, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 247–271 | Cite as

Elusive Objects

  • M. G. F. Martin


Do we directly perceive physical objects? What is the significance of the qualification ‘directly’ here? Austin famously denied that there was a unique interpretation by which we could make sense of the traditional debate in the philosophy of perception. I look here at Thompson Clarke’s discussion of G. E. Moore and surface perception to answer Austin’s scepticism.


Perception Direct perception Direct realism Indirect realism Sense experience Sense perception G. E. Moore Thompson Clarke Frank Jackson Representationalism Surface perception 



This paper derives from a series of talks over the years about Thompson Clarke’s discussion of surface seeing, and lectures on perception in Berkeley, Milan and Barcelona. In particular, versions of part of this material were presented at conferences in Paris, Dublin, and in Bordeaux at an occasion in honour of Clarke. I’m grateful to the audiences of these presentations for their questions. And in particular to John Campbell, Hannah Ginsborg, Véronique Munoz-Dardé, Sven Rosenkranz, Marco Santambrogio, Paul Snowdon, Barry Stroud and Charles Travis for comments and questions. Thanks are also due to the patience of the editors, and useful comments and corrections from anonymous referees.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUCLLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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