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Summary

How should we explain why perceptual experience provides us with evidence? Dogmatism and evidential internalism treat conscious mental states as explanatorily basic and posits a particular rule for justification, namely, that if it perceptually seems that p, then one has prima facie justification for p (Pollock 1974, Feldman and Conee 1985, Pryor 2000, Huemer 2007, among others). The knowledge-first view treats knowledge as explanatorily basic and analyzes justification in terms of a deficiency of knowledge (McDowell 1982, Williamson 2000, Millar 2008, Nagel 2013, Byrne 2014 among others). Reliabilism treats the reliability of the perceptual or cognitive system as explanatorily basic and analyzes evidence and justification as a product of this reliable system—be it in virtue of a reliable indicator or a reliable process (Goldman 1979, 1986, Lyons 2009 among others). By contrast, capacity views treat capacities as explanatorily basic and analyze evidence, justification, and knowledge as a product of the capacities employed. Among capacity views there is a distinction to be drawn between normative capacity views, on which mental capacities are understood as virtues or in other normative ways (Sosa 1991, 2006, 2007, Greco 2001, 2010, Bergmann 2006), and capacity views that forego normative terms (Burge 2003, Graham 2011, Schellenberg 2013, 2014). So on the first cluster of views, conscious mental states are explanatorily basic, on the second cluster knowledge, on the third reliability, and on the fourth capacities. These options are neither exclusive nor exhaustive. One might think that more than one of these four elements are explanatorily basic, or one might think that what is explanatorily basic is something else entirely.

What evidence does perceptual experience provide us with? To answer this question lets first distinguish between phenomenal evidence and factive evidence. We can understand phenomenal evidence as determined by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we are experiencing. We can understand factive perceptual evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed to be an accurate guide to the environment.Standard internalist views have it that we have the very same phenomenal evidence when we perceive and when we hallucinate. Standard knowledge-first views have it that when we perceive, we have factive evidence; when we hallucinate we have no evidence provided directly through experience: When we hallucinate we have only introspective evidence. Capacity views can go either way on the question of whether we have the very same or different evidence when we perceive or when we hallucinate. One option is to argue that when we perceive we have phenomenal and factive evidence; when we hallucinate, we have only phenomenal evidence. 

Key works

For dogmatism and evidential internalism, see Pollock 1974, Feldman and Conee 1985, Pryor 2000, Huemer 2007, among others. For knowledge-first views, see McDowell 1982, Williamson 2000, Millar 2008, Nagel 2013, Byrne 2014 among others. For reliabilism, see Goldman 1979, 1986, Lyons 2009 among others. For normative capacity views, see Sosa 1991, 2006, 2007, Greco 2001, 2010, Bergmann 2006. For non-normative capacity views, see Burge 2003, Graham 2011, Schellenberg 2013. 

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  1. Ralph Baergen (1992). Perceptual Consciousness and Perceptual Evidence. Philosophical Papers 21 (2):107-119.
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  2. Daniele Bertini (2011). Esperienze, Linguaggio, Giustificazione. Su "A Manual of Experimental Philosophy" di David Berman. Giornale di Metafisica 33 (3):469-482.
    David Berman's work on experimental philosophy is a defence of a traditional approach to empiricism against both contemporary rationalism and logico-analytic philosophy. While his approach focuses on empirical evidence in support of theoretical claims, Berman distinguishes his position from the kind of experimentalism recently risen from the analytic world. After having highlighted the merit of Berman's approach to philosophy, I comment on his main views, addressing particularly the relationship between language, intuitions and experience from the standpoint of the epistemological topic (...)
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  3. William F. Brewer & Bruce L. Lambert (2001). The Theory-Ladenness of Observation and the Theory-Ladenness of the Rest of the Scientific Process. Philosophy of Science 3 (September):S176-S186.
    We use evidence from cognitive psychology and the history of science to examine the issue of the theory-ladenness of perceptual observation. This evidence shows that perception is theory-laden, but that it is only strongly theory-laden when the perceptual evidence is ambiguous or degraded, or when it requires a difficult perceptual judgment. We argue that debates about the theory-ladenness issue have focused too narrowly on the issue of perceptual experience, and that a full account of the scientific process requires an examination (...)
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  4. Jochen Briesen (2015). Perceptual Justification and Assertively Representing the World. Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2239-2259.
    This paper argues that there is a problem for the justificatory significance of perceptions that has been overlooked thus far. Assuming that perceptual experiences are propositional attitudes and that only propositional attitudes which assertively represent the world can function as justifiers, the problem consists in specifying what it means for a propositional attitude to assertively represent the world without losing the justificatory significance of perceptions—a challenge that is harder to meet than might first be thought. That there is such a (...)
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  5. A. Brueckner (2009). E= K and Perceptual Knowledge. In Duncan Pritchard & Patrick Greenough (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  6. Tony Brueckner (2009). E = K and Perceptual Knowledge. In Patrick Greenough & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. OUP Oxford
  7. Melinda Campbell (2012). Epistemic Error and Experiential Evidence. In Glimpse: Publication of the Society of Phenomenology and Media.
    In response to recent debates in color ontology, I present an account of color that resolves the issue in a new way by conceiving of colors as properties of appearances. Appearances are both objective and subjective: they are real-world events reducible to psychophysical interactions involving environmental stimuli and experiential states. The case is made for accepting experience as an actual component of colors themselves as well as being the fundamental epistemic evidence for their instantiation.
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  8. Thierry Chaminade & Jean Decety (2001). A Common Framework for Perception and Action: Neuroimaging Evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):879-882.
    In recent years, neurophysiological evidence has accumulated in favor of a common coding between perception and execution of action. We review findings from recent neuroimaging experiments in the action domain with three complementary perspectives: perception of action, covert action triggered by perception, and reproduction of perceived action (imitation). All studies point to the parietal cortex as a key region for body movement representation, both observed and performed.
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  9. Marc Champagne (2015). Experience and Life as Ever‐Present Constraints on Knowledge. Metaphilosophy 46 (2):235-245.
    This essay argues that acknowledging the existence of mind-independent facts is a matter of vital importance, in that acquiescence before the layout of the world is something demanded of knowing agents from the most elementary empirical deliverance to the most abstract construct. Building on the idea that normativity requires the presence of more than one option to choose from, the essay shows how the cessation of one's <span class='Hi'>life</span> is the disjunctive alternative of any experiential episode. This much has been (...)
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  10. Earl Conee (2013). Seeming Evidence. In Chris Tucker (ed.), Seemings and Justification: New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism. OUP Usa 52.
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  11. Dan D. Crawford (1991). On Having Reasons for Perceptual Beliefs: A Sellarsian Perspective. Journal of Philosophical Research 16:107-123.
    I interpret and defend Sellars’ intemalist view of perceptual justification which argues that perceivers have evidence for their perceptual beliefs that includes a higher-order belief about the circumstances in which those beliefs arise, and an epistemic belief about the reliability of beliefs that are formed in those circumstances. The pattem of inference that occurs in ordinary cases of perception is elicited.I then defend this account of perceptual evidence against 1) AIston’s objection that ordinary perceivers are not as critical and reflective (...)
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  12. Erhan Demircioglu (2015). The Given in Perceptual Experience. Synthese 1 (8):1-27.
    How are we to account for the epistemic contribution of our perceptual experiences to the reasonableness of our perceptual beliefs? It is well known that a conception heavily influenced by Cartesian thinking has it that experiences do not enable the experiencing subject to have direct epistemic contact with the external world; rather, they are regarded as openness to a kind of private inner realm that is interposed between the subject and the world. It turns out that if one wants to (...)
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  13. Paul Draper (1992). God and Perceptual Evidence. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 32 (3):149 - 165.
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  14. Richard Foley (2012). Chapter 22. Perceptual Knowledge. In When is True Belief Knowledge? Princeton University Press 106-109.
  15. Martin F. Fricke & Paul Snowdon (2003). Solidity and Impediment. Analysis 63 (279):173–178.
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  16. Logan Paul Gage (2016). Phenomenal Conservatism and the Subject’s Perspective Objection. Acta Analytica 31 (1):43-58.
    For some years now, Michael Bergmann has urged a dilemma against internalist theories of epistemic justification. For reasons I explain below, some epistemologists have thought that Michael Huemer’s principle of Phenomenal Conservatism can split the horns of Bergmann’s dilemma. Bergmann has recently argued, however, that PC must inevitably, like all other internalist views, fall prey to his dilemma. In this paper, I explain the nature of Bergmann’s dilemma and his reasons for thinking that PC cannot escape it before arguing (...)
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  17. R. Gaskin (2008). Review: Anil Gupta: Empiricism and Experience. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (465):187-191.
  18. James Genone (2016). Introduction: Perceptual Evidence. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):873-873.
  19. Quentin Gibson (1966). Is There a Problem About Appearances? Philosophical Quarterly 16 (October):319-328.
  20. Emmett L. Holman (1977). Sensory Experience, Perceptual Evidence and Conceptual Frameworks. American Philosophical Quarterly 14 (April):99-108.
  21. Emmett L. Holman (1975). Sensory Experience, Epistemic Evaluation and Perceptual Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 28 (September):173-187.
  22. Douglas James McDermid (2001). What is Direct Perceptual Knowledge? A Fivefold Confusion. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):1-16.
    When philosophers speak of direct perceptual knowledge, they obviously mean to suggest that such knowledge is unmediated ? but unmediated by what? This is where we find evidence of violent disagreement. To clarify matters, I want to identify and briefly describe several important senses of "direct" that have helped shape our understanding of perceptual knowledge. They are (1) "Direct" as Non-Inferential Perception; (2) "Direct" as Unmediating by Objects of Perception; (3) "Direct" as Conceptually Unmediated Perception; (4) "Direct" as Independent Verification (...)
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  23. Leslie M. Kay (2001). Chaotic Itinerancy: Insufficient Perceptual Evidence. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):819-820.
    Chaotic itinerancy is useful for illustrating transitions in attractor dynamics seen in the olfactory system. Cantor coding is a good model for information processing, but so far it lacks perceptual proof. The theories presented provide a large step toward bridging the use of chaos as an interpretive tool and hard examination of chaotic neural activity during perception.
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  24. David Kelley (1986). The Evidence Of The Senses: A Realist Theory Of Perception. Baton Rouge: Louisiana St University Press.
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  25. Catherine Legg, Idealism Operationalized: How Pragmatism Can Help Explicate and Motivate the Possibly Surprising Idea of Reality as Representational.
    This paper begins by outlining Hume's understanding of perception according to which ideas are copies of impressions, which are thought to constitute a foundational confrontation with reality. This understanding is contrasted with Peirce's theory of perception according to which percepts give rise to perceptual judgements, but perceptual judgements are not a copy but an index (or 'true symptom' - just as a weather-cock indicates the direction of the wind) of the percept. Percept and perceptual judgement are thereby able to mutually (...)
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  26. Catherine Legg & James Franklin (2015). Perceiving Necessity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3).
    In many diagrams one seems to perceive necessity – one sees not only that something is so, but that it must be so. That conflicts with a certain empiricism largely taken for granted in contemporary philosophy, which believes perception is not capable of such feats. The reason for this belief is often thought well-summarized in Hume's maxim: ‘there are no necessary connections between distinct existences’. It is also thought that even if there were such necessities, perception is too passive or (...)
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  27. Clayton Littlejohn (forthcoming). Evidence and its Limits. In Conor McHugh Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical. Oxford University Press
    On a standard view about reasons, evidence, and justification, there is justification for you to believe all and only what your evidence supports and the reasons that determine whether there is justification to believe are all just pieces of evidence. This view is mistaken about two things. It is mistaken about the rational role of evidence. It is also mistaken about the rational role of reasons. To show this, I present two basis problems for the standard view and argue that (...)
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  28. Clayton Littlejohn (forthcoming). How and Why Knowledge is First. In A. Carter, E. Gordon & B. Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First. Oxford University Press
    A defense of the idea that knowledge is first in the sense that there is nothing prior to knowledge that puts reasons or evidence in your possession. Includes a critical discussion of the idea that perception or perceptual experience might provide reasons and a defense of a knowledge-first approach to justified belief.
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  29. Clayton Littlejohn (forthcoming). Pritchard's Reasons. Journal of Philosophical Research.
    My contribution to the author meets critics discussion of Pritchard's _Epistemological Disjunctivism_. In this paper, I examine some of the possible motivations for epistemological disjunctivism and look at some of the costs associated with the view. While Pritchard's view seems to be that our visual beliefs constitute knowledge because they're based on reasons, I argue that the claim that visual beliefs are based on reasons or evidence hasn't been sufficiently motivated. In the end I suggest that we'll get all the (...)
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  30. Clayton Littlejohn (2015). Knowledge and Awareness. Analysis 75 (4):596-603.
    This paper takes a critical look at the idea that knowledge involves reflective access to reasons that provide rational support. After distinguishing between different kinds of awareness, I argue that the kind of awareness involved in awareness of reasons is awareness of something general rather than awareness of something that instances some generality. Such awareness involves the exercise of conceptual capacities and just is knowledge. Since such awareness is knowledge, this kind of awareness cannot play any interesting role in a (...)
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  31. Jack C. Lyons (2016). Experiential Evidence? Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1053-1079.
    Much of the intuitive appeal of evidentialism results from conflating two importantly different conceptions of evidence. This is most clear in the case of perceptual justification, where experience is able to provide evidence in one sense of the term, although not in the sense that the evidentialist requires. I argue this, in part, by relying on a reading of the Sellarsian dilemma that differs from the version standardly encountered in contemporary epistemology, one that is aimed initially at the epistemology of (...)
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  32. Peter J. Markie (2004). Nondoxastic Perceptual Evidence. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):530-553.
    How does a particular experience evidence a particular perceptual belief for us? As Alvin Plantinga (Warrant and Proper Function, Oxford University Press, 1993, p. 98) puts it, "[W]hat makes it the case that a particular way of being appeared to--being appeared to greenly, say--is evidence for the proposition that I see something green?" Promising, but unsuccessful, answers cite a reliable connection between our having the experience and the belief's being true, our having good reason to believe in such a connection, (...)
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  33. Norman Arthur Marshall (1970). Evidence, Inference and Perceptions. Dissertation, University of Oregon
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  34. Douglas J. McDermid (2001). What is Direct Perceptual Knowledge? A Fivefold Confusion. Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1):1-16.
    When philosophers speak of direct perceptual knowledge, they obviously mean to suggest that such knowledge is unmediated ? but unmediated by what? This is where we find evidence of violent disagreement. To clarify matters, I want to identify and briefly describe several important senses of "direct" that have helped shape our understanding of perceptual knowledge. They are (1) "Direct" as Non-Inferential Perception; (2) "Direct" as Unmediating by Objects of Perception; (3) "Direct" as Conceptually Unmediated Perception; (4) "Direct" as Independent Verification (...)
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  35. John McDowell (2002). Knowledge and the Internal Revisited. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (1):97-105.
    In “Knowledge and the Social Articulation of the Space of Reasons,” Robert Brandom reads my “Knowledge and the Internal” as sketching a position that, when properly elaborated, opens into his own social-perspectival conception of knowledge . But this depends on taking me to hold that there cannot be justification for a belief sufficient to exclude the possibility that the belief is false. And that is exactly what I argued against in “Knowledge and the Internal.” Seeing that P constitutes falsehood-excluding justification (...)
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  36. Guido Melchior (2014). Is Epistemological Disjunctivism the Holy Grail? Grazer Philosophische Studien, Vol. 86-2012 90:335-346.
    Pritchard argues that epistemological disjunctivism seems plainly false at first sight, but if it were right, it would represent the “holy grail of epistemology” (1), a view that allows us “to have our cake and eat it too” (3). This prospect motivates Pritchard to develop and defend an account that prima facie might seem simply false. It is disputable whether ED really seems plainly false at first sight or whether this intuition is based on a particular philosophical tradition. However, in (...)
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  37. Alan Millar (2007). Review of Anil Gupta, Empiricism and Experience. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (2).
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  38. Luca Moretti (2015). In Defence of Dogmatism. Philosophical Studies 172 (1):261-282.
    According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification for believing p that doesn’t rest on your independent justification for believing any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by various objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects our rational credences. (...)
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  39. Bence Nanay (2015). Perceptual Representation / Perceptual Content. In Mohan Matthen (ed.), Oxford Handbook for the Philosophy of Perception. Oxford University Press 153-167.
    A straightforward way of thinking about perception is in terms of perceptual representation. Perception is the construction of perceptual representations that represent the world correctly or incorrectly. This way of thinking about perception has been questioned recently by those who deny that there are perceptual representations. This article examines some reasons for and against the concept of perceptual representation and explores some potential ways of resolving this debate. Then it analyzes what perceptual representations may be: if they attribute properties to (...)
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  40. Ram Neta (2004). Perceptual Evidence and the New Dogmatism. Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2):199-214.
    What is the epistemological value of perceptual experience? In his recently influential paper, “The Skeptic and the Dogmatist”1, James Pryor develops a seemingly plausible answer to this question. Pryor’s answer comprises the following three theses: (F) “Our perceptual justification for beliefs about our surroundings is always defeasible – there are always possible improvements in our epistemic state which would no longer support those beliefs.” (517) (PK) “This justification that you get merely by having an experience as of p can sometimes (...)
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  41. John Alan Lindsay Oastler (1969). The Problem of the Certainty of Perceptual Knowledge Claims. Dissertation, New York University
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  42. Tommaso Piazza (2010). Perceptual Evidence and Information. Knowledge, Technology & Policy 23 (1-2):75-95.
    Quite recently, Luciano Floridi has put forward the fascinating suggestion that knowledge should be analyzed as special kind of information, in particular as accounted information. As I will try tentatively to show, one important consequence of Floridi’s proposal is that the notion of justification, and of evidence, should play no role in a philosophical understanding of knowledge. In this paper, I shall suggest one potential difficulty with which Floridi’s proposal might be consequently afflicted, yet accept the fundamental suggestion that traditional (...)
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  43. Stephen E. Rosenbaum (1978). Chisholm on Evidence and Epistemic Priority. Philosophia 7 (3-4):461-475.
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  44. Susanna Schellenberg (2016). Phenomenal Evidence and Factive Evidence. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):875-896.
    Perceptions guide our actions and provide us with evidence of the world around us. Illusions and hallucinations can mislead us: they may prompt as to act in ways that do not mesh with the world around us and they may lead us to form false beliefs about that world. The capacity view provides an account of evidence that does justice to these two facts. It shows in virtue of what illusions and hallucinations mislead us and prompt us to act. Moreover, (...)
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  45. Susanna Schellenberg (2016). Phenomenal Evidence and Factive Evidence Defended: Replies to McGrath, Pautz, and Neta. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):929-946.
    This paper defends and develops the capacity view against insightful critiques from Matt McGrath, Adam Pautz, and Ram Neta. In response to Matt McGrath, I show why capacities are essential and cannot simply be replaced with representational content. I argue moreover, that the asymmetry between the employment of perceptual capacities in the good and the bad case is sufficient to account for the epistemic force of perceptual states yielded by the employment of such capacities. In response to Adam Pautz, I (...)
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  46. Susanna Schellenberg (2014). The Epistemic Force of Perceptual Experience. Philosophical Studies 170 (1):87-100.
    What is the metaphysical nature of perceptual experience? What evidence does experience provide us with? These questions are typically addressed in isolation. In order to make progress in answering both questions, perceptual experience needs to be studied in an integrated manner. I develop a unified account of the phenomenological and epistemological role of perceptual experience, by arguing that sensory states provide perceptual evidence due to their metaphysical structure. More specifically, I argue that sensory states are individuated by the perceptual capacities (...)
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  47. Susanna Schellenberg (2013). Experience and Evidence. Mind 122 (487):699-747.
    I argue that perceptual experience provides us with both phenomenal and factive evidence. To a first approximation, we can understand phenomenal evidence as determined by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we are experiencing. To a first approximation, we can understand factive evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed to be an accurate guide to the environment. I argue that the rational source of both phenomenal and (...)
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  48. Eva Schmidt, Modest Nonconceptualism.
    The author defends nonconceptualism, the claim that perceptual experience is nonconceptual and has nonconceptual content. Continuing the heated and complex debate surrounding this topic over the past two decades, she offers a sustained defense of a novel version of the view, Modest Nonconceptualism, and provides a systematic overview of some of the central controversies in the debate. -/- An explication of the notion of nonconceptual content and a distinction between nonconceptualist views of different strengths starts off the volume, then the (...)
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  49. Eva Schmidt (2015). The Epistemological Objection. In Modest Nonconceptualism. Springer International Publishing
    In this chapter, I rebut three incarnations of the epistemological objection put forth by McDowell (Mind and World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1994a) and Brewer (Perception and Reason, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1999). According to them, only the assumption that perceptual experiences have conceptual content can account for the fact that perception plays a crucial role in justifying belief about the external world. I begin by providing some context to the objections, viz. by presenting the myth of the given that (...)
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  50. Thomas D. Senor, Perception, Evidence, and the Epistemology of Disagreement.
    In this paper I argue for a version of the Total Evidence view according to which the rational response to disagreement depends upon one's total evidence. I argue that perceptual evidence of a certain kind is significantly weightier than many other types of evidence, including testimonial. Furthermore, what is generally called "The Uniqueness Thesis" is actually a conflation of two distinct principles that I dub "Evidential Uniqueness" and "Rationality Uniqueness." The former principle is likely true but the latter almost certainly (...)
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