representational realism

The question of direct or “naïve” realism, as opposed to indirect or “representational” realism, arises in the philosophy of perception and of mind out of the debate over the nature of conscious experience; the epistemological question of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself or merely an internal perceptual copy of that world generated by neural processes in our brain.

Naïve realism is known as direct realism when developed to counter indirect or representative realism, also known as epistemological dualism, the philosophical position that our conscious experience is not of the real world itself but of an internal representation, a miniature virtual-reality replica of the world.

Indirect realism is broadly equivalent to the accepted view of perception in natural science that states that we do not and can not perceive the external world as it really is but know only our ideas and interpretations of the way the world is. Representationalism is one of the key assumptions of cognitivism in psychology. The representational realist would deny that ‘first hand knowledge’ is a coherent concept, since knowledge is always via some means. Our ideas of the world are interpretations of sense data derived from an external world that is real (unlike the standpoint of idealism). The alternative, that we have knowledge of the outside world that is unconstrained by our sense organs and does not require interpretation, would appear to be inconsistent with everyday observation. (wiki)

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