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Saturday, April 18, 2020

In Defense of Naive Realism

Naive realism is a bizarre name for a philosophical position; the name creates the impression that the position is innocent, infantile, and ignorant—it’s, after all, naive. A person new to philosophy, when he encounters the term “naive realism,” might become disenchanted—why should he waste time on a philosophical position which is naive? But naive realism is not naive; it’s a sophisticated, and probably the most interesting position in philosophy of mind—it holds that the world of physical objects exists irrespective of whether or not anyone is observing them and that our senses present us a view of the world as it is. Every realist theory of perception makes use of the tenets of naive realism—direct realism, I think, is a much better, more honest, name for this position.

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