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Outline and assess the main objections to representative realism

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Outline and assess the main objections to representative realism Representative realism, also known as indirect realism, is the view that sensations are a representation of the world. The representative realist agrees with the direct realist that the world consists of material objects which occupy space and that these material objects possess particular independently existing properties. However the disagreement falls on the matter of whether we perceive the properties of matter directly and as they are, and hence there are some objections that are made to representative realism. One of the main objections to representative realism is that it can lead to skepticism. It cannot disprove Descartes evil demon argument and opens up a veil or perception. Furthermore, we cannot even talk about the real world. One problem for representative realism is that it leads to skepticism. If representative realism is true, then the only things we ever see directly are sense-data. However, the problem here is that we don?t seem to have any way whatsoever of checking whether these sense data are actually accurately represent the ?external world?. A question that arises is; ?how can we really know what the real world is like?? A major difficulty concerns how we can possibly tell when our senses are or are not deceiving us. ...read more.


Essentially the point that Russell is raising here is that the simplest way of explaining the coherence and regularity of our sense-data is to simply say that they are caused by physical objects that exist independently of us. If Russell?s theory is right then we can infer the existence of the external world from our sense-data, in exactly the same way as scientists infer the existence of unobservable entities like electrons from the experimental data that they observe. Another criticism to representative realism is that; if what we perceive of the world is a form of representation of the world, then how can we be sure how accurate that representation is? To put it simply, how can we be sure that the human perception of the actual world that is being perceived resembles it in any way or form? Therefore the only things we ever perceive are secondary qualities; we never perceive primary qualities directly. Absolutely everything we perceive must come from our five senses. Hence we have to deduce the existence of an independent object with primary qualities solely based on our awareness of our sense impressions. However, if the existence of physical objects if deduced from our sensations how can we are certain they are an accurate representation? ...read more.


But, can this be said because causation is a concept that (as far as we know), applied only to world of sense experience. We cannot observe the real world causing the perceived world, nor can we assume that the ?real world? shows any casual relationships whatsoever, or whether it is spatial-temporal. We can?t imagine such a world which has no space or time or causality, but this is to be expected since the real world lies totally beyond our comprehension. In conclusion, I think that the even though many objections are made against indirect realism, there are fairly strong responses to them as well. The problem of representative realism leading to skepticism suggests that since we have no way of checking whether the sense data we perceive are accurately representing the ?external world then we can?t know what the real world is like. A strong response is given to this point and it states that even though we can?t know for certain that the external that the external world exists, its existence is a plausible hypothesis, and this response is supported by Russell?s cat analogy. Also, there are other strong responses to other objections such as the point made saying that sense data are impossible. The response here states that sense data are just as they appear. The sense-data don?t genuinely have shape, size, colour etc., but just appear to. ...read more.

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