IN DEFENSE OF NAÏVE REALISM
At the heart of philosophy of perception, and often in philosophy in general, lies the question: how can we know that what we perceive is reality? There is a myriad of skeptical responses, which essentially conclude, in different variations, that we can never perceive the world as it actually is. Then, there are arrays of “naïve” responses to this question, which reply that we are in fact able to perceive the world as it actually is. Naïve, or direct, realism takes the latter view, and states that we are able to perceive objects in the world as they really are, and thus gain objective knowledge from the world. Often, the existence of sense data is used to show that naïve realism is false. In contrast with this, I argue that the existence of sense data, which are a part, and not the whole, of objects, are what proves that naïve realism is true. I do this through a serious of steps, beginning with examining John Searle’s Argument from Illusion in his book, Seeing Things As They Are. Next, using H.H. Price’s book, Perception, I show how the existence of sense data are the best explanation for how objects behave in a systematic way. Last, I present my own view of naïve realism, which ultimately says that sense data are what we use to justify true and objective beliefs about objects and state of affairs in the world.