Epistemology is the science of knowing the nature, origin, and process of knowledge. It is a subdivision of philosophy that stands alongside ethics, logic, and metaphysics. As a rule, epistemological debates are directed to the discussion of the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge, belief, and truth, as well as reason, perception, memory, testimony, and the structure of the set of justified beliefs. This paper aims to discuss the three models of perception that mirror reality.
Three epistemological models describe the individual’s approach to knowledge about reality. These are the three models of anti-realism, naive realism, and critical realism (Rosenkranz, 2018). The anti-realism position implies that an individual believes that reality does not exist outside of perception, and the highest experience of perception is reason and understanding. In anti-realism, the subject and the object of perception are demarcated. For example, a bottle of water in the framework of anti-realism is considered an imprint of a picture on the retina, or the taste of water, if the observer tastes it. On the contrary, in naive realism, the observer considers the world to be visible, material, and independent of the observer. Finally, in critical realism, the world is divided into real and observed, where reality exists independently of the observer and philosophical constructs.
I adhere to the position of naive realism since I believe that objects exist regardless of whether I perceive them or not. The world exists, it is material, and all its facets can be felt, tasted, smelled, measured, and studied. This position does not deny the possibility of influencing the objects of perception and changing them during perception. For example, naive realism can accept that a person’s negative or positive mood can affect the living nature that surrounds him. However, naive realism denies the possibility of the existence of the world only in the perception of the observer.
Other Methods of Knowing
There are four methods of knowing that allow distinguishing between the types of reality perceptions. These are logic, empiricism, revelation, and hermeneutics (McKee et al., 2018). Logic as a method of knowing is widely applied in science and is generally seen as a method with a direct relationship between the causes and consequences; this method is considered to be handy for solving abstract problems. Empirical knowledge is obtained from experience or experimentally and is very convenient in solving practical problems. Revelation is another method of knowing, popular among believers since, for the preceptor, the information is revealed in the form of clear and indisputable truth (Burge, 2021). Hermeneutics as a method of knowing is a theory of interpretation based on particular principles.
Each method has its limitations and strong points, depending on the type of the problem. The logical method is not very handy for solving practical problems, while the empirical method does not apply to theoretical discussions. However, these methods are used in scholarly and scientific research and bring good results (McKee et al., 2018). At the same time, revelation and hermeneutics are more applicable in matters of faith and understanding but are less useful in purely scientific affairs.
From the Christian perspective, the methods of revelation and hermeneutics are more appropriate since these methods apply to understanding the Bible – one of the main elements of Christianity. Some prophets and saints of the Bible learned the truth through revelations, and such revelations are an important part of the Holy Book. At the same time, the gospels from the apostles are interpreted using the methods and tools of hermeneutics, which allows us to gradually advance in the search for sacred truth.
Thus, the three models of perceptions that mirror reality were discussed. These are anti-realism, naive realism, and critical realism, and each of these models has its followers. I prefer the position of naive realism since it does not doubt reality but embraces it. Epistemological methods of knowing include logic, empiricism, revelation, and hermeneutics. They all have specific benefits and limitations, while revelation and hermeneutics are most appropriate from the Christian perspective.
Burge, S. R. (2021). Revelation and reason: Theological epistemology in John Macquarrie’s thought. Journal of Anglican Studies, 19(1), 84-97.
McKee, K. K., Forbes, G. L., Mazhar, I., Entwistle, R., Hodkiewicz, M., & Howard, I. (2015). A vibration cavitation sensitivity parameter based on spectral and statistical methods. Expert Systems with Applications, 42(1), 67-78.
Rosenkanz, S. (2018). Realism and anti-realism. Web.