Edited by Susanna Siegel (Harvard University)
|Summary||What is the role of perception in providing rational support for beliefs? Can perceptual states or events provide any rational support at all? According to a traditional foundationalism, perceptual states all by themselves were rationally inert, and only introspective beliefs in which the subjects self-ascribes such states played a role in the justifying external-world beliefs. One of the main issues is whether perception can ever provide rational support for external worlds beliefs, without the help of introspective beliefs. If they can, then several further questions arise. Which beliefs do perceptual states provide justification for? What is the relationship between the beliefs that a perceptual state can justify, and the contents of the perceptual state? Are perceptual states ever sufficient to provide justification, or do they need help from other factors? Which features of the perceptual states are relevant to providing justification? What is the role of concepts in perceptual justification? How is the internal structure of perceptual states related to their rational role? Does consciousness have any special rational role? What difference does it make for the rational role of perception whether disjunctivism, sense-datum theory, intentionalism, or other theories are correct about the nature of perceptual experience? Are the distinctions between perceptual states, events, and processes important for understanding the rational role of perception?|
|Key works||Two elaborate but classic discussions of perceptual justification are Sellars 1956 and McDowell 1994. McDowell 1994 argues against Davidson 1986, who in turn locates perception within coherentist theory that seems to exclude it from playing any rational role. Pryor 2000 , Huemer 2006, and Campbell 2002 argue for a central role of conscious experience in providing justification. Goldman 1986 lays the basis for reliabilist theories of justification and their application to perception. McDowell 1982 set off discussion of whether hallucinations and non-hallucinations can have the same rational role.|
|Introductions||Siegel & Silins 2015 provides an overview of the topic. The first chapter of McDowell 1994 sets up the problem in terms of an opposition between foundationalism and coherentism. The opening pages of both McDowell 1994 and Gupta 2006 make it seem counterintuitive to deny perceptual states any rational role.|
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