Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Naïve Realism and the Explanatory Role of Visual Phenomenology [Special Issue]

Topics: Epistemology, Philosophy of mind
Keywords: Factive Reason, Introspection., Naïve Realism, Perceptual Experience, Visual Phenomenology


This paper argues that naïve realism has an epistemic advantage over other rival views. The argument consists of two steps. First, I argue that the phenomenology of veridical visual experience plays an indispensable role in explaining how we can refer to the experience as a justificatory reason for a demonstrative judgment. Second, I argue that only naïve realism can coherently allow a veridical visual experience to be used as a factive reason.

Naïve realism can be characterized as a conjunction of two claims, one explanatory and one metaphysical. The explanatory claim is that the phenomenology of veridical visual experience is explained by acquaintance (or perception), an irreducible mental relation between a subject and environmental objects. That is to say, a veridical experience has visual phenomenology in virtue of its acquainting the subject with environmental objects (or the subject’s perceiving environmental objects), rather than its representing such objects or its acquainting the subject with private mental entities.


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