Event Date 24 October 2011
Senate House – University of London
THE ARISTOTELIAN SOCIETY
Professor Gianfranco Soldati (Fribourg):
Direct Realism and the Properties of Experience
Direct realism with respect to perceptual experiences has two facets, an epistemological one and a metaphysical one. From the epistemological point of view it involves the claim that perceptual experiences provide immediate justification. From the metaphysical point of view it involves the claim that in perceptual experience we enter in direct contact to items in the external world. In a more radical formulation, often associated with naïve realism, the metaphysical conception of direct realism involves the idea that perceptual experiences depend on the items in the external world they are related to. This paper describes a simple account that makes room for immediate justification provided by perceptual experience.
The simple account establishes an explanatory relation between the justificational role of a perceptual experience and the fact that such an experience provides a reason for a belief. The account is evaluated in the light of some objections. Different ways to react to those objections are discussed. It will appear that in order to preserve the explanatory relation established by the simple account, one has to accept naïve realism. By breaking the connection between reason and justification, on the other side, one jeopardises the possibility for perceptual experience to deliver immediate justification.