Do we know or even have evidence that external material objects exist? Butchvarov offers a highly original approach to this perennial philosophical issue. He argues that only a direct realist view of perception - the view that in perception we are directly aware of material objects - has any hope of providing a compelling response to the sceptic. His radical innovation is to insist that the direct object of perceptual and even dreaming and hallucinatory experience is always a material object, but not necessarily one that actually exists. This leads to a metaphysics in which reality is ultimately constructed by human decisions out of objects that are ontologically more basic but which cannot be said in themselves to be either real or unreal.

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