By Robert Audi
* short intro to conception of knowledge/epistemology.
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Additional info for Belief, Justification, and Knowledge: an Introduction to Epistemology
What we see directly might be an image, and one may prefer (as some philosophers do) to say that we do not see such things but are only visually acquainted with them. To simplify, however, let us just bear this alternative in mind, but use the more natural term 'see'. Just what is directly seen when one sees a tree, then, and how is the tree ^directly seen? Why not say that what is directly seen is a two-dimensional object l PERCEPTION (or perhaps even three-dimensional item) consisting of the colors and shapes one sees in the hallucinatory experience?
If a picture of the tree produces an exactly similar visual experience in the same way, it is the picture I see, not the tree. Similarly, if I hear a piano piece, there is a special way in which it causes me to have the auditory sensations of chords and melody and harmony that go with that particular piece. It is difficult, though fortunately not necessary for a general understanding of perception, to specify precisely what these ways are. Not just any causal chain is the right sort for perception.
Now imagine that the tree burns down. I miss it, and on waking from a slumber in my chair I have a hallucination in which my visual experience is just as it would be if the tree were recreated and I were seeing it. Illusions and hallucinations are possible for the other senses too. When they occur, we do not "just see" the object. Either we do not see it as it is or (perhaps) do not see anything at all. So even if in some cases naive realism is right in saying that things are as they appear, this is not true of perception in general.