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Concept of Direct Realism in Philosophy Essay


There are a lot of different philosophical theories which are applied into modern life. Considering realism as a philosophical trend, it may be defined as the ability to perceive things as real ones. Nowadays, there are to approaches to realism, extreme realism and moderate realism.

Extreme realism is closely connected to Plato’s theory which considers universals to exist both in the mind of a human being and in the perception of a particular thing which is discussed. Another vision of realism is a moderate one, where universals exist only in God’s mind as of the only creator of all things. The epistemological realism considers things as independently existing in our mind and perception.

On the contrary, idealism, considers things existing only in our mind. Modern consideration of the issue is as follows, the theory of knowledge (the term stands for idealism) considers the whole universe as the existence of the separate objects which and we perceive them directly involving our senses. This particular understanding of direct perception has another notion, direct or naïve realism.

Trying to define the notion of direct realism, it is necessary to refer to the theory of perception as these two notions are closely interconnected. This theory explains our ability to perceive physical objects as they are, in normal conditions, directly without referencing to subjective entities. For example if sugar tastes sweet, the sun seems orange and the snow feels cold, so the sugar is sweet, the sun is orange and the snow is cold.

Therefore, the direct realism is explained via human feelings and perceptions of specific objects without direct or indirect affect of other particular conditions and situation. For example, the sun seems orange, but if to look at it through colored glasses, the sun may get another color, but it does not make sun of another color. The reality remains the same, but the perception under specific conditions has changed (Dretske 336).

Perception is the central issue in understanding the theory of direct realism, therefore, it is important to keep in mind the central aspects of this notion and only then try to understand the theory of direct realism. Perception is defined as “a process which involves the recognition and interpretation of stimuli which register on our sense” (Rookes and Willson 1). People cognize the surrounding world by means of their senses.

It is not a secret for people that they have five central senses, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. These senses are important for people and in case one sense is absent, people are able to cognize the world utilizing the remaining ones. This, most of the things which surround people they cognize using their sight.

The surrounding reality is recognized by people through what they see, however, it is essential that people have other senses as sometimes we are unable to see and the use of smell, hearing, taste and touch are essential. People are unable to see the gasses and other invisible substances which exist in this world.

Applying to smell people are able to understand what surrounds them. Touching an object gives people an opportunity to get to know more information about it, such as the temperature, surface characteristics, etc. Touch as a sense is a really important feeling for perception the surrounding world.

Hearing is essential as well. There are a lot of different sounds which help fulfill personal world realization. Finally, taste adds to the understanding of the surrounding world and perceiving its reality.

Dwelling upon perception, it is essential to touch the problem of directness and indirectness of reality perception. If we intentionally touch, taste, listen to, smell or look at the object with the purpose to understand what it is, it is a direct perception. However, most of the information we get is perceived indirectly. Radio, television, the Internet and other supportive elements are important for our indirect perception.

Watching or listening to the information, we recognize the already familiar object and get to know about the new one. We do not have an opportunity to perceive them directly, but we use this information for applying the already got knowledge to the new aspects.

Thus, the world cognition is conducted by means of referring to the specific perceptions, either direct or indirect, when we do not have an opportunity to use any of the senses we have directly and refer just of the information we have to create associations (Rookes and Willson 105).

However, considering the direct realism as the part of the theory of perception, it is essential to keep in mind that human senses may be deceiving. The illusions and other particular issues may cause a number of difficulties on our way for universe cognition. There are a lot of cases when the inability to see something causes people to make mistakes in understanding the real characteristics of the object.

The surrounding world perception becomes spoiled and unreal. It happens because many people consider the objects under particular conditions as the purely natural. Therefore these mistakes prevent people from correct cognition of reality and create wrong vision of many objects, processes, conditions. Perceptional errors are usual and rather spread issues, therefore, the direct realism appears under criticism.

The opponents of the direct realism are sure that senses cannot be considered as the initial aspects of universe cognition. Senses just help people get the necessary information, however, this information cannot be used as the primary data. One of the main opponents of the direct realism theory is the casual theory which is closely interconnected with memory (Bernecker 74).

The main idea of this theory is that human mind contains the information which cannot be perceived. Thus, when people are born they can breeze, they have the basic reflexes which help them survive, such as clipping, breezing, catching, eating, etc. These are the characteristic features which cannot be perceived, therefore, people are unable to recognize these aspects via perception.

Thus, all the further human abilities are based on the basic reflects. Therefore, the perceptions are also the result of the God’s activity as this is God who helps people get the basic information about the surrounding world (Bernecker 74).

Remembering Aristotle, it is possible to refer to his ideas which critically considered the perception theory and direct realism as the whole. Aristotle said that the experience of something could not be gained just by means of perceiving the objects. It is really important to memorize those perceived issues and judge them to make sure that the object is correctly perceived.

Therefore, Aristotle’s vision of the cognition of the surrounding world includes memory and judgment which are essential aspects in perceiving the objects. Supporting the critical arguments of the direct realism, Aristotle is correct in some way, however, he also proves that perception plays essential role in the theory under consideration (Aristotle and Sachs 55).

Both these theories deserve attention as direct realism in combination with the theory of perceptual knowledge cannot explain all the issues as well as casual theory involving memory is unable to touch the universe realization in the whole way. People perceive surrounding world via many particular issues and the fact that feelings and perceptions are central in this process does not make this theory the only correct.

However, the ideas presented by this theory cannot be rejected as well as people cognize most of this world through their feelings. Trying to consider which theory is central in understanding the surrounding world, to consider who is responsible for objects realization, and to understand other specific issues.

Therefore, to sum it up, it should be stated that the direct realism theory explained as the perception of knowledge idea deserves attention as it is ne of the most powerful explanation to human understanding of the surrounding world. People consider the world directly through their senses and they do it personally. The reality is as it is cognized by people who refer to their five senses, smell, touch, sight, hearing and taste.

Even though there is a place for perceptual error when only one of the senses is used, the application of all five senses may help correct the situation.

The theory of direct realism should have opponents as only the presence of the opposite point of view which pretends to be the central one encourages scholars to continue research and to try to find the necessary information which may support the theory and offer proofs which may not be corrected.

Works Cited

Aristotle, and Joe Sachs. Aristotle’s Metaphysics, New York: Green Lion Press, 1999. Print.

Bernecker, Sven. The Metaphysics of Memory. Springer, 2008. Print.

Dretske, Fred. “Naïve Realism.” The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ed. Ted Honderich. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 336–338. Print.

Rookes, Paul and Jane Willson. Perception: Theory, Development and Organisation. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Concept of Direct Realism in Philosophy'. 12 August.

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