

    Do you believe most philosophers are direct realists? Would they say we experience reality as it is?

    Do you believe most scientists are direct realists? Would they say we experience reality as it is?

    Is there a general consensus among relevant experts? And do you think that consensus agrees with you? And do you have any strong evidence that the consensus agrees with you? Like a survey for example.

    You've of course posted a link to a single article arguing for direct realism, but I would hazard a guess that there are also articles that are similarly well written, similarity well researched, arguing for indirect realism, so the ability to link to an academic article that agrees with you shouldn't just be the end of the story, is lowly posters in here shouldn't actually take that to mean "clearly this guy is right and we'd be stupid to disagree with him". We can both find experts that agree with us, so that's alone is clearly not satisfactory.

    But if there were any kind of actual measured consensus, then the self assured tone would make a lot of sense. Expert consensus is meaningful to me - it doesn't mean the experts are right, but it does mean I'd take certain positions much more seriously than I would do if there were a consensus in the reverse direction.

    So if you have any means of showing a consensus, I'm super interested in that, much more than I'm interested in your ability to produce individual articles that argue for your position.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Under your criterial demand the only "direct link" would be if the object was the experience. If the object is separate from the experience of it, then you would presumably say there is a gulf between them, and that this gulf justifies saying we do not experience objects directly. As others point out it all comes down to what is meant by "direct". I have long thought that experience can be thought about as direct or indirect, depending on the definitions and framing. So, the whole argument is undecidable in any absolute sense and is thus really a non-starter, another confusing artefact of thinking dualistically.Janus

    Very well said.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    Do you believe most philosophers are direct realists?flannel jesus

    No. I don't think they set out the problems of perception in those terms, having moved on to more fertile issues.

    But overwhelmingly, philosophers are realists.
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    So, the whole argument is undecidable in any absolute sense and is thus really a non-starter, another confusing artefact of thinking dualistically.Janus

    Perhaps. I would say it’s undecidable because of the linguistic issues. But I also reject entirely that something odd means a position is wrong. Nothing you’ve said presents any issues unless you don’t like the implications.

    Banno, for all his words, hasn’t addressed the issue at all. Nothing he has said establishes anything direct about perception. I’ve nailed down the crux multiple times and all I get back are vague questions about implications he doesn’t like.

    No one else has done better. *shrug* I guess people think that perception, which is physically indirect, is direct in discussion. Seems like this may be a dead end on TPF. I mean, almost all of these takes rely on a 1:1 match between experience and object. Which is incoherent on its face - they aren’t even the same dimension.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    I’ve nailed down the crux...AmadeusD

    Maybe the "crux" is not so clear...?
  • AmadeusD
    1.9k
    That's fair, prima facie, but it's very clear to me. I get the exact same feeling as when some has misheard a word, when i read a lot of the replies attempting to address it.

    That doesn't mean its hitting the same for others. I have essentially boiled it down to a bumper sticker a couple of times.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    ...bumper sticker...AmadeusD

    The bumper sticker I proffered was
    ...the dictum "We never actually see the world as it is, but only ever see the..." and then suggest variously "sense data", or "qualia", or some variation of "mental model".Banno

    Not, I hope, too dissimilar to the OP, which gave a neat rendering of the arguments, which I addressed.

    Perhaps we can make it a bit more general: "We never actually see things in the world as they are, but only ever see some representation of those things"

    And in those terms my reply might be something like that this is mis-phrased, and that seeing a thing consists in constructing a representation of that thing. In this phrasing one does not see the representation, one sees the thing.

    Subtle and nuanced stuff, so it won't go down well here, but it works for me.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    No one else has done better. *shrug* I guess people think that perception, which is physically indirect, is direct in discussion.AmadeusD

    Can you give an example of something which is physically direct, and explain what you would mean by "direct" in that context?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    And in those terms my reply might be something like that this is mis-phrased, and that seeing a thing consists in constructing a representation of that thing. In this phrasing one does not see the representation, one sees the thing.Banno

    :up: Yes, the seeing just is the representation of the thing, which would mean that saying we see representations is equivalent to saying we see seeings, which is nonsense.
  • Banno
    23.5k
    saying we see representations is equivalent to saying we see seeingsJanus

    Glad you saw that. :grin:
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    Okay, so if there's no consensus that direct realism is true, then it's not ignorant of someone to reject direct realism it seems to me. It feels like that's the tone of some of your previous posts: this is a settled issue, direct realism won, there's nothing else to talk about. But it's not exactly settled like that, and so any of us plebs who haven't read as many jargon-filled academic papers as you can still reject direct realism without being spoken down to.

    If it was a settled issue, I might feel differently.
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    No one else has done better. *shrug* I guess people think that perception, which is physically indirect, is direct in discussion. Seems like this may be a dead end on TPF.AmadeusD

    That shouldn't be a surprise. All topics are dead ends on every philosophy forum. Even topics that ARE settled among experts, so doubly so for topics that aren't settled.
  • Ashriel
    15
    Thanks for all the responses, everyone! I will do much more reading before writing the article! I will heavily consider and weigh each of your responses and read through your sources.

    Also, I was recommended Dr. Mike Huemer's book on Direct Realism as a good defense of it. Would it be profitable to do so?
  • Ashriel
    15


    Thanks for the response. I actually thought that I would slowly take my time to read then give thoughtful replies[not that this reply isn't thoughtful], but your original comment confused me a little bit.

    Indirect Realism is not any more skeptical realism than Direct Realism is. I address this in the OP itself.

    And Indirect Realism is a form of Representationism. I hold that what we see corresponds to the external world. Just that what we see is not the external world.

    There are separate arguments to show why it is much more likely than not that the external world is real.
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    Indirect Realism is not any more skeptical realism than Direct Realism is. I address this in the OP itself.

    And Indirect Realism is a form of Representationism. I hold that what we see corresponds to the external world. Just that what we see is not the external world.
    Ashriel

    For what it's worth, I think your take here is completely reasonable. What we experience, when it comes to sensory experience, corresponds to the external world, but is not just "the external world as it really is".

    I think it's really interesting that Representationalism is claimed by both direct and indirect realists in various contexts.
  • Ashriel
    15

    Thank you.

    I get that this topic is pretty big, so there's going to be many different viwes, and if you ask me, after reading the thoughtful responses given here, I am starting to suspect that this is more of a framing and semantics issue than anything else.

    I still think that Indirect Realism is the best way to describe what occurs, but that's probably because of my other epistemological and metaphysical views, like dualism and internalism.

    Of course, I will do more reading. Also, I didn't mean to mischaracterise Direct Realism, as some here have pointed out. I understand that it's much more nuanced and far less naive than what I mindlessly typed in the OP.
  • Ashriel
    15


    Why do you think a "dream" cannot be a perception of the real thing?Quk

    First, I think that if something is real, it actually exists in the external world. Since things in dreams do not actually exist in the external world, they are not real. So whatever we perceive in dreams cannot be real, as I defined.

    Can you describe the properties of such a distinction? Are there different colors, smells, sounds? If so, which ones belong to the real thing?Quk

    I think that this illustrates my point. There isn't any distinction.
  • Ashriel
    15


    Thanks for the helpful article! I will take a look at it, as part of my reading list.

    Ok, so there are a few things I may need clarification on, since I suspect that we agree a lot more than we think.

    I assume that cognition means conscious awareness of.

    In that case, my view would be very similar to semantic direct realism.

    I will say that I don't really know what it means for us to directly perceive external objects, in terms of ontology. I will try to provide a few arguments against this once I properly understand the view.

    Once again, thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate you helping me learn.
  • Ashriel
    15


    Actually, I would like to rephrase what I said.

    What we see is the external world, that is, what is represented is the external world. But we do not directly perceive the external world. Not to say that what we perceive is not the external world.
  • jkop
    710
    I think it's really interesting that Representationalism is claimed by both direct and indirect realists in various contexts.flannel jesus

    Searle, for instance, distinguishes representation from presentation. For example, believing x is a representation, seeing x is a presentation..

    If I believe that it is raining I can separate my belief from the fact that it is raining, but when I see the tree I cannot separate the visual experience from an awareness of the presence of the tree. This is true even if it is a hallucination and even if I know that it is a hallucination.
    Link to source.
  • Quk
    24
    In my opinion, the whole phenomenon can be called direct as well as indirect, it's just a matter of semantics. The phenomenon per se doesn't care about semantics. I just want to add this thought: If there is an intermediate thing (like a filter or converter etc.) between the "external world" and our "internal mind", then this same thing (filter or converter etc.) is also part of the "external world", isn't it? Here's a metaphor: When I'm wearing sun glasses which make the tree to appear darker, those sun glasses are part of the external world. So when I see the tree "indirectly" and I see the sun glasses "directly", I actually see a part of the external world "directly". I could also say: I see a whole package of the real world; in that "real" package are the tree and the sun glasses, among other things. -- It's all about semantics, I think.
  • flannel jesus
    1.5k
    Does that place representationalism among direct-realist ideas or indirect?
  • jkop
    710
    Does that place representationalism among direct-realist ideas or indirect?flannel jesus
    Searle defends direct realism.

    - - -


    Here's an addition to my short reply. I suppose representationalism is indirect realism under the assumption that you never perceive things directly, only your own sense-data, concepts, ideas, mental pictures etc. that more or less accurately or usefully represent the things.

    Direct realism, however, is the idea that you do perceive things directly, not via something else. Things can be perceived in as many ways as possible given the physics, chemistry and other conditions that enables us to perceive them.

    The world may appear tilted when you tilt your head, but that's not a good counter-argument against direct realism. Arguments from illusion or hallucination are basically that bad.
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