About this topic
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 2007Goldman 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.
Related categories

65 found
1 — 50 / 65
  1. Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Epistemology 6.
    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 (...)
  2. Neuroethology: An Overnarrow Definition Can Become a Source of Dogmatism.Ulrich Bässler - 1984 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7 (3):382.
  3. Intuitions as Intellectual Seemings.Berit Brogaard - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (4):382-393.
    In Philosophy Without Intuitions Herman Cappelen argues that unlike what is commonly thought, contemporary analytic philosophers do not typically rely on intuitions as evidence. If they do indeed rely on intuitions, that should be evident from their written works, either explicitly in the form of ‘intuition’ talk or by means of other indicators. However, Cappelen argues, while philosophers do engage in ‘intuition’ talk, that is not a good indicator that they rely on intuitions, as ‘intuition’ and its cognates have many (...)
  4. Phenomenal Seemings and Sensible Dogmatism.Berit Brogaard - 2013 - In Chris Tucker (ed.), Seemings and Justification. Oup Usa. pp. 270.
  5. The Nature of Intuitive Justification.Elijah Chudnoff - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (2):313 - 333.
    In this paper I articulate and defend a view that I call phenomenal dogmatism about intuitive justification. It is dogmatic because it includes the thesis: if it intuitively seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. It is phenomenalist because it includes the thesis: intuitions justify us in believing their contents in virtue of their phenomenology—and in particular their presentational phenomenology. I explore the nature of presentational phenomenology as it occurs perception, (...)
  6. The Epistemic Unity of Perception.Elijah Chudnoff & David Didomenico - 2015 - 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 (...)
  7. What Are Seemings?Andrew Cullison - 2010 - Ratio 23 (3):260-274.
    We are all familiar with the phenomenon of a proposition seeming true. Many think that these seeming states can yield justified beliefs. Very few have seriously explored what these seeming states are. I argue that seeming states are not plausibly analyzed in terms of beliefs, partial beliefs, attractions to believe, or inclinations to believe. Given that the main candidates for analyzing seeming states are unsatisfactory, I argue for a brute view of seemings that treats seeming states as irreducible propositional attitudes.
  8. Revisionism and Dogmatism as the Gnoseological Basis of Opportunistic Tendency.E. Erazmus & L. Hrzal - 1986 - Filosoficky Casopis 34 (4):585-608.
  9. Phenomenal Conservatism and the Subject’s Perspective Objection.Logan Paul Gage - 2016 - 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 that (...)
  10. The Real Epistemic Problem of Cognitive Penetration.Harmen Ghijsen - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies (6):1-19.
    The phenomenon of cognitive penetration has received a lot of attention in recent epistemology, as it seems to make perceptual justification too easy to come by for experientialist theories of justification. Some have tried to respond to this challenge by arguing that cognitive penetration downgrades the epistemic status of perceptual experience, thereby diminishing its justificatory power. I discuss two examples of this strategy, and argue that they fail on several grounds. Most importantly, they fail to realize that cognitive penetration is (...)
  11. Grounding Perceptual Dogmatism: What Are Perceptual Seemings?Harmen Ghijsen - 2015 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 53 (2):196-215.
    Perceptual Dogmatism holds that if it perceptually seems to S that p, then S has immediate prima facie justification for the belief that p. Various philosophers have made the notion of a perceptual seeming more precise by distinguishing perceptual seemings from both sensations and beliefs to accommodate a) the epistemic difference between perceptual judgments of novices and experts, and, b) the problem of the speckled hen. Using somewhat different terminology, perceptual seemings are supposed to be high-level percepts instead of low-level (...)
  12. Phenomenalist Dogmatist Experientialism and the Distinctiveness Problem.Harmen Ghijsen - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1549-1566.
    Phenomenalist dogmatist experientialism (PDE) holds the following thesis: if $S$ has a perceptual experience that $p$ , then $S$ has immediate prima facie evidential justification for the belief that $p$ in virtue of the experience’s phenomenology. The benefits of PDE are that it (a) provides an undemanding view of perceptual justification that allows most of our ordinary perceptual beliefs to be justified, and (b) accommodates two important internalist intuitions, viz. the New Evil Demon Intuition and the Blindsight Intuition. However, in (...)
  13. Do Animals See Objects?Paweł Grabarczyk - 2013 - In Marcin Miłkowski Konrad Talmont-Kamiński (ed.), Regarding Mind, Naturally.
  14. Foundational Beliefs and the Structure of Justification.Kenneth Hobson - 2008 - Synthese 164 (1):117 - 139.
    I argue that our justification for beliefs about the external physical world need not be constituted by any justified beliefs about perceptual experiences. In this way our justification for beliefs about the physical world may be nondoxastic and this differentiates my proposal from traditional foundationalist theories such as those defended by Laurence BonJour, Richard Fumerton, and Timothy McGrew. On the other hand, it differs from certain non-traditional foundationalist theories such as that defended by James Pryor according to which perceptual experience (...)
  15. Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Michael Huemer - 2001 - Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
    This book develops and defends a version of direct realism: the thesis that perception gives us direct awareness, and non-inferential knowledge, of the external..
  16. Perceptual Fundamentalism and a Priori Bootstrapping.Magdalena Balcerak Jackson - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2087-2103.
    According to Perceptual Fundamentalism we can have justified perceptual beliefs solely in virtue of having perceptual experiences with corresponding contents. Recently, it has been argued that Perceptual Fundamentalism entails that it is possible to gain an a priori justified belief that perception is reliable by engaging in a suppositional reasoning process of a priori bootstrapping. But I will show that Perceptual Fundamentalists are not committed to a priori bootstrapping being a rational reasoning process. On the most plausible versions of Perceptual (...)
  17. Skeptical Thoughts Concerning Explanationism and Skepticism.Clayton Littlejohn - 2014 - Symposion. Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 1 (1):77-87.
    According to the explanationist, we can rely on inference to best explanation to justifiably believe familiar skeptical hypotheses are false. On this view, commonsense beliefs about the existence and character of familiar, medium-sized dry goods provides the best explanation of our evidence and so justifies our belief that we're not brains-in-vats. This explanationist approach seems prima facie plausible until we press the explanationist to tell us what the data is that we're trying to explain by appeal to our beliefs about (...)
  18. Seemings and Justification.J. Lyons - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):153-164.
  19. Critical Notice: Seemings and Justification, Ed. Chris Tucker. [REVIEW]Jack Lyons - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):153-164.
  20. Circularity, Reliability, and the Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Jack Lyons - 2011 - Philosophical Issues 21 (1):289-311.
    Is perception cognitively penetrable, and what are the epistemological consequences if it is? I address the latter of these two questions, partly by reference to recent work by Athanassios Raftopoulos and Susanna Seigel. Against the usual, circularity, readings of cognitive penetrability, I argue that cognitive penetration can be epistemically virtuous, when---and only when---it increases the reliability of perception.
  21. Precis of Perception and Basic Beliefs. [REVIEW]Jack Lyons - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):443 - 446.
  22. Response to Critics. [REVIEW]Jack Lyons - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):477 - 488.
    Part of book symposium on _Perception and Basic Beliefs_. Responses to Terry Horgan, Alvin Goldman, and Peter Graham.
  23. Perception and Basic Beliefs: Zombies, Modules, and the Problem of the External World.Jack Lyons - 2009 - Oxford University Press.
    Perception and Basic Beliefs brings together an important treatment of these major epistemological topics and provides a positive solution to the traditional problem of the external world.
  24. Perception and Intuition of Evaluative Properties.Jack C. Lyons - forthcoming - In Anna Bergqvist & Robert Cowan (eds.), Evaluative Perception.
    Outside of philosophy, ‘intuition’ means something like ‘knowing without knowing how you know’. Intuition in this broad sense is an important epistemological category. I distinguish intuition from perception and perception from perceptual experience, in order to discuss the distinctive psychological and epistemological status of evaluative property attributions. Although it is doubtful that we perceptually experience many evaluative properties and also somewhat unlikely that we perceive many evaluative properties, it is highly plausible that we intuit many instances of evaluative properties as (...)
  25. How to Be Sure: Sensory Exploration and Empirical Certainty.Mohan Matthen - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1):38-69.
  26. Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings.Henry Maudsley - 1898 - The Monist 8:467.
  27. Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism.Kevin McCain - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):45-54.
    Against Hanna on Phenomenal Conservatism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0148-2 Authors Kevin McCain, Department of Philosophy, University of Rochester, Box 270078, Rochester, NY 14627-0078, USA Journal Acta Analytica Online ISSN 1874-6349 Print ISSN 0353-5150.
  28. Knowing What Things Look Like.Matthew McGrath - 2016 - Philosophical Review 126 (1):1-41.
    Walking through the supermarket, I see the avocados. I know they are avocados. Similarly, if you see a pumpkin on my office desk, you can know it’s a pumpkin from its looks. The phenomenology in such cases is that of “just seeing” that such and such. This phenomenology might suggest that the knowledge gained is immediate. This paper argues, to the contrary, that in these target cases, the knowledge is mediate, depending as it does on one’s knowledge of what the (...)
  29. Looks and Perceptual Justification.Matthew McGrath - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3).
    Imagine I hold up a Granny Smith apple for all to see. You would thereby gain justified beliefs that it was green, that it was apple, and that it is a Granny Smith apple. Under classical foundationalism, such simple visual beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning your experience. Under dogmatism, some or all of these beliefs are justified immediately by your experience and not by reasons you possess. This paper argues for what I call the looks (...)
  30. How to Be a Bayesian Dogmatist.Brian T. Miller - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):766-780.
    ABSTRACTRational agents have consistent beliefs. Bayesianism is a theory of consistency for partial belief states. Rational agents also respond appropriately to experience. Dogmatism is a theory of how to respond appropriately to experience. Hence, Dogmatism and Bayesianism are theories of two very different aspects of rationality. It's surprising, then, that in recent years it has become common to claim that Dogmatism and Bayesianism are jointly inconsistent: how can two independently consistent theories with distinct subject matter be jointly inconsistent? In this (...)
  31. Phenomenal Conservatism.Luca Moretti - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):296-309.
    I review recent work on Phenomenal Conservatism, the position introduced by Michael Huemer according to which if it seems that P to a subject S, in the absence of defeaters S has thereby some degree of justification for believing P.
  32. In Defence of Dogmatism.Luca Moretti - 2015 - 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. (...)
  33. The Dogmatist, Moore's Proof and Transmission Failure.Luca Moretti - 2014 - Analysis 74 (3):382-389.
    According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, if you have an experience as if P, you acquire immediate prima facie justification for believing P. Pryor contends that dogmatism validates Moore’s infamous proof of a material world. Against Pryor, I argue that if dogmatism is true, Moore’s proof turns out to be non-transmissive of justification according to one of the senses of non-transmissivity defined by Crispin Wright. This type of non-transmissivity doesn’t deprive dogmatism of its apparent antisceptical bite.
  34. Chris Tucker (Ed.), Seemings and Justification: New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism, NY: OUP (2013). [REVIEW]Luca Moretti - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):364-366.
  35. Perceptual Evidence and the New Dogmatism.Ram Neta - 2004 - 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 (...)
  36. Philosophy as Symptom & Disavowal.Joseph D. Osel - forthcoming - Social Science Research Network__Res Publica (2011).
  37. Experiences, Seemings, and Perceptual Justification.Michael Pace - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (2):226-241.
    Several philosophers have distinguished between three distinct mental states that play a role in visual recognition: experiences, propositional seemings, and beliefs. I clarify and offer some reasons for drawing this three-fold distinction, and I consider its epistemological implications. Some philosophers have held that propositional seemings always confer prima facie justification, regardless of a particular seeming's relation to experience. I add to criticisms of this view in the literature by arguing that it fails to solve a version of the ‘problem of (...)
  38. Foundationally Justified Perceptual Beliefs and the Problem of the Speckled Hen.Michael Pace - 2010 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (3):401-441.
    Many epistemologists accept some version of the following foundationalist epistemic principle: if one has an experience as if p then one has prima facie justification that p. I argue that this principle faces a challenge that it inherits from classical foundationalism: the problem of the speckled hen. The crux of the problem is that some properties are presented in experience at a level of determinacy that outstrips our recognitional capacities. I argue for an amendment to the principle that adds to (...)
  39. Uncertainty and Undermining.James Pryor - manuscript
    Dogmatism is a claim about a possible epistemic position, not about the metaphysics of what puts us in that position. So, for example, it leaves it open whether the intrinsic nature of a perceiving subject’s state is the same as that of a hallucinating subject’s state.
  40. Problems for Credulism.James Pryor - 2013 - In Chris Tucker (ed.), Seemings and Justification: New Essays on Dogmatism and Phenomenal Conservatism.
    We have several intuitive paradigms of defeating evidence. For example, let E be the fact that Ernie tells me that the notorious pet Precious is a bird. This supports the premise F, that Precious can fly. However, Orna gives me *opposing* evidence. She says that Precious is a dog. Alternatively, defeating evidence might not oppose Ernie's testimony in that direct way. There might be other ways for it to weaken the support that Ernie's testimony gives me for believing F, without (...)
  41. The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
    Consider the skeptic about the external world. Let’s straightaway concede to such a skeptic that perception gives us no conclusive or certain knowledge about our surroundings. 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. Let’s also concede to the skeptic that it’s metaphysically possible for us to have all the experiences we’re now having while all those experiences are false. Some philosophers dispute (...)
  42. How to Be a Reasonable Dogmatist.James Vincent Pryor - 1997 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    Suppose we meet a skeptic who doubts whether any of the beliefs we form about the external world, on the basis of perception, are justified. How can we defend these beliefs? The skeptic thinks these beliefs aren't justified unless we can give them some non-question-begging defense. A dogmatist rejects this assumption. According to the dogmatist, our perceptual beliefs are justified even though it is impossible to give them any non-question-begging defense. ;In this thesis, I first argue that we have good (...)
  43. Experience, Seemings, and Evidence.Indrek Reiland - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (4):510-534.
    Many people have recently argued that we need to distinguish between experiences and seemings and that this has consequences for views about how perception provides evidence. In this article I spell out my take on these issues by doing three things. First, I distinguish between mere sensations like seeing pitch black all around you and perceptual experiences like seeing a red apple. Both have sensory phenomenology in presenting us with sensory qualities like colors, being analog in Dretske's sense, and being (...)
  44. The Disunity of Perception: An Introduction.Indrek Reiland & Jack Lyons - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (4):443-445.
  45. The Rationalism in Anil Gupta’s Empiricism and Experience.Karl Schafer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 152 (1):1-15.
  46. Epistemic Evaluability and Perceptual Farce.Susanna Siegel - 2015 - In A. Raftopoulos (ed.), Cognitive Effects on Perception: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.
  47. Reply to Fumerton, Huemer, and McGrath.Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):749-757.
    Fumerton, Huemer, and McGrath each contributed to a symposium on "The Epistemic Impact of the Etiology of Experience" in Philosophical Studies. These are my replies their contributions.
  48. The Epistemic Impact of the Etiology of Experience.Susanna Siegel - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (3):697-722.
    In this paper I offer a theory of what makes certain influences on visual experiences by prior mental states (including desires, beliefs, moods, and fears) reduce the justificatory force of those experiences. The main idea is that experiences, like beliefs, can have rationally assessable etiologies, and when those etiologies are irrational, the experiences are epistemically downgraded.
  49. Cognitive Penetrability and Perceptual Justification.Susanna Siegel & Waguter Wang - 2012 - Noûs 46 (2):201-222.
    In this paper I argue that it's possible that the contents of some visual experiences are influenced by the subject's prior beliefs, hopes, suspicions, desires, fears or other mental states, and that this possibility places constraints on the theory of perceptual justification that 'dogmatism' or 'phenomenal conservativism' cannot respect.
  50. Experience and Defeat.Nicholas Silins - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
1 — 50 / 65