Perception and belief


Abstract
An attempt is made to pinpoint the way in which perception is related to belief. Although, for familiar reasons, it is not true to say that we necessarily believe in the existence of the objects we perceive, nor that they actually have their ostensible characteristics, it is argued that the relation between perception and belief is more than merely contingent.There are two main issues to address. The first is that ‘collateral’ beliefs may impede perceptual belief. It is argued that this still assigns an essential role to belief in perception, though the belief may be of an attenuated form. The second is Fred Dretske’s claim that even attenuated belief may be entirely absent from perception. It is argued that ‘non-epistemic’ perception can be understood only by employing the concept of ‘epistemic’ perception; that the former can occur only partially---i.e., within perceptions that are otherwise epistemic; and that by switching attention from the perception of objects to the Phenomenological tradition’s concern with the perception of world, we can see that perception must be entirely permeated with ‘doxastic’ force
Keywords Belief  Epistemology  Metaphysics  Perception  Dretske, F
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DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2001.tb00057.x
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