Scientific Realism Essay

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Scientific realism states that our knowledge of an object is acquired by the ideas created from our experience of it, not from direct perceptions. Our ideas are not the object itself but a representation of it. The theory states that the world is of mind-independent objects (people, animals, trees, and etc.). It also states that we cannot directly perceive external objects. What we perceive are the copies of the representations of the external objects. Such as what we view on the television are copies of their remote causes (such as a concert or people on a playing field), so the images (who are visual, auditory, and etc.) that are occurring in the mind represent (or when things are not working, misrepresent) the external physical objects. Scientific realism is advocated by John Locke. He makes a distinction between two qualities. By primary qualities he means real and objectives qualities of matter. Locke means by secondary qualities that they are subjective and changeable qualities of matter. As for instance, color, taste, smell, heat and cold are secondary qualities. These qualities are secondary because under different conditions they tend to vary from person to person. For example, what is cold for a person may not be cold for another person. Rather it may even warm. Therefore, secondary qualities are subjective qualities of matter. But motion, shape, size, and etc. are the permanent and actual objective qualities of matter. They remain unchanged in each person mind unlike objective qualities. Which is why; it is held that our ideas are primary qualities of matter. In the end, Locke recognizes that the reality of matter is made up by our primary qualities. Bishop Berkeley attacked Locke’s theory of scientific direct realism.... ... middle of paper ... ...would then add that there is no need to add anything additional things to our ideas which are supposed to represent or resemble. Berkeley rightfully believes that there is nothing behind our ideas in a world external to our minds. If there were supposedly external objects (which our ideas are supposed to represent), exist, then they are ideas. Therefore Berkeley’s point that everything is simply an idea is lawfully justified. Summing up, the strongest point of Berkeley’s Idealism is that any characterisation of the real that we can develop or create is mind-constructed. Then our only source of new information is through the use of our mind. We can only learn about what is real in terms of our references and that it is logically impossible for anyone to check and see if the contrary is the case. So while this theory seems counter intuitive, it is difficult to refute.
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