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What are the Objects of Visual Perception?

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  1. Direct realism
  2. The time-lag argument
  3. The partial character of perception argument
  4. A more successful objection to Direct Realism
  5. Cocnlucion
  6. Bibliography

There is much debate about what it is we actually perceive of the world, if anything at all. In this essay I wish to focus on the theory of Direct Realism, and show why I believe it to be the correct theory. I will show this by looking at all the main objections to Direct Realism, and show that they can be dealt with by the Direct Realist. The reason for doing this is because for any other perceptual theory to be correct, then Direct Realism must be refuted. If it cannot be refuted, then theories that are logically incompatible with it, such as Indirect Realism, must be false. Before I do this I will give some background information about Direct Realism and its main counterpart, Indirect Realism.

[...] Given the fact that the objects of immediate awareness in hallucination are not physical objects, we have no reason to believe that the objects of awareness in veridical perception are external physical objects. From this it is concluded that Direct Realism is false because the objects of immediate awareness in both hallucination, and therefore veridical perception, are not external physical objects. Therefore the object of immediate perception could be something such as a sense-datum. This argument is a very powerful one, and at first seems to be damaging for the Direct Realist. [...]


[...] From this it seems that even if a dagger-like sense-datum could appear phenomenally indistinguishable from a real dagger, we have no reason to believe that the objects of awareness in hallucination and in veridical perception are of the same ontological type. Furthermore, from the premises that Macbeth sees no real dagger in front of him, but is immediately aware of something, it does not follow that this thing is a sense-datum or something of a similar sort. The Direct Realist can account for this problem without having to create things such as sense-datum in a number of ways. [...]

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