Realism and Appearances: An Essay in Ontology

By John W. Yolton | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The realism of appearances

Astronomers are more apt to look at their telescope's monitors than to consider the stars with their naked eyes. But we continue to use our senses to interpret the work of the computers, to see the monitors, to judge and analyze, and to design ever newer dreams of artificial intelligence. Never will we leave the palace of our perceptions.

Diane Ackerman, Natural History of the Senses (1990), p. 301

Suppose then a hollow Globe with Perception, and painted on the Inside with Birds, Beasts and Fishes, and to have the knowledge of all that is delineated within it; the whole Delineation being within the Globe, and the Perception the Globe hath of it but one Act, is it not certain that the Appearance which this Representation would most naturally make to the Globe must be of something comprehended within it self? And the same it would probably be with the Mind, if there were not some external world, to signify and represent which our Ideas, by the Rules of divine Perspective, appear External.

Henry Grove, An Essay Towards a Demonstration of the Soul's Immateriality
(1718), pp. 16–17

Surely, any modern direct-realist theory of perception will allow causal intermediaries between object and percipient: no one would dream of denying the title of direct realism to a theory of perception merely because it tolerates causal intermediaries.

Robert Pasnau, Theories of Cognition in the Later Middle Ages (1997), p. 300

Each of these quotations relates to a key topic or issue embedded in those categories or contrasts listed in the Introduction. Diane Ackerman reminds us of an obvious fact, that our access to the world (to the physical world at least) is through perception. Churchland seems to overlook this fact in his claim that a neuroscientist, lacking the ability to see color, could know what it is like to see red just by consulting the dials of a machine. Churchland ignored the fact that Mary was using sense qualia


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Realism and Appearances: An Essay in Ontology


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 157

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?