Edited by Susanna Siegel (Harvard University)
Assistant editor: Nicholas Silins (Cornell University)
|Summary||Dogmatism about perceptual justification is named after the response to external-world skepticism that it recommends. When the skeptic claims that perception cannot justify beliefs about the external world, the dogmatist thinks it is reasonable to reply that simply having a visual experience can give one reason to believe one's eyes, even without having independent justification to think there is an external world. And analogous replies for auditory, gustatory, olfactory and other perceptual experiences (including multimodal ones) are supposed to be equally reasonable. In the hands of dogmatists, G.E. Moore was basically right when he purported to refute the skeptic by holding up a hand (which presumably he could see) and telling the skeptic that he was sure he had a hand. Dogmatist theses are often formulated in terms of two notions:defeater and immediate justification. To a first approximation, defeaters are reasons to believe that the experience is not a good guide to the way things are. One dogmatist thesis is that a perceptual experience with the content P (such as "here is a hand") provides justification for believing P, absent defeaters for the experience. A different dogmatist thesis is that a perceptual experience with content P provides immediate justification for believing P, absent defeaters. To a first approximation, justification from experience for believing P is immediate, if there are no other proposition Q such that one needs to rely on one's justification for Q to have justification from experience to believe P. The thesis that perceptual experiences provide immediate justification is compatible both with reliabilism about justification and with non-reliablist theories of justification. Dogmatism is appealing for its simplicity, and for preserving the intuitive idea that the external-world skeptic cannot be right. But in assigning so much rational power to perceptual experiences, it raises several questions. What gives perceptual experiences those rational powers? Is it the phenomenal character of the experience, its content, the status of the experience as reliable, some combination, or other factors? Can there be immediate justification?|
|Key works||Moore 1925 introduced the example of holding up one's hands and claiming to answer the skeptic by invoking one's visual experience of one's hands. Pryor 2000 recently reinvigorated discussion of dogmatism, which was defended earlier by Pollock 1970 and has received continued defense by Huemer 2007. Goldman 2008 defends a reliabilist version of the view that perceptual experiences can be provide immediate justification.Two influential objections to dogmatism are Siegel & Wang 2012, who poses a problem for dogmatism from the cognitive penetrability of experience, and White 2006, who raises an objection using Bayesian considerations.|
|Introductions||Moore 1925 is a good place to begin. Pryor 2005 makes a case of immediate justification and Pryor 2000 is a straightforward positive defense of the view. Siegel & Silins 2015 provides an overview of versions of dogmatism, problems for it, and locates dogmatism in the more general topic of perceptual justification.|
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