Direct and indirect realists hold different views about thestructure of perceptual knowledge. Indirect realists would say that weacquire perceptual knowledge of external objects by virtue ofperceiving sense data that represent external objects. Sense data, aspecies of mental states, enjoy a special status: we know directly whatthey are like. So indirect realists think that, when perceptualknowledge is foundational, it is knowledge of sense data and othermental states. Knowledge of external objects is indirect: derived fromour knowledge of sense data. The basic idea is that we have indirectknowledge of the external world because we can have foundationalknowledge of our own mind. Direct realists can be more liberal aboutthe foundation of our knowledge of external objects. Since they holdthat perceptual experiences get you in direct contact with externalobjects, they can say that such experiences can give you foundationalknowledge of external objects.


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