Perceiving empirical objects directly

Erkenntnis 52 (3):357-371 (2000)
Abstract
The goal of this paper is to defend the claim that there is such a thing as direct perception, where by ‘direct perception’ I mean perception unmediated by theorizing or concepts. The basis for my defense is a general philosophic perspective which I call ‘empiricist philosophy’. In brief, empiricist philosophy (as I have defined it) is untenable without the occurrence of direct perception. It is untenable without direct perception because, otherwise, one can't escape the hermeneutic circle, as this phrase is used in van Fraassen (1980). The bulk of the paper is devoted to defending my belief in direct perception against various objections that can be posed against it. I discuss various anticipations of my view found in the literature, eventually focusing on Ian Hacking's related conception of `entity realism' (Hacking 1983). Hacking has been criticized by a number of philosophers and my plan is to respond to these criticisms on behalf of entity realism (or more precisely on behalf of the claim that direct perception is a reality) and to then respond to other possible criticisms that can be launched against direct perception
Keywords Empiricism  Entity  Metaphysics  Object  Perception  Realism  Hacking, I
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