About this topic
Summary

The literature on perception and skepticism can be helpfully organized around two skeptical arguments: closure arguments and underdetermination arguments.  Where H = I have hands and ~BIV = I am not a handless brain in a vat, one familiar closure argument proceeds as follows: (1) If I am justified in believing H, then I am justified in believing ~BIV.  (2) But I am not justified in believing ~BIV. (3) So, I am not justified in believing H.  The popular response is to reject (2).  According to liberal Mooreans, (2) is false because one’s perceptual experience gives one immediate justification for H and thus mediate justification for ~BIV (by closure).  According to conservatives, we lack immediate perceptual justification for H.  Non-skeptical conservatives reject (2) by arguing that our justification for H partly consists in some antecedent justification for ~BIV.  According to some non-skeptical conservatives, the antecedent justification is an a priori entitlement.  According to others, the justification is inferential—say, an abductive argument from the patterning of our perceptual experience to the probable truth of our perceptual beliefs.  While liberal Mooreanism and conservatism are often taken to be the only ways to deny (2), the liberal rationalism of Silins (2008) affords a subtle compromise.

Some other important work in the literature on perception and skepticism responds to the following underdetermination argument:

(A) I have the same perceptual evidence whether ~BIV or BIV is true.

(B) So, my evidence does not favor believing ~BIV over BIV.

(C) But if (B) is true, then I am not justified in believing H.   

(D) So, I am not justified in believing H. 

Epistemological disjunctivists reject (A).  Although epistemological disjunctivism has gained adherents in recent years, it is not a majority view.  Most epistemologists reject either (C) or the inference from (A) to (B).  Some externalists reject (C) by denying that justification supervenes on evidence and holding that non-evidential factors justify our belief in H.  Some conservatives reject the move from (A) to (B) by insisting that there is a non-skeptical alternative to BIV that better explains one’s perceptual evidence.

Key works

The locus classicus of liberal Mooreanism is Moore 1939.  Landmarks of contemporary liberal Mooreanism include Pryor 2000 and Pryor 2004.  Classic illustrations of entitlement-based conservatism include Wright 2002 and Wright 2004.  Vogel 1990 is a major conservative who appeals to abduction.  Iconic works by epistemological disjunctivists include McDowell 1983, McDowell 2008, and Pritchard 2012; key critics include Comesaña 2005 and Conee 2007.  

Introductions

Fumerton 1985Pryor 2000, and Huemer 2001 serve as great introductions to skeptical issues in the epistemology of perception.  BonJour 2007 and Siegel & Silins 2015 provide introductory discussions of skeptical problems in connection with other issues in the epistemology of perception.  Millar 2017 offers an overview of the literature on epistemological disjunctivism and skepticism.  Brueckner 1994 clarifies the relationship between the closure and underdetermination arguments.

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222 found
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  1. added 2020-06-18
    The Self-Defeating Character of Skepticism.Douglas C. Long - 1992 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1):67-84.
    The Self-Defeating Character of Skepticism [ABSTRACT] Douglas C. Long Philosophical skepticism arises from a Cartesian first-person perspective that initially rejects as unjustified any appeal to sense perception. I argue that, contrary to the cogito argument, when a “purely subjective” epistemology cuts one off from justified beliefs about the world in this way, it undermines justified belief about one’s own existence as an individual in the world as well. Therefore, philosophical doubt expressed in the form: “I know that I exist but (...)
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  2. added 2020-06-16
    Unnatural Doubts: Epistemological Realism and the Basis of Scepticism.Keith DeRose & Michael Williams - 1993 - Philosophical Review 102 (4):604.
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  3. added 2020-06-03
    Perception and Metaphysical Scepticism.Paul Coates - 1998 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 72 (72):1-28.
    In this paper I introduce and critically examine a paradox about perceiving that is in some ways analogous to the paradox about meaning which Kripke puts forward in his exegesis of Wittgenstein's views on Rule-following. When applied to vision, the paradox of perceiving raises a metaphysical scepticism about which object a person is seeing if he looks, for example, at an apple on a tree directly in front of him. Physical objects can be seen when their appearance is distorted in (...)
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  4. added 2020-02-11
    Skepticism and the Veil of Perception.Gerald Vision - 2002 - Mind 111 (444):866-869.
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  5. added 2019-10-07
    Matter and Mind: Two Essays in Epistemology. [REVIEW]Douglas C. Long - 1977 - International Studies in Philosophy 9:168-170.
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    Skepticism, Evidence and Entitlement.Michael Williams - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):36-71.
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  7. added 2019-06-06
    The Vulgar Conception of Objects in “Of Skepticism with Regard to the Senses”.Stefanie Rocknak - 2007 - Hume Studies 33 (1):67-90.
    In this paper, we see that contrary to most readings of T 1.4.2 in the Treatise, Hume does not think that objects are sense impressions. This means that Hume’s position on objects is not to be conflated with the vulgar perspective. Moreover, the vulgar perspective undergoes a marked transition in T 1.4.2, evolving from what we may call vulgar perspective I into vulgar perspective II. This paper presents the first detailed analysis of this evolution, which includes an explanation of T (...)
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    Elusive Knowledge of Things in Themselves.Rae Langton - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):129.
    Kant argued that we have no knowledge of things in themselves, no knowledge of the intrinsic properties of things, a thesis that is not idealism but epistemic humility. David Lewis agrees, but for Ramseyan reasons rather than Kantian. I compare the doctrines of Ramseyan and Kantian humility, and argue that Lewis's contextualist strategy for rescuing knowledge from the sceptic should also rescue knowledge of things in themselves. The rescue would not be complete: for knowledge of things in themselves would remain (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    Schopenhauer as Epistemologist: A Kantian Against Kant.Douglas James McDermid - 2002 - International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (2):209-229.
    An examination of Schopenhauer’s epistemology can considerably enhance our appreciation of his philosophical achievement in at least three major ways: First, by shedding light on the unity and internal coherence of his system ; second, by clearly revealing some of his fundamental disagreements with Kant; and, finally, by making it plain that he is less removed from the mainstream epistemology-centred tradition of modern philosophy than some have supposed. To make good on these claims, I address three questions about his epistemology: (...)
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    XIV—Scepticism and Natural Knowledge.Michael Woods - 1980 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 80 (1):231-248.
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  11. added 2019-04-01
    Scepticism and Perceptual Justification.Dylan Dodd & Elia Zardini (eds.) - 2013 - Oxford University Press.
    How can experience provide knowledge, or even justified belief, about the objective world outside our minds? This volume presents original essays by prominent contemporary epistemologists, who show how philosophical progress on foundational issues can improve our understanding of, and suggest a solution to, this famous sceptical question.
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  12. added 2019-03-06
    Epistemological Disjunctivism and the Random Demon Hypothesis.Thomas Lockhart - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (1):1-30.
    _ Source: _Page Count 30 According to epistemological disjunctivism I can claim to know facts about the world around me on the basis of my perceptual experience. My possession of such knowledge is incompatible with a number of familiar skeptical scenarios. So a paradigmatic epistemological disjunctivist perceptual experience should allow me to rule out such incompatible skeptical scenarios. In this paper, I consider skeptical scenarios which both cast doubt on my conviction that I can trust my purported perceptual experiences and (...)
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  13. added 2019-03-06
    On Envattment - Disjunctivism, Skeptical Scenarios and Rationality.Giovanni Rolla - 2016 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 57 (134):525-544.
    The aim of this paper is two-fold: first, it is intended to articulate theses that are often assessed independently, thus showing that a strong version of epistemological disjunctivism about perceptual knowledge implies a transformative conception of rationality. This entails that individuals in skeptical scenarios could not entertain rational thoughts about their environment, for they would fail to have perceptual states. The secondary aim is to show that this consequence is not a sufficient reason to abandon the variety of disjunctivism presented. (...)
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  14. added 2019-02-27
    Sympathy in Perception. [REVIEW]Catherine Legg & Jack Alan Reynolds - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2018 (0809).
  15. added 2018-09-26
    Starting Afresh Disjunctively : Perceptual Engagement with the World.Sonia Sedivy - 2008 - In Adrian Haddock & Fiona Macpherson (eds.), Disjunctivism: Perception, Action, Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
    This article argues that conceptual realism – the view that conceptual capacities secure the perceiver’s relation to what she sees – strengthens the appeal of a disjunctive approach to perception. The paper argues for a ‘fresh start’ that takes an explanatory approach to perception – asking for the best explanation of the perceptual capacities of mobile organisms – in place of the first person perspective of the argument from illusion. An explanatory perspective indicates that perception is a form of engagement. (...)
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  16. added 2018-06-03
    Skepticism and Perceptual Justification, Edited by Dylan Dodd and Elia Zardini. [REVIEW]Ted Poston - 2018 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 8 (3):250-255.
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  17. added 2018-04-23
    Entitlement, Epistemic Risk and Scepticism.Luca Moretti - forthcoming - Episteme:1-11.
    Crispin Wright maintains that the architecture of perceptual justification is such that we can acquire justification for our perceptual beliefs only if we have antecedent justification for ruling out any sceptical alternative. Wright contends that this principle doesn’t elicit scepticism, for we are non-evidentially entitled to accept the negation of any sceptical alternative. Sebastiano Moruzzi has challenged Wright’s contention by arguing that since our non-evidential entitlements don’t remove the epistemic risk of our perceptual beliefs, they don’t actually enable us to (...)
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  18. added 2018-03-02
    Goldman on the Non-Contingency Thesis.Roger A. Shiner - 1977 - Mind 86 (344):587-590.
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  19. added 2018-02-17
    Escepticismo y Desacuerdo.Rodrigo Laera - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (1):81-97.
    Within the framework of the epistemological debate on disagreement, this paper aims to examine the sceptical thesis that holds that, if it is impossible to rationally choose among two excluding positions, the only sensible or rational thing to do is to suspend judgement. The idea that ordinary life does not constitute the source of scepticism is presented, which rules out real disagreement between epistemic pairs as its foundation. Sceptical scenes differ ontologically from everyday scenes, without such ontological difference entailing an (...)
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  20. added 2018-02-17
    The Rationalism in Anil Gupta’s Empiricism and Experience.Karl Schafer - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 152 (1):1-15.
    In these comments I briefly discuss three aspects of the empiricist account of the epistemic role of experience that Anil Gupta develops in his Empiricism and Experience. First, I discuss the motivations Gupta offers for the claim that the given in experience should be regarded as reliable. Second, I discuss two different ways of conceiving of the epistemic significance of the phenomenology of experience. And third, I discuss whether Gupta's account is able to deliver the anti-skeptical results he intends it (...)
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  21. added 2018-01-02
    Review of Richard Gaskin, Experience and the World's Own Language: A Critique of John McDowell's Empiricism[REVIEW]Jason Bridges - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (2).
  22. added 2017-11-14
    Descartes's Method of Doubt.Leslie Allan - manuscript
    Enlightenment philosopher, René Descartes, set out to establish what could be known with certainty, untainted by a deceiving demon. With his method of doubt, he rejected all previous beliefs, allowing only those that survived rigorous scrutiny. In this essay, Leslie Allan examines whether Descartes's program of skeptical enquiry was successful in laying a firm foundation for our manifold beliefs. He subjects Descartes's conclusions to Descartes's own uncompromising methodology to determine whether Descartes escaped from a self-imposed radical skepticism.
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  23. added 2017-10-18
    Epistemology Without Concepts?: Penelope Maddy: What Do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, Xi+248pp, $29.95 HB. [REVIEW]Santiago Echeverri - 2018 - Metascience 27 (1):117-121.
    Review of Penelope Maddy, What Do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017, 248 pp.).
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  24. added 2017-10-14
    Review of The New Science of the Mind by Marc Rowlands (2013).Michael Starks - 2017 - Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017).
    Before remarking on “The New Science of the Mind”, I first offer some comments on philosophy and its relationship to contemporary psychological research as exemplified in the works of Searle (S),Wittgenstein (W), Hacker (H) et al. It will help to see my reviews of PNC (Philosophy in a New Century), TLP, PI, OC, Making the Social World (MSW) and other books by and about these geniuses, who provide a clear description of higher order behavior, not found in psychology nor philosophy, (...)
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  25. added 2017-09-18
    Counterfeiting Perceptual Experience: Scepticism, Internalism, and the Disjunctive Conception of Experience.Tommaso Piazza - 2016 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (7-8):100-131.
    Along with what McDowell has called the disjunctive conception of experience (DCE), and against a venerable tradition, the veridical experience that P and the subjectively indistinguishable hallucination that P are not type-identical mental states. According to McDowell, a powerful motivation for DCE is that it makes available the sole internalistically acceptable way out of a sceptical argument targeting the possibility of perceptual knowledge. In this paper I state in explicit terms the sceptical argument McDowell worries about, and show that DCE (...)
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  26. added 2017-08-28
    John McDowell, Mind and World.Monika Betzler - 1998 - Erkenntnis 48 (1):117-122.
  27. added 2017-05-29
    The Central Role of Cognition in Kant's Transcendental Deduction.Curtis Sommerlatte - 2016 - Dissertation, Indiana University, Bloomington
    I argue that Kant’s primary epistemological concern in the Critique of Pure Reason’s transcendental deduction is empirical cognition. I show how empirical cognition is best understood as “rational sensory discrimination”: the capacity to discriminate sensory objects through the use of concepts and with a sensitivity to the normativity of reasons. My dissertation focuses on Kant’s starting assumption of the transcendental deduction, which I argue to be the thesis that we have empirical cognition. I then show how Kant’s own subjective deduction (...)
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  28. added 2017-05-29
    Roderick M. Chisolm, "The Problem of the Criterion". [REVIEW]Anthony J. Lisska - 1974 - The Thomist 38 (4):988.
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  29. added 2017-05-01
    Experimental Evidence for the Existence of an External World.Eric Schwitzgebel & Alan T. Moore - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3):564--582.
    In the first experiment, I exhibit unreliable judgment about the primeness or divisibility of four-digit numbers, in contrast to a seeming Excel program. In the second experiment, I exhibit an imperfect memory for arbitrary-seeming three-digit number and letter combinations, in contrast to my seeming collaborator with seemingly hidden notes. In the third experiment, I seem to suffer repeated defeats at chess. In all three experiments, the most straightforward interpretation of the experiential evidence is that something exists in the universe that (...)
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  30. added 2017-02-12
    O argumento da ilusão/alucinação e o disjuntivismo: Ayer versus Austin.Eros Moreira de Carvalho - 2015 - Skepsis: A Journal for Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Research 12:85-106.
    The argument from illusion/hallucination have been proposed many times as supporting the strong conclusion that we are always perceiving directly sense-data. In Sense & Sensibilia, Austin argues that this argument is based on a “mass of seductive (mainly verbal) fallacies”. In this paper, I argue that Austin's argumentative moves to deconstruct the argument from illusion is better understood if they are seen as due to his implicit commitment to some disjunctivist conception of perception. His considerations should be taken as a (...)
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  31. added 2017-02-03
    Perceptual Assent and Skepticism.William Kinzelman - unknown
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  32. added 2017-01-18
    Skepticism, Deflation, and the Rediscovery of the Self.Stephen L. White - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):275-298.
    Consider what I shall call the interface diagram.
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  33. added 2017-01-16
    Perception and Metaphysical Scepticism.Paul Coates - 1998 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 72 (1):1-28.
    In this paper I introduce and critically examine a paradox about perceiving that is in some ways analogous to the paradox about meaning which Kripke puts forward in his exegesis of Wittgenstein's views on Rule-following. When applied to vision, the paradox of perceiving raises a metaphysical scepticism about which object a person is seeing if he looks, for example, at an apple on a tree directly in front of him. Physical objects can be seen when their appearance is distorted in (...)
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  34. added 2016-12-24
    Epistemic Immodesty and Embodied Rationality.Rolla Giovanni - 2016 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 39 (3):5-28.
    Based on Pritchard’s distinction (2012, 2016) between favoring and discriminating epistemic grounds, and on how those grounds bear on the elimination of skeptical possibilities, I present the dream argument as a moderate skeptical possibility that can be reasonably motivated. In order to block the dream argument skeptical conclusion, I present a version of phenomenological disjunctivism based on Noë’s actionist account of perceptual consciousness (2012). This suggests that perceptual knowledge is rationally grounded because it is a form of embodied achievement – (...)
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  35. added 2016-12-12
    Consciousness and Language.John R. Searle - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
    One of the most important and influential philosophers of the last 30 years, John Searle has been concerned throughout his career with a single overarching question: how can we have a unified and theoretically satisfactory account of ourselves and of our relations to other people and to the natural world? In other words, how can we reconcile our common-sense conception of ourselves as conscious, free, mindful, rational agents in a world that we believe comprises brute, unconscious, mindless, meaningless, mute physical (...)
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  36. added 2016-12-08
    Replies to Commentators. [REVIEW]Timothy Williamson - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2):468-491.
    The core of Tony Brueckner’s critique in ‘Knowledge, Evidence, and Skepticism according to Williamson’ is his claim in section 5 that my account of perceptual knowledge has an unacceptable consequence. My reply will concentrate on that claim and largely ignore the rest of Brueckner’s interesting discussion, for it is easy to check that the claim is essential to Brueckner’s argument against my analysis of skepticism and evidence.
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  37. added 2016-12-08
    The New Academy's Appeals to the Presocratics.John Palmer & Charles Brittain - 2001 - Phronesis 46 (1):38-72.
    Members of the New Academy presented their sceptical position as the culmination of a progressive development in the history of philosophy, which began when certain Presocratics started to reflect on the epistemic status of their theoretical claims concerning the natures of things. The Academics' dogmatic opponents accused them of misrepresenting the early philosophers in an illegitimate attempt to claim respectable precedents for their dangerous position. The ensuing debate over the extent to which some form of scepticism might properly be attributed (...)
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  38. added 2016-12-08
    Scepticism and Ineffability in Plotinus.Dominic O'Meara - 2000 - Phronesis 45 (3):240-251.
    The first part of this paper traces back to Plotinus a strategy applied by Augustine and Descartes whereby sceptical arguments are used to set aside sensualist forms of dogmatic philosophy, clearing the way for a dogmatism independent of sense-perception which is 'self-authenticating' and thus immune to, and even proven by, sceptical doubt. It is argued that Plotinus already uses this strategy in the opening chapters of "Enneads" V 5 and V 3. The second part of the paper argues that Plotinus' (...)
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  39. added 2016-10-12
    Experience and the Active Mind.Alva Noë - 2001 - Synthese 129 (1):41-60.
    This paper investigates a new species ofskeptical reasoning about visual experience that takesits start from developments in perceptual science(especially recent work on change blindness andinattentional blindness). According to thisskepticism, the impression of visual awareness of theenvironment in full detail and high resolution isillusory. I argue that the new skepticism depends onmisguided assumptions about the character ofperceptual experience, about whether perceptualexperiences are ''internal'' states, and about how bestto understand the relationship between a person''s oranimal''s perceptual capacities and the brain-level orneural processes (...)
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  40. added 2016-10-08
    Knowledge for Nothing.Patrick Michael Greenough - 2018 - In Peter Graham & Nikolaj Pedersen (eds.), New Essays on Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    Let Entitlement Epistemology be the theory of knowledge which says that entitlement—a special kind of unearned warrant to accept or believe—can help us successfully address a range of sceptical arguments. Prominent versions of this theory urge that epistemology should not be concerned with knowledge (and similar externalist states) but rather with justification, warrant, and entitlement (at least insofar as these are conceived of as internalist states). Knowledge does not come first, half-way, or even last in epistemological theorising—rather, it ought to (...)
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  41. added 2016-10-02
    A Critical Introduction to the Epistemology of Perception.Ali Hasan - 2017 - Bloomsbury Academic.
    We ordinarily take it as obvious that we acquire knowledge of our world on the basis of sensory perception, and that such knowledge plays a central cognitive and practical role in our lives. Upon reflection, however, it is far from obvious what perception involves and how exactly it contributes to our knowledge. Indeed, skeptical arguments have led some to question whether we have any knowledge, or even rational or justified belief, regarding the world outside our minds. -/- Investigating the nature (...)
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  42. added 2016-09-01
    The Real Epistemic Problem of Cognitive Penetration.Harmen Ghijsen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1457-1475.
    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 (...)
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  43. added 2016-08-18
    How to Undercut Radical Skepticism.Santiago Echeverri - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1299-1321.
    Radical skepticism relies on the hypothesis that one could be completely cut off from the external world. In this paper, I argue that this hypothesis can be rationally motivated by means of a conceivability argument. Subsequently, I submit that this conceivability argument does not furnish a good reason to believe that one could be completely cut off from the external world. To this end, I show that we cannot adequately conceive scenarios that verify the radical skeptical hypothesis. Attempts to do (...)
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  44. added 2016-04-16
    Ernest Sosa: And His Critics.John Greco (ed.) - 2004 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  45. added 2016-03-11
    Perception, Intuition and Knowledge of Ti-Ie External World: Scienticizing African Philosophy.Maduabuchi Durtos - 2000 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 27 (4).
  46. added 2016-02-09
    Perceptual Justification and the Cartesian Theater.David James Barnett - 2019 - 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, your immediate perceptual evidence is limited to facts about your own visual experience, from which conclusions about the external world must be inferred. Cartesianism faces well-known skeptical challenges. But this chapter argues that any anti-Cartesian view strong enough to avoid these challenges must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. To (...)
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  47. added 2016-02-05
    Epistemic Entitlement and the Leaching Problem.Aidan McGlynn - 2017 - Episteme 14 (1):89-102.
  48. added 2016-01-05
    What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
    Something about this argument sounds funny. As we’ll see, though, it takes some care to identify exactly what Moore has done wrong. Iwill assume that Moore knows premise (2) to be true. One could inquire into how he knows it, and whether that knowledge can be defeated; but Iwon’t. I’ll focus instead on what epistemic relations Moore has to premise (1) and to his conclusion (3). It may matter which epistemic relations we choose to consider. Some philosophers will diagnose Moore’s (...)
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  49. added 2016-01-05
    Perception, Intuition and Knowledge of the External World: Scienticizing African Philosophy.Maduabuchi Dukor - 2000 - Indian Philosophical Quarterly 27 (4):457.
  50. added 2015-12-19
    Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology.Annalisa Coliva - 2015 - 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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