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Summary

The literature on perceptual knowledge—or, more broadly, the epistemology of perception—addresses a wide array of issues that often overlap.  Among the most prominent questions in the literature are the following: How should we account for perceptual knowledge and related notions such as perceptual evidence, justification, rationality, and entitlement?  Is any perceptual knowledge/justification immediate, or is all perceptual knowledge/justification mediated by other knowledge/justification?  Must perceptual experiences be understood as having conceptual content—or as having representational content at all—to justify perceptual beliefs?  How should the metaphysics of perception inform the epistemology of perception (or vice versa)?  How can we address skeptical threats to the status of our perceptual beliefs?  Do we have the same evidence for our perceptual beliefs in good and bad cases of perceptual experience?  More broadly, what is the relationship between the epistemic standing of our perceptual beliefs in good and bad cases?

Key works

Some central works about the nature of perceptual knowledge are Dretske(1969, 2000), Goldman (1976), McDowell (1994), Williamson (2000), Johnston (2006), and Sosa (2007).  Some central works about the nature of perceptual justification, entitlement and rationality are Pryor (2000), Huemer (2001), Burge (2003) and Wright (2004).  Important discussions of the relationship between perceptual content and the epistemology of perception include Sellars (1956), Martin (1993), Brewer (1999), Heck (2000), and Silins (2011).  Important discussions of the relationship between the metaphysics and epistemology of perception include Fumerton (1985), Martin (2006), McDowell (2008), and Sosa (2011).  Pryor (2000), Huemer (2001), and Wright (2002) rank among the most important recent discussions of perception and skepticism.  Pritchard (2012) and Schellenberg (2013) have developed accounts of the relationship between the epistemology of the good and the bad cases.

Introductions

Opie and O’Brien (2004), BonJour (2007), and Siegel and Silins (2015) provide overviews of the literature on the epistemology of perception. 

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  1. Jordi Valor Abad (2009). Empiricism and Experience : Two Problems. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 17 (2):323 – 328.
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  2. S. Alexander (1923). Sense-Perception: A Reply to Mr. Stout. Mind 32 (125):1-11.
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  3. Monika Betzler (1998). John McDowell, Mind and World. Erkenntnis 48 (1):117-122.
  4. Steven E. Boër (1974). Cornman on Designation Rules. Philosophical Studies 26 (3-4):271 - 278.
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  5. A. Boutwood, H. W. Blunt & G. F. Stout (1890). Symposium: Does Our Knowledge or Perception of the Ego Admit of Being Analysed? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 1 (4):28 - 39.
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  6. Jack C. Carloye (1977). Cornman's Definition of Observation Terms. Philosophical Studies 32 (3):283 - 292.
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  7. Victoria Choy (1982). Essays in Honor of James Welton Cornman. Philosophical Studies 41 (1):1-1.
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  8. Victoria Choy (1982). The Philosophy of James W. Cornman. Philosophical Studies 41 (1):7 - 29.
  9. D. R. Cousin (1940). Perceptual Assurance (I.). Mind 49 (193):19-41.
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  10. D. R. Cousin (1940). Perceptual Assurance (II.). Mind 49 (194):150-169.
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  11. Tim Crane, REVIEW: The Nature of Perception by John Brewer and Perception and Reason by Bill Brewer.
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  12. Chris Daly (1998). Modality and Acquaintance with Properties. The Monist 81 (1):44--68.
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  13. Zoltan Domotor & Michael Friedman (1982). Cornman and Philosophy of Science. Philosophical Studies 41 (1):115 - 127.
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  14. Durant Drake (1920). The Status of the Essences Given in Knowledge. Philosophical Review 29 (2):173-179.
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  15. Naomi Eilan (forthcoming). Perceptual Objectivity and Consciousness: A Relational Response to Burge’s Challenge. Topoi:1-12.
    My question is: does phenomenal consciousness have a critical role in explaining the way conscious perceptions achieve objective import? I approach it through developing a dilemma I label ‘Burge’s Challenge’, which is implicit in his approach to perceptual objectivity. It says, crudely: either endorse the general structure of his account of how objective perceptual import is achieved, and give up on a role for consciousness. Or, relinquish Caused Representation, and possibly defend a role for consciousness. Someone I call Burge* holds (...)
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  16. Richard Foley & William P. Alston (1995). The Reliability of Sense Perception. Philosophical Review 104 (1):133.
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  17. Richard Fumerton (2002). 'Critical Study: Bill Brewer' Perception and Reason. Noûs 36 (3):509–522.
  18. Sanford Goldberg (forthcoming). Comments on Pritchard’s Epistemological Disjunctivism in Advance. Journal of Philosophical Research.
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  19. Anil Gupta (2009). Equivalence, Reliability, and Convergence: Replies to McDowell, Peacocke, and Neta. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (2):490-508.
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  20. Herbert Heidelberger & Don Locke (1970). Perception and Our Knowledge of the External World. Philosophical Review 79 (2):284.
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  21. M. Whitcomb Hess (1947). Language and Sense Perception. The Thomist 10:56.
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  22. Greg Hodes (2007). Lonergan and Perceptual Direct Realism: Facing Up to the Problem of the External Material World. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):203-220.
    In this paper I call attention to the fact that Lonergan gives two radically opposed accounts of how sense perception relates us to the external world and of how we know that this relation exists. I argue that the position that Lonergan characteristically adopts is not the one implied by what is most fundamental in his theory of cognition. I describe the initial epistemic position with regard to the problem of skepticism about the external material world that is in fact (...)
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  23. Frank Hofmann, The Epistemic Role of Experience.
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  24. Emmett Lou Holman (1973). The Epistemic Status of Sense Perception. Dissertation, University of Maryland, College Park
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  25. A. H. Johnson (1973). Experiential Realism. New York: Humanities Press.
  26. Darryl Jung, The Problem of the External World : A Fallibilist Vindication of Our Claim to Knowledge.
    The celebrated 'veil-of-ideas' argument is a skeptical argument that moves from a certain epistemological doctrine about perception to a general negative conclusion concerning our thoughts about external material objects. Indeed, the argument concludes not only that we do not know, but that neither could we know nor even reasonably believe, any of the thoughts that we may possibly entertain concerning external material objects. The epistemological doctrine about perception referred to in the argument has been in fashion since Descartes and states (...)
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  27. L. K. (1978). James W. Cornman. Philosophical Studies 34 (4):333-334.
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  28. R. M. K. (1973). Perception, Reason, and Knowledge. Review of Metaphysics 27 (2):371-371.
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  29. Daniel Enrique Kalpokas (forthcoming). Experience and Justification: Revisiting McDowell’s Empiricism. Erkenntnis:1-24.
    In this paper I try to defend McDowell’s empiricism from a certain objection made by Davidson, Stroud and Glüer. The objection states that experiences cannot be reasons because they are—as McDowell conceives them—inert. I argue that, even though there is something correct in the objection, that is not sufficient for rejecting the epistemological character that McDowell attributes to experiences. My strategy consists basically in showing that experiences involve a constitutive attitude of acceptance of their contents.
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  30. David Kelley (1982). Perceptual Knowledge. International Philosophical Quarterly 22 (1):97-98.
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  31. Matthew Kennedy (2009). Review of William Fish, Perception, Hallucination, and Illusion. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (11).
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  32. J. Largeault (1989). Dancy . . - Perceptual knowledge. [REVIEW] Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 179:647.
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  33. Don Locke (2015). Perception: And Our Knowledge of the External World. Routledge.
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  34. Don Locke (2004). Perception: And Our Knowledge of the External World. Routledge.
    First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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  35. Lockhart Thomas (forthcoming). Epistemological Disjunctivism and the Random Demon Hypothesis. New Content is Available for International Journal for the Study of Skepticism.
    _ 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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  36. Lockhart Thomas (forthcoming). Epistemological Disjunctivism and the Random Demon Hypothesis. Brill.
    _ 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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  37. William G. Lycan (2001). Perception and Reason. Bill Brewer. Mind 110 (439):725-729.
  38. J. L. Mackie (1972). Metaphysical Common Sense. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):247-252.
  39. Carolyn Hope Magid (1974). Experience and the Foundations of Knowledge. Dissertation, Princeton University
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  40. Robert J. Matthews (1988). Perceptual Individualism: Reply to Burge [1988]. In R. H. Grimm & D. D. Merrill (eds.), Contents of Thought. University of Arizona Press.
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  41. John Henry McDowell (2011). Perception as a Capacity for Knowledge. Marquette University Press.
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  42. John Henry McDowell (1998). Meaning, Knowledge, and Reality. Harvard University Press.
    This is the second volume of John McDowell's selected papers.
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  43. Donald Mcqueen (1983). Perceptual Knowledge. Philosophical Books 24 (1):58-60.
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  44. Phillip John Meadows (2016). Space and the Sense Datum Inference. Topoi 35 (2):601-609.
    In this paper I consider the relationship between the spatial properties of visual perceptual experience and the sense-datum inference. I argue that the sense datum inference should be accepted if spatial properties are not merely intentionally present in such experiences. This result serves to underline the seriousness of the difficulties that are presented to direct realism by a particular class of illusory spatial experiences based on the geometry of visual perceptual experience. In light of these considerations I argue that it (...)
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  45. Alan Millar (2016). Perceptual Knowledge and Well-Founded Belief. Episteme 13 (1):43-59.
    Should a philosophical account of perceptual knowledge accord a justificatory role to sensory experiences? This discussion raises problems for an affirmative answer and sets out an alternative account on which justified belief is conceived as well-founded belief and well-foundedness is taken to depend on knowledge. A key part of the discussion draws on a conception of perceptual-recognitional abilities to account for how perception gives rise both to perceptual knowledge and to well-founded belief.
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  46. Alan Millar (2009). What is It That Cognitive Abilities Are Abilities to Do? Acta Analytica 24 (4):223-236.
    This article outlines a conception of perceptual-recognitional abilities. These include abilities to recognize certain things from their appearance to some sensory modality, as being of some kind, or as possessing some property. An assumption of the article is that these abilities are crucial for an adequate understanding of perceptual knowledge. The specific aim here is to contrast those abilities with abilities or competences as conceived in the virtue-theoretic literature, with particular reference to views of Ernest Sosa and John Greco. In (...)
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  47. Kevin Mulligan, Seeing, Certainty and Apprehension.
    §1 Simple Seeing and its Relations §2 Acquaintance, Apprehension, Belief, Knowledge, Action & Externalism §3 Simple Seeing, Sense and Meaning §4 Simple Seeing and Primitive Certainty ...at one time they dispute eagerly over certainty of thought, though certainty is not a habit of the mind at all, but a quality of propositions, and the speakers are really arguing about certitude... (James Joyce, 1903, Occasional, Critical and Political Writing, ed. Kevin Barry, 2000, OUP, 69) Like many others, I believe that to (...)
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  48. P. Murphy (2007). Richard Fumerton, Epistemology. Philosophy in Review 27 (2):113.
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  49. Stephen J. Noren (1975). Cornman on the Colour of Micro-Entities. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 53 (1):65-67.
  50. Douglas Odegard (1982). Knowledge and the Flow of Information Fred I. Dretske Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1981. Pp. Xiv, 273. $18.50. Dialogue 21 (4):778-779.
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