Defeat of Atheism Through Defeat of Direct Realism

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Defeat of Atheism Through Defeat of Direct Realism

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Tue Feb 02, 2021 4:08 am

DEFEAT OF ATHEISM THROUGH THE DEFEAT OF DIRECT REALISM

(AKA "DEFEAT OF ATHEISM THROUGH THE TRAP OF GODLESS DEATH"- PART THREE)



This one is easy.

Pierre Le Morvan in his article, Arguments Against Direct Realism And How To Counter Them provides Direct Realists with counterarguments designed to defeat the philosophical assails of non-Direct Realists. Le Morvan does this either for sake of argument or because he is an adherent of Direct Realism: the belief that when we look upon objects and events, we look directly into the external world and see objects and events as they actually “appear” and “behave” in the external world. After allowing Le Morvan the floor, I will systematically demonstrate the irrationality and metaphysical impossibility of Direct Realism.

ARGUMENTS AGAINST DIRECT REALISM AND HOW TO COUNTER THEM

Pierre Le Morvan

AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY
Volume 41, Number 3, July 2004



SINCE THE DEMISE OF THE SENSE-DATUM THEORY AND PHENOMENALISM IN THE LAST CENTURY, DIRECT REALISM IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF PERCEPTION HAS ENJOYED A RESURGENCE OF POPULARITY. CURIOUSLY, HOWEVER, ALTHOUGH THERE HAVE BEEN ATTEMPTS IN THE LITERATURE TO REFUTE SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST DIRECT REALISM, THERE HAS BEEN, AS OF YET, NO SYSTEMATIC TREATMENT OF ALL EIGHT OF THE MAIN ARGUMENTS AGAINST IT. THE AIM OF THIS PAPER IS TO FILL THIS LACUNA IN THE LITERATURE BY DISCUSSING ALL EIGHT OF THESE ARGUMENTS AGAINST DIRECT REALISM AND THE ARGUMENTATIVE STRATEGIES DIRECT REALISTS MAY DEPLOY TO COUNTER THEM.

DIRECT REALISTS HOLD THAT PERCEPTION IS AN IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT AWARENESS OF MIND-INDEPENDENT PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS IN THE EXTERNAL WORLD; IN TAKING THIS AWARENESS TO BE IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT, DIRECT REALISTS DENY THAT THE PERCEPTION OF THESE PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS REQUIRES A PRIOR AWARENESS OF SOME tertium quid (E.G., A REIFIED APPEARANCE, SENSE-DATUM, SENSUM, IDEA, QUALITY-INSTANCE, SPECIES) MEDIATING BETWEEN THE MIND AND EXTERNAL PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS. DIRECT REALISM IS THUS LOGICALLY INCOMPATIBLE WITH INDIRECT REALISM AND WITH IDEALISM AND PHENOMENALISM.

INDIRECT REALISTS, LIKE DIRECT REALISTS, ARE REALISTS IN THE SENSE THAT THEY TAKE MIND-INDEPENDENT OBJECTS OR EVENTS TO BE OBJECTS OF PERCEPTION; HOWEVER, UNLIKE DIRECT REALISTS, INDIRECT REALISTS TAKE THIS PERCEPTION TO BE INDIRECT BY INVOLVING A PRIOR AWARENESS OF SOME tertium quid BETWEEN THE MIND AND EXTERNAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS.

IDEALISTS AND PHENOMENALISTSAGREE WITH THE INDIRECT REALISTS’ DENIAL THAT PERCEPTION IS AN IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT AWARENESS OF MIND-INDEPENDENT PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS IN THE EXTERNAL WORLD; BUT THEY GO FURTHER IN DENYING ALTOGETHER THE EXISTENCE OF MIND-INDEPENDENT OBJECTS OR EVENTS. FOR IDEALISTS AND PHENOMENALISTS, PERCEPTION IS AN AWARENESS OF MIND-DEPENDENT OBJECTS AND EVENTS. IDEALISTS TAKE PERCEIVED OBJECTS TO BE ONTOLOGICALLY DEPENDENT ON BEING PERCEIVED (esse est percipi). PHENOMENALISTS TAKE PERCEIVED OBJECTS TO BE ONTOLOGICALLY DEPENDENT ON THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING PERCEIVED (esse est poss percipi).

SINCE DIRECT REALISM IS LOGICALLY INCOMPATIBLE WITH INDIRECT REALISM OR WITH IDEALISM AND PHENOMENALISM , DEFEATING DIRECT REALISM IS NECESSARY FOR MOUNTING A CASE FOR ANY OF ITS RIVALS. THIS EXPLORATION OF STRATEGIES DIRECT REALISTS MAY DEPLOY AGAINST ARGUMENTS PURPORTING TO DEFEAT DIRECT REALISM IS THUS AN EXPLORATION OF HOW TO DEFEAT THESE PUTATIVE DEFEATERS.

IN THIS CONNECTION, TWO PRELIMARY CLARIFICATIONS ARE IN ORDER.

FIRST, DIRECT REALISM IS OFTEN CONFLATED WITH WHAT IS CALLED “NAÏVE REALISM”.
NAÏVE REALISM, A STRONG FORM OF DIRECT REALISM, CLAIMS THAT PERCEIVED OBJECTS OR EVENTS ALWAYS APPEAR EXACTLY AS THEY ARE. ONE CAN BE A DIRECT REALIST, HOWEVER, WITHOUT BEING A NAÏVE REALIST. THIS IS BECAUSE HOLDING THAT PERCEPTION OF PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS IS DIRECT OR IMMEDIATE DOES NOT ENTAIL THAT ONE MUST ALSO HOLD THAT PERCEIVED OBJECTS OR EVENTS ALWAYS APPEAR EXACTLY AS THEY ARE. HENCE, TO SHOW THAT NAÏVE REALISM IS UNTENABLE DOES NOT SHOW THAT DIRECT REALISM ITSELF IS UNTENABLE.

SECOND, DISCUSSIONS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF PERCEPTION HAVE FOCUSED HEAVILY ON VISUAL PERCEPTION. THIS PAPER WILL FOLLOW THE USUAL PRACTICE OF DISCUSSING DIRECT REALISM WITH REGARD TO VISUAL PERCEPTION, NOT WITH REGARD TO OTHER SENSORY MODALITIES. IT’S WORTH NOTING, HOWEVER, THAT A COMMITMENT TO DIRECT REALISM WITH REGARD TO VISUAL PERCEPTION DOES NOT ipso facto COMMIT ONE TO DIRECT REALISM CONCERNING ANY OTHER SENSORY MODALITY.

*PAUSE BUTTON*

Why must commitment to Direct Realism in regard to visual perception escape the requirement for commitment to Direct Realism in regard to non-visual perception?

Because a commitment to Direct Realism in regard to the other senses (and cognition and emotion) requires belief that alongside not-consciousness composed external objects exist disembodied non-visual perceptions composed of subjective experience that float outside (and are not created by) the brain in the external world. If perception of the external world, which we know from experience has only appeared in the form of something experienced by a person is and can be nothing but the experience of a person, if one believes experiences cannot exist unless and until an experience is created by a brain, experiences cannot exist as things not created by the brain that float in the external world and qualify alongside not-consciousness composed objects as subjects of Direct Realism.

One need only isolate the experience of sound from the physics of sound in the external world: non-visual perceptions, despite the fact they are believed to have visually perceived or invisible causatives in the external world (for example, the expansion or contraction of external world-dwelling, not-consciousness composed air believed responsible for the existence of experienced sound), independent of their external causatives non-visual perceptions (as they are not one and the same as their external causatives as they only result from external causatives) do not “depict” external objects or events and as such do not qualify as “perceptions of the external world”.

That is, non-visual perceptions are invisible, intangible, and privately experienced consequences of the behavior of external objects and thus cannot depict external objects (and events). This leaves visual perception as the only aspect of consciousness that “depicts” the external world.

*RESUME PLAY*

SO MUCH FOR PRELIMINARIES. IN THE NEXT SECTION, THE EIGHT MAIN ARGUMENTS AGAINST DIRECT REALISM ARE EXPLORED TOGETHER WITH THE STRATEGIES DIRECT REALISTS MAY DEPLOY TO COUNTER THEM.

*PAUSE BUTTON AGAIN* (SORRY)

There is no need for this article to introduce and provide counter-Direct Realism arguments against Le Morvan’s defense against all eight of the Eight Arguments Against Direct Realism. Only the First Argument, The Causal Argument, is needed to demonstrate the irrationality of Direct Realism.

*RESUME PLAY*

THE CAUSAL ARGUMENT

FIRST PREMISE. DIRECT REALISTS HOLD THAT EXTERNAL PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS CAN BE IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT OBJECTS OF PERCEPTION.

SECOND PREMISE. BUT PERCEPTION INVOLVES A LONG AND COMPLEX CAUSAL SERIES OF EVENTS. FOR INSTANCE, LIGHT QUANTA ARE REFLECTED OR EMITTED FROM AN EXTERNAL OBJECT, THE LIGHT QUANTA THEN TRAVEL THROUGH AN INTERVENING MEDIUM (E.G. AIR AND/OR WATER), THEY THEN HYPERPOLARIZE RETINAL CELLS BY BLEACHING RHODOPSIN PHOTOPIGMENT MOLECULES, AND THEN A VERY COMPLEX SERIES OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESSES TAKES PLACE IN THE EYE AND IN THE BRAIN EVENTUATING IN PERCEPTION.

CONLUSION: DIRECT REALISM IS FALSE.

GIVEN THIS LONG AND COMPLEX CAUSAL SERIES, PHYSICAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS CANNOT BE IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT OBJECTS OF PERCEPTION.

THE PROPONENT OF THIS KIND OF ARGUMENT USUALLY THEN PROCEEDS TO CLAIM THAT SOMETHING ELSE (A SENSE-DATUM, OR SENSUM, OR IDEA, OR SENSATION, OR IMAGE, OR QUALITY-INSTANCE, OR SPECIES) IS THE IMMEDIATE OBJECT OF PERCEPTION.


HOW DIRECT REALISTS MAY COUNTER THE CAUSAL ARGUMENT

IT’S WISE FOR DIRECT REALISTS TO CONCEDE THAT FOR HUMANS, AND FOR PERCIPIENTS PHYSIOLOGICALLY LIKE US IN THE ACTUAL WORLD, PERCEPTION INVOLVES A LONG AND COMPLEX CAUSAL SERIES OF EVENTS, AND THAT PERCEPTION IS INDEED DEPENDENT UPON THE CONDITION OF THE EYES, OF THE OPTIC NERVE, AND OF THE BRAIN, UPON THE NATURE OF THE INTERVENING MEDIUM, AND SO ON.

ONE CAN BE A DIRECT REALIST WITHOUT BEING SO NAÏVE OR IGNORANT AS TO THINK THAT IN THE ACTUAL WORLD (AND RELEVANTLY SIMILAR POSSIBLE WORLDS), HUMANS PERCEIVE EXTERNAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS DIRECTLY IN THE SENSE THAT THERE ARE NO CAUSAL INTERMEDIARIES BETWEEN THE EXTERNAL OBJECT OR EVENT AND THE PERCIPIENT.

DOES THIS CONCESSION ENTAIL THE FALSITY OF DIRECT REALISM? NO. IN HOLDING THAT EXTERNAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS ARE IMMEDIATE OR DIRECT OBJECTS OF PERCEPTION, DIRECT REALISTS DENY THAT PERCEPTION OF THESE EXTERNAL OBJECTS OR EVENTS MUST BE MEDIATED BY A PRIOR AWARENESS OF CAUSAL INTERMEDIARIES IN THE CAUSAL SERIES EVENTUTING IN PERCEPTION.
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DEFEAT OF DIRECT REALISM

Of course one need not be intellectually or perceptually aware of the ‘causal complexity of the visual process’ in order to perceive external objects or events (for those believing in Direct Realism): Le Morvan’s response to the Causal Argument entirely misses the point and intimates the key weakness in any defense of Direct Realism: regardless of whether or not one believes visual perception is direct perception of external objects and events, visual perceptions remain (for those believing the brain creates consciousness) constructs created ex nihilo by the brain.

This formation of visual perceptions from non-existence rather than from the external objects and events they are purported to “depict” totally divorces causation of existence of “perception of external objects and events” from external objects and events, as external objects and events cannot communicate with [i]something that does not exist
to inform the non-existent entity what it should be like when it comes into existence.

We are told by adherents of Direct Realism that visual perception is direct perception of the external world despite the fact that perception of the external world is not one and the same as the external world because one is produced by the brain and the other is not. Given the external world is not created by the brain while visual perceptions are created by the brain, one cannot experience the external world to compare the external world to visual perceptions and conclude one bears the appearance of the other.

Why?

Because one can only experience what the brain creates (for those believing the brain creates consciousness): the external world is not created by the brain thus it cannot be perceived. If perception itself is a product of the brain and as such can only exist if perception is produced from neurons, how can, how can one confuse that which is created by neurons (visual perceptions) with that which is not produced by neurons (objects and events in the external world)?

One only takes that which is produced by neurons and irrationally asserts it looks upon that which is not produced by neurons, despite the fact one can only perceive that which is “movie projected” from neurons. Being able to observe the one and it being impossible to observe the other, it does not follow why one would claim the visible looks upon the invisible, save that one comes to irrationally believe the visible reflects the invisible. Being invisible, the invisible cannot be placed next to the visible to conclude resemblance.

Indirect Realism also fails in this regard: one cannot perceive or experience the external world as the external world is not created by the brain (and one can only experience that which is created by the brain), thus one cannot perceive what the brain did not create to claim perceived objects are a tertium quid or simulation of the external world.
____________________________________________________________________

CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, Le Morvan merely asserts that visual perception is direct perception of the external world. He can only make an assertion that deludes itself it is absolute fact because, well, there is no perception of the external world if one believes visual perceptions do not exist unless and until they are produced by the brain.

It’s quite simple, regardless of whether or not one is a Direct Realist: there is an external object that exists in the external world before there is visual perception of the object—this in itself conceptually demonstrates that an external object and “perception” of that object are two entirely different things, if one can exist without and prior to the other. Second, when visual “perception” of the object ceases to exist (in that the object is no longer perceived), the external object itself that was “perceived” does not cease to exist alongside and in reaction to the sudden cessation of existence of visual “perception” of the object, as the external object’s existence does not depend upon the operation or cessation of operation of the brain.

Visual perceptions, therefore, cannot logically depict the external world and the external world in terms of its nature and “appearance” must always be unknown.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER

What’s Direct Realism ultimately about? Direct Realism is an unfounded assertion that visual perceptions are direct glimpses into the external world because one arbitrarily believes the external world is the foundation of the appearance of visual perception. Upon honest, rational reflection one finds this puts the cart before the horse: as Existence only appears and can only appear in the form of a person and that which the person experiences, visual perceptions, being ultimately experiences of a person, are the only type of existence that can demonstrate it exists. Anything that is not a person and that which the person experiences cannot demonstrate it exists. Therefore, anything that is not a person and that which the person experiences (or if in denial of solipsism one expands demonstrated existence to include all persons and that which all existing persons experience) must be entirely invented in the imagination of a person using the subjective experience of the person’s thought of that which is not a person and that which a person experiences. Due to the form and shape subjective experience arbitrarily takes or assumes, the only “go to” for this act of fictional imagination is…you guessed it….the content of visual perception.

As Hume states in another context:

Nothing, at first view, may seem more unbounded than the thought of man, which not only escapes all human power and authority, but is not even restrained within the limits of nature and reality. To form monsters, and join incongruous shapes and appearances, costs the imagination no more trouble than to conceive the most natural and familiar objects. And while the body is confined to one planet, along which it creeps with pain and difficulty; the thought can in an instant transport us into the most distant regions of the universe; or even beyond the universe, into the unbounded chaos, where nature is supposed to lie in total confusion. What never was seen, or heard of, may yet be conceived; nor is any thing beyond the power of thought, except what implies an absolute contradiction.

But though our thought seems to possess this unbounded liberty, we shall find, upon a nearer examination, that it is really confined within very narrow limits, and that all this creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding, transposing, augmenting, or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience. When we think of a golden mountain, we only join two consistent ideas, gold, and mountain, with which we were formerly acquainted. A virtuous horse we can conceive; because, from our own feeling, we can conceive virtue; and this we may unite to the figure and shape of a horse, which is an animal familiar to us. In short, all the materials of thinking are derived either from our outward or inward sentiment: the mixture and composition of these belongs alone to the mind and will. Or, to express myself in philosophical language, all our ideas or more feeble perceptions are copies of our impressions or more lively ones.

-David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding



One can only perceive the Percept (and perception is ultimately only the experience of something). One cannot perceive that which is not oneself and that which one experiences (if it is not oneself in terms of that which is something other than one’s experience, one cannot experience it), thus when Existence arbitrarily produces in one’s mind the idea of what something that is not oneself and one’s experiences must be like, one can only turn to one’s own Percept to first imagine (“make up”) that which, according to the arbitrarily existing concept, is something that is not anything one experiences. From here Humes ‘fairy land’ is created: one goes on to believe that that which exists outside oneself and is composed of something that is not one’s experience and globally, that which is not anyone’s experience or experience itself, mimic at best or is the foundation of at worse the content or shape of that which one experiences.
______________________________________________________________________

True to form, Le Morvan imagines we directly perceive external objects and events because he imagines external objects and events are doppelgangers of the content of visual perception. Le Morvan and any other believer in Direct Realism or for that matter, Non-conscious External Doppelganger-ism, simply comes to arbitrarily believe visual perceptions “must” and “can only be” doppelgangers of objects and events residing and operating in the external world. Le Morvan then makes the belief “true” through assertion of truth.

Direct Realism is the unfortunate offspring of denial we only experience the Percept and denial of the fact the Percept was never the child of the Distal Object. The Percept was never the child of the Distal Object as the Distal Object is the child of the Percept. External objects that are the purported doppelgangers of the content of visual perception are demonstrably only ideas created in one’s mind. One’s mind then goes on to imagine (but state as though it were irrefutable truth) that these imaginary entities objectively exist outside one’s consciousness and actually bear the appearance of visual perceptions.

I conclude with another quote from David Hume, taken from another context that applies well to belief in the existence of:

1. Not-consciousness

2. Not-consciousness composed objects and events in the external world

3. The idea that external, not-consciousness composed objects and events can impart their nature onto perceived objects and events

4. Direct Realism

First, it must be allowed that, when we know a power, we know that very circumstance in the cause, by which it is enabled to produce the effect: for these are supposed to be synonymous…Or in other words where, if the first object had not been, the second never had existed. The appearance of a cause always conveys the mind, by a customary transition, to the idea of the effect [Interjection: The “appearance” of the external world is entirely imaginary, and is based only upon the appearance of the “effect” (consciousness or subjective experience in the form of visually perceived objects and events)].

But still I ask: Why take these attributes for granted or why ascribe to the cause [objects and events in the external world] any qualities but what actually appear in the effect[subjective experience]? Why torture your brain to justify the course of nature upon suppositions, which, for aught you know may be entirely imaginary, and of which there are to be found no traces in the course of nature?

In such complicated and sublime subjects, every one should be indulged in the liberty of conjecture and argument. But here you ought to rest. If you come backward, and arguing from your inferred causes, conclude, that any other fact has existed, or will exist, in the course of nature, which may serve as a fuller display of particular attributes; I must admonish you, that you have departed from the method of reasoning, attached to the present subject, and have certainly added something to the attributes of the cause beyond what appears in the effect; otherwise you could never, with tolerable sense or propriety, add anything to the effect in order to render it more worthy of the cause.

-David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding



END
Q: What lies beyond the "Matrix" that is consciousness?

A: The conscious and unconscious mind of God.


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