Some definitions of Naïve Realism
Naïve realism (also called common-sense realism) is an unconscious cognitive habit operating in each moment of awareness that leads us to assume a certain epistemological position, i.e. an assumption about the validity of certain claims to knowledge. In rare instances it is a consciously held philosophical belief, then it is called direct realism.
The term 'naïve' isn't used in the pejorative sense of "simple minded" or 'stupid', it is instead used in a technical sense of “not having previously been exposed to something” (see Definition). In this case, not previously exposed to philosophical enquiry or scientific evidence regarding the epistemological validity of the knowledge claims that are being made. Thus it is a naturally occurring and unconsciously assumed epistemological position that is not consciously held but rather it is experienced as "simply the way things are".
Specifically, naïve realism leads us to overlook the role of subjective experience in the apprehension of that which is experienced and to unquestioningly assume that the phenomenal content of our subjective experiences are in fact objective external objects. Thus when we see a chair in front of us we simply assume that this is because there is a chair in front of us.
"Naive realism holds that the view of the world that we derive from our senses is to be taken at face value: there are objects out there in the world, and those objects have the properties that they appear to us to have." Theory of Knowledge - naive realism
We do not question the quantum indeterminacy of observables, the operation of our sensory and neurological sub-systems, the subconscious pre-processing of stimuli, the influence of cognitive biases, the perceptual forms that arise in the conscious mind, nor the conceptual categories that we habitually associate with those forms.
Naïve realism is biologically useful because an animal's perceptions of food, danger, mates, etc can be interpreted with sufficient accuracy and quickly responded to, thus this habit is deeply engrained in our minds. However when exploring subtle issues of epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics, physics, etc it can be a significant obstacle to clear, sceptical, rational thought about many topics. This obstacle goes completely unnoticed and when the unconscious beliefs are challenged by certain ideas this results in cognitive dissonance and instinctual aversion to the 'offending' ideas. For many details on this response within the context of science see John Ringland's answer to Do we have a collective paradigm? Else, is it fragmented?
Naïve realism doesn't just apply to what we perceive through out bare senses, but also through augmented senses, such as using a telescope or microscope or particle accelerator or other sophisticated experimental apparatus. By unconsciously ascribing objective reality to phenomenal appearances naïve realism leads us to think of things primarily in terms of their phenomenal appearances and to come to assume that all 'real' things are determined by their phenomenal appearances. This is sometimes called classical objectivism. If something cannot be experienced via its phenomenal appearances then it is considered abstract and is assumed to be unreal. It is this aspect that is challenged by the realist interpretation of quantum mechanics, for example, see John Ringland's answer to What is light made up of particles or waves?
Throughout history and throughout each of our lives there has been an unconscious accumulation of habits and beliefs arising from unquestioned assumptions about the contents of subjective awareness. Thus the mind conforms to a self-reproducing closed loop of hidden assumptions, which keeps most cultural discourses unwittingly bound within a naïve realist framework.
Note that naïve realism operates at the foundations of empirical science because:
“Empiricists claim that sense experience is the ultimate source of all our concepts and knowledge” (Rationalism vs. Empiricism)
However not all of science is empiricist, most notably quantum mechanics. See John Ringland's answer to Naive Realism: Can it ever be said that Scientific realism takes off from the springboard of commonsense or naive realism?
When naïve realism has been questioned by philosophical enquiry it has been shown to be inconsistent. Furthermore, cognitive science shows it to be unfounded. Finally, quantum mechanics shows it to be utterly false. See The Big Philosophical Questions: Now that naive realism has been disproven by quantum mechanics, how will this impact our collective paradigm?
However due to the unconscious and endemic nature of naïve realism it persists throughout science unabated, which has led some to study the process of cognitive repression within the scientific community. See John Ringland's answer to Despite having evidence that contradicts someone's belief, why can't they come to believe something new? where there is an extended quote regarding this cognitive repression in modern physics.
Naïve realism permeates our perceptions, beliefs, languages, cultural discourses, philosophies and scientific theories. It takes great insight, courage, effort, persistence, clarity, subtlety and caution to coherently and consistently think outside of that closed loop. Even for those who sincerely attempt this it is very easy to unwittingly slip back in to such an engrained habit. It will take some time before the scientific community is able to go beyond naïve realism, see John Ringland's answer to Has science become too dogmatic?
Because naïve realism ignores the role of experience in the apprehension of that which is experienced and assumes objective existence for the objects that are portrayed by experience, this leads to many conceptual difficulties and paradoxes. Especially when we later come to enquire into the nature of experience itself (and consciousness) and we try to understand it in terms of the phenomenal content of experience that we have previously assumed to be objective external objects.
Because quantum mechanics avoids succumbing to naive realism it finds that the role of the observer is central to the theory, whereas in all empirical sciences the observer has no role. For this reason quantum mechanics is favoured by some as a science that can escape the closed loop of naïve realist assumptions and provide pathways towards an understanding of consciousness whereas empirical science cannot. See John Ringland's answer to What is consciousness? What does it mean for something to "have consciousness"? What is the difference between something that has consciousness and something that doesn't?
It comes down to whether we have questioned our assumptions or not.
In 1919, Edmund Husserl (1859–1938) formulated what he called the Thesis of the Natural Attitude—his proposition that philosophy was unstable because it rested on the assumed existence of a real natural world and our uncomplicated relationship with it. He reasoned that despite glimmers in thinkers like Heraclitus and Descartes, philosophy had advanced only by ignoring its unproven assumptions about the existence of the “real world” because it seemed those doubts would bring philosophy to a dead stop.
To put philosophy on more solid ground and ( I think) because he recognized doubt as one of the best tools philosophy has in its toolbox , Husserl proposed a strategy of bracketing (“epoché” in Greek), recognizing and localizing these doubts and putting them deliberately aside, thus resuming the full-fledged work of philosophy without the necessity of blinders, but also without coming to that dead stop.
What’s important in naive realism is not the realism but the naivete. The fact that we are subject to all kinds of errors when we attempt rigor while ignoring the elephant in the room. The elephant of doubt.
Until recently, science was highly dependent on naive realism. But as science has moved out onto the ice skating rink of indeterminacy (quantum entanglement, the Bell inequality, uncertainty, and more), phenomenology looks more important. Naive realism is going the way of Euclidean geometry and classical mechanics. It works well in a narrow range of scale, a range we increasingly venture outside of.
A dead end of a philosophy or worldview. Here are four key critiques:
Our experience of the human experience: conscience, consciousness, decision-making, creativity, imagination. Our experience of personality and identity also point to something beyond just a physicalist reality. Our lives go beyond chemistry, physics, and biology.
Our experience of freedom more broadly is a serious critique of naive realism. We aren’t robots. We aren’t just “flotsam and jetsam.”
Also our experience of transcendent values and experiences points to something beyond naive realism. For instance, truth, awe, wonder, and gratitude.
The worry that ,Quantum physics and other aspect science point to the possibility of a spiritual realm.
Einstein believed naive realism was "relatively simple" to disprove. He agreed with Bertrand Russell that physics had disproven the theory and that humans observe the effects objects have on them (greeness, coldness, hardness etc) and not the actual objects themselves, which is something different to what is being observed.
Jumping to conclusions (officially the jumping conclusion bias, often abbreviated as JTC, and also referred to as the inference-observation confusion) is a psychological term referring to a communication obstacle where one "judge[s] or decide[s] something without having all the facts; to reach unwarranted conclusions". In other words, "when I fail to distinguish between what I observed first hand from what I have only inferred or assumed". Because it involves making decisions without having enough information to be sure they are right, this can give rise to bad or rash decisions.
I personally believe this is one of the most dangerous ways of thinking(naïve realism),as it put's us in a Position,or sets up for: "This is my Reality,so it must be Everybody else's" type thinking." I think if the person thinking in the way,that as Power,say as a employer,leader etc.They can easily place expections on those, they have power over,thus causing havoc"- me
One must understand that in a group especially,,there is always the chance of this:
A structural layer of the human psyche containing inherited elements, distinct from the personal unconscious. (See also archetype and archetypal image.)
The Collective Unconscious contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.The Collective Unconscious – so far as we can say anything about it at all – appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious. … We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. [“The Structure of the Psyche,” CW 8, par. 325.]