According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, when you look out to see a red wall, what you learn first is not a fact about the color of the wall—i.e., that it is red—but instead a fact about your own visual experience—i.e., that the wall looks red to you. If you are to justifiably believe that the wall is red, you must be in a position to (...) justifiably infer this conclusion about the external world from known premises about your own visual experience. Recent anti-Cartesian theorists have pushed back against this traditional model, claiming that the epistemic significance of having a perceptual experience is not exhausted by what can be inferred from the fact that you have the experience. After clarifying an underappreciated commitment of Cartesian accounts and some key motivations for resisting it, I argue that any anti-Cartesian account strong enough to take advantage of these motivations must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. To avoid this implausible result, the anti-Cartesian must choose between licensing an implausible kind of epistemic chauvinism, or else claiming that merely reflecting on one’s experiences can defeat the perceptualjustification that they otherwise provide. This leaves us with a puzzle: Although there are powerful motivations for rejecting Cartesianism, any view that avails itself of them faces serious problems of its own. (shrink)
Crispin Wright has advanced a number of arguments to show that, in addition to evidential warrant, we have a species of non-evidential warrant, namely, “entitlement”, which forms the basis of a particular view of the architecture of perceptualjustification known as “epistemic conservatism”. It is widely known, however, that Wright's conservative view is beset by a number of problems. In this article, I shall argue that the kind of warrant that emerges from Wright's account is not the standard (...) truth-conducive justification, but what is known as the deontological conception of justification. It will be argued that the deontological justification has features that make it a better candidate for representing a conservative architecture. These results will be reinforced by showing how the deontological framework can make better sense of a recent theory of justified belief that takes its inspiration from Wright's conservative account. Thus understood, we may see the liberalism–conservatism controversy as actually an extension of the older debate over which conception of justification, truth-conducive or deontological, can best represent the epistemic status of our belief-forming practices. (shrink)
This book provides an accessible and up-to-date discussion of contemporary theories of perceptualjustification that each highlight different factors related to perception, i.e., conscious experience, higher-order beliefs, and reliable processes. The book’s discussion starts from the viewpoint that perception is not only one of our fundamental sources of knowledge and justification, but also plays this role for many less sophisticated animals. It proposes a scientifically informed reliabilist theory which can accommodate this fact without denying that some of (...) our epistemic abilities as human perceivers are special. This allows it to combine many of our intuitions about the importance of conscious experience and higher-order belief with the controversial thesis that perceptualjustification is fundamentally non-evidential in character. (shrink)
Two different versions of epistemological disjunctivism have recently been upheld in the literature: a traditional, Justified True Belief Epistemological Disjunctivism (JTBED) and a Knowledge First Epistemological Disjunctivism (KFED). JTBED holds that factive reasons of the form “S sees that p” provide the rational support in virtue of which one has perceptual knowledge, while KFED holds that factive reasons of the form “S sees that p” just are ways of knowing that p which additionally provide justification for believing that (...) p. We argue that both accounts remain ultimately unsatisfactory. JTBED faces two formidable problems: first, it cannot account for animal knowledge, and, second, it does not offer a satisfactory account of how we access factive reasons. Although KFED can solve these two problems, it has some problems of its own. While intuitively knowledge is logically stronger than justified belief, on KFED it turns out to be weaker: knowledge does not entail justified belief, but justified belief does entail knowledge. Nevertheless, disjunctivists are right on at least a couple of points: we standardly justify our perceptual beliefs by appealing to factive reasons such as seeing that p and so factive reasons ought to play some role in our theory of justification. In addition, KFED’s account of our access to factive reasons also is spot on. Rather than going disjunctivist, these insights can be suitably incorporated into a Knowledge First Virtue Epistemology (KFVE). (shrink)
As I use the term, ‘entitlement’ is any warrant one has by default—i.e. without acquiring it. Some philosophers not only affirm the existence of entitlement, but also give it a crucial role in the justification of our perceptual beliefs. These philosophers affirm the Entitlement Thesis: An essential part of what makes our perceptual beliefs justified is our entitlement to the proposition that I am not a brain-in-a-vat. Crispin Wright, Stewart Cohen, and Roger White are among those who (...) endorse this controversial claim. In this paper, I argue that the Entitlement Thesis is false. (shrink)
Although it is widely recognized that perceptual experience confers justification on the beliefs it gives rise to, it is unclear how its epistemic value should be properly characterized. Liberals hold, and conservatives deny, that the justification conditions of perceptual beliefs merely involve experiences with the same content. The recent debate on this question has, however, seen further fragmentations of the positions involved with the disputants seeking to identify intermediate positions between liberalism and conservatism. In this paper, (...) I suggest a framework to account for the differences and similarities of the positions within the liberalism/conservatism debate. More importantly, I suggest that, instead of focusing on one particular species of conservatism, we should recognize varieties of conservatism. My conclusion is that no theory of justification need be conservative or liberal tout court. Whether a theory of justification is liberal or conservative depends on which dimension of evaluation is taken to be salient. The implications of this finding for the liberalism/conservatism debate are then investigated. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that it's possible that the contents of some visual experiences are influenced by the subject's prior beliefs, hopes, suspicions, desires, fears or other mental states, and that this possibility places constraints on the theory of perceptualjustification that 'dogmatism' or 'phenomenal conservativism' cannot respect.
In at least some cases of justified perceptual belief, our perceptual experience itself, as opposed to beliefs about it, evidences and thereby justifies our belief. While the phenomenon is common, it is also mysterious. There are good reasons to think that perceptions cannot justify beliefs directly, and there is a significant challenge in explaining how they do. After explaining just how direct perceptualjustification is mysterious, I considerMichael Huemers (Skepticism and the Veil of Perception, 2001) and (...) Bill Brewers (Perception and Reason, 1999) recent, but radically different, attempts to eliminate it. I argue that both are unsuccessful, though a consideration of their mistakes deepens our appreciation of the mystery. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences justify beliefs. A perceptual experience of a dog justifies the belief that there is a dog present. But there is much evidence that perceptual states can occur without being conscious, as in experiments involving masked priming. Do unconscious perceptual states provide justification as well? The answer depends on one’s theory of justification. While most varieties of externalism seem compatible with unconscious perceptualjustification, several theories have recently afforded to consciousness a (...) special role in perceptualjustification. We argue that such views face a dilemma: either consciousness should be understood in functionalist terms, in which case our best current theories of consciousness do not seem to imbue consciousness with any special epistemic features, or it should not, in which case it is mysterious why only conscious states are justificatory. We conclude that unconscious perceptualjustification is quite plausible. (shrink)
One of the hardest problems in the history of Western philosophy has been to explain whether and how experience can provide knowledge about the objective world outside the experiencer's mind. A prominent brand of scepticism has precisely denied that experience can provide such knowledge. How, for instance can I know that my experiences are not produced in me by a powerful demon? This volume, originating from the research project on Basic Knowledge recently concluded at the Northern Institute of Philosophy, presents (...) new essays on scepticism about the senses written by some of the most prominent contemporary epistemologists. They approach the sceptical challenge by discussing such topics as the conditions for perceptualjustification, the existence of a non-evidential kind of warrant and the extent of one's evidence, the epistemology of inference, the relations between justification, probability and certainty, the relevance of subjective appearances to the epistemology of perception, the role that broadly pragmatic considerations play in epistemic justification, the contents of perception, and the function of attention. In all these cases, the papers show how philosophical progress on foundational issues can improve our understanding of and possibly afford a solution to a historically prominent problem like scepticism. (shrink)
It is often argued that for a perceptual experience to be able to justify perceptual judgments, the perceptual experience must have a propositional content. For, it is claimed, only propositions can bear logical relations such as implication to each other. In this paper, this claim is challenged. It is argued that whereas perceptions and judgments both have intentional content, their contents have different structures. Perceptual content does not have a propositional structure. Perceptions and judgments can nevertheless (...) have the same cognitive significance. So the veridicality of a certain perceptual experience, can imply the truth of certain propositions. Consequently, perceptions can have non-propositional content, but even so justify perceptual judgments which have a propositional structure. (shrink)
What kind of content must visual states have if they are to offer direct justification for our external world beliefs? How must they present that content if the degree of justification they provide is to reflect the nuance of our changing visual experiences? This paper offers an argument for the view that visual states comprise not only a content, but a confidence relation to that content. This confidence relation lets us explain how visual states can offer noninferential (...) class='Hi'>perceptualjustification of differing degrees for external world beliefs. These confidence relations let visual states justify beliefs in a way that is sensitive to subtle differences in the character of our visual experiences, while still allowing that visual states give us direct access to the external world in virtue of their content. (shrink)
In his paper “There It Is” and his précis “There It Was,” Benj Hellie develops a sophisticated semantics for perceptualjustification according to which perceptions in good cases can be explained by intentional psychology and can justify beliefs, whereas bad cases of perception are defective and so cannot justify beliefs. Importantly, Hellie also affords consciousness a central role in rationality insofar as only those good cases of perception within consciousness can play a justificatory function. In this commentary, I (...) reserve judgment regarding Hellie’s treatment of the rational difference between good and bad cases, but I argue there can be what he views as good cases of perceptualjustification outside of consciousness. (shrink)
According to Alan Millar, justified beliefs are well-founded beliefs. Millar cashes out the notion of well-foundedness in terms of having an adequate reason to believe something and believing it for that reason. To make his account of justified belief compatible with perceptualjustification he appeals to the notion of recognitional ability. It is argued that, due to the fact that Millar’s is a knowledge-first view, his appeal to recognitional abilities fails to offer an explanatory account of familiar cases (...) in the literature and, as a consequence, of the notion of perceptualjustification. (shrink)
It seems uncontroversial that perceptual experiences provide us with some “normative support” for beliefs or judgments about our surroundings. Provided that the normative force of perceptualjustification is something that manifests itself in consciousness or something we commonly experience, what are its phenomenal features? To put it differently: What is it to experience the normative force of perceptualjustification? In the first section I will briefly comment on the demand of a unified theory of (...) class='Hi'>perceptual experiences, viz. a theory which is capable of integrating relevant epistemological and phenomenological aspects of perceptual experiences. In section two I will argue for a way of connecting the epistemological problem and the phenomenological problem by appealing to a compare-and-contrast strategy. Eventually, in section three, I will try to draw some lessons for our understanding of the normative force of perceptualjustification. (shrink)
As an important view in the epistemology of perception, dogmatism proposes that for any experience, if it has a distinctive kind of phenomenal character, then it thereby provides us with immediate justification for beliefs about the external world. This paper rejects dogmatism by looking into the epistemology of imagining. In particular, this paper first appeals to some empirical studies on perceptual experiences and imaginings to show that it is possible for imaginings to have the distinctive phenomenal character dogmatists (...) have in mind. Then this paper argues that some of these imaginings fail to provide us with immediate justification for beliefs about the external world at least partly due to their inappropriate etiology. Such imaginings constitute counterexamples to dogmatism. (shrink)
This paper argues that there is a problem for the justificatory significance of perceptions that has been overlooked thus far. Assuming that perceptual experiences are propositional attitudes and that only propositional attitudes which assertively represent the world can function as justifiers, the problem consists in specifying what it means for a propositional attitude to assertively represent the world without losing the justificatory significance of perceptions—a challenge that is harder to meet than might first be thought. That there is such (...) a problem can be seen by reconsidering and modifying a well-known argument to the conclusion that beliefs cannot be justified by perceptions but only by other beliefs. Nevertheless, the aim of the paper is not to conclude that perceptions are actually incapable of justifying our beliefs but rather to highlight an overlooked problem that needs to be solved in order to properly understand the justificatory relationship between perceptions and beliefs. (shrink)
James Van Cleve raises some objections to my attempt to solve the bootstrapping problem for what I call “basic justification theories.” I argue that given 1 the inference rules endorsed by basic justification theorists, we are a priori (propositionally) justified in believing that perception is reliable. This blocks the bootstrapping result.
Imagine I hold up a Granny Smith apple for all to see. You would thereby gain justified beliefs that it was green, that it was apple, and that it is a Granny Smith apple. Under classical foundationalism, such simple visual beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning your experience. Under dogmatism, some or all of these beliefs are justified immediately by your experience and not by reasons you possess. This paper argues for what I call the looks (...) view of the justification of simple visual beliefs. According to the looks view, such beliefs are mediately justified on the basis of reasons concerning how the relevant things look. Unlike under classical foundationalism, under the looks view as I develop it, these reasons are public. They are public with respect to both their content and possession: with respect to content, they are not about ourselves and our experiences, and with respect to their possession, many people can have the very same looks-related reasons. (shrink)
Several philosophers have distinguished between three distinct mental states that play a role in visual recognition: experiences, propositional seemings, and beliefs. I clarify and offer some reasons for drawing this three-fold distinction, and I consider its epistemological implications. Some philosophers have held that propositional seemings always confer prima facie justification, regardless of a particular seeming's relation to experience. I add to criticisms of this view in the literature by arguing that it fails to solve a version of the ‘problem (...) of the speckled hen’. A more promising view holds that propositional seemings confer justification only when appropriately related to experiences. I offer advice for developing such an account. (shrink)
How can experience provide knowledge, or even justified belief, about the objective world outside our minds? This volume presents original essays by prominent contemporary epistemologists, who show how philosophical progress on foundational issues can improve our understanding of, and suggest a solution to, this famous sceptical question.
How can experience provide knowledge, or even justified belief, about the objective world outside our minds? This volume presents original essays by prominent contemporary epistemologists, who show how philosophical progress on foundational issues can improve our understanding of, and suggest a solution to, this famous sceptical question.
This paper investigates the justification of certain beliefs central to scientific realism. Some have claimed that the underdetermination of a theory by empirical evidence implies that belief in the truth of the theory and in the existence of the corresponding unobservable entities is unjustified. It is argued that the justification of certain realist beliefs is similar to the justification of our perceptual beliefs. Neither are justified by argument from more basic beliefs, and their underdetermination by the (...) evidence does not affect their justification. (shrink)
First impressions suggest the following contrast between perception and memory: perception generates new beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs; memory preserves old beliefs and reasons, justification, or evidence for those beliefs. In this paper I argue that reflection on perceptual learning gives us reason to adopt an alternative picture on which perception plays both generative and preservative epistemic roles.
This article is concerned with the question of the nature of the epistemic liaison between experience and belief. The problem, often known as the problem of nondoxastic justification, is to see how a causal transition between experience and belief could assume a normative dimension, that is, how perceptual experience serves to justify beliefs about the world. Currently a number of theories have been proposed to resolve this problem. The article considers a particular solution offered by Tyler Burge which, (...) among other things, introduces a new type of positive epistemic status or warrant, namely, entitlement. It contends that Burge's notion of entitlement cannot be of any help in resolving the problem of nondoxastic justification. Burge's account is compared and contrasted with other, similar, approaches to the problem of nondoxastic justification. (shrink)
Doxasticism about our awareness of normative (i.e. justifying) reasons – the view that we can recognise reasons for forming attitudes or performing actions only by means of normative judgements or beliefs – is incompatible with the following triad of claims: -/- (1) Being motivated (i.e. forming attitudes or performing actions for a motive) requires responding to and, hence, recognising a relevant reason. -/- (2) Infants are capable of being motivated. -/- (3) Infants are incapable of normative judgement or belief. -/- (...) It should be clear that (3) is true, given that infants lack the required reflective and conceptual capacities. So doxasticists have to reject either (1) or (2) (or both). But this forced choice may be understood as a dilemma for doxasticism. On the hand, doxasticists may adopt a Kantian approach and reject (2), precisely because they think that motivation presupposes the doxastic recognition of reasons, and because infants lack the capacity to doxastically recognise reasons. But this choice seems to wrongly reduce the responses of infants to mere reflexes or instinctive reactions. On the other hand, doxasticists may choose a Humean route and deny (1) by espousing a purely causal or teleological account of motivation. But this would mean detrimentally ignoring the normative nature of (some instances of) motivation. -/- One elegant way of avoiding this dilemma is to give up doxasticism and instead endorse experientialism – the view that we enjoy some experiential access to reasons, which is independent of, and perhaps more fundamental than, our capacity to form normative judgements and beliefs. In this talk, I would like to provide an argument for the existence of such a non-doxastic form of access to reasons. More specifically, I aim to defend the claim that our basic awareness of reasons is phenomenal in nature. What this means is that it forms part of our access from the inside to those of our mental episodes that provide us with access to reasons. In other words, when we introspectively attend to reason-giving mental episodes and what they are about, we have the impression of the presence of a reason for us. My defence of this experientialist alternative to doxasticism will primarily focus on perceptual reasons for first-order beliefs about the external world. (shrink)
According to Perceptual Fundamentalism we can have justified perceptual beliefs solely in virtue of having perceptual experiences with corresponding contents. Recently, it has been argued that Perceptual Fundamentalism entails that it is possible to gain an a priori justified belief that perception is reliable by engaging in a suppositional reasoning process of a priori bootstrapping. But I will show that Perceptual Fundamentalists are not committed to a priori bootstrapping being a rational reasoning process. On the (...) most plausible versions of Perceptual Fundamentalism, a priori bootstrapping cannot be used to rationally support anti-sceptical beliefs about the reliability of perception. Moreover, seeing why Perceptual Fundamentalists are not committed to a priori bootstrapping will help us to better understand the nature of the perceptual entitlements that Perceptual Fundamentalists posit, or at least should posit. (shrink)
How are we to account for the epistemic contribution of our perceptual experiences to the reasonableness of our perceptual beliefs? It is well known that a conception heavily influenced by Cartesian thinking has it that experiences do not enable the experiencing subject to have direct epistemic contact with the external world; rather, they are regarded as openness to a kind of private inner realm that is interposed between the subject and the world. It turns out that if one (...) wants to insist that perceptual experiences provide epistemic reasons for perceptual beliefs about the external world as we pre-reflectively take it to be, then one should find a way of avoiding Cartesianism. Here are the two main aims of this paper: firstly, identify the premise that is doing the heavy-lifting work in the Cartesian thinking; and, secondly, formulate an adequate way of denying that premise. The adequacy I claim for my formulation of a way of denying the premise will roughly amount to this: the way I offer is not as susceptible to Cartesian traps as other apparently available ways of denying the premise are. (shrink)
Conservatism about perceptualjustification tells us that we cannot have perceptualjustification to believe p unless we also have justification to believe that perceptual experiences are reliable. There are many ways to maintain this thesis, ways that have not been sufficiently appreciated. Most of these ways lead to at least one of two problems. The first is an over-intellectualization problem, whereas the second problem concerns the satisfaction of the epistemic basing requirement on justified belief. (...) I argue that there is at least one Conservative view that survives both difficulties, a view which has the further ability to undercut a crucial consideration that has supported Dogmatist views about perceptualjustification. The final section explores a tension between Conservatism and the prospects of having a completely general account of propositional justification. Ironically, the problem is that Conservatives seem committed to making the acquisition of propositional justification too easy. My partial defense of Conservatism concludes by suggesting possible solutions to this problem. (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.
In this paper, I argue that perception justifies belief about the external world in virtue of its phenomenal character together with its relations to the external world. But I argue that perceptual relations to the external world impact on the justifying role of perception only by virtue of their impact on its representational content. Epistemic level-bridging principles provide a principled rationale for avoiding more radically externalist theories of perceptualjustification.
Phenomenalist dogmatist experientialism (PDE) holds the following thesis: if $S$ has a perceptual experience that $p$ , then $S$ has immediate prima facie evidential justification for the belief that $p$ in virtue of the experience’s phenomenology. The benefits of PDE are that it (a) provides an undemanding view of perceptualjustification that allows most of our ordinary perceptual beliefs to be justified, and (b) accommodates two important internalist intuitions, viz. the New Evil Demon Intuition and (...) the Blindsight Intuition. However, in the face of a specific version of the Sellarsian dilemma, PDE is ad hoc. PDE needs to explain what is so distinct about perceptual experience that enables it to fulfill its evidential role without being itself in need of justification. I argue that neither an experience’s presentational phenomenology, nor its phenomenal forcefulness can be used to answer this question, and that prospects look dim for any other phenomenalist account. The subjective distinctness of perceptual experience might instead just stem from a higher-order belief that the experience is a perceptual one, but this will only serve to strengthen the case for externalism: externalism is better suited to provide an account of how we attain justified higher-order beliefs and can use this account to accommodate the Blindsight Intuition. (shrink)
According to Schellenberg, our perceptual experiences have the epistemic force they do because they are exercises of certain sorts of capacity, namely capacities to discriminate particulars—objects, property-instances and events—in a sensory mode. She calls her account the “capacity view.” In this paper, I will raise three concerns about Schellenberg’s capacity view. The first is whether we might do better to leave capacities out of our epistemology and take content properties as the fundamental epistemically relevant features of experiences. I argue (...) we would. The second is whether Schellenberg’s appeal to factive and phenomenal evidence accommodates the intuitive verdicts about the bad case that she claims it does. I argue it does not. The third is whether Schellenberg’s account of factive evidence is adequate to capture nuances concerning the justification for singular but nondemonstrative perceptual beliefs, such as the belief that’s NN, where NN is a proper name. I argue it is not. If I am right, these points suggest a mental-state-first account of perceptualjustification, rather than a capacity-first account, and one which treats the good and bad cases alike in respect of justification and complicates the relation between perceptual content and what one is justified in believing. (shrink)
The familiar Cartesian sceptical arguments all involve an explanation of our experiences. An account of the persuasive power of the sceptical arguments should explain why this is so. This supports a diagnosis of the error in Cartesian sceptical arguments according to which they mislead us into regarding our perceptual beliefs as if they were justified as inferences to the best explanation. I argue that they have instead a perceptualjustification that does not involve inference to the best (...) explanation and that should not be put in doubt by the sceptical hypotheses. (shrink)
It has been objected recently that naïve realism is inconsistent with an empirically well-supported hypothesis that unconscious perception is possible. Because epistemological disjunctivism is plausible only in conjunction with naïve realism (for a reason I provide), the objection reaches it too. In response, I show that the unconscious perception hypothesis can be changed from a problem into an advantage of epistemological disjunctivism. I do this by suggesting that: (i) naïve realism is consistent with the hypothesis; (ii) the contrast between epistemological (...) disjunctivism and epistemic externalism explains the difference in epistemic import between conscious and unconscious perception. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 217 - 234 The paper presents the key themes of my _Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology_. It focuses, in particular, on the moderate account of perceptualjustification, the constitutive response put forward against Humean skepticism, epistemic relativism, the closure principle, the transmission of warrant principle, as well as on the applications of the extended rationality view to the case of the principle of the uniformity of nature, testimony, and the justification (...) of basic laws of inference. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 281 - 295 The paper contains the replies to the comments made by Alan Millar, Yuval Avnur, Giorgio Volpe, and Maria Baghramian on my _Extended Rationality: A Hinge Epistemology_. It addresses, in particular, the nature of perceptualjustification, the truth of hinges, my response to Humean skepticism and the issue of epistemic relativism.
It is argued that Pryor's criticism of scepticism of perceptualjustification misses the point: while Pryor's dogmatism can provide a successful explication of the perceptualjustification of first order empirical beliefs ( i.e. , an explication of propositional justification), it is barren vis à vis second order sceptical criticisms about the epistemic status of beliefs justified via perception (that is, criticisms pointing to the lack of doxastic justification). We argue that the two main motivations (...) that Pryor offers for his dogmatism – to avoid scepticism of perceptualjustification and to explicate perceptualjustification – fail due to his commitment with some externalist theses, which make it impossible to satisfy the metaepistemic requisites imposed by the sceptic. Hence given the lack of satisfaction of Pryor's own goals, we conclude that Pryor's dogmatism is not an adequate explication of perceptualjustification. (shrink)
The New Evil Demon Problem is supposed to show that straightforward versions of reliabilism are false: reliability is not necessary for justification after all. I argue that it does no such thing. The reliabilist can count a number of beliefs as justified even in demon worlds, others as unjustified but having positive epistemic status nonetheless. The remaining beliefs---primarily perceptual beliefs---are not, on further reflection, intuitively justified after all. The reliabilist is right to count these beliefs as unjustified in (...) demon worlds, and it is a challenge for the internalist to be able to do so as well. (shrink)
Crispin Wright maintains that we can acquire justification for our perceptual beliefs only if we have antecedent justification for ruling out any sceptical alternative. Wright contends that this fact doesn’t elicit scepticism, for we are non-evidentially entitled to accept the negation of any sceptical alternative. Sebastiano Moruzzi has challenged Wright’s contention by arguing that since our non-evidential entitlements don’t remove the epistemic risk of our perceptual beliefs, they don’t actually enable us to acquire justification for (...) these beliefs. In this paper I show that Wright’s responses to Moruzzi are ineffective and that Moruzzi’s argument is validated by probabilistic reasoning. I also suggest that Wright cannot answer Moruzzi’s challenge without endangering his epistemology of perception. (shrink)
Experiences justify beliefs about our environment. Sometimes the justification is immediate: seeing a red light immediately justifies believing there is a red light. Other times the justification is mediate: seeing a red light justifies believing one should brake in a way that is mediated by background knowledge of traffic signals. How does this distinction map onto the distinction between what is and what isn't part of the content of experience? Epistemic egalitarians think that experiences immediately justify whatever is (...) part of their content. Epistemic elitists deny this and think that there is some further constraint the contents of experience must satisfy to be immediately justified. Here I defend epistemic elitism, propose a phenomenological account of what the further constraint is, and explore the resulting view's consequences for our knowledge of other minds, and in particular for perceptual theories of this knowledge. (shrink)
Dogmatists and phenomenal conservatives think that if it perceptually seems to you that p, then you thereby have some prima facie justification for believing that p. Increasingly, writers about these views have argued that perceptual seemings are composed of two other states: a sensation followed by a seeming. In this article we critically examine this movement. First we argue that there are no compelling reasons to think of perceptual seemings as so composed. Second we argue that even (...) if they were so composed, this underlying disunity in metaphysical or psychological structure would fall below the threshold of epistemic significance. (shrink)