Seemings

Edited by Chenwei Nie (University of Warwick)
About this topic
Summary

Seemings are ways things seem to be. They are an important epistemological source. For example, Amelia may believe that there is a double rainbow in the sky because it visually seems to her that way. Bella may believe that she ate oats for breakfast because she seems to remember eating oats for breakfast. Cecilia may believe that she should donate to charities because it seems right to her. Philosophers are interested in spelling out the epistemic imports of seemings. One central question is whether a seeming that P provides prima facie justification for believing that P, and if so, in what sense.

Key works

Pryor 2000 and Huemer 2001 are the two seminal works putting forward the idea that a seeming that P provides prima facie justification for believing that P. For reviews, see Tucker 2013 and McCain & Moretti 2021 (Chapters 1&2). McAllister 2024 contains a list of historical figures endorsing similar ideas. For a new development investigating the relationship between seemings and irrational beliefs, see Huemer 2023 and Nie forthcoming.

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263 found
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  1. Inferential Seemings.Elijah Chudnoff - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.
    There is a felt difference between following an argument to its conclusion and keeping up with an argument in your judgments while failing to see how its conclusion follows from its premises. In the first case there’s what I’m calling an inferential seeming, in the second case there isn’t. Inferential seemings exhibit a cluster of functional and normative characteristics whose integration in one mental state is puzzling. Several recent accounts of inferring suggest inferential seemings play a significant role in the (...)
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  2. Not So Phenomenal!Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & John Hawthorne - forthcoming - The Philosophical Review.
    Our main aims in this paper is to discuss and criticise the core thesis of a position that has become known as phenomenal conservatism. According to this thesis, its seeming to one that p provides enough justification for a belief in p to be prima facie justified (a thesis we label Standard Phenomenal Conservatism). This thesis captures the special kind of epistemic import that seemings are claimed to have. To get clearer on this thesis, we embed it, first, in a (...)
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  3. Reflective awareness, phenomenal conservatism, and phenomenal explanationism.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    According to Phenomenal Conservatism (PC), if a subject S has an appearance that P, in the absence of defeaters, S has justification for believing P by virtue of her appearance's inherent justifying power. McCain and Moretti (2021) have argued that PC is affected by the problem of reflective awareness: if S becomes reflectively aware of an appearance, the appearance loses its inherent justifying power. This limits the explanatory power of PC and reduces its antisceptical bite. This paper provides a novel (...)
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  4. Akratic Beliefs and Seemings.Chenwei Nie - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    How does it come about that a person akratically believes that P, while at the same time believing that the available evidence speaks against that P? Among the current accounts, Scanlon offers an intuitive suggestion that one’s seeming experience that P may play an important role in the aetiology of their akratic belief that P. However, it turns out to be quite challenging to articulate what the role of seeming experience is. This paper will offer a novel development of Scanlon’s (...)
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  5. Internalist vs. Externalist Conceptions of Epistemic Justification.George S. Pappas - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  6. Seemings and the foundations of justification: a defense of phenomenal conservatism.Blake McAllister - 2024 - New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
    All justified beliefs ultimately rest on attitudes that are immediately justified. This book illuminates the nature of immediate justification and the states that provide it. Simply put, immediate justification arises from how things appear to us--from all and only our "seemings." The author defends each aspect of this "seemings foundationalism," including the assumption of foundationalism itself. Most notably, the author draws from common sense philosopher Thomas Reid to present new and improved arguments for phenomenal conservatism and gives the first systematic (...)
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  7. The epistemic insignificance of phenomenal force.Lu Teng - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 109 (1):55-76.
    Does phenomenal force, the distinctive phenomenology attributed to perceptual experience, really form an integral part of the latter? If not, what implications does it have for perceptual justification? In this paper, I first argue for a metacognitive account, according to which phenomenal force constitutes a separate, metacognitive state. This account opens up a previously unexplored path for challenging phenomenal conservatism or dogmatism, which has been a prominent theory of perceptual justification over the past two decades. Moreover, I investigate several alternative (...)
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  8. Lessons from Commonsensism for Religious Epistemology.Michael Bergmann - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 271-86.
    This paper argues that commonsense responses to radical skepticism can provide helpful lessons for religious epistemology—in particular, for thinking about how best to defend, and respond to, religious skepticism. Section 1 briefly summarizes of some of the main elements of the Reid-inspired epistemic-intuition-based commonsense response to radical skepticism developed in my 2021 book, "Radical Skepticism and Epistemic Intuition" and highlights the role (in our thinking about radical skepticism) of epistemic intuitions understood as seemings about epistemic value in much the same (...)
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  9. Veridical Perceptual Seemings.Elijah Chudnoff - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge.
    What is the epistemic significance of taking a veridical perceptual experience at face value? To first approximations, the Minimal View says that it is true belief, and the Maximal View says that it is knowledge. I sympathetically explore the prospects of the Maximal View.
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  10. Epistemic Value, Seemings, and God: The Intersection of Virtue Epistemology, Phenomenal Conservatism, and Religious Experience.Thomas William Duttweiler - 2023 - Dissertation, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  11. Dogmatism, Seemings, and Non-Deductive Inferential Justification.Dimitria Gatzia & Berit Brogaard - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. Chapter 8.
    Dogmatism holds that an experience or seeming that p can provide prima facie immediate justification for believing p in virtue of its phenomenology. Dogmatism about perceptual justification has appealed primarily to proponents of representational theories of perceptual experience. Call dogmatism that takes perceptual experience to be representational "representational phenomenal dogmatism." As we show, phenomenal seemings play a crucial role in dogmatism of this kind. Despite its conventional appeal to representational theorists, dogmatism is not by definition committed to any particular view (...)
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  12. How to Be Irrational.Michael Huemer - 2023 - In . pp. 94-108.
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  13. Against the Phenomenal View of Evidence: Disagreement and Shared Evidence.Elizabeth Jackson - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 54–62.
    On the phenomenal view of evidence, seemings are evidence. More precisely, if it seems to S that p, S has evidence for p. Here, I raise a worry for this view of evidence; namely, that it has the counterintuitive consequence that two people who disagree would rarely, if ever, share evidence. This is because almost all differences in beliefs would involve differences in seemings. However, many literatures in epistemology, including the disagreement literature and the permissivism literature, presuppose that people who (...)
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  14. The Structure of Phenomenal Justification.Uriah Kriegel - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (2):282-297.
    An increasing number of epistemologists defend the notion that some perceptual experiences can immediately justify some beliefs and do so in virtue of (some of) their phenomenal properties. But this view, which we may call phenomenal dogmatism, is also the target of various objections. Here I want to consider an objection that may be put as follows: what is so special about perceptual phenomenology that only it can immediately justify beliefs, while other kinds of phenomenology—including quite similar ones—remain ‘epistemically inert’? (...)
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  15. Seemings and Truth.Blake McAllister - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 23–37.
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  16. Seemings and Truth.Blake McAllister - 2023 - In . pp. 23-37.
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  17. Phenomenal Explanationism and the Look of Things.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 217-232.
    Matthew McGrath has recently challenged all theories that allow for immediate perceptual justification. This challenge comes by way of arguing for what he calls the “Looks View” of visual justification, which entails that our visual beliefs that are allegedly immediately justified are in fact mediately justified based on our independent beliefs about the looks of things. This paper shows that McGrath’s arguments are unsound or, at the very least, that they do not cause genuine concern for the species of dogmatism (...)
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  18. Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles.Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.) - 2023 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    This volume presents new research on the epistemology of seemings. It features original essays by leading epistemologists on the nature and epistemic import of seemings and intuitions. Seemings and intuitions are often appealed to in philosophical theorizing. In fact, epistemological theories such as phenomenal conservatism and dogmatism give pride of place to seemings. Such views insist that seemings are of central importance to theories of epistemic justification. However, there are many questions about seemings that have yet to be answered satisfactorily. (...)
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  19. Nonsubjectivism About How Things Seem.Matthew McGrath - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 38–53.
    We regularly appeal to claims of the form it seems that p in defense of a claim p. When we do so, we typically take it seems that p to be a reason for thinking that p but also a reason that “gets at” a relevant body of facts and its support for p. Other things being equal, we should want to vindicate our ordinary beliefs on this matter. We should want to vindicate the claim that facts about things seeming (...)
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  20. How to Be Irrational.Huemer Michael - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 94-108.
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  21. The Chemistry of Epistemic Justifcation.Matthias Steup - 2023 - In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles. New York, NY: Routledge. pp. 7–22.
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  22. A Metacognitive Account of Phenomenal Force.Lu Teng - 2023 - Mind and Language 38 (4):1081-1101.
    According to phenomenal conservatism or dogmatism, perceptual experiences can give us immediate justification for beliefs about the external world in virtue of having a distinctive kind of phenomenal character—namely phenomenal force. I present three cases to show that phenomenal force is neither pervasive among nor exclusive to perceptual experiences. The plausibility of such cases calls out for explanation. I argue that contrary to a long-held assumption, phenomenal force is a separate, non-perceptual state generated by some metacognitive mechanisms that monitor one’s (...)
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  23. The moral epistemology of intuitionism: neuroethics and seeming states.Hossein A. Dabbagh - 2022 - New York: Bloomsbury Academic.
    Covering moral intuition, self-evidence, non-inferentiality, moral emotion and seeming states, Hossein Dabbagh defends the epistemology of moral intuitionism. His line of analysis resists the empirical challenges derived from empirical moral psychology and reveals the seeming-based account of moral intuitionism as the most tenable one. The Moral Epistemology of Intuitionism combines epistemological intuitionism with work in neuroethics to develop an account of the role that moral intuition and emotion play in moral judgment. The book culminates in a convincing argument about the (...)
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  24. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology. By Kevin McCain and Luca Moretti. [REVIEW]Caleb Estep - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 76 (2):354-356.
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Reviewed by:Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology by Kevin McCain and Luca MorettiCaleb EstepMcCAIN, Kevin and Luca Moretti. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021. iv + 195 pp. Cloth, $70.00Since its beginning, phenomenal conservatism (PC) has grown rapidly in popularity as a theory of epistemic justification. In Appearance and Explanation, McCain and Moretti develop out of PC a new theory of justification (...)
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  25. Foundationalist Theories of Epistemic Justification.Richard Fumerton & Ali Hasan - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  26. Judging, Believing, and Scientific Knowing.Robert Hanna - 2022 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  27. Propositional Justification and Doxastic Justification.Paul Silva & Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2022 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Evidence. New York, NY: Routledge.
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  28. Radical Skepticism and Epistemic Intuition.Michael Bergmann - 2021 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    Radical skepticism endorses the extreme claim that large swaths of our ordinary beliefs, such as those produced by perception or memory, are irrational. The best arguments for such skepticism are, in their essentials, as familiar as a popular science fiction movie and yet even seasoned epistemologists continue to find them strangely seductive. Moreover, although most contemporary philosophers dismiss radical skepticism, they cannot agree on how best to respond to the challenge it presents. In the tradition of the 18th century Scottish (...)
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  29. Reliabilist Epistemology.Alvin Goldman & Bob Beddor - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  30. "Objective Purport, Relational Confirmation, and the Presumption of Moral Objectivism: A Probabilistic Argument from Moral Experience".Tanner Hammond - 2021 - Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (1).
    All else being equal, can granting the objective purport of moral experience support a presumption in favor of some form of moral objectivism? Don Loeb (2007) has argued that even if we grant that moral experience appears to present us with a realm of objective moral fact—something he denies we have reason to do in the first place—the objective purport of moral experience cannot by itself provide even prima facie support for moral objectivism. In this paper, I contend against Loeb (...)
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  31. Not So Phenomenal!John Hawthorne & Maria Lasonen-Aarnio - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (1):1-43.
    The main aims in this article are to discuss and criticize the core thesis of a position that has become known as phenomenal conservatism. According to this thesis, its seeming to one that p provides enough justification for a belief in p to be prima facie justified. This thesis captures the special kind of epistemic import that seemings are claimed to have. To get clearer on this thesis, the article embeds it, first, in a probabilistic framework in which updating on (...)
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  32. Appearance and Explanation: Phenomenal Explanationism in Epistemology.Kevin McCain & Luca Moretti - 2021 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by Luca Moretti.
    Phenomenal Conservatism (the view that an appearance that p gives one prima facie justification for believing that p) is a promising, and popular, internalist theory of epistemic justification. Despite its popularity, it faces numerous objections and challenges. For instance, epistemologists have argued that Phenomenal Conservatism is incompatible with Bayesianism, is afflicted by bootstrapping and cognitive penetration problems, does not guarantee that epistemic justification is a stable property, does not provide an account of defeat, and is not a complete theory of (...)
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  33. Plato's Epistemology: Being and Seeming.Jessica Dawn Moss - 2021 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
    Plato's Epistemology presents an original interpretation of one of the central topics in Plato's work: epistemology. Moss argues, against the grain of much modern scholarship, that Plato's epistemology is radically different from our own.
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  34. Phenomenal Conservatism: Epistemic Justification by Seemings.Kazem Raghebi, Mansour Nasiri & Mohammad MohammadRezaie - 2021 - Philosophy and Kalam 54 (2).
    Phenomenal Conservatism is an approach to epistemological justification that, based on "appearances" and "seemings" and in line with the theory of common sense epistemology, attempt to set up an internal and non-inferential justification, at least for some kind of beliefs. According to this view, justification and non-justification have a direct relationship with the mental state of the agent. Based on this assumption that “Things are as they seem”, phenomenal conservatism offers its central idea that if, for an agent, something seems (...)
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  35. Perceptual experience and perceptual justification.Nicholas Silins - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  36. Propositional and Doxastic Justification: New Perspectives in Epistemology.Paul Silva Jr & Luis R. G. Oliveira - 2021 - In Maria Lasonen-Aarnio & Clayton Littlejohn (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Evidence. Routledge.
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  37. Cognitive Penetration: Inference or Fabrication?Lu Teng - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):547-563.
    ABSTRACT Cognitive penetrability refers to the possibility that perceptual experiences are influenced by our beliefs, expectations, emotions, or other personal-level mental states. In this paper, I focus on the epistemological implication of cognitive penetration, and examine how, exactly, aetiologies matter to the justificatory power of perceptual experiences. I examine a prominent theory, according to which some cognitively penetrated perceptual experiences are like conclusions of bad inferences. Whereas one version of this theory is psychologically implausible, the other version has sceptical consequences. (...)
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  38. Doxastic Conservatism.Hamid Vahid - 2021 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  39. Towards a phenomenological conception of experiential justification.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - Synthese 197 (1):155-183.
    The aim of this paper is to shed light on and develop what I call a phenomenological conception of experiential justification. According to this phenomenological conception, certain experiences gain their justificatory force from their distinctive phenomenology. Such an approach closely connects epistemology and philosophy of mind and has recently been proposed by several authors, most notably by Elijah Chudnoff, Ole Koksvik, and James Pryor. At the present time, however, there is no work that contrasts these different versions of PCEJ. This (...)
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  40. Motivating and defending the phenomenological conception of perceptual justification.Philipp Berghofer - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1–18.
    Perceptual experiences justify. When I look at the black laptop in front of me and my perceptual experience presents me with a black laptop placed on my desk, my perceptual experience has justificatory force with respect to the proposition that there is black laptop on the desk. The present paper addresses the question of why perceptual experiences are a source of immediate justification: What gives them their justificatory force? I shall argue that the most plausible and the most straightforward answer (...)
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  41. Consciousness and Knowledge.Berit Brogaard & Elijah Chudnoff - 2020 - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter focuses on the relationship between consciousness and knowledge, and in particular on the role perceptual consciousness might play in justifying beliefs about the external world. We outline a version of phenomenal dogmatism according to which perceptual experiences immediately, prima facie justify certain select parts of their content, and do so in virtue of their having a distinctive phenomenology with respect to those contents. Along the way we take up various issues in connection with this core theme, including the (...)
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  42. Belief-like imaginings and perceptual (non-)assertoricity.Alon Chasid & Assaf Weksler - 2020 - Philosophical Psychology 33 (5):731-751.
    A commonly-discussed feature of perceptual experience is that it has ‘assertoric’ or ‘phenomenal’ force. We will start by discussing various descriptions of the assertoricity of perceptual experience. We will then adopt a minimal characterization of assertoricity: a perceptual experience has assertoric force just in case it inclines the perceiver to believe its content. Adducing cases that show that visual experience is not always assertoric, we will argue that what renders these visual experiences non-assertoric is that they are penetrated by belief-like (...)
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  43. Worldviews, Moral Seemings, and Moral Epistemology.C. Stephen Evans - 2020 - Review of Metaphysics 73 (4):815-836.
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  44. The Phenomenal Conservative Approach to Religious Epistemology.Logan Paul Gage & Blake McAllister - 2020 - In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 61-81.
    In this chapter, we argue for a phenomenal conservative perspective on religious epistemology and attempt to answer some common criticisms of this perspective.
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  45. PC: Response to Critics.Logan Paul Gage & Blake McAllister - 2020 - In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 98-106.
    In this chapter, Gage and McAllister respond to various objections to the phenomenal conservative position in religious epistemology. In particular, they respond to the objections that seemings are the ultimate source of justification, that PC makes epistemic justification too easy, that PC involves conceptual circularity, and that PC lacks an objective connection to truth.
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  46. A Phenomenal Conservatist Response to Proper Functionalism.Logan Gage & Blake McAllister - 2020 - In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 128-132.
    We criticize the proper functionalist approach to religious epistemology as articulated by Tyler McNabb from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
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  47. A Phenomenal Conservatist Response to Covenantal Epistemology.Logan Gage & Blake McAllister - 2020 - In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 170-174.
    We criticize the approach of covenantal epistemology to religious epistemology as articulated by Scott Oliphint from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
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  48. A Phenomenal Conservatist Response to Tradition-Based Perspectivalism.Logan Gage & Blake McAllister - 2020 - In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 213-216.
    We critique MacIntyre's traditions-based perspectivalist approach to religious epistemology as articulated by Erik Baldwin from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
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  49. Two dogmas of empirical justification.Jack C. Lyons - 2020 - Philosophical Issues 30 (1):221-237.
    Nearly everyone agrees that perception gives us justification and knowledge, and a great number of epistemologists endorse a particular two-part view about how this happens. The view is that perceptual beliefs get their justification from perceptual experiences, and that they do so by being based on them. Despite the ubiquity of these two views, I think that neither has very much going for it; on the contrary, there’s good reason not to believe either one of them.
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  50. Phenomenal Conservatism.Luca Moretti - 2020 - In Seemings and Epistemic Justification: how appearances justify beliefs. Cham: Springer.
    In this chapter I introduce and analyse the tenets of phenomenal conservatism, and discuss the problem of the nature of appearances. After that, I review the asserted epistemic merits phenomenal conservatism and the principal arguments adduced in support of it. Finally, I survey objections to phenomenal conservatism and responses by its advocates. Some of these objections will be scrutinised and appraised in the next chapters.
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