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
The Scope of Noninferentially Justified, or
According to direct realism, memory beliefs possess
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
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
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
, 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
credible, whenever one has trouble providing a justification for some knowledge claims.
One should try, rather, to
of things that one can have noninferentially justified