According to Jim Pryor’s dogmatism, when you have an experience with content p, you often have prima facie justification for believing p that doesn’t rest on your independent justification for believing any proposition. Although dogmatism has an intuitive appeal and seems to have an antisceptical bite, it has been targeted by various objections. This paper principally aims to answer the objections by Roger White according to which dogmatism is inconsistent with the Bayesian account of how evidence affects our rational credences. (...) If this were true, the rational acceptability of dogmatism would be seriously questionable. I respond that these objections don’t get off the ground because they assume that our experiences and our introspective beliefs that we have experiences have the same evidential force, whereas the dogmatist is uncommitted to this assumption. I also consider the question whether dogmatism has an antisceptical bite. I suggest that the answer turns on whether or not the Bayesian can determine the priors of hypotheses and conjectures on the grounds of their extra-empirical virtues. If the Bayesian can do so, the thesis that dogmatism has an antisceptical bite is probably false. (shrink)
NicoSilins has proposed and defended a form of Liberalism about perception that, he thinks, is a good compromise between the Dogmatism of Jim Pryor and others, and the Conservatism of Roger White, Crispin Wright, and others. In particular, Silins argues that his theory can explain why having justification to believe the negation of skeptical hypotheses is a necessary condition for having justification to believe ordinary propositions, even though (contra the Conservative) the latter is not had in (...) virtue of the former. I argue that Silins's explanation is unsuccessful, and hence that we should prefer either White/Wright-style Conservatism (which can explain this necessary condition) or Pryor-style Dogmatism (which denies that this is a necessary condition). (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)
This paper examines how new evil demon problems could arise for our access to the internal world of our own minds. I start by arguing that the internalist/externalist debate in epistemology has been widely misconstrued---we need to reconfigure the debate in order to see how it can arise about our access to the internal world. I then argue for the coherence of scenarios of radical deception about our own minds, and I use them to defend a properly formulated internalist view (...) about our access to our minds. The overarching lesson is that general epistemology and the specialized epistemology of introspection need to talk---each has much to learn from each other. (shrink)
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.
Suppose our visual experiences immediately justify some of our beliefs about the external world — that is, justify them in a way that does not rely on our having independent reason to hold any background belief. A key question now arises: Which of our beliefs about the external world can be immediately justified by experiences? I address this question in epistemology by doing some philosophy of mind. In particular, I evaluate the following proposal: if your experience e immediately justifies you (...) in believing that p , then (i) e has the content that p , and (ii) e ’s having the content that p is fixed by what it is like to have e . I start by clarifying this proposal and surveying the case in its favour. I then argue against the proposal and develop an alternative. The discussion shows what role visual consciousness plays and does not play in the justification of perceptual beliefs. (shrink)
I set out the standard view about alleged examples of failure of transmission of warrant, respond to two cases for the view, and argue that the view is false. The first argument for the view neglects the distinction between believing a proposition on the basis of a justification and merely having a justification to believe a proposition. The second argument for the view neglects the position that one's justification for believing a conclusion can be one's premise for the conclusion, rather (...) than simply one's justification for the premise. Finally, the view is false since it is inconsistent with the closure of knowledge as closure is properly understood. (shrink)
This paper is an essay in counterfactual epistemology. What if experience have high-level contents, to the effect that something is a lemon or that someone is sad? I survey the consequences for epistemology of such a scenario, and conclude that many of the striking consequences could be reached even if our experiences don't have high-level contents.
We offer a framework for assessing what the structure of episodic memory might be, if one accepts the Buddhist denial of persisting selves. This paper is a response to Jonardon Ganeri's paper "Mental time travel and attention", which explores Buddhaghosa's ideas about memory. (It will eventually be published with a reply by Ganeri).
My focus will be on two questions about Moore’s justification to believe the premises and the conclusion of the argument above. At stake is what makes it possible for our experiences to justify our beliefs, and what makes it possible for us to be justified in disbelieving skeptical..
This paper evaluates the prospects of harnessing “anti-individualism” about the contents of perceptual states to give an account of the epistemology of perception, making special reference to Tyler Burge’s ( 2003 ) paper, “Perceptual Entitlement”. I start by clarifying what kind of warrant is provided by perceptual experience, and I go on to survey different ways one might explain the warrant provided by perceptual experience in terms of anti-individualist views about the individuation of perceptual states. I close by motivating accounts (...) which instead give a more prominent role to consciousness. (shrink)
Liberals claim that some perceptual experiences give us immediate justification for certain perceptual beliefs. Conservatives claim that the justification that perceptual experiences give us for those perceptual beliefs is mediated by our background beliefs. In his recent paper ?Basic Justification and the Moorean Response to the Skeptic?, NicoSilins successfully argues for a non-Moorean version of Liberalism. But Silins's defence of non-Moorean Liberalism leaves us with a puzzle: why is it that a necessary condition for our perceptual (...) experiences to justify us in holding certain perceptual beliefs is that we have some independent justification for disbelieving various sceptical hypotheses? I argue that the best answer to this question involves commitment to Crispin Wright's version of Conservatism. In short, Wright's Conservatism is consistent with Silins's Liberalism, and the latter helps to give us grounds for accepting the former. (shrink)
In this paper I develop the idea that, by answering the question whether p, you can answer the question whether you believe that p. In particular, I argue that judging that p is a fallible yet basic guide to whether one believes that p. I go on to defend my view from an important skeptical challenge, according to which my view would make it too easy to reject skeptical hypotheses about our access to our minds. I close by responding to (...) the opposing view on which our beliefs themselves constitute our only source of first-person access to our beliefs. (shrink)
According to Fumerton in his "How Does Perception Justify Belief?", it is misleading or wrong to say that perception is a source of justification for beliefs about the external world. Moreover, reliability does not have an essential role to play here either. I agree, and I explain why in section 1, using novel considerations about evil demon scenarios in which we are radically deceived. According to Fumerton, when it comes to how sensations or experiences supply justification, they do not do (...) so on their own, and instead only do so only in conjunction with support for background beliefs about how the sensations or experiences are best explained. Here I disagree. In section 2, I first clarify the question of whether sensations or experiences provide justification on their own. I then respond to Fumerton’s arguments that use considerations about concept-possession and about how to close possible gaps between experience and truth. In section 3, I develop my main concern about his positive view, where that concern also brings out some of the merits of the view that experiences do justify beliefs about the external world on their own. (shrink)
Whoever paid the bill at the restaurant last night, will clearly remember doing it. Independently from the type of action, it is a common experience that being the agent provides a special strength to our memories. Even if it is generally agreed that personal memories (episodic memory) rely on separate neural substrates with respect to general knowledge (semantic memory), little is known on the nature of the link between memory and the sense of agency. In the present paper, we review (...) results from two experiments investigating the effects of agency on both explicit and implicit memory traces. Performance of normal subjects is compared to that of schizophrenic patients in order to explore the role of awareness of action on memory. It is proposed that reliable first-person information is necessary to create a stable and coherent motor memory trace. (shrink)
Frost's article advocates for universal models of reading and critiques recent models that concentrate in what has been described as Although the challenge to develop models that can account for word recognition beyond Indo-European languages is welcomed, we argue that reading models should also be constrained by general principles of visual processing and object recognition.
This article argues against the non-cognitivist theory of vision that has been formulated in the work of Nico Orlandi. It shows that, if we understand ‘representation’ in the way Orlandi recommends, then the visual system’s response to abstract regularities must involve the formation of representations. Recent experiments show that those representations must be used by the visual system in the production of visual experiences. Their effects cannot be explained by taking them to be non-visual effects involving attention or memory. (...) This contradicts Orlandi’s version of the non-cognitivist hypothesis, but does so while vindicating her methodological position. (shrink)
In The Innocent Eye, Nico Orlandi argues that vision is not a cognitive process. In particular, she argues that forming subject-level visual representations that are available for reasoning should not itself be understood as a process of inference. This comes to the claim that vision (properly so-called) is a process that produces representations but is not best understood as a process that uses representations.