Direct realism, also know as naive realism, is the view that what we see, feel, & touch is real. That we can acknowledge that an object (e.g.
a Candle) that is in a room is real, and that we can confirm this through our senses. For a direct realist there is no difference between appearance and reality therefore they believe that if the eye (the perceiver) believes this object to be there, then it must be. Although other views would argue that not everything our eye see’s may be the truth, such as Descartes’ theory of the three waves of doubt.Direct realism is mainly known as a starting point for theories of perception. They believe we perceive the objects directly. That what we perceive is the object and not the representation. The representation that philosophers have called the sense-datum, which suggests that the objects we view in day-to-day life are not the objects themselves but a representation of it.
Direct realists disagree with this theory because they believe we perceive the object itself. This is what other realists would term as naive because they do not believe we experience physical objects just the way we see them, which in a sense is true but does not explain how we are able to view the representation of it without perceiving the object itself.Direct realism, I think, would not classify as naive because of the fact that our eye perceives the object to be real; we cannot doubt our sense, so therefore it is real. Although Descartes’ three waves of doubt would defy that.
This is because in the first wave of doubt Descartes challenges their view of how our senses are the only thing we should trust to be truthful. Descartes’ first wave of doubt is optical illusions and he shows us that sometimes what our eyes think to be true is not. An example of this is the stick in the water illusion. This illusion shows how our eye can sometimes deceive us. A stick had been put into water, from a side-glance at the container it shows the stick to be bent but if you were to look at it from another view, it would appear straight. So if the stick is straight but we see it bent.
It must mean something must be bent.We have a mental image of a bent stick; this shows that we don’t see the stick directly but indirectly, through sense-data. This questions whether our sense can be trusted. Counter arguments could be formed to rule this theory out. One could be that the eye is only one of our senses and that we have four more to be able to prove whether or not something is real.
Another argument is that we could be able to use science to prove why the stick does not appear to be straight from one view and does from another. This questions the direct realist’s theory on sense. Can we truly trust our senses?Hallucinations is another form of optical illusions and it does a lot to questions the direct realism’s theory of, what our senses “sense” to be real must be. With hallucinations it sometimes appears to be so real that even then it is slightly undistinguishable and if the direct realists do not believe in appearance or reality then how do they know that they are not hallucinating daily, because hallucinations are able to fool the senses. Such as a magician’s trick, the eye may perceive it as something, but the brain another. Which one would the direct realists consider to be wrong then? It goes to show that at times direct realism would be considered naive because their theory does not appear to challenge every little argument/counter argument given from other realist’s.Another argument that direct realists fail to challenge is distance and size.
If we were to put our thumb over the moon, it would appear to be bigger but in reality the moon is bigger than our thumb and the earth combined. How would direct realists argue this point? It directly shows that appearance and reality are not the same in this case, so what would be their argument? Direct realists would argue that you do not directly perceive the object but also their distance and size as well, so for the thumb over the moon theory it would show that direct realists believe we perceive other aspects of the object. An argument to argue the latter part of the theory is that other realists would not believe we may be able to experience/perceive the distance of an object. If so what do direct realists distinctively mean by the term ‘experiencing the distance of an object’?Is direct realism naive? I believe so.
They do not have enough evidence to explain and back up some of their theories so I would have to criticise their judgement. I do not believe that appearance and reality is necessarily the same thing but that we do directly experience things in the world. I do not believe in the sense-data theory because I do not think that we can experience a representation of something without directly/indirectly experiencing the object, so for that reason alone I would say that other realist views are naive in some of their view points. So direct realism should not be the only realist view classified as naive. I would conclude that direct realism, amongst other realist views, would be classified as naive.