Philosophical Issues 24 (1):439-459 (2014)

Hamid Vahid
Institute for Fundamental Sciences
It has been argued that just as, say, prejudice or wishful thinking can generate ill-founded beliefs, the same is true of experiences. The idea is that the etiology of cognitively penetrated experiences can downgrade their justificatory force. This view, known as the Downgrade Principle, seems to be compatible with both internalist and externalist conceptions of epistemic justification. An assessment of the credentials of the Downgrade Principle is particularly important in view of the fact that not all cases of cognitive penetration are epistemically malignant. There are good and bad cases of cognitive penetration. I argue that a proper assessment of the Downgrade Principle will have to address two fundamental questions. I identify two general ways of responding to these questions and show why they fail. It will be maintained that an explanationist conception of justification has a better chance of accounting for the distinction between good and bad cases of cognitive penetration. The Downgrade Principle is then discussed in the context of the extended cognition thesis. In particular, I look at the sensorimotor theory of perception, as a way of broadening the scope of to include conscious perceptual experience, that sees senses as ways of exploring the environment mediated by different patterns of sensorimotor contingency. I suggest possible ways in which one could distinguish between good and bad cases of cognitive penetration on such a view compatible with the explanationist view of epistemic justification.
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DOI 10.1111/phis.12042
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References found in this work BETA

The Extended Mind.Andy Clark & David J. Chalmers - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):7-19.
The Bounds of Cognition.Frederick Adams & Kenneth Aizawa - 2008 - Malden, MA, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Skeptic and the Dogmatist.James Pryor - 2000 - Noûs 34 (4):517–549.
A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness.J. Kevin O’Regan & Alva Noë - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemic Feedback Loops (Or: How Not to Get Evidence).Nick Hughes - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
The Real Epistemic Problem of Cognitive Penetration.Harmen Ghijsen - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (6):1457-1475.

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Cognitive Penetrability of Perception.Dustin Stokes - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):646-663.
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