Working from a naïve-realist perspective, I examine first-person knowledge of one's perceptual experience. I outline a naive-realist theory of how subjects acquire knowledge of the nature of their experiences, and I argue that naiverealism is compatible with moderate, substantial forms of first-person privileged access. A more general moral of my paper is that treating “success” states like seeing as genuine mental states does not break up the dynamics that many philosophers expect from the phenomenon of knowledge (...) of the mind. (shrink)
Disjunctivism about sensory experience is frequently put forward in defence of a particular conception of perception and perceptual experience known as naïve realism. In this paper I present an argument against naïve realism that proceeds through a rejection of disjunctivism. If the naïve realist must also be a disjunctivist about the phenomenal nature of experience, then naïve realism should be abandoned.
My paper has three parts. First I will outline the act/object theory of perceptual experience and its commitments to (a) a relational view of experience and (b) a view of phenomenal character according to which it is constituted by the character of the objects of experience. I present the traditional adverbial response to this, in which experience is not to be understood as a relation to some object, but as a way of sensing. In the second part I argue that (...) acceptance of (a) is independent of acceptance of (b). I then present a modified adverbialism that presents experience as relational in nature but whose character is nevertheless to be explained in terms of the way in which one senses an object. Finally, I will offer an explanation of how a naïve realist about experience can adopt this modified adverbialism and in so doing accommodate the possibility of perceptual error. (shrink)
In the present paper, I shall argue that disjunctively construed naïve realism about the nature of perceptual experiences succumbs to the empirically inspired causal argument. The causal argument highlights as a first step that local action necessitates the presence of a type-identical common kind of mental state shared by all perceptual experiences. In a second step, it sets out that the property of being a veridical perception cannot be a mental property. It results that the mental nature of perceptions (...) must be exhausted by the occurrence of inner sensory experiences that narrowly supervene on the perceiver. That is, empirical objects fail directly to determine the perceptual consciousness of the perceiver. The upshot is that not only naïve realism, but also certain further forms of direct realism have to be abandoned. (shrink)
Defending a form of naïve realism about visual experiences is quite popular these days. Those naïve realists who I will be concerned with in this paper make a central claim about the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences. They argue that how it is with the perceiver subjectively when she sees worldly objects is literally determined by those objects. This way of thinking leads them to endorse a form of disjunctivism, according to which the fundamental psychological nature of seeings and (...) hallucinations is distinct. I will oppose their central claim by defending a version of the so-called ‘causal argument’, which dwells on ideas about causation and explanation in perception. The aim of this discussion is to highlight that the subjective aspects of perceptual experiences cannot be explained in naïve realist terms. Instead, it will be argued that one needs to appeal to a mental factor which does not involve worldly objects as constituents, and which is common to seeings and hallucinations. (shrink)
I describe a naive realist conception of perceptual knowledge, which faces a challenge from the idea that normal perceivers and brains-in-vats have equally justified perceptual beliefs. I defend the naive realist position from Nicholas Silins's recent version of this challenge. I argue that Silins's main objection fails, and that the naive realist understanding of perceptual knowledge can be reconciled with the idea that brains-in-vats have justified perceptual beliefs.
In the first section of this paper, after briefly arguing for the assumption that experiential content is propositional, I’ll distinguish three interpretations of the claim that experience has content (the Mild, Medium, and Spicy Content Views). In the second section, I’ll flesh out Naïve Realism in greater detail, and I’ll reconstruct what I take to be the main argument for its incompatibility with the Content Views. The third section will be devoted to evaluation of existing arguments for the Mild (...) Content View (the arguments from accuracy and appearing), and the development of what I take to be a stronger argument (the argument from belief generation). In the final section, I’ll identify a flaw in the argument for the incompatibility of Naïve Realism with the Content Views, which opens the door to a reconciliation. (shrink)
A source of much difficulty and confusion in the interpretation of quantum mechanics is a naiverealism about operators. By this we refer to various ways of taking too seriously the notion of operator-as-observable, and in particular to the all too casual talk about measuring operators that occurs when the subject is quantum mechanics. Without a specification of what should be meant by measuring a quantum observable, such an expression can have no clear meaning. A definite specification is (...) provided by Bohmian mechanics, a theory that emerges from Schrödinger's equation for a system of particles when we merely insist that particles means particles. Bohmian mechanics clarifies the status and the role of operators as observables in quantum mechanics by providing the operational details absent from standard quantum mechanics. It thereby allows us to readily dismiss all the radical claims traditionally enveloping the transition from the classical to the quantum realm — for example, that we must abandon classical logic or classical probability. The moral is rather simple: Beware naiverealism, especially about operators! (shrink)
This article reconstructs Hegel’s chapter “Sense Certainty” (Phenomenology of Spirit, chap. 1) in detail in its historical and philosophical context. Hegel’s chapter develops a sound internal critique of naiverealism that shows that sensation is necessary but not sufficient for knowledge of sensed particulars. Cognitive reference to particulars also requires using a priori conceptions of space, spaces, time, times, self, and individuation. Several standard objections to and misinterpretations of Hegel’s chapter are rebutted. Hegel’s protosemantics is shown to accord (...) in important regards with Gareth Evans’ view in “Identity and Predication.”. (shrink)
Much of the discussion of NaiveRealism about veridical experience has focused on a consequence of adopting it—namely, disjunctivism about perceptual experience. However, the motivations for being a Naive Realist in the first place have received relatively little attention in the literature. In this paper, I will elaborate and defend the claim that NaiveRealism provides the best account of the phenomenal character of veridical experience.
Often implicit in visual display design and development is a gold standard of photorealism. By approximating direct perception, photorealism appeals to users and designers by being both attractive and apparently effortless. The vexing result from numerous performance evaluations, though, is that increasing realism often impairs performance. Smallman and St. John (2005) labeled misplaced faith in realistic information display Naïve Realism and theorized it resulted from a triplet of folk fallacies about perception. Here, we illustrate issues associated with the (...) wider trend towards realism by focusing on a specific current trend for high-fidelity perspective view (3D) geospatial displays. In two experiments, we validated Naïve Realism for different terrain understanding tasks, explored whether certain individuals are particularly prone to Naïve Realism, and determined the ability of task feedback to mitigate Naïve Realism. Performance was measured for laying and judging a concealed route across realistic terrain shown in different display formats. Task feedback was either implicit, in Experiment 1, or explicit in Experiment 2. Prospective and retrospective intuitions about the best display formats for the tasks were recorded and then related to task performance and participant spatial ability. Participants generally intuited they would perform tasks better with more realism than they actually required. For example, counter to intuitions, lowering fidelity of the terrain display revealed the gross scene layout needed to lay a well-concealed route. Individuals of high spatial ability calibrated their intuitions with only implicit task feedback, whereas those of low spatial ability required salient, explicit feedback to calibrate their intuitions about display realism. Results are discussed in the wider context of applying perceptual science to display design, and combating folk fallacies. (shrink)
_metaphysically transparent_: we do not arrive at a better understanding of the realm of facts that make such talk true or false when we abandon ordinary mental concepts in favor of naturalistic concepts—or, for that matter, in favor of supernaturalistic concepts, although _super_naturalism will not be my concern here. Rather, it is ordinary mental concepts themselves that provide the best framework for understanding the metaphysics of mind. In this essay, I will be concerned just with naïve realism about mental (...) _properties_. 1 I will defend naïve realism first in relation to the view that mental properties are (ultimately) realized by fundamental physical properties (property-physicalism), and, second, in relation to the broader view that mental properties are realized by the non- rational properties of some natural science or other (property-naturalism).2 Plainly, the construction of an impenetrable defense of naïve realism would be a foolhardy ambition for a single essay. Ultimately, my aim here is thus significantly more modest: I hope just to show that naïve realism is a legitimate contender in the philosophy of mind, one which is for the most part completely overlooked, but which deserves serious consideration. (shrink)
In this article Ayer's criticisms of Russell's defense of scientific realism and his criticisms of Russell's rejection of naiverealism are discussed. It is argued that Ayer's criticisms either lack force or depend for their validity on the assumption of existence of a clear cut distinction between conventional and factual issues, an assumption which is question begging with respect to his discussion of Russell.
Up until recently social scientists took it for granted that their task was to account for the social world as objectively as possible: they were realists in practice if not always in their methodological sermons. This situation started to change in the 1960s, when a number of antirealist philosophies made inroads into social studies.This paper examines critically the following kinds of antirealism: subjectivism, conventionalism, fictionism, social constructivism, relativism, and hermeneutics. An attempt is made to show that these philosophies are false (...) and are causing serious damage to social studies.Next the subjective interpretation of probability is analyzed as a case of subjectivism. An approach to the subjective perception of justice is sketched as an example of the objective study of subjective experience.Finally, the three main varieties of realism — naive, critical, and scientific — are outlined. It is argued that the scientific attitude involves scientific realism, which is put in practice even by scholars who, like Weber and Simmel, called themselves antirealists. (shrink)
Many philosophers are skeptical about disjunctivism—a theory of perceptual experience which holds roughly that a situation in which I see a banana that is as it appears to me to be (the good case) and one in which I have a hallucination as of a banana (a certain kind of bad case) are mentally completely different. Often this skepticism is rooted in the suspicion that such a view cannot adequately account for the bad case—in particular, (i) that such a view (...) cannot explain why what it’s like to have a hallucination can be exactly like what it’s like to have a veridical experience, (ii) that it cannot explain why the hallucination I have in the bad case is subjectively indistinguishable from the kind of experience I have in the good case, and (iii) that it cannot offer a viable account of the nature of hallucination. -/- In this paper, I argue that a proper formulation of disjunctivism can avoid these objections. Disjunctivism should be formulated as the weakest claim required to preserve its primary motivation, viz., Naïve Realism—the view that veridical experience fundamentally consists in the subject perceiving entities in her environment. And the weakest claim required to preserve Naïve Realism allows for many sorts of commonalities across the good and hallucinatory cases, commonalities that can be marshaled in responding to the objections. Most importantly, disjunctivism properly formulated is compatible with “positive” accounts of the nature of hallucination (as against M.G.F. Martin’s widely accepted argument to the contrary). (shrink)
Recently representationalists have cited a phenomenon known as the transparency of experience in arguments against the qualia theory. Representationalists take transparency to support their theory and to work against the qualia theory. In this paper I argue that representationalist assessment of the philosophical importance of transparency is incorrect. The true beneficiary of transparency is another theory, naïve realism. Transparency militates against qualia and the representationalist theory of experience. I describe the transparency phenomenon, and I use my description to argue (...) for naïve realism and against representationalism and the qualia theory. I also examine the relationship between phenomenological study and phenomenal character, and discuss the results in connection with the argument from hallucination. (shrink)
As standardly conceived, an illusion is an experience of an object o appearing F where o is not in fact F. Paradigm examples of color illusion, however, do not fit this pattern. A diagnosis of this uncovers different sense of appearance talk that is the basis of a dilemma for the standard conception. The dilemma is only a challenge. But if the challenge cannot be met, then any conception of experience, such as representationalism, that is committed to the standard conception (...) is false. Perhaps surprisingly, naïve realism provides a better account of color illusion.An apparence ymaad by som Magyk. Chaucer. (shrink)
This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naiverealism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
According to naïve realist (or primitivist) theories of colour, colours are sui generis mind-independent properties. The question that I consider in this paper is the relationship of naïve realism to what Mark Johnston calls Revelation, the thesis that the essential nature of colour is fully revealed in a standard visual experience. In the first part of the paper, I argue that if naïve realism is true, then Revelation is false. In the second part of the paper, I defend (...) naïve realism against a number of objections. (shrink)
I argue against one way of understanding the claim that how one’s visual experience “seems” provides support for the naïve-realist theory and weighs against sense-data theories (and other theories). If my argument is correct, and we abandon this way of understanding how experience “seems”, we would lose one reason for favouring naïve-realism at the start of the dialectic of the traditional problem of perception. En route, I distinguish diff erent ways of understanding the (alleged) transparency of experience, consider how (...) to make sense of rival theorists’ disagreement over the manifest nature of visual phenomenology and recount a story about Wittgenstein. (shrink)
A perceptual experience of a given object seems to make the object itself present to the perceiver’s mind. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) provides a better account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience than does the content view (the view that to perceive is to represent the world to be a certain way). But the naïve realist account of this (...) phenomenology has a conspicuous shortcoming: it explains the phenomenological directness of veridical perceptual experiences but not of hallucinations. Conversely, I maintain that a particular variety of the content view provides a unified account of the phenomenological directness of both veridical and hallucinatory experiences. If so, then contrary to what is often assumed, the phenomenological facts concerning perceptual experience are explained better by the content view than by naïve realism, and consequently, we have a compelling reason to prefer the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
In this paper, I will ask whether naïve realists have the conceptual resources for meeting the challenge stemming from the causal argument. As I interpret it, naïve realism is committed to disjunctivism. Therefore, I first set out in detail how one has to formulate the causal argument against the background of disjunctivism. This discussion is above all supposed to work out the key assumptions at stake in the causal argument. I will then go on to sketch out several possible (...) rejoinders on behalf of naïve realism. It will be shown that they all fail to provide a satisfying account of how causation and perceptual consciousness fit together. Accordingly, the upshot will be that the causal argument provides good reason to abandon disjunctivism and, instead, to promote a common factor view of perception. (shrink)
Many naive realists endorse a negative disjunctivist strategy in order to deal with the challenge presented by the possibility of phenomenologically indistinguishable halucination. In the first part of this paper I argue that this approach is methodologically inconsistent because it undercuts the phenomenological motivation that underlies the the appeal of naiverealism. In the second part of the paper I develop an alternative to the negative disjunctivist account along broadly Meinongian lines. In the last section of this (...) paper I consider and evaluate a somewhat similar but rival view of hallucination developed by Mark Johnston. (shrink)
According to non-conceptualist interpretations, Kant held that the application of concepts is not necessary for perceptual experience. Some have motivated non-conceptualism by noting the affinities between Kant’s account of perception and contemporary relational theories of perception. In this paper I argue i) that non-conceptualism cannot provide an account of the Transcendental Deduction and thus ought to be rejected; and ii) that this has no bearing on the issue of whether Kant endorsed a relational account of perceptual experience.
When you have a perceptual experience of a given physical object that object seems to be immediately present to you in a way it never does when you consciously think about or imagine it. Many philosophers have claimed that naïve realism (the view that to perceive is to stand in a primitive relation of acquaintance to the world) can provide a satisfying account of this phenomenological directness of perceptual experience while the content view (the view that to perceive is (...) to represent the world to be a certain way) cannot. I argue that this claim is false. Specifically, I maintain that the only acceptable naïve realist account of the relevant phenomenology is circular and that the content view can provide a similar account. In addition, I maintain that a certain specific variety of the content view provides a non-circular and thus more satisfactory account of this phenomenology. If so, then contrary to what is commonly assumed there are powerful phenomenological grounds for preferring the content view to naïve realism. (shrink)
In the direct realist tradition of Reid and Austin, disjunctivism has joined its precursors inproudly trumpeting its allegiance with naïve realism. And the theory gains plausibility, par-ticularly as compared with adverbialism, if one considers a Wittgensteinian line of argumentregarding the use of sensation words. But ‘no common factor’ doctrines can be shown to beinconsistent with the naïve realism that has served as their main support. This does notmean that either disjunctivism or the Wittgensteinian perspective on language acquisitionthat informed (...) it must be false. It does indicate, however, that linguistic arguments againstprivate or internal meanings do not imply perceptual directness and that the espousal of direct realism—naïve or not—does not require adherence to disjunctivism. (shrink)
American philosopher Everett W. Hall (1901-1960) was among the first epistemologists writing in English to have promoted “representationism,” a currently popular explanation of cognition. According to this school, there are no private sense-data or qualia, because the ascription (representation) of public properties that are exemplified in the world of common sense is believed to be sufficient to explain mental content. In this timely volume, Walter Horn, perhaps the foremost living expert on Hall’s philosophy, not only provides copious excerpts from Hall’s (...) works in epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of language--as well as his own commentaries on those writings--but also includes articles by Richard Rorty, Amie Thomasson, Thomas Natsoulas, and Romane Clark that are pertinent to Hall’s unique blend of linguistic idealism and intentional, common-sense realism. Covering metaphilosophy, the intentionality of perception, naïve realism, linguistic relativism, and Hall's public disagreements with such luminaries as Moore, Carnap, Wittgenstein, Quine, and Sellars, The Roots of Representationism is essential reading for students of 20th Century analytic philosophy. (shrink)