Foundationalism, Sense-Experiential Content, and Sellars's Dilemma
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
A foundationalist account of the justification of our empirical beliefs is committed to the following two claims: (1) Sense experience is a source of justification. (2) Some empirical beliefs are basic: justified without receiving their justification from any other beliefs. In this paper, I will defend each of these claims against an objection. The objection to (1) that I will discuss is due to Donald Davidson. He writes: The relation between a sensation and a belief cannot be logical, since sensations are not beliefs or other propositional attitudes. What then is the relation? The answer is, I think, obvious: the relation is causal. Sensations cause some beliefs and in this sense are the basis or ground of those beliefs. But a causal explanation of a belief does not show how or why the belief is justified.  There are two important thoughts in this passage. The first of these is explicitly expressed, the second implied: (3) Sense-experiential states are devoid of propositional content. (4) Necessarily, if a mental state can play the role of a justifier, it has propositional content. (3) and (4) entail that a sense-experiential state cannot play the role of a justifier. If that is true, then (1) is false. This, in any case, seems to me to be Davidson's argument. In response to it, I accept (4) but reject (3). This is an unusual move for foundationalists, who tend to accept (3) and deny (4). Nevertheless, it is what I take to be the right move.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Matthias Steup (2000). Unrestricted Foundationalism and the Sellarsian Dilemma. Grazer Philosophische Studien 60:75-98.
Bill Brewer (2005). Perceptual Experience has Conceptual Content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell
Bruce Russell (2012). Rock Bottom: Coherentism's Soft Spot. Southern Journal of Philosophy 50 (1):94-111.
Jack C. Lyons (2005). Perceptual Belief and Nonexperiential Looks. Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):237-256.
Daniel Howard-Snyder (2012). Foundationalism. In Andrew Cullison (ed.), The Continuum Companion to Epistemology. Continuum 37.
Marian David (2002). Content Essentialism. Acta Analytica 17 (28):103-114.
Daniel Howard-Snyder (2002). On an “Unintelligible” Idea: Donald Davidson's Case Against Experiential Foundationalism. Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (4):523-555.
Asbjørn Steglich-Petersen (2013). Truth as the Aim of Epistemic Justification. In Timothy Chan (ed.), The Aim of Belief. Oxford University Press
James A. Keller (1986). Foundationalism, Circular Justification, and the Levels Gambit. Synthese 68 (2):205 - 212.
Michael Huemer (1997). Probability and Coherence Justification. Southern Journal of Philosophy 35 (4):463-472.
Karol Polcyn (2011). Can Perceptual Experiences Justify Beliefs? Filozofia Nauki 2.
Daniel Howard-Snyder & Christian Lee (2005). On a “Fatal Dilemma” for Moderate Foundationalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 30:251-259.
Richard Schantz (1999). The Role of Sensory Experience in Epistemic Justification: A Problem for Coherentism. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 50 (2-3):177-191.
Alex Byrne (2005). Perception and Conceptual Content. In Ernest Sosa & Matthias Steup (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology. Blackwell 231--250.
Cheryl K. Chen (2006). Empirical Content and Rational Constraint. Inquiry 49 (3):242 – 264.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads32 ( #100,267 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?