About this topic
Summary This area is structured by three central questions. A first question is: What does it mean to perceive something directly? There are two standard ways in which this question has been answered. On one conception, to perceive x directly is to perceive x, but not in virtue of perceiving anything else, while to perceive x indirectly is to perceive x in virtue of perceiving something else. On another conception, to perceive x directly is to be perceptually aware of x without one’s awareness of x being inferred from prior awareness of anything else, and to perceive x indirectly is for one’s perceptual awareness of x to be inferred from prior awareness of something else. A second question is: What do we perceive directly? Direct realists have it that we perceive physical objects directly. Indirect realists, such as sense datum theorists, have it that we perceive mental proxies for physical objects directly. A third question centers on the nature of properties perceived directly. Do we perceive the intrinsic properties of objects (such as size and shape) directly? If not, do we perceive intrinsic properties indirectly in virtue of perceiving mind-dependent appearance properties? Or do we perceive intrinsic properties indirectly, in virtue of perceiving mind-independent relational properties, such as situation-dependent properties?
Key works Versions of the first conception of direct perception are developed in Jackson 1977 and Foster 2000. A version of the second conception is explicated in Huemer 2001. Though interpretation is controversial, Reid 1813 is often listed as a historical proponent of direct realism. Modern proponents of the view include Brewer 2011 and Martin 2002. Indirect realism is often associated with Locke 1690. More recently the view has been advocated by Jackson 1977 and Robinson 1994.
Introductions Jackson 1977Huemer 2005BonJour 2004Schellenberg 2008.
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  1. The Circle of Acquaintance: Perception, Consciousness, and Empathy, by David Woodruff Smith.Richard E. Aquila - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (4):994-997.
  2. Irvin Rock, Indirect Perception.P. S. Arvidson - 1999 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 6:114-114.
  3. The Objects of Immediate Perception.Margaret Atherton - 2008 - In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), New Interpretations of Berkeley's Thought. Humanity Books.
  4. Perceiving the Intrinsic Properties of Objects.Ignacio Ávila - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):55-71.
    In this paper, I discuss Noë’s enactive account of our perceptual encounter with the intrinsic properties of the surrounding objects. First, I argue that this view falls into a dilemma in which either we are left without a satisfactory explanation of this encounter or, in order to keep Noë’s view, we must abandon our ordinary intuitions about the ontological status of the intrinsic properties of objects. Then, I show that, strikingly, there is a suggestive unofficial strand running in Noë that (...)
  5. Atención, referencia e inescrutabilidad.Ignacio Avila - 2014 - Estudios de Filosofía 50:31-51.
    Resumen: En este ensayo discuto la crítica de John Campbell a la tesis de la inescrutabilidad de la referencia de Quine. Primero defiendo que los argumentos de Campbell no dan en el blanco, pues él pasa por alto la conexión que Quine traza entre referencia, cuantificación, y ontología. Luego discuto otra línea de argumentación contra la inescrutabilidad que invoca la concepción relacional de la atención de Campbell. Finalmente, sugiero que esta línea –aunque insuficiente y necesitada de complemento– pone de manifiesto (...)
  6. Perception and Direct Awareness.Kali K. Banerjee - 1955 - Philosophical Quarterly (India) 28 (April):41-47.
  7. Internalism Empowered: How to Bolster a Theory of Justification with a Direct Realist Theory of Awareness.Benjamin Bayer - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (4):383-408.
    Abstract The debate in the philosophy of perception between direct realists and representationalists should influence the debate in epistemology between internalists and externalists about justification. If direct realists are correct, there are more consciously accessible justifiers for internalists to exploit than externalists think. Internalists can retain their distinctive internalist identity while accepting this widened conception of internalistic justification: even if they welcome the possibility of cognitive access to external facts, their position is still quite distinct from the typical externalist position. (...)
  8. Can Non-Pure Perception Be Direct?Aaron Ben-Zeev - 1988 - Philosophical Quarterly 38 (July):315-325.
  9. Reid's Direct Approach to Perception.Aaron Ben-Zeev - 1986 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 17 (1):99-114.
  10. Is Thomas Reid a Direct Realist About Perception?Hagit Benbaji - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):1-29.
    The controversy over the interpretative issue—is Thomas Reid a perceptual direct realist?—has recently had channelled into it a host of imaginative ideas about what direct perception truly means. Paradoxically enough, it is the apparent contradiction at the heart of his view of perception which keeps teasing us to review our concepts: time and again, Reid stresses that the very idea of any mental intermediaries implies scepticism, yet, nevertheless insists that sensations are signs of objects. But if sensory signs are not (...)
  11. Philosophical Analysis.Max Black - 1963 - Freeport, N.Y., Books for Libraries Press.
    Introduction MAX BLACK Nothing of any value can be said on method except through examples; but now, at the end of our course, we may collect certain general ...
  12. Epistemological Problems of Perception.Laurence BonJour - 2007 - Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The historically most central epistemological issue concerning perception, to which this article will be almost entirely devoted, is whether and how beliefs about physical objects and about the physical world generally can be justified or warranted on the basis of sensory or perceptual experience—where it is internalist justification, roughly having a reason to think that the belief in question is true, that is mainly in question (see the entry justification, epistemic: internalist vs. externalist conceptions of). This issue, commonly referred to (...)
  13. In Search of Direct Realism.Laurence BonJour - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2):349-367.
  14. Direct Perception: An Opponent and a Precursor of Computational Theories.O. J. Braddick - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):381.
  15. The Indirect Perception of Distance: Interpretive Complexities in Berkeley's Theory of Vision.Michael Braund - 2007 - Kritike 1 (2):49-64.
    The problem of whether perception is direct or if it depends on additional, cognitive contributions made by the perceiving subject, is posed with particular force in an Essay towards a New Theory of Vision. It is evident from the recurrent treatment it receives therein that Berkeley considers it to be one of the central issues concerning perception. Fittingly, the NTV devotes the most attention to it. In this essay, I deal exclusively with Berkeley's treatment of the problem of indirect distance (...)
  16. Direct Perception and a Call for Primary Perception.Bruce Bridgeman - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):382.
  17. Sense Without Matter, or Direct Perception. A. A. Luce. (Nelson. Pp. Ix, 165.).C. D. Broad - 1956 - Philosophy 31 (117):169-.
  18. Indirect Perceptual Realism and Multiple Reference.Derek Brown - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (3):323-334.
    Indirect realists maintain that our perceptions of the external world are mediated by our 'perceptions' of subjective intermediaries such as sensations. Multiple reference occurs when a word or an instance of it has more than one reference. I argue that, because indirect realists hold that speakers typically and unknowingly directly perceive something subjective and indirectly perceive something objective, the phenomenon of multiple reference is an important resource for their view. In particular, a challenge that A. D. Smith has recently put (...)
  19. Indirect Perceptual Realism and Demonstratives.Derek Henry Brown - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):377-394.
    I defend indirect perceptual realism against two recent and related charges to it offered by A. D. Smith and P. Snowdon, both stemming from demonstrative reference involving indirect perception. The needed aspects of the theory of demonstratives are not terribly new, but their connection to these objections has not been discussed. The groundwork for my solution emerges from considering normal cases of indirect perception (e.g., seeing something depicted on a television) and examining the role this indirectness plays in demonstrative assertions. (...)
  20. 1 The Case for Indirect Realism.Harold I. Brown - 2008 - In Edmond Wright (ed.), The Case for Qualia. MIT Press. pp. 45.
  21. Naive Realism and the Scientific Narration of Perception.Andrea Bucci - 2018 - Brainfactor:01-05.
    Naive realism is a widely debated topic in the philosophy of the mind. In this article I will review the theses of naive realism through the works of one of the most influential philosophers who supported and developed them, Michael Martin. Once the reasons why naive realism should be supported are discussed, I will propose an empirical argument to show that naive realism and the most basic scientific knowledge of perceptive processes are contradictory.
  22. The Best With What We Have: A Threefold Metaphysics of Perception.Andrea Bucci - 2018 - Brainfactor:1-11.
    In this paper I will try to outline a Metaphysics of Perception that takes for granted one of the central thesis of the metaphysical doctrine called Indirect Realism. Firstly, I will introduce the central thesis of Indirect Realism and then a special version of the Causal Theory of Perception that modifies in some fundamental respect one of the most influential version of Causal Theory of Perception designed by William Child.
  23. We Are Not Alone: Perception and The Others.Andrea Bucci - 2018 - Brainfactor:1-14.
    In this paper, I have outlined an original Metaphysics of Perception which takes into consideration some of the most common views about perception in the contemporary debate. Then I will look at the consequences of this metaphysics about our perception of others and what we know about them. In the third section, I suggest how to make sense of certain neuroscientific discoveries about social perception and social cognition. In the conclusion, I recap what has been done to say that others (...)
  24. Three Grades of Immediate Perception: Thomas Reid's Distinctions.Todd Buras - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (3):603–632.
    1. Introduction. Like other direct realists, Thomas Reid offered an alternative to indirect realist and idealist accounts of perception. Reids alternative aimed to preserve the indirect realists commitment to realism about the objects of perception, and the idealists commitment to the immediacy of the minds relation to the objects of perception. Reid holds that what you perceive is mind independent or external; and your relation to such objects in perception is direct or immediate. In his own words, something which is (...)
  25. The Problem with Reid's Direct Realism.Todd Buras - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209):457-477.
    There is a problem about the compatibility of Reid's commitment to both a sign theory of sensations and also direct realism. I show that Reid is committed to three different senses of the claim that mind independent bodies and their qualities are among the immediate objects of perception, and I then argue that Reid's sign theory conflicts with one of these. I conclude by advocating one proposal for reconciling Reid's claims, deferring a thorough development and defence of the proposal to (...)
  26. Inverse Gnomonic Projection of Plane Regions.F. Thomas Burke - 2011 - Wolfram Demonstrations Project.
    This demonstration shows inverse gnomonic projections of flat surface areas lying in a horizontal plane tangent to the projection sphere. It shows how optical surface area varies regularly as the distance of the respective surface area from the eye varies, decreasing as the latter increases. According to ecological psychology, this kind of regularity or "invariant" is what sensory systems are designed to detect. Attunement to such invariants in the interactions of eyes and terrains make possible the perception of distance and (...)
  27. A Phenomenological Framework for Neuroscience?Carmelo Calì - 2006 - Gestalt Theory 28 (1-2):109-122.
    This paper tries to sketch what phenomenological constraints for Neurosciences would be looking like. It maintains that such an adequate phenomenological description as that provided by Gestalt psychology is a condition for the Neurosciences to account for every-day experience opf the world. The explanatory gap in Cognitive sciences is discussed with reference to Jackendoff, Prinz, and Köhler.
  28. Direct Practice.Iris Carlton-LaNey & Janice Andrews - 1998 - In Josefina Figueira-McDonough, Ann Nichols-Casebolt & F. Ellen Netting (eds.), The Role of Gender in Practice Knowledge: Claiming Half the Human Experience. Garland. pp. 1086--93.
  29. Time-Gap Myopia.L. S. Carrier - 1972 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):55-57.
    I answer objections to my article, "The Time-Gap Argument," made by C. Daniels in his "Seeing Through a Time Gap.".
  30. Immediate and Mediate Perception.L. S. Carrier - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (July):391-403.
  31. The Time-Gap Argument.L. S. Carrier - 1969 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):263-272.
    I argue that the time-gap argument poses no objection to Direct Realism. In the case of exploded stars many light years from us, what we see is no longer the star, but its light. I argue that in all cases of seeing we see light, but only when physical objects exist at the time of our seeing do we see them.
  32. ``Philosophical Method and Direct Awareness of the Self&Quot.Hector--Neri Castañeda" - 1979 - In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of Roderick M. Chisholm. Amsterdam: Rodopi. pp. 1-58.
  33. Information and Direct Perception: A New Approach.Tony Chemero - forthcoming - In Priscila Farias & Jo (eds.), Advanced Issues in Cognitive Science and Semiotics.
    Since the 1970s, Michael Turvey, Robert Shaw, and William Mace have worked on the formulation of a philosophically-sound and empirically-tractable version of James Gibson.
  34. Causality, Interpretation, and the Mind.William Child - 1994 - Oxford University Press.
    Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He shows (...)
  35. The Theory of Appearing.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1950 - In Max Black (ed.), Philosophical Analysis. Prentice-Hall.
  36. Arnauld's Alleged Representationalism.Monte Cook - 1974 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 12 (1):53-62.
  37. A Realism for Reid: Mediated but Direct.Rebecca Copenhaver - 2004 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (1):61 – 74.
    It is commonly said of modern philosophy that it introduced a representative theory of perception, a theory that places representative mental items between perceivers and ordinary physical objects. Such a theory, it has been thought, would be a form of indirect realism: we perceive objects only by means of apprehending mental entities that represent them. The moral of the story is that what began with Descartes’s revolution of basing objective truth on subjective certainty ends with Hume’s paroxysms of ambivalence and (...)
  38. Thomas Reid's Direct Realism.Rebecca Copenhaver - 2000 - Reid Studies 4 (1):17-34.
    Thomas Reid thought of himself as a critic of the representative theory of perception, of what he called the ‘theory of ideas’ or ‘the ideal theory’.2 He had no kind words for that theory: “The theory of ideas, like the Trojan horse, had a specious appearance both of innocence and beauty; but if those philosophers had known that it carried in its belly death and destruction to all science and common sense, they would not have broken down their walls to (...)
  39. On Direct Perception.James W. Cornman - 1972 - Review of Metaphysics 26 (September):38-56.
  40. Gibson's Theory of Direct Perception and the Problem of Cultural Relativism.Alan Costall & Arthur Still - 1989 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 19 (4):433–441.
  41. Are There Mental Inferences in Direct Perceptions?Dan D. Crawford - 1982 - American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (January):83-92.
    While there is virtually a consensus among contemporary philosophers of perception that some form of direct realism is true, there is less than complete agreement about whether normal, direct perceptions involve mental inferences in any sense. In taking another look at this recurrent question, my aim is twofold: first, to examine some of the arguments and evidences that have been offered in favor of inferences and to see if they can be accommodated within the direct realist framework, and second, to (...)
  42. Direct Perception Theory Needs to Include Computational Reasoning, Not Extraretinal Information.Niels da Vitoria Lobo - 1994 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 17 (2):318.
  43. Social Understanding Through Direct Perception? Yes, by Interacting.Hanne De Jaegher - 2009 - Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):535-542.
    This paper comments on Gallagher’s recently published direct perception proposal about social cognition [Gallagher, S.. Direct perception in the intersubjective context. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 535–543]. I show that direct perception is in danger of being appropriated by the very cognitivist accounts criticised by Gallagher. Then I argue that the experiential directness of perception in social situations can be understood only in the context of the role of the interaction process in social cognition. I elaborate on the role of social (...)
  44. Naïve Realism and Phenomenological Directness: Reply to Millar.Erhan Demircioglu - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1897-1910.
    In this paper, I respond to Millar’s recent criticism of naïve realism. Millar provides several arguments for the thesis that there are powerful phenomenological grounds for preferring the content view to naïve realism. I intend to show that Millar’s arguments are not convincing.
  45. Berkeley on Immediate Perception: Once More Unto the Breach.Georges Dicker - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):517–535.
    I have previously argued that within an argument to show that we cannot perceive the causes of our sensations, Berkeley's Philonous conflates a psychological and an epistemic sense of 'immediately perceive', and uses the principle of perceptual immediacy (PPI), that whatever is perceived by the senses is immediately perceived. George Pappas has objected that Berkeley does not operate with either of these concepts of immediate perception, and does not subscribe to (PPI). But I show that Berkeley's argumentative strategy requires him (...)
  46. Moltke S. Gram, Direct Realism: A Study of Perception Reviewed By.Georges Dicker - 1985 - Philosophy in Review 5 (5):196-198.
  47. The Perception of Representational Content.John Dilworth - 2005 - British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (4):388-411.
    How can it be true that one sees a lake when looking at a picture of a lake, since one's gaze is directed upon a flat dry surface covered in paint? An adequate contemporary explanation cannot avoid taking a theoretical stand on some fundamental cognitive science issues concerning the nature of perception, of pictorial content, and of perceptual reference to items that, strictly speaking, have no physical existence. A solution is proposed that invokes a broadly functionalist, naturalistic theory of perception, (...)
  48. The Obscure Act of Perception.Jeffrey Dunn - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):367-393.
    Finding disjunctivist versions of direct realism unexplanatory, Mark Johnston [(2004). Philosophical Studies, 120, 113–183] offers a non-disjunctive version of direct realism in its place and gives a defense of this view from the problem of hallucination. I will attempt to clarify the view that he presents and then argue that, once clarified, it either does not escape the problem of hallucination or does not look much like direct realism.
  49. Object Files, Properties, and Perceptual Content.Santiago Echeverri - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (2):283-307.
    Object files are mental representations that enable perceptual systems to keep track of objects as numerically the same. How is their reference fixed? A prominent approach, championed by Zenon Pylyshyn and John Campbell, makes room for a non-satisfactional use of properties to fix reference. This maneuver has enabled them to reconcile a singularist view of reference with the intuition that properties must play a role in reference fixing. This paper examines Campbell’s influential defense of this strategy. After criticizing it, a (...)
  50. Direct Awareness and Inference.Judith Economos - 1983 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 6 (3):452.
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