The Choice between Direct Realism and Indirect Realism

The Choice between Direct Realism and Indirect Realism -...

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The Choice between Direct Realism and Indirect Realism Let us now turn to a consideration of the relative merits of direct realism and indirect realism.  The choice between these two views rests, I shall suggest, upon certain general considerations  concerning the sorts of states of affairs that can be the object of noninferentially justified, or  prima facie  credible, beliefs. The Scope of Noninferentially Justified, or  Prima Facie  Credible, Beliefs According to direct realism, memory beliefs possess  prima facie  credibility. One might begin by  asking, then, what support, if any, one can offer for this claim. Some philosophers would, I think, be content to respond by arguing that unless one is willing to  accept this view, one will inevitably be driven to skepticism, on the grounds that any attempt to  show that knowledge of the past is inferential  is doomed to failure. We have just seen, however,  that that claim is not true. But one also wants to ask whether, even if no inferential account of the justification of memory  beliefs were available, one would be justified in simply assuming that memory beliefs possess  prima facie  credibility. After all, mightn't skepticism be the right position? Mightn't it be true  that we just cannot have any justified beliefs about the past, even including the belief that there is  a past? For may it not be that the reason why we believe, in everyday life, that we do have  knowledge of the past is that we think that it must be possible somehow to  show  that memory is  generally reliable? And if it then turns out that there is no way of doing that, shouldn't our  conclusion be that we were mistaken in thinking that we had knowledge of the past? To conclude,  instead, that we do have knowledge of the past, but that it must therefore be noninferential, rather  than inferential, would seem  ad hoc , and unjustified. In addition, the skeptic can push his or her case further by arguing that one should not be  allowed, in general, simply to postulate that certain beliefs are noninferentially justified, or  prima  facie  credible, whenever one has trouble providing a justification for some knowledge claims.  One should try, rather, to  delimit  the  sorts  of things that one can have noninferentially justified 
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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The Choice between Direct Realism and Indirect Realism -...

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