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Direct Realism

3. The Argument from Illusion

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the challenge to direct realism posed by illusory experiences, focusing in particular on: (i) the structure of the argument from illusion; (ii) the phenomenal principle; (iii) the common kind assumption; and (iv) some responses to the argument from illusion, including the denial of the phenomenal principle and the idea of 'looks' properties.


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 - The Argument from Illusion [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gow, L. "Direct Realism – The Argument from Illusion ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Mar 2021,