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Epistemology , philosophy A level > Perception > Flashcards

Flashcards in Perception Deck (50)
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1

What does objective mean?

True for everyone

2

What does subjective mean?

One person's view

3

What does perceive mean?

The ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses

4

What is the external world ?

World of physical objects beyond or outside ones mind

5

What does naive mean?

Over simplistic , un sophisticated or uninformed

6

What does realism mean ?

The theory that the world exists independently of our minds

7

What is "sense data"

Indirect realism's term for the mental representations of the physical world that are immediate objects of our perception

They are non physical
Temporary
Private

8

What is direct realism ?

Claim that we perceive objects directly and they are just as we perceive them.
We perceive objects directly without anything getting in between us and the objects we perceive

9

What is indirect realism ?

What we perceive is not the physical object itself but an indirect representational version of objects rather than the actual object

10

Eye -> sense object -> actual object

What type of realism is this referring to?

Indirect realism

11

Eye -> actual object


What type of realism is this referring to ?

Direct realism

12

If a tree falls in a forest and nobody was there to see it, does it make a noise ?

What would a direct realist say?

The tree does make a noise.

The world is how it appears to be. Whenever someone is present when a tree falls, they become immediately aware of the noise.
As we have observed that when trees fall, they make noises, we can be confident that this is what they do regardless if anyone is observing

We can perceive the properties of a tree and know they are there because we perceive them

13

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a noise ?

What would an indirect realist say?

Yes and no

Yes - noise is a secondary quality

No- if there were no perceives, there would be no subjective experience of a noise , only compressions of air

14

Outline the differences between sense data and physical objects (9 marks)

Sense data is what indirect realists believe we perceive instead of actual objects. We perceive indirect representational versions of these objects instead

Physical objects are what direct realists believe we perceive directly without meditation.

Firstly, sense data is non physical. They are mental representations of physical objects which is caused by the physical world.
Physical objects exist in the material world and are measurable.

Sense data is temporary and only exists when I am having the perceptions.
Physical objects are permanent and exist when we are not looking at them

Sense data is private and subjective as only we can see our own perceptions.
Physical objects are public, objective and accessible to all

Sense data is transparent with no hidden features
Physical objects have aspects that are hidden

15

Outline the 4 different properties of sense data and physical objects ?

Sense data
Non physical
Temporary
Private
No hidden properties

Physical objects
Physical
Permanent
Public
Has hidden properties

16

Who are the two main philosophers that present direct realism ?

Austin
Strawson

17

Who are the two main philosophers who argue for Indirect realism ?

Locke
Russell

18

What is the problem of illusion ?
(4 premises)

1When viewing a stick half submerged in water, we are aware of something that is bent

2No relevant thing in this situation is bent

3 at this given instance, we are directly aware of something non physical

4 what we are aware of here is the same kind of thing we are aware of in normal non illusionary perception (phenomenal principle)

Therefore in normal principle, we are directly aware of non physical things

19

How would a direct realist respond to the problem of illusion ?

Attacks premise one. Argues you we not "directly aware" it is bent

1 when perceiving the stick in water we see something that appears bent
2 there is no relevant physical thing that is bent
3 we can explain this by saying the stick has the property of appearing bent in certain contexts.
This is a relational property and only happens in relation to seeing the stick in water

Therefore we don't need to put forward a separate mental object (sense data) we still see the physical object directly

20

What is the criticism of perceptual variation?

Bertrand Russell's table

1 when perceiving the table, what I am aware of differs depending on light and angle i view it. People looking at it from different angles see a different shape or colour.
Colour blind people also have different perceptions to non colour blind people.

2 the table does not physical change
3 therefore in this situation we are directly aware of something non physical
4 what we are aware of here is the same kind of thing we are aware of in a non illusionary perception (phenomenal principle)

Therefore in normal perception, we are directly aware of non physical things

21

How would a direct realist respond to the criticism of perceptual variation?

There is variation in the way objects look and how we see things depends on the context.
We can pick the context most common and therefore most useful to us I.e. Broad daylight.

Therefore we dot need to put forward a separate mental object (sense data) we still see the physical object directly

22

What is the criticism of hallucinations?

1 when hallucinating I may see pink elephants on the ceiling
2 there are no pink elephants on the ceiling
3 therefore in this situation we are aware of something non physical
4 what we are aware of here is the same kind of thing we are aware of in normal non illusionary perception (phenomenal principle)
Therefore in normal perception, we are directly aware of non physical things

Further - if hallucinations are indistinguishable from reality then we may be hallucinating all the time

23

What would a direct realist say in response to the hallucinations criticism.

We recognise hallucinations as distinct from realist so we must know reality or the distinction would not existS

You cannot say "this fiver is forgery so all fivers are forgery" as there must be a real one for it to copy

It could also be said that hallucinations are not perceptions as perceptions are when we have a sensory experience of something caused by a physical object and there is no physical object

24

Why might the response to the criticism of hallucinations (direct realism) not work?

Hallucinations are still perceived by the senses. The response just highlights the fact that the object they may be perceiving is not there.

25

What is the criticism of time lag arguments ?

1 when perceiving a star in the sky I am aware of something that may have ceased to exist hundreds of years ago or if I look up at the sun I am perceiving light that has taken 8 minutes to travel from the sun to my eyes
2 the star or sun may not be the way I perceive it due to time lag
3 therefore in this situation we are not directly aware of the object directly but of something non physical
4 what we are directly aware of here is the same kind of thing as what we are directly aware of in a non illusory perception

Therefore in a normal perception , we are directly aware of non physical things

26

What might a direct realist say in response to the time lag argument ?

We are not aware of some mental object (sense data) but objects as they were in the past.

Therefore we do not need to put forward a separate mental object and we still see the physical object directly

27

What is a primary quality according to Locke ?

A quality of an object independent of how people perceive them .
Objects have these properties "in and of themselves"

Examples - shape, mass, size, position

28

What is a secondary quality according to Locke?

A quality of an object which is related to the perceiver by definition (they depend on the person perceiving them)
They are properties that objects can only have when being perceived by someone
Example - colour , smell , taste

29

What is the criticism against indirect realism "veil of perception"?

Sense data acts as a veil between use and the world.
If we only ever experience sense data, we cannot ever be certain that the world exists at all, as we never experience it directly.
This leads to Solipsism - the belief that everything i experience is a product of my mind and there is no reality beyond our mind
This is unsatisfactory as it suggests nothing is real in the common sense meaning of morality which goes against our basic intuitions that the world exists.

This criticism avoids the problem of a "veil of perception" separating us from the world leading to scepticism

30

How does Bertrand Russell reply to the "veil of perception" criticism against indirect realism ?

"The external world is the 'best hypothesis' to explain our perceptions"

1 we cannot choose our sense data, blind people never see colours so our sense organs do not create sensations of colour on their own. They therefore must be caused by something outside of us.
2 we cannot produce sensations at will . We cannot imagine ourselves on a beautiful beach and then it magically appears around us suggesting there is an external world beyond our minds causing me to have particular sense impressions
3 although we cannot experience the external world directly and it's existence is merely theoretical, it is the best hypothesis as it helps explain our experiences

31

What is the criticism of Ockham's razor against indirect realism?

Ockham's razor presents the idea that we should always go with the simplest explanation and "cut out" unnecessary things

We do not need sense data to explain non - veridical perceptions like illusions as we can explain them in other ways compatible with direct realism which is simpler and more efficient theory

We do not need to put forward the idea of sense data, if perceptions can be explained without it

32

How might an indirect realist respond to the criticism of Ockham's razor ?

Putting forward the idea of sense data is necessary as direct realism is naive

- insert any 4 criticisms

33

What is the criticism against indirect realism which highlights the problem of sense data "resembling" or "representing" the real world ?

Locke claims that the ideas of primary qualities 'resemble' the primary qualities that the object we are perceiving has. Secondary qualities don't resemble the object at all.

However- circles do not look circular when viewed from an angle, they look oval. So lack of resemblance applies to primary and secondary qualities. Primary qualities change depending on perceivers too ! So it doesn't make sense to say sense data resembles primary qualities of objects

You also cannot compare material objects to sense data as we only ever perceive sense data immediately !

34

How might an indirect realist reply to the problem of sense data resembling or representing the real world ? What do u think of the criticism?

Sense data represents primary qualities in a regular and predictable way. When turning a penny it may appear oval. However it does not change into a new shape so it must have real and objective properties to appear regular and predictable.


This doesn't address the idea that you can't compare sense data to material objects!

35

What are the 4 criticisms of indirect realism?

Veil of perception
Ockham's razor
The problem of sense data "resembling" or "representing" physical objects
Sense data being incoherent

36

What are the 4 criticisms of direct realism ?

The problem of illusion
The problem of perceptual variation
The problem of hallucination
The problem of time lags

37

What is the criticism of indirect realism about the incoherence of sense data?

According to Locke , sense data resembles physical objects , but mental objects do not spatially exist so cannot resemble physical objects
I.e. Sense data cannot literally be square or yellow as it is mental
Sense data cannot be like something else as it does not have physical properties

Sense data is said to be exactly how it seems and can't have properties we are not aware of. However, looking at the spots on a leopard, we are not aware of how many there are. Therefore sense data does have properties we are not aware of. This inconsistency with hidden properties supports the idea that sense data is incoherent.

38

What is idealism ?

Berkeley

The immediate objects of perception (ordinary objects like tables and chairs) are mind dependent.
Physical objects are merely collections of ideas.

1 all we know comes through experience
2 we only ever experience ideas/sense data
Therefore, all that exists are ideas and minds that perceive those ideas

We don't perceive anything that isn't mind dependent so the concept of matter should be rejected

39

What is the master argument for idealism ?

1 it is impossible to imagine an unperceived object
2 this is because, whenever you try to imagine an unperceived object, you are imagining it form the perspective of yourself perceiving it
3 so only things that are perceived can exist
"To be is to be perceived or to perceive "

40

Why is Berkeley not a solipsist?

He does not think we can cause our perceptions- god does.
He wills us to perceive things the way we do

41

What is Berkeley's argument for god

1 something must be causing our sensory experience
2 the cause could be god or matter
3 we already know that we exist, and god is another thing like us as he is conscious. He is more powerful, good and knowledgeable than us but saying he exists is not putting forward the existence of a new thing
4 matter is a completely different type of thing to us. It is not conscious but inactive and occupies space
5 therefore, relying on Ockham's razor, we should not say that matter exists as it is a new and unnecessary type of thing , when we can explain everything using minds and ideas

42

How can the third criticism of indirect realism (sense data resembling or representing the real world) be used to support idealism?

1 Locke claims that only secondary qualities can vary from person to person, however primary qualities like shape and size can also vary. E.g. Circles can appear oval at certain angles
Sense data therefore cannot be said to resemble an object's primary qualities.
- as properties change between perceivers, all properties are mind dependent.
Therefore only minds and ideas exist.


2 you cannot say something resembles something else without having access to both things

Locke believes we are only aware of sense data

So he cannot argue sense data represents the real world.

Ockham's razor could be used to argue that it is simpler to say that only minds and ideas exist as perceptions can be explained without the physical world.

43

What is the difference between primary and secondary qualities ?

1
Primary qualities are independent of perceivers. They are intrinsic to objects and would exist even if nobody was around to perceive them.
Secondary properties are dependent on perceivers and are "powers in the object to produce sensations in us"

2 primary qualities are easily measurable. I.e. Size and shape can be measured easily.
Secondary qualities are not easily measurable in scientific or geometric terms. I.e. You cannot measure smell in a quantifiable way

3 primary qualities are often accessible to more than one sense. I.e. We can see and feel the shape of something. Secondary qualities are often accessible by just one sense. I.e. We cannot hear colour

4 primary qualities accurately resemble objects' real qualities. I.e. Shape I perceive resembles the real shape of the object
Secondary qualities do not accurately resemble the object. They are powers in the object to produce sensations in us. These sensations do not resemble anything in the banana itself merely how it appears to my mind

44

How does the primary and secondary quality distinction support the case for indirect realism

There is variation in how different people perceive things like colour.

Colour is a secondary property.

It shows our perceptions must be of something other than objects as they physically are, because we perceive them with colour act...

So these properties must come about through sense data.

45

What is The criticism of idealism against Berkeley's argument of god ?

Berkeley claims that we are more like God than matter as god is a conscious mind like us. It is therefore a better explanation to say god is the cause of our ideas

However we can argue that we are more like matter than god as god is infinite when we are finite and god exists outside of time when we exist within time.

Berkeley also bases his theory on the assumption that we know about what exists because we have experience

However we have no direct experience of God so Berkeley cannot consistently argue that we know he exists

46

What is the criticism of illusions against idealism?

According to Berkeley, only minds and ideas (sense data) exist.
This means that there is nothing behind an object's perceived qualities

However if there are no real objects beyond our perceptions then it is not possible to distinguish an illusion from a real perception as all that exists are perceptions
I.e. If a stick appears bent in water then we cannot distinguish that it isn't bent

47

How might Berkeley respond to the criticism against idealism about illusions?

Why might he be wrong?

He says that it is correct to say that all that exists are our perceptions.
What is wrong is my expectation that when I take the stick out of water, it will still be bent

This accepts that when we perceive the stick in water, it is bent. No relevant thing is bent!!

48

What is the criticism of idealism - continued existence of objects?

Berkeley says "to be is to be perceived" which suggests that when we are not perceiving objects, they no longer exist

However everyday experiences suggest the continued existence of objects when not being perceived
E.g. When I run a bath and leave the room and leave nobody to perceive the bath then when I come back, the water level has risen. If nobody was perceiving the bath then the bath water would not have continued to rise as the object wouldn't exist!

49

How does Berkeley respond to the criticism against idealism of the continued existence of objects?

God was perceiving it

50

What is the criticism of the master argument ?

Master argument claims that whatever you imagine, you are imagining a perception. You cannot imagine an unperceived object as you would be imagining it from the perspective of perceiving it


However we can have ideas of things without necessarily picturing them.
I.e. We can have he idea of a 1000 side shape without having a mental picture in our minds.
So we can conceive of an unperceived object without picturing it in our minds. We can make sense of the the idea. All this means is that some idea are not simply images

Therefore this undermines the idea that only things that can be perceived can exists