Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (7-8):100-131 (2016)

Tommaso Piazza
University Of Pavia
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 has not the epistemological merits that McDowell ascribes to it. To begin with, I join a series of commentators in arguing that the way out of the sceptical argument made available by DCE is not internalistically acceptable, and so argue that it is not a way out that an internalist about epistemic justification would have any special reason to prefer to a parallel externalist way out that does not commit to DCE. Secondly, I show that the internalist can resist the sceptical argument by denying a different premise of it that McDowell takes for granted. I conclude by maintaining that McDowell's epistemological motivation for DCE is undercut.
Keywords Accessibilism  Epistemological Disjunctivism  McDowell  Pritchard
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