Perceptual experience and perceptual knowledge

Mind 118 (472):1013-1041 (2009)
Commonsense epistemology regards perceptual experience as a distinctive source of knowledge of the world around us, unavailable in ‘blindsight’. This is often interpreted in terms of the idea that perceptual experience, through its representational content, provides us with justifying reasons for beliefs about the world around us. I argue that this analysis distorts the explanatory link between perceptual experience and knowledge, as we ordinarily conceive it. I propose an alternative analysis, on which representational content plays no explanatory role: we make perceptual knowledge intelligible by appeal to experienced objects and features. I also present an account of how the commonsense scheme, thus interpreted, is to be defended: not by tracing the role of experience to its contribution in meeting some general condition on propositional knowledge (such as justification), but by subverting the assumption that it has to be possible to make the role of experience intelligible in terms of some such contribution
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DOI 10.1093/mind/fzp131
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References found in this work BETA
Donald Davidson (1963). Actions, Reasons, and Causes. Journal of Philosophy 60 (23):685-700.
A. D. Smith (2001). Perception and Belief. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (2):283-309.

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Declan Smithies (2016). Perception and the External World. Philosophical Studies 173 (4):1119-1145.

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