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Representative realism

From Academic Kids

Representative Realism is a philosophical concept, largely developed by Bertrand Russell. It does, unlike na´ve realism, take into account sense data (the way in which the object is interpreted, not simply the objective, mathematical object) - this induces the veil of perception wherein we are unsure the table we look at exists due to there being no objective proof of its existence. In other word, the table at which I look looks a particular shape to me, due to the angle of vision, and a particular colour due to the way in which the light bounces off it - this is different to the table at which the person next to me sees.

Representative realism states that we do not perceive the external world directly; instead we perceive our personal interpretation of an object. A na´ve realist would see a dog upon perceiving a dog whereas; a representative realist would see his interpretation of a dog upon perceiving a dog.

The external world is real and continues to exist unobserved. But we are only aware of it indirectly. Our perception of the external world is mediated. We perceive a representation of reality (not the reality itself); this has been given many names: ideas, sense data, percept or appearance.

Locke thought objects had two classes of qualities:

Primary qualities-these exist even when not perceives and are utterly inseparable from the object. They cannot be removed by either thought or physical action (eg. Mass, mobility, solidity).

Secondary qualities-exist only when being perceived. They do not resemble the qualities of objects that cause them (eg. Colour, smell, taste, shape).

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