Category: critical realism

It’s been a long weekend. And time is subject to perceptual variation. So bang on time is the promised homework.

The following four questions / tasks (the bullet pointed bits) MUST be done (even if you’re called Jake) by Monday 22nd February.

Seeing as you’re getting so good, have a go at these. They will require some thought, I had to think about them, but that means little as I have fewer brain cells than you.

  • What does a comparison of idealism and direct realism tell us about the difference between epistemology and ontology?
  • Why does solipsism threaten both idealism and representative realism? What philosopher(s) might we turn to for an escape from solipsism and how might he help us?

These are from the text book, p. 60, but are rather good: (I’ve got a bit of a hunch about Locke and primary / secondary qualities being in the exam – It is only a hunch and not inside information – unfortunately).

  • Say whether the following are examples of primary qualities, secondary qualities, both, or neither. Explain your thinking.

  • Describe and illustrate one epistemological distinction between primary secondary qualities and one ontological one.


Representative or indirect realism is also known as ‘critical realism’ as well!

My ‘Dictionary of Philosophy’ defines it like this;

Critical realists claim that knowledge of the world can be gained because there is some sort of reliable correspondence between sensa, [sense data to us] or some sort intuitive data, on the one hand, and external objects on the other.

I think the word correspondence is really important and a very useful in talking writing about this stuff: what kind of correspondence is there between ‘sense data’ and the world they represent?