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Summary What is the role of perception in providing rational support for beliefs? Can perceptual states or events provide any rational support at all? According to a traditional foundationalism, perceptual states all by themselves were rationally inert, and only introspective beliefs in which the subjects self-ascribes such states played a role in the justifying external-world beliefs. One of the main issues is whether perception can ever provide rational support for external worlds beliefs, without the help of introspective beliefs. If they can, then several further questions arise. Which beliefs do perceptual states provide justification for? What is the relationship between the beliefs that a perceptual state can justify, and the contents of the perceptual state? Are perceptual states ever sufficient to provide justification, or do they need help from other factors?  Which features of the perceptual states are relevant to providing justification? What is the role of concepts in perceptual justification? How is the internal structure of perceptual states related to their rational role?  Does consciousness have any special rational role? What difference does it make for the rational role of perception whether disjunctivism, sense-datum theory, intentionalism, or other theories are correct about the nature of perceptual experience? Are the distinctions between perceptual states, events, and processes important for understanding the rational role of perception?
Key works Two elaborate but classic discussions of perceptual justification are Sellars 1956 and McDowell 1994McDowell 1994 argues against Davidson 1986, who in turn locates perception within coherentist theory that seems to exclude it from playing any rational role.  Pryor 2000 , Huemer 2006, and Campbell 2002 argue for a central role of conscious experience in providing justification. Goldman 1986 lays the basis for reliabilist theories of justification and their application to perception. McDowell 1982 set off discussion of whether hallucinations and non-hallucinations can have the same rational role.
Introductions Siegel & Silins 2015  provides an overview of the topic. The first chapter of McDowell 1994 sets up the problem in terms of an opposition between foundationalism and coherentism. The opening pages of both McDowell 1994 and Gupta 2006 make it seem counterintuitive to deny perceptual states any rational role.
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  1. André J. Abath (2008). Empirical Beliefs, Perceptual Experiences and Reasons. Manuscrito 31 (2):543-571.
    John McDowell and Bill Brewer famously defend the view that one can only have empirical beliefs if one’s perceptual experiences serve as reasons for such beliefs, where reasons are understood in terms of subject’s reasons. In this paper I show, first, that it is a consequence of the adoption of such a requirement for one to have empirical beliefs that children as old as 3 years of age have to considered as not having genuine empirical beliefs at all. But we (...)
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  2. Malcolm Acock (1977). Perception: The Justification of Perceptual Beliefs. Dissertation, The University of British Columbia (Canada)
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  3. Keith Allen (2010). Perception and Basic Beliefs: Zombies, Modules, and the Problem of the External World * By JACK C. LYONS. Analysis 70 (2):391-393.
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  4. Jan Almäng (2014). Perception, Non-Propositional Content and the Justification of Perceptual Judgments. Metaphysica 15 (1):1-23.
    It is often argued that for a perceptual experience to be able to justify perceptual judgments, the perceptual experience must have a propositional content. For, it is claimed, only propositions can bear logical relations such as implication to each other. In this paper, this claim is challenged. It is argued that whereas perceptions and judgments both have intentional content, their contents have different structures. Perceptual content does not have a propositional structure. Perceptions and judgments can nevertheless have the same cognitive (...)
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  5. William Alston (1999). Perceptual Knowledge. In John Greco & Ernest Sosa (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Epistemology. Blackwell 223--42.
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  6. William P. Alston (1993). The Reliability of Sense Perception. Cornell University Press.
    Chapter INTRODUCTION i. The Problem Why suppose that sense perception is, by and large, an accurate source of information about the physical environment? ...
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  7. Jon Altschul, Epistemic Entitlement. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    In the early 1990s there emerged a growing interest with the concept of epistemic entitlement. Philosophers who acknowledge the existence of entitlements maintain that there are beliefs or judgments unsupported by evidence available to the subject, but which the subject nonetheless has the epistemic right to hold. Some of these may include beliefs non-inferentially sourced in perception, memory, introspection, testimony, and the a priori. Unlike the traditional notion of justification, entitlement is often characterized as an externalist type of epistemic warrant, (...)
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  8. Jon Altschul, Anthony Brueckner & Christopher Buford (2014). Vahid, Burge, and Perceptual Entitlement. Metaphilosophy 45 (3):325-330.
    Hamid Vahid criticizes Tyler Burge's account of perceptual entitlement. Vahid argues that Burge's account fails to satisfy a criterion of adequacy that any correct account of perceptual warrant must satisfy. According to Vahid, a correct account of perceptual warrant must allow for perceptual beliefs which are produced by a properly functioning perceptual system yet which lack warrant. The present article argues that Vahid's critique of Burge fails. It presents numerous examples of such beliefs that are consistent with Burge's account of (...)
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  9. Marco Aurelio Sousa Alves (2008). Sobre a possibilidade de pensarmos o mundo: o debate entre John McDowell e Donald Davidson. Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
    The thesis evaluates a contemporary debate concerning the very possibility of thinking about the world. In the first chapter, McDowell's critique of Davidson is presented, focusing on the coherentism defended by the latter. The critique of the myth of the given (as it appears in Sellars and Wittgenstein), as well as the necessity of a minimal empiricism (which McDowell finds in Quine and Kant), lead to an oscillation in contemporary thinking between two equally unsatisfactory ways of understanding the empirical content (...)
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  10. Adrian Avery Archer, McDowell, Gettier, and the Bipartite Account of Perceptual Knowledge.
    In his essay, “Knowledge and the Internal Revisited”, John McDowell claims that “seeing that p constitutes false-hood excluding justification for believing that p.” In this thesis I attempt to construct an account of perceptual knowledge that exploits McDowell’s notion of false-hood excluding justification. To this end, I limn a justified (strong) belief, or bipartite, account of perceptual knowledge in which justification is seen as factive. On this picture, the truth requirement of the traditional tripartite account is incorporated into the justification (...)
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  11. Ari Armstrong (2004). A Direct Realist's Challenge to Skepticism. [REVIEW] Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 5 (2):421 - 440.
    Armstrong reviews Michael Huemer's Skepticism and the Veil of Perception and finds in it strong support for the perceptual theory of direct realism. However, Huemer incorrectly assumes perceptual experiences can contain conceptual—and thus causal —information. Regardless, Huemer's theory of "phenomenal conservatism" serves to justify our perceptual judgments and refute skepticism in a way compatible with the preliminary work of Objectivist philosophers, such as David Kelley and Leonard Peikoff.
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  12. D. M. Armstrong (1988). Perception and Belief. In Jonathan Dancy (ed.), Perceptual Knowledge. Oxford University Press
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  13. Ralph Baergen (1992). Perceptual Consciousness and Perceptual Evidence. Philosophical Papers 21 (2):107-119.
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  14. Andrew R. Bailey (1998). Phenomenal Properties: The Epistemology and Metaphysics of Qualia. Dissertation, University of Calgary
    This dissertation develops and defends a detailed realist, internalist account of qualia which is consistent with physicalism and which does not resurrect the epistemological 'myth of the Given.' In doing so it stakes out a position in the sparsely populated middle ground between the two major opposing factions on the problem of phenomenal consciousness: between those who think we have a priori reasons to believe that qualia are irreducible to the physical , and those who implicitly or explicitly treat qualia (...)
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  15. David James Barnett (forthcoming). Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater. Oxford Studies in Epistemology.
    According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, when you look out to see a red wall, what you learn first is not a fact about the color of the wall—i.e., that it is red—but instead a fact about your own visual experience—i.e., that the wall looks red to you. If you are to justifiably believe that the wall is red, you must be in a position to (...)
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  16. Benjamin Bayer, Why Internalists Need an Enriched Theory of Perceptual and Conceptual Awareness to Escape From Bergmann's Dilemma.
    Michael Bergmann (2006) has argued that an internalistic view of justification faces a dilemma. Assuming as internalism does that to have a justified belief, subjects must be aware of the justifiers of the belief and of their relevance to the truth of the belief, Bergmann notes that one is either aware of this relevance conceptually or not. But, says Bergmann, if the required awareness is conceptual, internalism is encumbered with an infinite regress. If it is not-if it is only "weak (...)
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  17. Wolfgang Benkewitz (1999). Belief Justification and Perception. Erkenntnis 50 (2-3):193-208.
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  18. Hilan Bensusan & Manuel Pinedo-Garcia (2007). Minimal Empiricism Without Dogmas. Philosophia 35 (2):197-206.
    John McDowell has defended a position called minimal empiricism, that aims to avoid the oscillation between traditional empiricism’s commitment to a set of contents working as external justifiers for our system of beliefs and a coherentist position where our thought receives no constraint from the world. We share McDowell’s dissatisfaction with both options, but find his minimal empiricism committed to the idea of a tribunal of experience where isolated contents are infused into our network of inferences. This commitment is prone (...)
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  19. Jacob Berger (2013). Perceptual Justification Outside of Consciousness. In Richard Brown (ed.), Consciousness Inside and Out: Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and the Nature of Experience. Springer 137-145.
    In his paper “There It Is” and his précis “There It Was,” Benj Hellie develops a sophisticated semantics for perceptual justification according to which perceptions in good cases can be explained by intentional psychology and can justify beliefs, whereas bad cases of perception are defective and so cannot justify beliefs. Importantly, Hellie also affords consciousness a central role in rationality insofar as only those good cases of perception within consciousness can play a justificatory function. In this commentary, I reserve judgment (...)
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  20. Selim Berker (2011). Gupta's Gambit. Philosophical Studies 152 (1):17-39.
    After summarizing the essential details of Anil Gupta’s account of perceptual justification in his book _Empiricism and Experience_, I argue for three claims: (1) Gupta’s proposal is closer to rationalism than advertised; (2) there is a major lacuna in Gupta’s account of how convergence in light of experience yields absolute entitlements to form beliefs; and (3) Gupta has not adequately explained how ordinary courses of experience can lead to convergence on a commonsense view of the world.
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  21. Tim Black (2011). Review of John McDowell, Perception as a Capacity for Knowledge. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
  22. E. Borg (2002). HUEMER, M.-Skepticism and the Veil of Perception. Philosophical Books 43 (4):307-308.
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  23. George Botterill (2008). Empiricism and Experience - by Anil Gupta. Philosophical Books 49 (2):165-166.
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  24. Bill Brewer (2001). Precis of Perception and Reason, and Response to Commentator (Michael Ayers). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    What is the role of conscious perceptual experience in the acquisition of empirical knowledge? My central claim is that a proper account of the way in which perceptual experiences contribute to our understanding of the most basic beliefs about particular things in the mind-independent world around us reveals how such experiences provide peculiarly fundamental reasons for such beliefs. There are, I claim, epistemic requirements upon the very possibility of empirical belief. The crucial epistemological role of experiences lies in their essential (...)
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  25. Bill Brewer (1999). Perception and Reason. Oxford University Press.
    Bill Brewer presents an original view of the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of empirical knowledge. He argues that perceptual experiences must provide reasons for empirical beliefs if there are to be any determinate beliefs at all about particular objects in the world. This fresh approach to epistemology turns away from the search for necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and works instead from a theory of understanding in a particular area.
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  26. Bill Brewer (1998). Experience and Reason in Perception. In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 203-227.
    The question I am interested in is this. What exactly is the role of conscious experience in the acquisition of knowledge on the basis of perception? The problem here, as I see it, is to solve simultaneously for the nature of this experience, and its role in acquiring and sustaining the relevant beliefs, in such a way as to vindicate what I regard as an undeniable datum, that perception is a basic source of knowledge about the mind-independent world, in a (...)
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  27. 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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  28. Robert Briscoe (2015). Cognitive Penetration and the Reach of Phenomenal Content. In Athanassios Raftopoulos & John Zeimbekis (eds.), Cognitive Penetrability. Oxford University Press
    This chapter critically assesses recent arguments that acquiring the ability to categorize an object as belonging to a certain high-level kind can cause the relevant kind property to be represented in visual phenomenal content. The first two arguments, developed respectively by Susanna Siegel (2010) and Tim Bayne (2009), employ an essentially phenomenological methodology. The third argument, developed by William Fish (2013), by contrast, is supported by an array of psychophysical and neuroscientific findings. I argue that while none of these arguments (...)
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  29. Robert Briscoe (2007). Communication and Rational Responsiveness to the World. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):135-159.
    Donald Davidson has long maintained that in order to be credited with the concept of objectivity – and, so, with language and thought – it is necessary to communicate with at least one other speaker. I here examine Davidson’s central argument for this thesis and argue that it is unsuccessful. Subsequently, I turn to Robert Brandom’s defense of the thesis in Making It Explicit. I argue that, contrary to Brandom, in order to possess the concept of objectivity it is not (...)
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  30. Berit Brogaard (2013). Phenomenal Seemings and Sensible Dogmatism. In Chris Tucker (ed.), Seemings and Justification. OUP Usa 270.
  31. Anthony Brueckner (2009). Internalism and Evidence of Reliability. Philosophia 37 (1):47-54.
    This paper concerns various competing views on the nature of perceptual justification. Various thought experiments that motivate various views are discussed. Once reliabilism is rejected and some form of internalism is instead embraced, the following issue arises: must an internalist nevertheless require that perceptual justification involve the possession of evidence for the reliability of our perceptual processes? Matthias Steup answers in the affirmative, espousing what he calls internalist reliabilism. Some problems are raised for this form of internalism.
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  32. Anthony Brueckner (2008). Experiential Justification. In Quentin Smith (ed.), Epistemology: New Essays. Oxford University Press
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  33. Tony Brueckner (2009). E = K and Perceptual Knowledge. In Patrick Greenough & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Williamson on Knowledge. OUP Oxford
  34. Tyler Burge (2003). Perceptual Entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):503-548.
    The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called entitlement, that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature (...)
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  35. Tyler Burge (2003). Perceptual Entitlement. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):503-48.
    The paper develops a conception of epistemic warrant as applied to perceptual belief, called "entitlement", that does not require the warranted individual to be capable of understanding the warrant. The conception is situated within an account of animal perception and unsophisticated perceptual belief. It characterizes entitlement as fulfillment of an epistemic norm that is apriori associated with a certain representational function that can be known apriori to be a function of perception. The paper connects anti-individualism, a thesis about the nature (...)
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  36. Alex Byrne (1996). Spin Control. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), Perception. Ridgeview 261--74.
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  37. Alex Byrne (1996). Spin Control: Comment on McDowell's Mind and World. Philosophical Issues 7:261-73.
    We have justified beliefs about the external world, and some of these are formed directly on the basis of perception. I may justifiably believe that a certain dog is in certain manger, and I may have this belief because I can see that the dog is in the manger. So far, so good.
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  38. Quassim Cassam (2008). Knowledge, Perception and Analysis. South African Journal of Philosophy 27 (3):214-226.
    A point that Strawson often emphasises in his writings is that the concepts of knowledge and perception are closely linked. For example, the idea of such a link does important in his exposition and defense of a causal analysis of perception. According to this analysis a material object M is perceived by a subject S only if M causes an experience in S. Why should this be? One reason, according to Strawson, is that such a causal requirement on perception is (...)
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  39. Federico Castellano (2014). Intellectualism Against Empiricism. Grazer Philosophische Studien 90:231-251.
    Intellectualism is the philosophical view that thinking involves the activity of reason-giving. In this paper I argue that the intellectualist point of view is incompatible with any form of empiricism. First, I show that Traditional Empiricism collapses because it brings together two conflicting theses: the intellectualist thesis according to which the normative properties of thoughts depend upon the activity of reason-giving, and the intuitive empiricist thesis according to which the normative properties of empirical thoughts derive from perceptual experience. Second, I (...)
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  40. Cheryl Ann Chen (2002). Perception and Empirical Thought. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    The thesis investigates several different ways of understanding the indispensability of perception for the possibility of thought and belief. I argue that we must be perceivers in order to have beliefs about the empirical world; but this is neither because our primitive concepts must be formed from experience, nor because experience allows our beliefs to be "answerable" to the facts they purportedly represent. Instead, perception is indispensable in virtue of its links with other capacities that are themselves essential for having (...)
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  41. Cheryl K. Chen (2006). Empirical Content and Rational Constraint. Inquiry 49 (3):242 – 264.
    It is often thought that epistemic relations between experience and belief make it possible for our beliefs to be about or "directed towards" the empirical world. I focus on an influential attempt by John McDowell to defend a view along these lines. According to McDowell, unless experiences are the sorts of things that can be our reasons for holding beliefs, our beliefs would not be "answerable" to the facts they purportedly represent, and so would lack all empirical content. I argue (...)
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  42. Jiaming Chen (2008). The Empirical Foundation and Justification of Knowledge. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (1):67-82.
    Whether empirical givenness has the reliability that foundationalists expect is a point about which some philosophers are highly skeptical. Sellars took the doctrine of givenness as a “myth,” denying the existence of immediate perceptual experience. The arguments in contemporary Western epistemology are concentrated on whether sensory experience has conceptual contents, and whether there is any logical relationship between perceptions and beliefs. In fact, once the elements of words and conceptions in empirical perception are affirmed, the logical relationship between perceptual experience (...)
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  43. Philippe Chuard, Perceptual Reasons.
    According to Conceptualists like John McDowell and Bill Brewer, the representational content of perceptual experiences is wholly conceptual. One of the main!and only!arguments they advance for this claim has to do with the epistemological role of perceptual experiences. I focus on Bill Brewers "1999# version of the argument. I show why Brewer fails to satisfactorily motivate the premises of his argument, and suggest that opponents of Conceptualism could accept these premises without thereby endorsing the conclusion. Finally, I consider whether the (...)
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  44. Elijah Chudnoff (2016). Epistemic Elitism and Other Minds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3).
    Experiences justify beliefs about our environment. Sometimes the justification is immediate: seeing a red light immediately justifies believing there is a red light. Other times the justification is mediate: seeing a red light justifies believing one should brake in a way that is mediated by background knowledge of traffic signals. How does this distinction map onto the distinction between what is and what isn't part of the content of experience? Epistemic egalitarians think that experiences immediately justify whatever is part of (...)
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  45. Elijah Chudnoff & David Didomenico (2015). The Epistemic Unity of Perception. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (4):535-549.
    Dogmatists and phenomenal conservatives think that if it perceptually seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. Increasingly, writers about these views have argued that perceptual seemings are composed of two other states: a sensation followed by a seeming. In this article we critically examine this movement. First we argue that there are no compelling reasons to think of perceptual seemings as so composed. Second we argue that even if they were (...)
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  46. Stewart Cohen (2010). Bootstrapping, Defeasible Reasoning, and a Priori Justification. Philosophical Perspectives 24 (1):141-159.
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  47. Annalisa Coliva (2015). Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology provides a novel account of the structure of epistemic justification. Its central claim builds upon Wittgenstein's idea in On Certainty that epistemic justifications hinge on some basic assumptions and that epistemic rationality extends to these very hinges. It exploits these ideas to address major problems in epistemology, such as the nature of perceptual justifications, external world skepticism, epistemic relativism, the epistemic status of basic logical laws, of the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature, of our (...)
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  48. Juan Comesaña (2005). Justified Vs. Warranted Perceptual Belief: Resisting Disjunctivism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (2):367-383.
    In this paper I argue that McDowell’s brand of disjunctivism about perceptual knowledge is ill-motivated. First, I present a reconstruction of one main motivation for disjunctivism, in the form of an argument that theories that posit a “highest common factor” between veridical and non-veridical experiences must be wrong. Then I show that the argument owes its plausibility to a failure to distinguish between justification and warrant (where “warrant” is understood as whatever has to be added to true belief to yield (...)
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  49. Juan Comesana & Matthew McGrath (2016). Perceptual Reasons. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):991-1006.
    The two main theories of perceptual reasons in contemporary epistemology can be called Phenomenalism and Factualism. According to Phenomenalism, perceptual reasons are facts about experiences conceived of as phenomenal states, i.e., states individuated by phenomenal character, by what it’s like to be in them. According to Factualism, perceptual reasons are instead facts about the external objects perceived. The main problem with Factualism is that it struggles with bad cases: cases where perceived objects are not what they appear or where there (...)
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  50. Earl Conee, Opposing Skepticism Disjunctively.
    Disjunctivists hold that perceiving external objects is fundamentally different from any experiential state that is not a perception. In fact, roughly speaking, disjunctivists say that they have nothing in common. Suppose that it appears to someone as though she perceives something. Disjunctivists say that there are two disparate sorts of facts that could make this true. Either she is genuinely perceiving something, or she is in an experiential state of merely apparent perception. An apparent perception is fundamentally unlike a perception. (...)
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