Introspection and Primacy of Perception: A Critical Reflection on Naïve Realism

  • Sarthak GhoshEmail author


A fundamental issue in philosophy of perception is to understand the nature of experience and the relation of the experience with objects or states of affairs that is experienced. A prominent philosophical issue here is posed by the possibility of hallucinatory experiences, which are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perception for the experiencer. The philosophical views in this matter can be grouped into three major positions on the basis of the nature of the subjective experience and relation of the subjective experience with the object. These are the sense-data theories—which consider that the objects of perception are mental entities; the representative theories—according to which perception is a representation of the objects in the external world; and the naïve realist theories—which proclaim that the external objects are constitutive of the very perceptual experience and not a representation of it. Naïve realism claims it is the defence of common-sense notion regarding experience i.e. how experience seems to the experiencer upon introspective reflection on it. This position has a growing number of proponents in philosophy especially in the last two decades. But it also entails radical departure of established philosophical views regarding the nature of experience, the phenomenal character of experience, and the experiencer–object relation. In this paper, we critically examine naïve realism from two crucial aspects pertaining to it—the question of introspection being basis of naïve realist thesis, and the notion of primacy of perception over non-veridical forms of experiences. We find that there are significant problems which weaken the naïve realist thesis.


Naïve realism Problem of perception Hallucination Introspection Primacy of perception 



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© ICPR 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia

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