According to a traditional Cartesian epistemology of perception, perception does not provide one with direct knowledge of the external world. Instead, your immediate perceptual evidence is limited to facts about your own visual experience, from which conclusions about the external world must be inferred. Cartesianism faces well-known skeptical challenges. But this chapter argues that any anti-Cartesian view strong enough to avoid these challenges must license a way of updating one’s beliefs in response to anticipated experiences that seems diachronically irrational. (...) To avoid this result, the anti-Cartesian must either license an unacceptable epistemic chauvinism, or else claim that merely reflecting on one’s experiences defeats perceptualjustification. This leaves us with a puzzle: Although Cartesianism faces problems, avoiding them brings a new set of problems. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences justify. When I look at the black laptop in front of me and my perceptual experience presents me with a black laptop placed on my desk, my perceptual experience has justificatory force with respect to the proposition that there is black laptop on the desk. The present paper addresses the question of why perceptual experiences are a source of immediate justification: What gives them their justificatory force? I shall argue that the most plausible (...) and the most straightforward answer to this question consists in what I call the phenomenological conception of perceptualjustification. Perceptual experiences justify by virtue of their distinctive presentive phenomenology. This is a truly internalist conception that enjoys significant advantages over rival conceptions. In the course of his paper, I demonstrate the advantages of the phenomenological conception and defend it against a recent objection. (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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
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)
The questions whether the content of perception is nonconceptual and, if so, whether it can serve as the justificatory basis for perceptual beliefs have been at the epicentre of wide-ranging debates in recent philosophy of mind and epistemology. The present dissertation will set out to answer these matters. It will be argued that the content of perception is not necessarily conceptual, i.e. a specific understanding of nonconceptual content will be laid out and defended. Starting from the presentation and criticism (...) of conceptualism, it will be concluded that the arguments brought forth against nonconceptualism can successfully be met. A specific version of nonconceptualism will be developed on this basis and will serve as the necessary framework for the remainder of the discussion. Flowing from these arguments, this specific version of nonconceptualism will be taken to task by clarifying, analysing and specifying its epistemological commitments and options. Several problem sets will have to be introduced and evaluated, such as the divide between externalists and internalists, the phenomena surrounding epistemic defeaters and examinations pertaining to reasoning, specifically whether experiences could be the output states of inferential processes. These reflections will not only provide a more in-depth investigation of some of the most pressing epistemological questions surrounding nonconceptual content, but will also allow for a seamless transition into the problem of which specific epistemological theory best bears out the epistemological role of nonconceptual content. Specifically, disjunctivism, capacity approaches and phenomenal conservatism will be assessed as to their capacity to vindicate nonconceptual content. Phenomenal conservatism will be identified as the theory that best integrates nonconceptualism. While phenomenal conservatism will thus be defended, the closing sections of the present dissertation will mainly focus on questions surrounding rationality. Indeed, if perception and/ or perceptual experiences could be classified as rational, or more accurately put, if arguments pertaining to the evaluability of a perceptual experience’s aetiology are tenable, it can reasonably be asked whether phenomenal conservatism can satisfactorily meet this challenge. Ultimately, it will be concluded that there is room for a specific notion of nonconceptual content as the justificatory basis for basic perceptual beliefs. (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.
Perceptual experience is one of our fundamental sources of epistemic justification—roughly, justification for believing that a proposition is true. The ability of perceptual experience to justify beliefs can nevertheless be questioned. This article focuses on an important challenge that arises from countenancing that perceptual experience is cognitively penetrable. -/- The thesis of cognitive penetrability of perception states that the content of perceptual experience can be influenced by prior or concurrent psychological factors, such as beliefs, (...) fears and desires. Advocates of this thesis could for instance claim that your desire of having a tall daughter might influence your perception, so that she appears to you to be taller than she is. Although cognitive penetrability of perception is a controversial empirical hypothesis, it does not appear implausible. The possibility of its veracity has been adduced to challenge positions that maintain that perceptual experience has inherent justifying power. -/- This article presents some of the most influential positions in contemporary literature about whether cognitive penetration would undermine perceptualjustification and why it would or would not do so. -/- Some sections of this article focus on phenomenal conservatism, a popular conception of epistemic justification that more than any other has been targeted with objections that adduce the cognitive penetrability of experience. (shrink)
In this chapter I introduce the thesis that perceptual appearances are cognitively penetrable and analyse cases made against phenomenal conservatism hinging on this thesis. In particular, I focus on objections coming from the externalist reliabilist camp and the internalist inferentialist camp. I conclude that cognitive penetrability doesn’t yield lethal or substantive difficulties for phenomenal conservatism.
In this chapter I analyse an objection to phenomenal conservatism to the effect that phenomenal conservatism is unacceptable because it is incompatible with Bayesianism. I consider a few responses to it and dismiss them as misled or problematic. Then, I argue that this objection doesn’t go through because it rests on an implausible formalization of the notion of seeming-based justification. In the final part of the chapter, I investigate how seeming-based justification and justification based on one’s reflective (...) belief that one has a seeming interact with one another. (shrink)
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)
In this chapter I introduce and analyse the tenets of phenomenal conservatism, and discuss the problem of the nature of appearances. After that, I review the asserted epistemic merits phenomenal conservatism and the principal arguments adduced in support of it. Finally, I survey objections to phenomenal conservatism and responses by its advocates. Some of these objections will be scrutinised and appraised in the next chapters.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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)
In this chapter I investigate epistemological consequences of the fact that seeming-based justification is elusive, in the sense that the subject can lose this justification simply by reflecting on her seemings. I argue that since seeming-based justification is elusive, the antisceptical bite of phenomenal conservatism is importantly limited. I also contend that since seeming-based justification has this feature, phenomenal conservatism isn’t actually afflicted by easy justification problems.
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)
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.
Barnett provides an interesting new challenge for Dogmatist accounts of perceptualjustification. The challenge is that such accounts, by accepting that a perceptual experience can provide a distinctive kind of boost to one’s credences, would lead to a form of diachronic irrationality in cases where one has already learnt in advance that one will have such an experience. I show that this challenge rests on a misleading feature of using the 0–1 interval to express probabilities and show (...) that if we switch to using Odds or Log-Odds, the misleading appearance that there is only ‘a little room’ for one’s credences to increase evaporates. Moreover, there are familiar, independent reasons for taking the Log-Odds scale to provide a clearer picture of the confirmatory effect of evidence. Thus the Dogmatist can after all escape the charge of diachronic irrationality. (shrink)
Crispin Wright maintains that the architecture of perceptualjustification is such 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 principle 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 weakening the support available for his conception of the architecture of perceptualjustification. (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)