Oxford University Press (2009)

Jack Lyons
University of Glasgow
This book offers solutions to two persistent and I believe closely related problems in epistemology. The first problem is that of drawing a principled distinction between perception and inference: what is the difference between seeing that something is the case and merely believing it on the basis of what we do see? The second problem is that of specifying which beliefs are epistemologically basic (i.e., directly, or noninferentially, justified) and which are not. I argue that what makes a belief a perceptual belief, or a basic belief, is not any introspectible feature of the belief but rather the nature of the cognitive system, or "module", that is causally responsible for the belief. Thus, even zombies, who in the philosophical literature lack conscious experiences altogether, can have basic, justified, perceptual beliefs. The theories of perceptual and basic beliefs developed in the monograph are embedded in a larger reliabilist epistemology. I use this theory of basic beliefs to develop a detailed reliabilist theory: Inferentialist Reliabilism, which offers a reliabilist theory of inferential justification and which solves some longstanding problems for other reliabilist views by demanding inferential support for some—but not all—beliefs. The book is an instance of a thoroughgoingly naturalistic approach to epistemology. Many of my arguments have an empirical basis, and the view that I endorse reserves a central role for the cognitive sciences—in particular, cognitive neuroscience—in filling in the details of an applied epistemological theory.
Keywords perception  justification  epistemology  modularity  clairvoyance  perceptual experience  reliabilism
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Reprint years 2011
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Call number BD161.L96 2009
ISBN(s) 9780195373578   9780199812073   019537357X   0199812071
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Chapters BETA
Basic Beliefs

This chapter extrapolates from the earlier account of perceptual belief and proposes a general theory of basic beliefs: a basic belief is one that is the result of the noninferential operation of a primal system: an inferentially opaque cognitive system that has a normal developmental etio... see more

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The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2013 - Dissertation, Princeton University
Reliabilist Epistemology.Alvin Goldman & Bob Beddor - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Veritism Unswamped.Kurt Sylvan - 2018 - Mind 127 (506):381-435.
An Epistemic Non-Consequentialism.Kurt L. Sylvan - 2020 - The Philosophical Review 129 (1):1-51.

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