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Direct Realism

1. Introduction to Perception

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In this module, we think about why perception is so important to us, as well as outlining the differences between two accounts of perception: direct realism and indirect realism. In particular, we think about: (i) the epistemological role of perception (i.e. the fact that perception is how we come to know things about the world around us); (ii) the fact that we perceive things all the time; (iii) what direct and indirect realists agree on, i.e. a mind-independent world that it is possible to perceive; and (iv) what direct and indirect realists disagree on.


In this course, Dr Laura Gow explores the theory of perception known as direct realism. In the first module, we think about why perception is so important to us, before contrasting direct realism with another popular theory of perception: indirect realism. After that, in the second module, we think about the key advantages of direct realism as a theory of perception, before turning in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth modules to four of the key challenges to direct realism: the argument from illusion, the argument from perceptual variation, the argument from hallucination, and time lag cases. In a short seventh module, we offer a summary of the topics covered in the course.


Dr Laura Gow is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. Her research interests are mainly in the philosophy of mind, with a particular focus on perception and perceptual experience. Her published work criticises contemporary attempts to provide physicalist accounts of perception, and her recent research explores the less appealing implications of endorsing a genuinely physicalist account of mind.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gow, L. (2021, March 09). Direct Realism - Introduction to Perception [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gow, L. "Direct Realism – Introduction to Perception." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Mar 2021,

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