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Scholars Day 2006, Wednesday, April 12

A. D. Smith's Defense of Direct Realism

In his book *The Problem of Perception*, A.D. Smith offers a novel defense of direct realism against the arguments from illusion and from hallucination. His phenomenologically-based critique of the former invokes perceptual constancy in order to deny that in cases like seeing objects from an angle, the objects appear other than they are. I argue that while the appeal to constancy is illuminating, it does not cover all cases and needs to be supplemented by the standard critique of the sense-datum inference. Smith’s interesting version of the argument from hallucination is essentially that (a) in hallucination one is aware of a non-normal object and (b) the prolongation of the causal chain that occurs in veridical perception does not eliminate that object. His critique of the argument invokes nonexistent intentional objects. I argue that an adverbial theory of sensing deals with the argument better than Smith’s theory of nonexistent objects.

Presenter: Georges Dicker (Faculty)
Topic: Philosophy
Location: 28 Hartwell
Time: 1:15 pm (Session III)