Fish proposes that we need to elucidate what 'disjunctivism' stands for, and he also proposes that it stands for the rejection of a principle about the nature of experience that he calls the decisiveness principle. The present paper argues that his first proposal is reasonable, but then argues, in Section II, that his positive suggestion does not draw the line between disjunctivism and non-disjunctivism in the right place. In Section III, it is argued that disjunctivism is a thesis about the (...) special nature of perceptual experience, and the thesis as elucidated here is then distinguished from and related to certain other ideas about perception, namely, direct realism and also McDowell's epistemological disjunctivism. (shrink)
Book description: * G. E. Moore is a key figure in analytic philosophy * Sixteen specially written essays reflect the current resurgence of interest in Moore 's work * Superb international line-up of contributors * A valuable resource for anyone working in epistemology or ethics These sixteen original essays, whose authors include some of the world's leading philosophers, examine themes from the work of the Cambridge philosopher G. E. Moore, and demonstrate his considerable continuing influence on philosophical debate. Part I (...) bears on epistemological topics, such as scepticism about the external world, the significance of common sense, and theories of perception. Part II is devoted to themes in ethics, such as Moore 's open question argument, his non-naturalism, utilitarianism, and his notion of organic unities. (shrink)
Two arguments Paul Snowdon has brought against the causal theory of perception are examined. One involves the claim that, based on the phenomenology of perceptual situations, it cannot be the case that perception is an essentially causal concept. The other is a reductio , according to which causal theorists’ arguments imply that a proposition Snowdon takes to be obviously non-causal ( A is married to B ) can be analyzed into some sort of indefinite ‘spousal connection’ plus a (...) causal ingredient . I conclude that neither argument is sound. The reason that Snowdon’s critiques fail is that, since causal theories need not be about ‘effect ends’ that are internally manifest to perceivers, no such ostensibly separable, non-causal property as it being to S as if he were perceiving O need be an essential element in a causal theory of perception. (shrink)
Does perception provide us with direct and unmediated access to the world around us? The so-called 'argument from illusion ' has traditionally been supposed to show otherwise: from the subject's point of view, perceptual illusions are often indistinguishable from veridical perceptions; hence, perceptual experience, as such, cannot provide us with knowledge of the world, but only with knowledge of how things appear to us. Disjunctive accounts of perceptual experience, first proposed by John McDowell and Paul Snowdon in the early (...) 1980s and at the centre of current debates in the philosophy of perception, have been proposed to block this argument. According to the traditional view, a case of perception and a subjectively indistinguishable illusion or hallucination can exemplify what is fundamentally the same kind of mental state even though they differ in how they relate to the non-mental environment. In contrast, according to the disjunctive account, the concept of perceptual experience should be seen as essentially disjunctive, encompassing two distinct kinds of mental states, namely genuinely world-involving perceptions and mere appearances. This book presents seven recent essays on disjunctivism first published in two special issues of Philosophical Explorations: An International Journal for the Philosophy of Mind and Action. (shrink)
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the subject (...) matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
We ordinarily take it as obvious that we acquire knowledge of our world on the basis of sensory perception, and that such knowledge plays a central cognitive and practical role in our lives. Upon reflection, however, it is far from obvious what perception involves and how exactly it contributes to our knowledge. Indeed, skeptical arguments have led some to question whether we have any knowledge, or even rational or justified belief, regarding the world outside our minds. -/- Investigating the nature (...) and scope of our perceptual knowledge and perceptually justified belief, A Critical Introduction to the Epistemology of Perception provides an accessible and engaging introduction to a flourishing area of philosophy. Before introducing and evaluating the main theories in the epistemology of perception, Ali Hasan sets the stage with a discussion of skepticism, realism, and idealism in early modern philosophy, theories of perceptual experience (sense-datum theory, adverbialism, intentionalism, and metaphysical disjunctivism), and central controversies in general epistemology. Hasan then surveys the main theories in the contemporary debate, including coherentism, abductivism, phenomenal conservatism or dogmatism, reliabilism, and epistemological disjunctivism, presenting the motivations and primary objections to each. Hasan also shows how to avoid confusing metaphysical issues with epistemological ones, and identifies interesting connections between the epistemology and metaphysics of perception. -/- For students in epistemology or the philosophy of perception looking to better understand the central questions, concepts, and debates shaping contemporary epistemology, A Critical Introduction to the Epistemology of Perception is essential reading. (shrink)
In cases of cognitive penetration, the way you see the world is shaped by your prior expectations or other cognitive states. But what is cognitive penetration exactly? What are the consequences for epistemology if it sometimes happens? What are the consequences for epistemology if it never happens? This paper surveys answers to these questions and argues that cognitive penetration has implications for epistemology whether it ever happens or not.
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediate justification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
This is a translation of the chapter on perception by Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika , which is one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. It is crucial for understanding the debates between Hindus and Buddhists about metaphysical, epistemological and linguistic questions during the classical period. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories of classical (...) Indian philosophy and numerous other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument. It is a valuable contribution to the field of Indian philosophical studies. (shrink)
Plantinga famously argues against evidentialism that belief in God can be properly basic. But the epistemology of cognitive faculties such as perception and memory which produce psychologically non-inferential beliefs shows that various inferentially justified theoretical beliefs are epistemically prior to our memory and perceptual beliefs, preventing the latter from being epistemically basic. Plantinga's analogy between the sensus divinitatis and these cognitive faculties suggests that the deliverances of the sensus divinitatis cannot be properly basic either. Objections by and on behalf of (...) Plantinga to this argument are considered. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against a perceptual model of moral epistemology. We should not reject the claim that there is a sense in which, on some occasions, emotions may be said to be perceptions of values or reasons. But going further than this, and taking perception as a model for moral epistemology is unhelpful and unilluminating. By focusing on the importance of the dispositions and structures of the self to moral knowledge, I bring out important disanalogies between moral epistemology (...) and typical cases of perceptual expertise. As a result, how we gain, or fail to gain, moral knowledge should not be understood in terms of the operation of a perceptual capacity. (shrink)
The article reviews the book " Epistemology of Perception : Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, Jewel of Reflection on the Truth : The Perception Chapter Transliterated Text, Translation, and Philosophical Commentary," by Stephen H. Phillips and N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya.
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither the subject (...) matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter. Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
Some argue that Candrakīrti is committed to rejecting all theories of perception in virtue of the rejection of the foundationalisms of the Nyāya and the Pramāṇika. Others argue that Candrakīrti endorses the Nyāya theory of perception. In this paper, I will propose an alternative non-foundationalist theory of perception for Candrakīriti. I will show that Candrakrti’s works provide us sufficient evidence to defend a typical Prāsagika’s account of perception that, I argue, complements his core non-foundationalist ontology.
In this first book-length examination of the Cartesian theory of visual perception, Celia Wolf-Devine explores the many philosophical implications of Descartes’ theory, concluding that he ultimately failed to provide a completely mechanistic theory of visual perception. Wolf-Devine traces the development of Descartes’ thought about visual perception against the backdrop of the transition from Aristotelianism to the new mechanistic science—the major scientific paradigm shift taking place in the seventeenth century. She considers the philosopher’s work in terms of its background in Aristotelian (...) and later scholastic thought rather than looking at it "backwards" through the later work of the British empiricists and Kant. Wolf-Devine begins with Descartes’ ideas about perception in the _Rules _and continues through the later scientific writings in which he develops his own mechanistic theory of light, color, and visual spatial perception. Throughout her discussion, she demonstrates both Descartes’ continuity with and break from the Aristotelian tradition. Wolf-Devine critically examines Cartesian theory by focusing on the problems that arise from his use of three different models to explain the behavior of light as well as on the ways in which modern science has not confirmed some of Descartes’ central hypotheses about vision. She shows that the changes Descartes made in the Aristotelian framework created a new set of problems in the philosophy of perception. While such successors to Descartes as Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume accepted the core of his theory of vision, they struggled to clarify the ontological status of colors, to separate what is strictly speaking "given" to the sense of sight from what is the result of judgments by the mind, and to confront a "veil of perception" skepticism that would have been unthinkable within the Aristotelian framework. Wolf-Devine concludes that Descartes was not ultimately successful in providing a completely mechanistic theory of visual perception, and because of this, she suggests both that changes in the conceptual framework of Descartes are in order and that a partial return to some features of the Aristotelian tradition may be necessary. (shrink)
This paper deals with Ludwik Fleck’s theory of thought styles and Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Though both concepts have been very influential for science studies in general, and both have been subject to numerous interpretations, their accounts have, somewhat surprisingly, hardly been comparatively analyzed. Both Fleck and Polanyi relied on the physiology and psychology of the senses in order to show that scientific knowledge follows less the path of logical principles than the path of accepting or rejecting specific (...) conventions, where these may be psychologically or sociologically grounded. It is my aim to show that similarities and differences between Fleck and Polanyi are to be seen in the specific historical and political context in which they worked. Both authors, I shall argue, emphasized the relevance of perception in close connection to their respective understanding of science, freedom, and democracy. (shrink)
In this paper I argue for a version of the Total Evidence view according to which the rational response to disagreement depends upon one's total evidence. I argue that perceptual evidence of a certain kind is significantly weightier than many other types of evidence, including testimonial. Furthermore, what is generally called "The Uniqueness Thesis" is actually a conflation of two distinct principles that I dub "Evidential Uniqueness" and "Rationality Uniqueness." The former principle is likely true but the latter almost certainly (...) false. Seeing why the Rationality Uniqueness fails opens the door to seeing how mutual reasonable disagreement is possible even among those who share the same evidence. (shrink)
If our experiences are cognitively penetrable, they can be influenced by our antecedent expectations, beliefs, or other cognitive states. Theorists such as Churchland, Fodor, Macpherson, and Siegel have debated whether and how our cognitive states might influence our perceptual experiences, as well as how any such influences might affect the ability of our experiences to justify our beliefs about the external world. This article surveys views about the nature of cognitive penetration, the epistemological consequences of denying cognitive penetration, and the (...) epistemological consequences of affirming cognitive penetration. (shrink)
During the 'What is Realism?' symposium at the 2001 Joint Session, Professor Ayers raised a number of objections to the disjunctive theory of perception. However in his reply, Professor Snowdon protested that Ayers had failed to adequately engage with the disjunctivist's position. This apparent lack of engagement suggests that the terms of this debate are not as clear as they might be. In the light of this, the current paper offers a way in which we might shed light on (...) the underlying nature of the dispute between disjunctivists and non-disjunctivists, and following this, goes on to recommend ways in which the debate might then be taken forward. (shrink)